International Commission for Protection Against Environmental Mutagens and Carcinogens. Power frequency electric and magnetic fields: a review of genetic toxicology

Mutat Res. 1993 Mar;296(3):221-40. doi: 10.1016/0165-1110(93)90013-d.


Epidemiologic studies have reported a modestly increased risk of childhood leukemia associated with certain electric power wire configurations. Since cancer likely involves DNA damage, this review discusses the evidence of direct and indirect genetic toxicity effects for both electric and magnetic fields at 50- and 60-Hz and miscellaneous pulsed exposures. Exposure conditions vary greatly among different end points measured, making comparisons and conclusions among experiments difficult. Although most of the available evidence does not suggest that electric and/or magnetic fields cause DNA damage, the existence of some positive findings and limitations in the set of studies carried out suggest a need for additional work.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Cycle
  • Chromosome Aberrations
  • DNA Damage
  • Electromagnetic Fields*
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Humans
  • Leukemia, Radiation-Induced / genetics
  • Mutation*