• ELF magnetic fields;
  • nonionizing radiation;
  • human lymphocytes


The question whether extremely low frequency magnetic fields (ELFMFs) may contribute to mutagenesis or carcinogenesis is of current interest. In order to evaluate the possible genotoxic effects of ELFMFs, human blood cells from four donors were exposed in vitro for 48 h to 50 Hz, 1 mT uniform magnetic field generated by a Helmholtz coil system. Comet assay (SCGE), sister chromatid exchanges (SCE), chromosome aberrations (CAs), and micronucleus (MN) test were used to assess the DNA damage. ELF pretreated cells were also irradiated with 1 Gy of X-ray to investigate the possible combined effect of ELFMFs and ionizing radiation. Furthermore, nuclear division index (NDI) and proliferation index (PRI) were evaluated. Results do not evidence any DNA damage induced by ELFMF exposure or any effect on cell proliferation. Data obtained from the combined exposure to ELFMFs and ionizing radiation do not suggest any synergistic or antagonistic effect. Bioelectromagnetics 25:613–619, 2004. © 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.