No effects of electromagnetic fields of wireless telecommunication on chicken embryo development

Gepubliceerd op
24 januari 2017

A number of papers indicated that more than 50% of chicken eggs incubated in the presence of an active GSM cellphone failed to hatch. A pilot study aimed at reproducing this observation showed no effect. A large follow-up study then showed that the electromagnetic fields (EMF) as used in different types of wireless telecommunication have no appreciable effects on developing chicken embryos.

This was the outcome of research carried out by Wageningen University and Research, in collaboration with TNO, The Hague and the Erasmus University, Rotterdam. Chicken embryos are considered to be an appropriate animal model to study effects of environmental factors on cells and tissues, with relevance for humans.

Special custom-built EMF-shielded incubators were used to incubate eggs while being exposed for 18 days to ‘ambient’ levels of fields corresponding with GSM, DECT, UMTS and WLAN (Wi-Fi), in parallel with unexposed eggs (control). On day 7 and day 18, eggs were sampled to study embryo development. The researchers investigated embryo survival and normalcy, the weight of the embryos and embryo organs, and gene expression. The remaining eggs remained in the incubator to assess hatching rate on day 22, as well as weight and normalcy of the chicks and their organs, and cell counts of immune-related cells. Six successive incubation rounds were performed, using 150 eggs per treatment per round. Thus, a total of 2,700 eggs were studied.

This research was funded by ZonMw, the Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development, under the auspices of the Dutch ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS).

Click here for the abstract of the paper accepted by the scientific journal ‘Bioelectromagnetics’.