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Electrical EMF Radiation Health Risks - Biological, DNA & Cellular Impacts

Change in cellular functions, incidence of cancer, and cell deaths occur due to the toxicity to the genome. Several studies have been conducted to investigate the DNA and chromosomal structures and the effects of exposure to electrical (“power frequency”) electromagnetic fields (EMFs) on cellular functions.

    Studies have found EMFs could impact biological processes in the following ways.
  • DNA damage
  • Effect on micronuclei
  • Increase in the levels of free radicals in humans, resulting in harmful effects
  • Affecting several cellular processes like tumour promotion
  • Decreased levels of melatonin (protective hormone)
  • Inducing oxidative stress

Electrical EMF Radiation Exposure Causes Serious DNA Damage

It is necessary to consider electrical EMFs and the changes that occur in DNA cells or in other types of cellular processes due to electrical EMFs. Several studies had been conducted on the external electrical EMF sources and biological processes.

Initially it was held that DNA breaks occurred due to ionising radiations such as a nuclear bomb or X-ray that acted directly on exposed human cells. However, three separate studies consistently established that DNA single and double strand breaks were the result of electrical EMFs (Lai & Singh, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2004). These studies suggested that exposure to electrical EMFs can lead to neurodegenerative and carcinogenesis diseases.

Another two studies also confirmed that intermittent exposure to electrical EMFs resulted in significant increase in DNA single and double strand breaks (Ivancsits et al., 2002, 2003). Two more recent studies had also supported the above findings, mentioning that the DNA breaks can be explained by triggering of apoptosis and disturbances in the processes of S-phase, instead of DNA damage generation (Focke, 2010; Kim, 2010).

Another study indicated that chromosomal aberrations that reflected breaks in DNA strands were due to failure of replication in DNA templates (Henshaw, 2008). The study stated that such replication failures were associated only with coding information and not with quantum energy at levels associated with ionising radiation. The study revealed that various responses related to genetic damage after exposure to electrical EMFs were consistent with loss of such coding information.

Another study in which cerebral areas of mice were exposed to low frequency EMF fields, the researcher found DNA damage (Mariucci, 2010). Yet another study showed that DNA damages increased proportionately with the dosage levels of EMF exposures (Wolf, 2005). Research conducted on chicks when they were subjected to EMF exposure before hatching discovered wide range of cellular changes, resulting in deformities (Lahijani et al., 2009).

Another recent review concluded that nearly all the in vitro experiments in which electrical EMF exposures on DNA cells were conducted, several types of cell changes occurred (Santini et al., 2009). The review mentioned that the various effects of electrical EMF on biological systems cannot be ignored and appropriate legislation should be passed to safeguard workers exposed to electrical EMF during their occupation and also the general public encountering electrical EMF exposures.

Electrical EMF Radiation Creates Micronuclei Disturbances

A study investigated peripheral blood lymphocytes when exposed to microwave radiation (Garaj-Vrhovac et al., 1999). The study found increase in the frequency of micronuclei and disturbances in the distribution of the cells.

Electrical EMF Radiation Exposure Alters Metabolism of Free Radical Effects

Free radicals are high energy particles in body tissues. These free radicals are capable of damaging cells. They also induce or accelerate cancer progression. A study revealed that exposure to electrical EMFs increases free radicals yield by more than 60% (Timmel & Henbest, 2004). Recently, another study in which electrical EMF exposure of 60 MHz for 2 hours altered the free radicals metabolism immediately, leading to reduced antioxidant activity in kidneys and heart (Martinez-Samano et al., 2010). Other studies also proved that free radicals formation was stimulated due to electrical EMF exposure (Rollwitz 2004, Crumpton, 2005, Frahm et al., 2006).

Electrical EMF Radiation Exposure Impacts Cellular Processes

Cellular protein level changes affect cell function and allow cancerous cell development. A recent study showed that low electrical EMFs impacted angiogenesis or new blood vessels growth, changing dormant tumours into malignant tumours (Morabito et al., 2010). Other earlier studies proved that electrical EMF increased the possibility of cells becoming cancerous (Uckun et al., 1995; Kristupaitis et al., 1998; Dibirdik et al., 1998). Cell division rate is determined by calcium ions and electrical EMF induces apoptosis changes or cell deaths, a review showed (Santini et al., 2005).

A study on the effect of electrical EMFs on the magnetic nano-particles in human bodies suggested these nano-particles can cause childhood leukaemia (Binhi, 2008). The study showed that changes in cellular protein or ion levels may affect cell functions like removing damaged or unnecessary cells, leading to the development of cancer cells. Another study on low frequency fields impacted the growth of the new blood vessels, termed medically as angiogenesis, resulting in dormant tumours into malignant tumours (Delle Monache, 2009). Earlier studies had also confirmed that electrical EMF exposure increased the chances of cells becoming cancerous (Uckun, 1995; Kristupaitis, 1998; Dibirdik, 1998).

Electrical EMF Radiation Exposure Leads to Serious Oxidative Stress

An earlier study on electrical EMFs showed that electrical EMFs also increased nitric oxide levels, leading to elevated risk of oxidative stress (Yoshikawa, 2000). Another study considered the effect of electrical EMFs of 50 Hz and concluded that cell tolerance levels were lesser against oxidative attacks (Falone, 2007). A review of experimental and epidemiological research concentrating on carcinogenic effects of very low EMFs mentioned that modulations to the levels of oxidants and antioxidants played a key role in the development of cancer (Simko, 2007). A recent study revealed reduced defence system to antioxidants and higher oxidative stress due to electrical EMF exposure (Akdag et al., 2010). Another recent study established the relationship between exposure to electrical EMFs and induced cell deaths as well as oxidative stress (Emre et al., 2011).

