Chromosome damage in human cells induced by UMTS mobile telephony radiation

Gen Physiol Biophys. 2019 Sep;38(5):445-454. doi: 10.4149/gpb_2019032. Epub 2019 Aug 14.


Environmental exposure to modern microwave telecommunication electromagnetic fields (EMFs) has increased to unprecedented levels with consequent health complaints and concerns. Many studies have already reported genotoxic effects on a variety of organisms and cell/tissue types. Human peripheral blood lymphocytes from six healthy donors were stimulated for mitosis and exposed to microwave EMF of Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) or third generation (3G) mobile telephony (MT) EMF/radiation emitted by a commercially available mobile phone handset. Lymphocytes exposed during the G2 phase of the cell division cycle and observed at metaphase, exhibited chromatid-type aberrations (gaps and breaks) at highly significant percentages - up to 275% - compared to the control (sham-exposed) samples. Each subject exhibited a different sensitivity to the microwave exposure. Moreover, the percentages of aberrations in the control samples among subjects were different due to genetic and environmental factors. The MT EMF exposure induced mainly achromatic lesions (gaps), and secondarily terminal deletions (breaks) in a smaller degree. In conclusion, the present study shows that microwave 3G MT EMF/radiation - within the current exposure limits - has significant genotoxic action on human cells, and human exposure to this EMF/radiation should be kept at levels as low as possible.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cell Phone*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chromosomes / radiation effects*
  • DNA Damage*
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • Lymphocytes / pathology
  • Lymphocytes / radiation effects
  • Male
  • Microwaves / adverse effects*