DNA effects of low level occupational exposure to extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields (50/60 Hz).
Toxicol Ind Health. 2019 Jun ;35(6):424-430. Epub 2019 May 28. PMID: 31138035
AIMS: Exposure to extremely low frequency magnetic fields (ELF-MF) occurs from natural and artificial sources. Although ELF-MF has been classified as a suspected humans carcinogen agent by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, little is known of the effects of ELF-MF at lower exposure levels of the recommended range. In the present study, DNA damage in the peripheral blood cells of power line workers was investigated.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Occupational exposure to ELF-MF in a power plant was measured using the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) manual. Single-strand breaks (SSBs) in DNA were evaluated in 29 male utility workers as the exposed population and 28 male support personnel as the control subjects using the comet assay. Effects of ELF-MF on subjects were evaluated using DNA percent in tails, tail length, olive length, and tail moment.
RESULTS: Occupational exposure levels to ELF-MF in the utility workers were less than the threshold limit values (TLV) recommended by the American Conference of Government Industrial Hygienist (ACGIH). The median value of the magnetic field at the working sites was 0.85µT. Induction of DNA damage was observed for the exposed workers compared with the controls. Olive length, tail moment, and tail DNA percent increased significantly (<0.05) in the utility workers.
CONCLUSIONS: Exposure to ELF-MF at levels less than the ACGIH exposure limit can produce DNA strand breaks.