Objective: Electromagnetic shielding fabrics (EMSFs) have been marketed by several manufacturers within the past few years. However, their efficacies in protecting living organisms against the harmful effects of EM noise have yet to be established. The aim of the present study was to accomplish this task with novel in vivo experiments where fetal development and the pathological consequences of wearing protective fabric against EM radiation during pregnancy were investigated.
Materials and Methods: Nine pregnant rats were equally divided into three groups. Sham controls were kept unexposed, but the remaining six were subjected to EM radiation at 900 MHz for 1 h daily throughout the pregnancy. However, three of the rats were protected by a nonwoven fabric manufactured locally and characterized previously. After birth, the kidneys of newborns were extracted and evaluated by histopathology. Histometry data were analyzed statistically.
Results: EM exposure affected the kidney structure and morphology as revealed by the disruption of glomerular basement membrane continuity, increased Bowman capsule and proximal tubule sizes (from 15.01±2.56 µm to 29.94±4.42 µm), and thickened cortex and medulla (from 261.13±4.10 µm to 284.57±10.93 µm for cortex and from 594.25±23.48 µm to 732.61±20.46 µm for medulla). However, the effects were significantly attenuated in those kidneys placed behind the fabric.
Conclusion: EMSF effectively protects the fetal kidney against EM radiation at 900 MHz during the developmental phase and possibly at other frequencies and for other organs. It is advisable to wear such fabrics during pregnancy when EM pollution is of significant concern.