Ogawa K, Nabae K, Wang J, Wake K, Watanabe SI, Kawabe M, Fujiwara O, Takahashi S, Ichihara T, Tamano S, Shirai T. Effects of gestational exposure to 1.95-GHz W-CDMA signals for IMT-2000 cellular phones: Lack of embryotoxicity and teratogenicity in rats. Bioelectromagnetics Ahead of print November 17, 20 DOI 08. 10.1002/bem.20456
Numerous studies on animals and several other studies on humans investigating the health effects of the EMF on fetal development (teratogenic and congenital fetal malformations) have been conducted so far. In animal studies, teratogenic effects were only evident when specific absorption rate (SAR) was high enough to raise the maternal body temperature. Similarly, studies on the relationship between occupational maternal exposure and teratogenic effects found no association.
A new mobile telecommunications system called the International Mobile Telecommunication 2000 (IMT-2000) has recently been standardized by the International Telecommunication Union. This service uses wide-band code division multiple access (W-CDMA).
The aim of the present study was to evaluate whether gestational exposure to EMF mainly targeting the head, similar to the exposure scenario of cellular phone use, will have an effect on fetal development in rats.
Rats were divided into four experimental groups with 5 pregnant rats in each group. Group (1) rats were used as controls, group (2) were sham-exposed, groups (3) and (4) were exposed to EMF at low (brain average SAR 0.67 W/kg) and high (brain average SAR 2.0W/kg) with exposure duration of 90 minutes/day. Each experiment was repeated four times. Statistical analysis was conducted to determine the difference in results between different groups.
The results showed no statistically significant difference in teratogenic parameters. More specifically, there were no statistically significant differences in the number of live fetuses, sex rates, fetal body weight, placental weights, or number of fetuses with visceral abnormalities. Exposure of pregnant rats to 1.95-GHZ wide-band code division multiple access (W-CDMA) signals of the IMT-2000 cellular phones did not result in adverse effects on any reproductive or embryonic parameters.
Discussion and Conclusion
The current study was different than previous studies because it looked at the adverse effects of maternal exposure to an EMF equivalent to that from cellular phones. The exposure level was in the range that does not cause thermal effects on the brain.
In conclusion, the present study showed that maternal exposure to high frequency EMF within the head area did not affect either maternal factor which affects gestational processes such as the hormonal environment, blood circulation, peripheral nerve control (parasympathetic nerve system) or the embryos themselves.