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Brain tumour development in rats exposed to electromagnetic fields used in wireless cellular communication

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Abstract

It has been suggested that electromagnetic fields (EMF) act as promoters late in the carcinogenesis process. To date, however, there is no convincing laboratory evidence that EMFs cause tumour promotion at non‐thermal exposure levels. Therefore the effects of exposure to electromagnetic fields were investigated in a rat brain glioma model. Some of the exposures correspond to electromagnetic fields used in wireless communication. Microwaves at 915 MHz were used both as continuous waves (1 W), and pulse‐modulated at 4, 8, 16 and 217 Hz in 0.57 ms pulses and 50 Hz in 6.67 ms pulses (2 W per pulse). Fischer 344 rats of both sexes were used in the experiments. By stereotaxic technique rat glioma cells (RG2 and N32) were injected into the head of the right caudate nucleus in 154 pairs of rats, exposed and matched controls. Starting on day 5 after inoculation, the animals were exposed for 7 hours a day, 5 days a week during 2–3 weeks. Exposed animals were kept unanaesthetized in well‐ventilated TEM cells producing 915 MHz continuous or modulated microwaves. Their matched controls were kept in identical TEM cells without EMF exposure. All brains were examined histopathologically and the tumour size was estimated as the volume of an ellipsoid. Our study of 154 matched pairs of rats does not show any significant difference in tumour size between animals exposed to 915 MHz, and those not exposed. Thus our results do not support that even an extensive daily exposure to EMF promotes tumour growth when given from the fifth day after the start of tumour growth in the rat brain until the sacrifice of the animal after about 16 days.

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Salford, L.G., Brun, A. & Persson, B.R. Brain tumour development in rats exposed to electromagnetic fields used in wireless cellular communication. Wireless Networks 3, 463–469 (1997). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1019102627678

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