★ We exposed rats to intermediate-frequency magnetic fields (MFs; 20 or 60 kHz). ★ MF exposure occurred before and during mating and until gestation day 7. ★ Endpoints included maternal, paternal, and early embryo parameters. ★ No MF frequency-specific response was observed for any of the endpoints. ★ Overall, no reproductive or developmental toxicity was observed.
The use of intermediate frequency (IF) magnetic fields (MFs) in occupational equipment and domestic appliances, such as inductive heating cookers, is increasing. The WHO indicated a lack of scientific evidence needed to assess the health risk of exposure to IF MFs. Male and female rats (24/group) were exposed to a 20 kHz, 0.2 mT(rms) or 60 kHz, 0.1 mT(rms) sinusoidal MF for 22 h/day from 14 days prior to and during mating. Copulated females were exposed until gestation day 7 and sacrificed thereafter. Mated males were sacrificed to examine MF exposure effects on spermatogenesis. Reproductive examinations were blinded, and experiments were duplicated per frequency to ensure reproducibility. No statistically significant, exposure-related changes were found in the estrous cycle, copulation and fertility indices, numbers of corpora lutea and implantation sites, or pre- and postimplantation loss. No reproducible changes were observed in sperm count, motility, or morphological abnormality, or in the weights of testes and epididymides after MF exposure. No significant abnormalities were observed in gross pathology or histopathology of the uterus, ovary, testis, and epididymis in the MF- or sham-exposed groups. MF exposure during the preimplantation period was not toxic to fertility or early embryogenesis under the experimental conditions.