The carcinogenic potential of non-ionizing radiations: The cases of S-50 Hz MF and 1.8 GHz GSM radiofrequency radiation

Basic Clin Pharmacol Toxicol. 2019 Aug;125 Suppl 3:58-69. doi: 10.1111/bcpt.13215. Epub 2019 Mar 25.


Epidemiological studies have suggested that human exposure to extremely low-frequency electromagnetic fields from the electric power and to mobile phone radiofrequency electromagnetic fields induce an increased risk of developing malignant tumours. However, no adequate laboratory data, in particular long-term carcinogenicity bioassays to support the epidemiological evidence, have yet been available. This motivated the Ramazzini Institute to embark on a first project of four large life-span carcinogenic bioassays conducted on over 7000 Sprague Dawley rats exposed from prenatal life until natural death to S-50 Hz MF alone or combined with gamma radiation or formaldehyde or aflatoxin B1. Results now available from these studies, which started concurrently, have shown that exposure to Sinusoidal-50 Hz Magnetic Field (S-50 Hz MF) combined with acute exposure to gamma radiation or to chronic administration of formaldehyde in drinking water induces a significantly increased incidence of malignant tumours in males and females. A second project of two large life-span carcinogenic bioassays was conducted on over 3000 Sprague Dawley rats exposed from prenatal life until natural death to 1.8 GHz GSM of mobile phone radio base station, alone or combined with acute exposure to gamma radiation. Early results from the experiment on 1.8 GHz GSM alone show a statistically significant increase in the incidence of heart malignant schwannoma among males exposed at the highest dose.

Keywords: Sprague Dawley rats; cancer promotion; carcinogenicity; co-carcinogenesis; extremely low-frequency magnetic fields; mobile phone; radiofrequency radiation; schwannoma.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carcinogenesis / radiation effects*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Electromagnetic Fields / adverse effects*
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Neoplasms / etiology
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / epidemiology*
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / etiology
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / prevention & control
  • Radiation, Nonionizing / adverse effects*
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley