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01/09/1999

Spontaneous and Nitrosourea-Induced Primary Tumors of the Central Nervous System in Fischer 344 Rats Chronically Exposed to 836 MHz Modulated Microwaves

W. R. Adey, C. V. Buys, R. J. Higgins, R. A. Jones, C. J. Kean, N. Kuster, A. MacMurray, R. B. Stagg, G. Zimmermann, J. L. Phillips, and W. Haggren, Journal of Radiation Research, Volume 152, Issue 3, pp. 293–302, September 1999


We have tested an 836.55 MHz field with North American Digital Cellular (NADC) modulation in a 2-year animal bioassay that included fetal exposure. In offspring of pregnant Fischer 344 rats, we tested both spontaneous tumorigenicity and the incidence of induced central nervous system (CNS) tumors after a single dose of the carcinogen ethylnitrosourea (ENU) in utero, followed by intermittent digital-phone field exposure for 24 months. Far-field exposures began on gestational day 19 and continued until weaning at age 21 days. Near-field exposures began at 35 days and continued for the next 22 months, 4 consecutive days weekly, 2 h/day. SAR levels simulated localized peak brain exposures of a cell phone user. Of the 236 original rats, 182 (77%) survived to the termination of the whole experiment and were sacrificed at age 709-712 days. The 54 rats (23%) that died during the study ("preterm rats") formed a separate group for some statistical analyses. There was no evidence of tumorigenic effects in the CNS from exposure to the TDMA field. However, some evidence of tumor-inhibiting effects of TDMA exposure was apparent. Overall, the TDMA field-exposed animals exhibited trends toward a reduced incidence of spontaneous CNS tumors (P < 0.16, two-tailed) and ENU-induced CNS tumors (P < 0.16, two-tailed). In preterm rats, where primary neural tumors were determined to be the cause of death, fields decreased the incidence of ENU-induced tumors (P < 0.03, two-tailed). We discuss a possible approach to evaluating with greater certainty the possible inhibitory effects of TDMA-field exposure on tumorigenesis in the CNS.

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