With clear evidence that power frequency EMF exposures lead to several dangerous and hazardous cellular changes, reducing exposure to high EMF environments for extended periods is advisable.

Electrical EMF Radiation Protection - All Homes and Workplaces Should Be Tested

Most homes and workplaces will have electrical EMF radiation hot spots that can easily exceed the exposure levels known to impact on you and your family’s health eg. near electrical devices, power meter boxes, wiring behind walls etc. EMF Safe recommends all homes and workplaces be tested for all electrical and wireless EMF radiation exposures. Often simple changes can be made to reduce or avoid elevated exposures when they are found. EMF Safe rents EMF Detection Kits nationwide that are excellent for this purpose and come with easy to follow instructions including safety reference levels.

References

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Binhi V (2008), Do naturally occurring magnetic nanoparticles in the human body mediate increased risk of childhood leukaemia with EMF exposure? Int J Radiat Biol 84(7):569-79.

Crumpton MJ (2005), The Bernal lecture 2004. Are low-frequency electromagnetic fields a health hazard? Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 360(1458):1223-30.

Delle Monache S et al (2008), Extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields (ELF-EMFs) induce in vitro angiogenesis process in human endothelial cells Bioelectromagnetics 29(8):640-8.

Dibirdik I et al (1998), Stimulation of Src family protein tyrosine kinases as a proximal and mandatory step for SYK kinase-dependent phospholipase C gamma 2 activation in lymphoma B cells exposed to low energy electromagnetic fields J Biol Chem 273: 4035-4039.

Emre M et al (2011), Oxidative stress and Apoptosis in Relation to Exposure to Magnetic Field Cell Biochem Biophys 59(2):71-7.

Falone S et al (2007), Fifty hertz extremely low-frequency electromagnetic field causes changes in redox and differentiative status in neuroblastoma cells Int J Biochem Cell Biol 39(11):2093-106.

Frahm J et al (2006), Alteration in cellular functions in mouse macrophages after exposure to 50 Hz magnetic fields J Cell Biochem 99(1):168-77.

Focke F et al (2010), DNA fragmentation in human fibroblasts under extremely low frequency electromagnetic field exposure Mutat Res 683(1-2):74-83.

Garaj-Vrhovac, V, (1999), Micronucleus assay and lymphocyte mitotic activity in risk assessment of occupational exposure to microwave radiation. Chemosphere 39(13):2301-2312.

Henshaw DL (2008), CHILDREN with LEUKAEMIA Conference 29-30 April, London.

Ivancsits S et al (2002), Induction of DNA strand breaks by intermittent exposure to extremely-low-frequency electromagnetic fields in human diploid fibroblasts Mutat Res 519(1-2): 1-13.

Ivancsits S et al (2003), Intermittent extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields cause DNA damage in a dosedependent way Int Arch Occup Environ Health 76(6): 431-6.

Kim J et al (2010), Repetitive exposure to a 60-Hz time-varying magnetic field induces DNA double-strand breaks and apoptosis in human cells Biochem Biophys Res Commun 400(4):739-44.

Kristupaitis D et al (1998), Electromagnetic field-induced stimulation of Bruton’s tyrosine kinase J Biol Chem 273: 12397- 12401.

Lahijani MS et al (2009), Histopathological and ultrastructural studies on the effects of electromagnetic fields on the liver of preincubated white leghorn chicken embryo Electromagn Biol Med 28(4):391-413.

Lai H, Singh NP, (1995), Acute low-intensity microwave exposure increases DNA single-strand breaks in rat brain cells. Bioelectromagnetics 16(3):207-210.

Lai H, Singh NP, (1996), Single- and double-strand DNA breaks in rat brain cells after acute exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation. Int J Radiat Biol 69(4):513-521.

Lai, H, Singh, NP, (1997), Melatonin and a spin-trap compound block radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation-induced DNA strand breaks in rat brain cells. Bioelectromagnetics 18(6):446-454.

Lai H & Singh N (1998), 60 Hz magnetic field exposure induces DNA crosslinks in rat brain cells Mutat Res 400(1-2): 313-20.

Lai H, Singh NP, (2005), Interaction of microwaves and a temporally incoherent magnetic field on single and double DNA strand breaks in rat brain cells. Electromag Biol Med 24:23-29.

Mariucci G et al (2010), Brain DNA damage and 70-kDa heat shock protein expression in CD1 mice exposed to extremely low frequency magnetic fields Int J Radiat Biol 86(8):701-10.

Martínez-Sámano J et al (2010), Effects of acute electromagnetic field exposure and movement restraint on antioxidant system in liver, heart, kidney and plasma of Wistar rats: A preliminary report Int J Radiat Biol 86(12):1088-94.

Morabito C et al (2010), Effects of acute and chronic low frequency electromagnetic field exposure on PC12 cells during neuronal differentiation Cell Physiol Biochem 26(6):947-58.

Rollwitz J et al (2004), Fifty-hertz magnetic fields induce free radical formation in mouse bone marrow-derived promonocytes and macrophages Biochim Biophys Acta 1764(3):231-8.

Santini MT et al (2009), Cellular effects of extremely low frequency (ELF) electromagnetic fields Int J Radiat Biol 85(4):294-313.

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Uckun FM et al (1995), Exposure of B-lineage lymphoid cells to low energy electromagnetic fields stimulates Lyn kinase J Biol Chem 270: 27666-27670.

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