To study systematically the effects of prenatal and perinatal exposure to 2450 MHz (CW) microwaves as indexed by a battery of neurobehavioral tests that evaluate a wide range of sensory and motor functions.
Rats were exposed to microwaves prenatally (2450 MHz, 10 mW/cm², 3 h/day, days 5-20 of gestation) or perinatally (same as above plus days 2-20 postnatally) and were examined on postnatal days 30 and 100.
The prenatally and the perinatally exposed animals weighted more than sham-exposed rats at 30, but not at 100, days of age. In addition, the perinatally exposed rats had less swimming endurance at 30, but not at 100, days of age relative to sham-exposed animals.
For the other measures, only the air-puff startle response was altered and was limited to the prenatally irradiated female pups; ie, at postnatal day 30, the startle response was increased in magnitude, and at postnatal day 100, the response was decreased. No other reliable effects were found.
In a second replication experiment, rats treated as described above were examined at postnatal days 30-36. Again, perinatally exposed animals were larger in body mass and had less swimming endurance compared with sham-exposed rats. The latency to the air-puff startle response was longer in female pups irradiated prenatally.
These results indicate that altered endurance and gross motor activity result from perinatal exposure to microwaves.