Electromagnetic fields (EMF)

2003 WHO research agenda for radio frequency fields

Laboratory studies: Tissues, cells, cell free systems

Overarching issues:

  • Studies in tissues, cells and cell-free systems play a supporting role in public health risk assessments and are critical to the optimal design of animal and epidemiology studies. This context should be kept in mind in the design of these cellular studies.
  • Cellular model systems are excellent candidates for investigating the ability of RF exposures to have synergistic effects with agents of known biological activity.
  • Cellular systems with the potential for clear responses to RF exposures should be used in initial studies of new RF signals (including UWB). Likewise, such experimental systems should be used to investigate the role of intermittent of RF exposure in biological responses.


  • Studies of micronucleus formation and other genotoxicity assays.
  • Studies of hippocampal slice electrophysiology.

Short-term or urgent needs:

  • The expression of stress (heat shock) proteins in mammalian cells exposed to RF should be studied experimentally to follow-up recently published data.
  • Biologically relevant hypotheses, if supported by experimental data (in particular if related to the function of the central nervous system ), should be tested to explore the utility of such data in risk assessment.

Long-term or future needs:

  • Phosphorylation profiling and other high-throughput assays characteristic of genomics, proteomics and related research areas.