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Lack of teratological effects in rats exposed to 20 or 60 kHz magnetic fields



BACKGROUND: A risk assessment of magnetic field (MF) exposure conducted by the World Health Organization indicated the need for biological studies on primary hazard identification and quantitative risk evaluation of intermediate frequency (300 Hz–100 kHz) MFs. Because induction heating cookers generate such MFs for cooking, reproductive and developmental effects are a concern due to the close proximity of the fields' source to a cook's abdomen. METHODS: Pregnant Crl:CD(SD) rats (25/group) were exposed to a 20 kHz, 0.2 mT(rms) or 60 kHz, 0.1 mT(rms) sinusoidal MF or sham-exposed for 22 hr/day during organogenesis, and their fetuses were examined for malformations on gestation day 20. All teratological evaluations were conducted in a blind fashion, and experiments were duplicated for each frequency to confirm consistency of experimental outcomes. RESULTS: No exposure-related changes were found in clinical signs, gross pathology, or number of implantation losses. The number of live fetuses and low-body-weight fetuses as well as the incidence of external, visceral, and skeletal malformations in the fetuses did not indicate significant differences between MF-exposed and sham-exposed groups. Although some fetuses showed isolated changes in sex ratio and skeletal variation and ossification, such changes were neither reproduced in duplicate experiments nor were they common to specific field frequencies. CONCLUSIONS: Exposure of rats to MFs during organogenesis did not show significant reproducible teratogenicity under experimental conditions. Present findings do not support the hypothesis that intermediate frequency MF exposure after implantation carries a significant risk for developing mammalian fetuses. Birth Defects Res (Part B) 92:469–477, 2011. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.