Biological Effects of Artificial Magnetic and Electromagnetic Fields

Biological Effects of Artificial Magnetic and Electromagnetic Fields
Group leader
Electromagnetic Fields
Specific themes and goals
  • 5G effects on human skin cells: We have tested the effects of high frequency (27 GHz and 40.5 GHz) electromagnetic field exposures on two types of human skin cells, using sophisticated exposure units. We took special care to control for undesired temperature effects of exposure. To prevent any influence by the investigators, these were blind experiments, and only after we had conducted all the experiments did our technical cooperation partner, Seibersdorf Laboratories, Austria, reveal the results. 
  • Intermediate frequency effects on animals and unicellular organisms: We also tested the potential biological effects of magnetic fields in the so-called intermediate frequency range (20 and 85 kHz) in female mice, thus exposing the animals to the same type of magnetic fields which are used to wirelessly charge buses. It was a technical challenge to expose a large number of animals (80 per group) to magnetic fields of the required strength, but our technical collaboration partner, the ifak Institute for Automation and Communication in Magdeburg, helped to solve this problem. We took special care to avoid differences between the exposed and the control animals.
Highlights and impact
  • We could not find any tumor-inducing effects linked to exposure to high-frequency electromagnetic fields, and also no such effects by intermediate-frequency magnetic fields.
  • We did detect some behavioral effects in mice as a result of exposure to intermediate-frequency magnetic fields, but were not a cause for concern. The exposed mice performed somewhat better than the controls.
  • Our results confirm and extend the majority of research that shows that there are no detrimental or damaging effects from exposure to magnetic or electromagnetic fields at levels below or even above the current legal exposure limits.
Group composition & projects/funding

Our research group consists of two Postdocs, two PhD students, and one technician. Our research is supported by the Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety, and Consumer Production, as well as by the Federal Office for Radiation Protection.

Selected publications
  • Schmid G, Hirtl R, Gronau I, Meyer V, Drees K, Lerchl A. Design and Dosimetric Characterization of a Broadband Exposure Facility for In Vitro Experiments in the Frequency Range 18-40.5 GHz. Bioelectromagnetics. 2022 Jan;43(1):25-39.
  • Lerchl A, Drees Née Grote K, Gronau I, Fischer D, Bauch J, Hoppe A. Effects of Long-Term Exposure of Intermediate Frequency Magnetic Fields (20 kHz, 360 µT) on the Development, Pathological Findings, and Behavior of Female Mice. Bioelectromagnetics. 2021 May;42(4):309-316. doi: 10.1002/bem.22337. Epub 2021 Apr 6. PMID: 33822410.
  • Lerchl A, Klose M, Drees K (née Grote). No Increased DNA Damage Observed in the Brain, Liver, and Lung of Fetal Mice Treated With Ethylnitrosourea and Exposed to UMTS Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields. Bioelectromagnetics. 2020 Dec;41(8):611-616. 
  • Meyer V, Klose M, Lerchl A. Spermatogenesis in the Roborovski hamster (Phodopus roborovskii) and the Chinese hamster (Cricetulus griseus). Andrology. 2021 Sep;9(5):16171630.