Environmental exposure to extremely low-frequency electromagnetic fields (ELF-EMFs) has been implicated in the development of cancer in humans. An important basis for assessing a potential cancer risk due to ELF-EMF exposure is knowledge of biological effects on human cells at the chromosomal level. Therefore, we investigated in the present study the effect of intermittent ELF electromagnetic fields (50 Hz, sinusoidal, 5'field-on/10'field-off, 2-24 h, 1 mT) on the induction of micronuclei (MN) and chromosomal aberrations in cultured human fibroblasts. ELF-EMF radiation resulted in a time-dependent increase of micronuclei, which became significant after 10 h of intermittent exposure at a flux density of 1 mT. After approximately 15 h a constant level of micronuclei of about three times the basal level was reached. In addition, chromosomal aberrations were increased up to 10-fold above basal levels. Our data strongly indicate a clastogenic potential of intermittent low-frequency electromagnetic fields, which may lead to considerable chromosomal damage in dividing cells.