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. 2009 Mar;73(3):391-9.
doi: 10.1016/j.ijporl.2008.11.003. Epub 2008 Dec 23.

Effects of Intrauterine and Extrauterine Exposure to GSM-like Radiofrequency on Distortion Product Otoacoustic Emissions in Infant Male Rabbits

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Effects of Intrauterine and Extrauterine Exposure to GSM-like Radiofrequency on Distortion Product Otoacoustic Emissions in Infant Male Rabbits

Gürer G Budak et al. Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. .

Abstract

Objectives: The aim of this study was to investigate the potential hazardous effects of intrauterine (IU) and/or extrauterine (EU) exposure to 1800 MHz Global System for Mobile Communications-like (GSM-like) radiofrequency (RF) on the cochlear functions of infant rabbits by measuring distortion product otoacoustic emission (DPOAE) response amplitudes.

Methods: Thirty-six white infant male New Zealand rabbits each 1-month-old were included in the study. The animals were randomly divided into four groups. Nine infant rabbits (Group 1) were not exposed to 1800 MHz GSM-like RF (Control-C). Nine infant rabbits (Group 2) were exposed to 1800 MHz GSM-like RF, 15 min daily for 14 days after they reached 1-month of age (extrauterine-EU). Nine infant rabbits (Group 3) were exposed to 1800 MHz GSM-like RF, 15 min daily for 7 days in the intrauterine period (between 15th and 22nd days of the gestational period) (intrauterine-IU). Nine infant rabbits (Group 4) were exposed to 1800 MHz GSM-like RF, 15 min daily for 7 days in the intrauterine period (between 15th and 22nd days of the gestational period) and 15 min daily for 14 days after they reached to 1-month of age (IU+EU). The cochlear functions were assessed by DPOAEs at 1.0-8.0 kHz.

Results: At 1.5 kHz, the mean DPOAE amplitude of Group 3 was higher than that of the controls and Group 2; and the mean DPOAE value of Group 4 was higher than that of the controls and Group 2. At 2.0 kHz, the mean DPOAE amplitude of Group 4 was higher than that of Group 2. At 3.0 kHz, the mean DPOAE amplitude of Group 4 was higher than that of the controls and Group 2. At 4.0 kHz, the mean DPOAE amplitude of Group 2 was lower than that of the controls, while the mean value of Group 4 was higher than the mean value of the controls and Group 2. At 6.0 kHz, the mean DPOAE amplitude of Group 2 was lower than that of the control group; however, the mean value of Group 4 was higher than that of Group 2. At 1.0 and 8.0 kHz, no significant differences were found among the four groups.

Conclusion: Prolonged exposure and hyperthermia related to the power density of applied RF, increasing the temperature in the ear canal, may affect DPOAE amplitudes. Harmful effects of RF are mainly observed as a decrease in DPOAE amplitudes at 4.0-6.0 kHz during extrauterine exposure in infancy. During the intrauterine period, the water content of the middle and inner ear and amnion fluid may play a protective role. Therefore, children must be protected from RF exposure. The use of mobile phones at short distances from the ear of the infants should be avoided because of the lower thickness of the anatomical structure in infancy.

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