A Report on Non-Ionizing Radiation

RF-Induced DNA Breaks Reported in China

September 29, 2005

Research scientists in China have found that relatively low-level RF radiation can lead to DNA breaks, according to a briefing paper prepared for the cell phone industry obtained by Microwave News.

At the 4th International Seminar on EMFs and Biological Effects, held in Kunming China, September 12-16, Zhengping Xu of the Zhejiang University School of Medicine reported that cells exposed to a pulsed 1800 MHz RF radiation at an SAR of 3 W/Kg for 24 hours showed a statistically significant increase in DNA damage. The Mobile Manufacturers Forum (MMF), an industry lobbying group based in Brussels, circulated the news in a September 22 Research Briefing.

Xu’s Bioelectromagnetics Laboratory now joins a growing number of other labs that have found RF-induced DNA breaks. The effect was first reported more than a decade ago by Henry Lai and N.P. Singh of the University of Washington, Seattle (see MWN, N/D94, p.1). From the outset, Lai and Singh’s work has been repeatedly assailed by the cell phone industry and their consultants —most recently by Sheila Johnston and Vijayalaxmi, two members of the board of directors of the Bioelectromagnetics Society (see our March 29 post.) They claimed to have refuted the Lai-Singh findings.

Last year, the European Union-sponsored REFLEX Project announced that 1800 MHz radiation could lead to DNA breaks. Those results were published this summer in Mutation Research.

The MMF also noted that C.K. Chou of Motorola (a member of the MMF) complained at the meeting that it is difficult to publish “negative” results in China. (WHO ’s Mike Repacholi made a similar charge at the last Chinese EMF seminar held in Guilin in 2003, according to the MMF.) Xu disputed this, the MMF added.