Medical/biological study (experimental study)

Assessment of genetic damage in peripheral blood of human volunteers exposed (whole-body) to a 200 muT, 60 Hz magnetic field.

Published in: Int J Radiat Biol 2009; 85 (2): 144-152

Aim of study (acc. to author)

To study the extent of genetic damage in peripheral blood cells of healthy human volunteers exposed to a whole body 60 Hz magnetic field.
Background/further details: 10 healthy males and 10 females were exposed and five males and five females were sham exposed. Positive controls (gamma radiation) were performed with blood samples.
To detect possible clastogenic effects, the incidence of micronuclei was assessed in phytohemagglutinin-stimulated lymphocytes.



Exposure Parameters
Exposure 1: 60 Hz
Exposure duration: continuous for 4 h
Exposure 1
Main characteristics
Frequency 60 Hz
Exposure duration continuous for 4 h
Exposure setup
Exposure source
Setup three orthogonal coil pairs of which only the vertical one with a separation of 1.5 m x 0.75 m was used
Sham exposure A sham exposure was conducted.
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
magnetic flux density 200 µT - measured - -
Reference articles
  • Shupak NM et al. (2004): Human exposure to a specific pulsed magnetic field: effects on thermal sensory and pain thresholds.
  • Thomas AW et al. (2001): Magnetic field exposure and behavioral monitoring system.
  • Thomas AW et al. (2001): A comparison of rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia patients and healthy controls exposed to a pulsed (200 microT) magnetic field: effects on normal standing balance.
Exposed system:

Methods Endpoint/measurement parameters/methodology

Investigated material:
Time of investigation:
  • before exposure
  • after exposure

Main outcome of study (acc. to author)

There was no evidence of either increased DNA damage or increased incidence of micronuclei in the magnetic field exposed group. However, the in vitro exposure of 1.5 Gy gamma radiation caused a significant increase in both DNA damage and micronuclei induction.
In conclusion, no evidence was found that an acute, whole body exposure to a 200 µT, 60 Hz magnetic field for 4 hours could cause a DNA damage in human blood.
Study character:

Study funded by

  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)
  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NERSC) of Canada

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