Effect of in utero wi-fi exposure on the pre- and postnatal development of rats

Birth Defects Res B Dev Reprod Toxicol. 2012 Apr;95(2):130-6. doi: 10.1002/bdrb.20346. Epub 2012 Feb 6.


Background: The increase in exposure to the Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi) wireless communication signal has raised public health concerns especially for young people. Animal studies looking at the effects of early life and prenatal exposure to this source of electromagnetic fields, in the radiofrequency (RF) range, on development and behavior have been considered as high priority research needs by the World Health Organization.

Methods: For the first time, our study assessed the effects of in utero exposure to a 2450 MHz Wi-Fi signal (2 hr/day, 6 days/week for 18 days) on pregnant rats and their pups. Three levels in terms of whole-body specific absorption rate were used: 0.08, 0.4, and 4 W/kg. The prenatal study on fetuses delivered by caesarean (P20) concerned five females/group. The dams and their offspring were observed for 28 days after delivery (15 females/group).

Results: For all test conditions, no abnormalities were noted in the pregnant rats and no significant signs of toxicity were observed in the pre- and postnatal development of the pups, even at the highest level of 4 W/kg.

Conclusions: In the present study, no teratogenic effect of repeated exposures to the Wi-Fi wireless communication signal was demonstrated even at the highest level of 4 W/kg. The results from this screening study aimed at investigating Wi-Fi effects, strengthen the previous conclusions that teratology and development studies have not detected any noxious effects of exposures to mobile telephony-related RF fields at exposure levels below standard limits.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn / growth & development
  • Electromagnetic Fields / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / pathology*
  • Radiation Monitoring / methods*
  • Radio Waves / adverse effects*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Reproduction
  • Toxicity Tests
  • Wireless Technology