Hansteen IL, Clausen KO, Haugan V, Svendsen M, Svendsen MV, Eriksen JG, Skiaker R, Hauger E, Lågeide L, Vistnes AI, Kure EH. (2009). Cytogenetic effects of exposure to 2.3 GHz radiofrequency radiation on human lymphocytes in vitro. Anticancer Res. 29(11):4323-30.
There are conflicting reports on the effects of radiofrequency radiation (RFR) emitted from mobile telecommunication systems. Some experiments performed on cells have shown that radiofrequency radiation can damage DNA, while others have not. Although some studies report that low level radiofrequency radiation exposure may cause subtle biological effects, there is currently no evidence for serious human health effects from radiofrequency radiation exposure.
The aim of this study was to determine if exposure of human blood cells lymphocytes to radiofrequency radiation exposure emitted from mobile phones and wireless network technologies would: 1) cause irregularities or damage in the cell’s DNA; or 2) interact with and enhance the damage caused by a substance called mitomycin C (MMC) that is known to break and induce abnormalities in DNA.
The blood cells of 2 healthy males, 2 healthy females, and 2 smoking females, aged between 25 and 55 years, were exposed to radiofrequency radiation (2.3 GHz) for 53 hours continuously or in short pulses; some individuals were also simultaneously exposed to MMC. Mobile phones and wireless network technologies typically have a frequency range of 2.0-2.4 GHz. The 2.3 GHz level of radiofrequency radiation exposure used in this study represents recommended international human safety guidelines.
There were no significant effects of continuous or pulsed radiofrequency radiation exposure on DNA, regardless of the simultaneous exposure to MMC for both genders. Results indicated a weak trend towards increased DNA damage in cells exposed to pulsed radiofrequency radiation and MMC combined, and exposed to pulsed radiofrequency radiation compared to continuous exposure; however, these trends were not statistically significant.
Discussion, Interpretation and Limitations
Several studies using different radiofrequency radiation wavelengths, different parameters to examine DNA damage and exposing cells intermittently for different amounts of time also report that exposure of human blood cells to radiofrequency radiation does not damage DNA, regardless of the gender of the individual. However, some studies have shown different responses between blood donors and that extended combined exposure to radiofrequency radiation and to MMC increases DNA damage. Although the present study reports a weak trend towards an increase in DNA damage in cells exposed to pulse versus continuous radiofrequency radiation and to pulsed radiofrequency radiation combined with MMC, it remains unknown whether these effects are of biological significance. The limitation of this study is that it is difficult to extrapolate the responses observed in cells to humans.
This study indicates that short-term exposure of human lymphocyte cells to radiofrequency radiation level that is considered safe for humans does not result in abnormalities or damage to DNA.