Leukemia and lymphoma incidence in rodents exposed to low-frequency magnetic fields

Radiat Res. 2000 May;153(5 Pt 2):627-36. doi: 10.1667/0033-7587(2000)153[0627:laliir]2.0.co;2.


A weak association between residential or occupational exposure to electric and magnetic fields (50/60 Hz fields) and an increased incidence of leukemia has been reported. Numerous animal studies have evaluated the potential association between magnetic-field exposure and leukemia. These include long-term (up to 2(1/2) years) bioassays, initiation/promotion studies, investigations in transgenic models, and tumor growth studies. Exposure to 60 Hz circularly polarized magnetic fields at 1,400 microT for 28 months did not affect lymphoma incidence in mice. The study included over 2000 C57BL/6J mice. In another study, 1000 B6C3F(1) mice exposed to 60 Hz magnetic fields up to 1000 microT for 2 years showed no increase in lymphomas. Approximately 400 transgenic Emu-Pim1 mice exposed to 50 Hz fields up to 1000 microT for up to 18 months had no increased incidence of leukemia. Similarly, Trp53(+/-) mice and Pim1transgenic mice exposed to 60 Hz magnetic fields for 23 weeks showed no increased incidence of lymphoma. Three studies in F344 rats exposed to 50 or 60 Hz magnetic fields up to 5 mT showed no increased incidence of leukemia. The combined animal bioassay results are nearly uniformly negative for magnetic-field exposures enhancing leukemia and weaken the possible epidemiological association between magnetic-field exposures and leukemia in humans as suggested by epidemiological data.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carcinogens
  • Cell Division / radiation effects
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / radiation effects
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation
  • Electromagnetic Fields / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leukemia / etiology*
  • Lymphoma / etiology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred F344
  • Risk Assessment


  • Carcinogens