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Concern raised over magnetic fields

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A study by U.S. researchers has added evidence to the suspicion that exposure to low-level magnetic fields could be harmful. The peer-reviewed study published in Environmental Health Perspectives, a journal of the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Sciences, finds rats exposed to magnetic fields similar to those humans encounter developed damage to the DNA in their brain cells. Professor Henry Lai of the University of Washington in Seattle said people should be prudent in the use of electrical devices held close to the head, the BBC reported. The researchers said rats exposed to a weak magnetic field oscillating 60 times per second for 24 hours showed DNA damage to brain cells and more damage when exposed for 48 hours. The exposure also caused an increase in brain cell apoptosis or “cell suicide” as the cell self-destructs because it cannot repair itself. Lai told the BBC News Online that prolonged exposure to low-level magnetic fields could damage human brain cells. “The big question is, if we use a hair dryer for five minutes a day will the harmful effect accumulate in humans? We do not know. But our results raise the possibility that it might.”

A study by U.S. researchers has added evidence to the suspicion that exposure to low-level magnetic fields could be harmful. The peer-reviewed study published in Environmental Health Perspectives, a journal of the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Sciences, finds rats exposed to magnetic fields similar to those humans encounter developed damage to the DNA in their brain cells. Professor Henry Lai of the University of Washington in Seattle said people should be prudent in the use of electrical devices held close to the head, the BBC reported. The researchers said rats exposed to a weak magnetic field oscillating 60 times per second for 24 hours showed DNA damage to brain cells and more damage when exposed for 48 hours. The exposure also caused an increase in brain cell apoptosis or “cell suicide” as the cell self-destructs because it cannot repair itself. Lai told the BBC News Online that prolonged exposure to low-level magnetic fields could damage human brain cells. “The big question is, if we use a hair dryer for five minutes a day will the harmful effect accumulate in humans? We do not know. But our results raise the possibility that it might.” (Source: ABC Health News, Feb 2004)

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Posted On: 24 February, 2004
Modified On: 7 December, 2013

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