Concomitant with the ever-expanding use of electrical appliances and mobile communication systems, public and occupational exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF) in the extremely-low-frequency and radiofrequency range has become a widely debated environmental risk factor for health. Radiofrequency (RF) EMF and extremely-low-frequency (ELF) MF have been classified as possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B) by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). The production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), potentially leading to cellular or systemic oxidative stress, was frequently found to be influenced by EMF exposure in animals and cells. In this review, we summarize key experimental findings on oxidative stress related to EMF exposure from animal and cell studies of the last decade. The observations are discussed in the context of molecular mechanisms and functionalities relevant to health such as neurological function, genome stability, immune response, and reproduction. Most animal and many cell studies showed increased oxidative stress caused by RF-EMF and ELF-MF. In order to estimate the risk for human health by manmade exposure, experimental studies in humans and epidemiological studies need to be considered as well.
Keywords: ROS; animal study; cultured cells; electromagnetic field; environment and public health; environmental exposure; extremely low frequency; oxidative stress; radiofrequency.