Study type: Medical/biological study (experimental study)

Assessing the potential leukemogenic effects of 50 Hz magnetic fields and their harmonics using an animal leukemia model med./bio.

Published in: J Radiat Res 2008; 49 (6): 565-577

Aim of study (acc. to author)

To assess possible co-initiating or co-promoting effects of extremely low frequency magnetic fields on the incidence of leukemia in an animal model.

Background/further details

280 male rats were induced chemically (nitrosurea) with B acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The animals were exposed in four replicate experiments to a 50 Hz magnetic field of 100 µT (with or without harmonics), the limit recommended for public exposure by international guidelines. Different experimental groups were studied: 1) rats induced with leukemia without exposure; 2) rats induced with leukemia + exposure; 3) rats induced with leukemia + exposure + harmonics; 4) negative controls (no induced leukemia, no exposure). Another group of 160 rats was used as positive control which were partly pre-treated with gamma radiation.



Exposure Parameters
Exposure 1: 50–350 Hz
Exposure duration: continuous for 18 h/day, 7 days/week for 52 weeks

General information

animals were treated in four groups: i) rats treated with BNU, no EMF exposure ii) rats treated with BNU + exposure to 50 Hz EMF iii) rats treated with BNU + exposure to 50 Hz EMF with harmonics superimposed iv) control = no treatment

Exposure 1

Main characteristics
Frequency 50–350 Hz
Exposure duration continuous for 18 h/day, 7 days/week for 52 weeks
Additional info harmonics with 150 Hz, 250 Hz, 350 Hz
Exposure setup
Exposure source
Setup rectangular Helmholtz coils 60 cm x 40 cm; cages placed inside the coils
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
magnetic flux density 100 µT - measured - -
magnetic flux density 5 µT - measured - for 150 Hz and 350 Hz harmonics
magnetic flux density 6 µT - measured - for 250 Hz harmonics

Exposed system:

Methods Endpoint/measurement parameters/methodology

Investigated system:
Investigated organ system:
Time of investigation:
  • during exposure
  • after exposure

Main outcome of study (acc. to author)

The results did not show significant differences between exposed and non-exposed rats for any of the measured parameters. Significant changes in the leukemia type obtained after gamma radiation of the leukemia model, showed its sensitivity to a physical agent.
The results do not support the hypothesis that extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields, with and without harmonics, affect the development of B acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Study character:

Study funded by

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