Study type: Medical/biological study (experimental study)

Radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (UMTS, 1,950 MHz) induce genotoxic effects in vitro in human fibroblasts but not in lymphocytes. med./bio.

Published in: Int Arch Occup Environ Health 2008; 81 (6): 755-767

Aim of study (acc. to author)

The authors aimed to extend their investigation with cultured human diploid fibroblasts and lymphocytes exposed to GSM signals which they carried out as part of the REFLEX project (cf. publication 11910 and publication 9089) to the exposure of the same cell lines to UMTS exposure.
Information of the Medical University of Vienna (23.05.2008): Suspicion of an erroneous study by the former Division of Occupational Medicine (in German) and the press release Science and Ethics (in German) .
The Austrian Agency for Research Integrity was not able to verify the suspicion of an erroneous study (see statement of 23.11.2010).

Background/further details

Human cultured fibroblasts of three different donors and three different short-term human lymphocyte cultures were exposed. Positive and negative controls were included in each set of experiments.

Endpoint

Exposure

Exposure Parameters
Exposure 1: 1,950 MHz
Exposure duration: continuous for 24 h
Exposure 2: 1,950 MHz
Exposure duration: continuous for 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, 24, and 48 h
  • SAR: 0.1 W/kg
Exposure 3: 1,950 MHz
Exposure duration: intermittent for 16 h: 5 min on/10 or 20 min off and 10 min on/10 or 20 min off
  • SAR: 0.1 W/kg

General information

Positive and negative controls were included in each set of experiments. Negative controls were cultured in the incubator for as long as the corresponding exposure, slides of positive controls immersed in ice-cold phosphate-buffered saline were irradiated for 3 min using UV light (254 nm, 800 µW/cm²).

Exposure 1

Main characteristics
Frequency 1,950 MHz
Type
Charakteristic
  • guided field
Exposure duration continuous for 24 h
Modulation
Modulation type cf. additional info
Additional info

sophisticated UMTS test signal synthesized by Niels Kuster

Exposure setup
Exposure source
  • waveguide
  • R18, rectangular, short-circuited
Chamber Two waveguides were placed inside a commercial incubator at 37 °C, 5% CO2, and 95% humidity. A computer randomly determined which of the two waveguides was used for exposure (blind design).
Setup Six 35-mm Petri dishes were exposed simultaneously in the waveguide and placed in the H-field maxima by means of a dish holder.
Sham exposure A sham exposure was conducted.
Additional info Exposure was controlled by field sensors, air temperature sensors, and by an optimized airflow system [Schuderer and Kuster, 2003 and Schonborn et al., 2001].
Parameters
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
SAR 0.05 W/kg - - - -
SAR 0.1 W/kg - - - -
SAR 0.5 W/kg - - - -
SAR 1 W/kg - - - -
SAR 2 W/kg - - - -

Exposure 2

Main characteristics
Frequency 1,950 MHz
Type
Charakteristic
  • guided field
Exposure duration continuous for 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, 24, and 48 h
Modulation
Modulation type cf. additional info
Additional info

sophisticated UMTS test signal synthesized by Niels Kuster

Exposure setup
Exposure source
Sham exposure A sham exposure was conducted.
Parameters
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
SAR 0.1 W/kg - - - -

Exposure 3

Main characteristics
Frequency 1,950 MHz
Type
Charakteristic
  • guided field
Exposure duration intermittent for 16 h: 5 min on/10 or 20 min off and 10 min on/10 or 20 min off
Modulation
Modulation type cf. additional info
Additional info

sophisticated UMTS test signal synthesized by Niels Kuster

Exposure setup
Exposure source
Sham exposure A sham exposure was conducted.
Parameters
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
SAR 0.1 W/kg - - - -

Reference articles

Exposed system:

Methods Endpoint/measurement parameters/methodology

Investigated system:
Time of investigation:
  • after exposure

Main outcome of study (acc. to author)

UMTS exposure increased the "comet tail factor" and induced centromere-negative micronuclei in the fibroblasts in a dose and time-dependent way. No UMTS effect was found with lymphocytes, either unstimulated or stimulated with PHA.
UMTS exposure may cause genetic alterations in some but not in all human cells in vitro.

Study character:

Study funded by

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