Effect of GSTM1 and GSTT1 Polymorphisms on Genetic Damage in Humans Populations Exposed to Radiation From Mobile Towers
Gulati S, Yadav A, Kumar N, Kanupriya, Aggarwal NK, Kumar R, Gupta R. Effect of GSTM1 and GSTT1 Polymorphisms on Genetic Damage in Humans Populations Exposed to Radiation From Mobile Towers. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol. 2015 Aug 5. [Epub ahead of print]
All over the world, people have been debating about associated health risks due to radiation from mobile phones and mobile towers. The carcinogenicity of this nonionizing radiation has been the greatest health concern associated with mobile towers exposure until recently. The objective of our study was to evaluate the genetic damage caused by radiation from mobile towers and to find an association between genetic polymorphism of GSTM1 and GSTT1 genes and DNA damage.
In our study, 116 persons exposed to radiation from mobile towers and 106 control subjects were genotyped for polymorphisms in the GSTM1 and GSTT1 genes by multiplex polymerase chain reaction method. DNA damage in peripheral blood lymphocytes was determined using alkaline comet assay in terms of tail moment (TM) value and micronucleus assay in buccal cells (BMN).
There was a significant increase in BMN frequency and TM value in exposed subjects (3.65 ± 2.44 and 6.63 ± 2.32) compared with control subjects (1.23 ± 0.97 and 0.26 ± 0.27). However, there was no association of GSTM1 and GSTT1 polymorphisms with the level of DNA damage in both exposed and control groups.
Compared with mobile phone handsets, these links are emitted continuously and are more powerful in close quarters.
In the West, as a precautionary measure, towers are built at a height of 30 m above the building whereas in India the height is just 2–3 ms.
There are many studies in the literature about the biological interactions with electromagnetic fields (EMFs) and the direct biological effects that such exposure could cause (Mild et al. 2003; Lonn et al. 2004). Biomarkers can be employed as end points for the assessment of human–genotoxic interactions from exposure to effects as well as individual host susceptibility (Albertini et al. 2000).
The studied population included 116 individuals residing near mobile towers and 106 healthy control volunteers residing far away (> 800 m) from the mobile towers.
No significant difference in age, sex, and consumption habits was observed between the two studied groups (Table 1). Different health problems, such as blood pressure, depression, memory status, insomnia, and hair loss, were found to be significantly associated with exposed individuals (Table 2).
The power density of RF-EMR from the selected mobile towers was measured at different locations of Kurukshetra city [India]. The highest measured power density value of RF-EMR was found to be 12.2 mW/m2. Most of the measured values are higher than that of the safe limits recommended by Bioinitiative reports [2012 (0.5 mW/m2)], the Salzburg resolution [2000 (1 mW/m2)], and the European Union [2001 (0.1mW/m2)]. However, the measured values were lower than the safe limits recommended by the ICNIRP and adopted by the Department of Telecommunication, India [2014 (0.9 W/m2)]. Maximum RF-EMR was measured at a 150-m distance from the tower. The measured values of power density at different distances are given in Table 4.
Effects of extremely low-frequency EMFs or nonionizing radiation on biological systems have been studied for > 30 years. There is a great concern over the harmful
effects of electromagnetic and radiofrequency waves as well as microwaves generated by mobile phones and their telecommunication stations on human health (Vijayalaxmi and Obe 2004).
Our results indicated that TM value and BMN frequency were higher in an exposed population compare with a control group and the difference is significant. Recent
in vitro and in vivo studies observed the occurrence of DNA damage (Zmyoelony et al. 2000; Wolf et al. 2005) as well as micronucleus (BMN) generation, which is a well-accepted index for genotoxicity evaluation after RF-EMR exposure (Tice et al. 2002; Trosic et al. 2004).
In our study, we found high TM value and BMN frequency at 100- and 150-m distances from mobile towers that could be correlated with more power density at these distances due to the influence of high antenna positions with maximum values shifted to larger distances.
Regarding sex, a significant increase in TM value and BMN frequency was found in females compared with males. This may be due to more exposure time at home. In our study, DNA damage was high in the age group <25 and="" group="" the="" years="">45 years compared with the age group 25–45 years. Ilhan et al. (2004) observed that older people must be more cautious for EMR-induced oxidative damage.
In our study, we found that different health symptoms, such as depression, memory status, insomnia, and hair loss, were significantly associated with exposure to EMR.
Damaging effects of nonionizing radiation result from the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and subsequent radical formation and from direct damage to cellular macromolecules including DNA.
Although many of the investigations on the genetic and cytogenetic effects of RF-EMR indicated that these EMFs are not capable of inducing any kind of genetic effect, the literature available remains sufficiently controversial to exclude any potential RF-EMR genetic hazard. It is assumed that only large-scale research under well-controlled conditions and allowing the generation of results with sufficient statistical power may lead to a better risk estimate.
Joel M. Moskowitz, Ph.D., Director
Center for Family and Community Health
School of Public Health
University of California, Berkeley
Electromagnetic Radiation Safety
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