To evaluate hematological effects of direct current (DC) and alternating current (AC) extremely low frequency (ELF) electric field exposure, this study investigated red blood cell (RBC) movement in whole blood. Video images of RBCs were recorded under a microscope using specially designed electrode systems. Video analysis software was then used to measure the RBC velocity. The noise level and measurement system stability were confirmed based on results of a no-field exposure experiment. Using the electrode system to produce a non-homogeneous electric field, different movements were found to occur in DC and AC field exposure. The RBCs moved in the directions of the electric field and the gradient of field distribution, respectively, in the DC and AC fields. Dependences of the RBC velocity on the field strength were, respectively, linear and quadratic in the DC and AC fields. These results suggest that electrophoretic and dielectrophoretic movements were, respectively, dominant in the DC and AC fields. The magnitude of the electric field necessary to cause these effects was found to be 103–105 times greater than the internationally publicized guideline for human safety.
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