The objective of this paper is to compare realistic maximum electromagnetic exposure of human tissues generated by mobile phones with electromagnetic exposures applied during in vitro experiments to assess potentially adverse effects of electromagnetic exposure in the radiofrequency range. We reviewed 80 in vitro studies published between 2002 and present that concern possible adverse effects of exposure to mobile phones operating in the 900 and 1800 MHz bands. We found that the highest exposure level averaged over the cell medium that includes evaluated cells (monolayer or suspension) used in 51 of the 80 studies corresponds to 2 W/kg or less, a level below the limit defined for the general public. That does not take into account any exposure non-uniformity. For comparison, we estimated, by numerical means using dipoles and a commercial mobile phone model, the maximum conservative exposure of superficial tissues from sources operated in the 900 and 1800 MHz bands. The analysis demonstrated that exposure of skin, blood, and muscle tissues may well exceed 40 W/kg at the cell level. Consequently, in vitro studies reporting minimal or no effects in response to maximum exposure of 2 W/kg or less averaged over the cell media, which includes the cells, may be of only limited value for analyzing risk from realistic mobile phone exposure. We, therefore, recommend future in vitro experiments use specific absorption rate levels that reflect maximum exposures and that additional temperature control groups be included to account for sample heating.
Keywords: GSM; SAR; cell; compliance; radiofrequency.
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