Background In 2002 the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified extremely low frequency magnetic fields (ELFMF) as a possible carcinogen on the basis of epidemiological evidence. Experimental bioassays on rats and mice performed up to now on ELFMF alone or in association with known carcinogens have failed to provide conclusive confirmation. Objectives To study the carcinogenic effects of combined exposure to sinusoidal-50 Hz (S-50 Hz) magnetic fields and acute γ radiation in Sprague-Dawley rats. Methods We studied groups of male and female Sprague-Dawley rats exposed from prenatal life until natural death to 20 or 1000 μT S-50 Hz MF and also to 0.1 Gy γ radiation delivered as a single acute exposure at 6 weeks of age. Results The results of the study showed significant carcinogenic effects for the mammary gland in males and females and a significant increased incidence of malignant schwannomas of the heart as well as increased incidence of lymphomas/leukemias in males. Conclusions These results call for a re-evaluation of the safety of non-ionizing radiation.
Keywords: S-50Hz MF carcinogenicity; Sprague-Dawley rats; breast cancer; cancer promotion; heart malignant schwannomas; hemolymphopoietic neoplasias; life-span bioassays.