EMF Health-effects Research

Prenatal exposure to 900 MHz, cell-phone electromagnetic fields had no effect on operant-behavior performances of adult rats.

Bornhausen M, Scheingraber H,

Bioelectromagnetics 21(8):566-574, 2000

To clarify potential health risks of radio-frequency electromagnetic fields (EMFs) used in cellular telephone technology to the developing brain, Wistar rats were continuously exposed during pregnancy to a low-level (0.1 mW/cm2) 900 MHz, 217 Hz pulse modulated EMF that approximated the highest legal exposure of normal populations to the radiation of base antennas of the GSM digital cell-phone technology. Whole body average specific absorption rate (SAR) values for the freely roaming, pregnant animals were measured in models; they ranged between 17.5 and 75 mW/kg.

The offspring of exposed and of sham-exposed dams were coded and tested later as adults in a battery of ten simultaneously operated test chambers (Skinner boxes) during night time. Eight groups of ten coded animals in each group were tested for learning deficits in a sequence of nine, computer-controlled, 15 h sessions of the food-reinforced contingency Differential Reinforcement of Rate with increasing performance requirements.

Two different sets of events were recorded: The food-reinforced lever-pressing activity of the animals and the inter-response intervals (IRIs) between consecutive lever presses. IRI-occurence patterns discriminated consistently between "learners" and "non-learners" . Analyses of performance scores and of IRI-patterns both showed that exposure in-utero to the GSM field did not induce any measurable cognitive deficits.

Please e-mail comments, information and updates to DON MAISCH: