Article

Interaction of static and extremely low frequency electric and magnetic fields with living systems: health effects and research needs.

World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland.
Bioelectromagnetics (Impact Factor: 1.86). 02/1999; 20(3):133-60.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT An international seminar was held June 4-6, 1997, on the biological effects and related health hazards of ambient or environmental static and extremely low frequency (ELF) electric and magnetic fields (0-300 Hz). It was cosponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), the German, Japanese, and Swiss governments. Speakers provided overviews of the scientific literature that were discussed by participants of the meeting. Subsequently, expert working groups formulated this report, which evaluates possible health effects from exposure to static and ELF electric and magnetic fields and identifies gaps in knowledge requiring more research to improve health risk assessments. The working groups concluded that, although health hazards exist from exposure to ELF fields at high field strengths, the literature does not establish that health hazards are associated with exposure to low-level fields, including environmental levels. Similarly, exposure to static electric fields at levels currently found in the living and working environment or acute exposure to static magnetic fields at flux densities below 2 T, were not found to have demonstrated adverse health consequences. However, reports of biological effects from low-level ELF-field exposure and chronic exposure to static magnetic fields were identified that need replication and further study for WHO to assess any possible health consequences. Ambient static electric fields have not been reported to cause any direct adverse health effects, and so no further research in this area was deemed necessary.

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