Genetic damage in subjects exposed to radiofrequency radiation

Mutat Res. Mar-Jun 2009;681(2-3):259-70. doi: 10.1016/j.mrrev.2008.11.002. Epub 2008 Nov 27.


Despite many research efforts and public debate there is still great concern about the possible adverse effects of radiofrequency (RF) radiation on human health. This is especially due to the enormous increase of wireless mobile telephones and other telecommunication devices throughout the world. The possible genetic effects of mobile phone radiation and other sources of radiofrequencies constitute one of the major points of concern. In the past several review papers were published on laboratory investigations that were devoted to in vitro and in vivo animal (cyto)genetic studies. However, it may be assumed that some of the most important observations are those obtained from studies with individuals that were exposed to relatively high levels of radiofrequency radiation, either as a result of their occupational activity or as frequent users of radiofrequency emitting tools. In this paper the cytogenetic biomonitoring studies of RF-exposed humans are reviewed. A majority of these studies do show that RF-exposed individuals have increased frequencies of genetic damage (e.g., chromosomal aberrations) in their lymphocytes or exfoliated buccal cells. However, most of the studies, if not all, have a number of shortcomings that actually prevents any firm conclusion. Radiation dosimetry was lacking in all papers, but some of the investigations were flawed by much more severe imperfections. Large well-coordinated multidisciplinary investigations are needed in order to reach any robust conclusion.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell Phone
  • Cytogenetic Analysis
  • DNA Damage*
  • Humans
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Radio Waves / adverse effects*