Study type: Medical/biological study (experimental study)

Evidence of oxidative stress in American kestrels exposed to electromagnetic fields med./bio.

Published in: Environ Res 2001; 86 (2): 198-207

Aim of study (acc. to author)

To investigate whether exposure to magnetic fields and electric fields similar to those from power lines induces an immune response and alters oxidative stress levels in American kestrels.

Background/further details

Two experiments were performed. For evaluating short-term (one breeding season) effects of exposure, pairs were randomly assigned to a control group and an exposure group (25 pairs per group). For long-term (two breeding seasons) effects, 13 pairs were put into a control group and 15 pairs into an exposure group. Only male kestrels were used in this study.



Exposure Parameters
Exposure 1: 60 Hz
Exposure duration: 23.5 h/day for 91 days

Exposure 1

Main characteristics
Frequency 60 Hz
Exposure duration 23.5 h/day for 91 days
Additional info equivalent to those fields experienced by free-ranging kestrels when nesting under 735-kV transmission lines running at peak capacity
Exposure setup
Exposure source
  • not specified
Chamber each pair was housed in a similar sized pen (0.7 x 0.7 x 1.2 m)
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
electric field strength 10 kV/m - - - -
magnetic flux density 30 µT - - - -

Exposed system:

Methods Endpoint/measurement parameters/methodology

Investigated system:
Time of investigation:
  • during exposure

Main outcome of study (acc. to author)

Male kestrels exposed for one breeding season, showed significantly decreased total protein levels in plasma, hematocrit values, erythrocytes, lymphocytes and carotenoids compared to the control group, while significantly increased total granulosa cells. The suppression of total proteins, hematocrit and carotenoids occurred during the first half of the breeding season.
In male kestrels exposed for two breeding seasons, the hematocrits were significantly decreased during the first half of the breeding season in comparison to the control group.
The authors conclude that short-term exposure to electric fields and magnetic fields similar to those from power lines appears to elicit an immune response in American kestrels. Additionally, short-term and long-term exposure could induce oxidative stress.

Study character:

Study funded by

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