Paper: Evaluation of Oxidative Stress and Genetic Instability Among Residents Near Mobile Phone Base Stations in Germany

Open access

Posted: 29 Feb 2024


‘Human exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) is usually restricted by guidelines to prevent thermal effects in the tissue. However, at very low intensities “non-thermal” biological effects, like oxidative stress, DNA or chromosomal aberrations, etc. collectively termed genomic-instability are possible. Little is known about chronic (years long) exposure with non-thermal RF-EMF. We identified two adjacent housing estates in a rural region with residents exposed to either relatively low (control-group) or relatively high (exposed-group) RF-EMF GSM-900 and LTE-signals emitted from nearby mobile phone base stations. 24 healthy adults that lived in their homes at least for 5 years volunteered. Their homes were surveyed for common types of EMF and their blood samples were tested for oxidative status, transient DNA alterations, permanent chromosomal damage, and specific cancer related genetic markers like MLL gene rearrangements. We documented possible confounders, like age, sex, nutrition, life-exposure to ionizing radiation (X-rays), occupational exposures, etc. The groups matched well in terms of age, sex and occupational risk factors. The years long exposure had no measurable effect on MLL gene rearrangements and c-Abl-gene transcription modification. Associated with higher exposure, we found higher levels of lipid oxidation and oxidative DNA-lesions, though not statistically significant. DNA double strand breaks, micronuclei, ring chromosomes, and acentric chromosomes were not significantly different between the groups. Chromosomal aberrations like dicentric chromosomes (p=0,007), chromatid gaps (p=0,019), chromosomal fragments (p<0,001) and the total of chromosomal aberrations (p<0,001) were significantly higher in the exposed group. No potential confounder interfered with these findings. The most likely cause for this higher rate of chromosomal aberrations in the exposed group appear to be the chronic exposure to the RF-EMF signals GSM 900 and LTE.’