Article

Biological effects from electromagnetic field exposure and public exposure standards

Department of Oncology, University Hospital, SE-701 85 Orebro, Sweden.
Biomedecine [?] Pharmacotherapy (Impact Factor: 2.11). 03/2008; 62(2):104-9. DOI: 10.1016/j.biopha.2007.12.004
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT During recent years there has been increasing public concern on potential health risks from power-frequency fields (extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields; ELF) and from radiofrequency/microwave radiation emissions (RF) from wireless communications. Non-thermal (low-intensity) biological effects have not been considered for regulation of microwave exposure, although numerous scientific reports indicate such effects. The BioInitiative Report is based on an international research and public policy initiative to give an overview of what is known of biological effects that occur at low-intensity electromagnetic fields (EMFs) exposure. Health endpoints reported to be associated with ELF and/or RF include childhood leukaemia, brain tumours, genotoxic effects, neurological effects and neurodegenerative diseases, immune system deregulation, allergic and inflammatory responses, breast cancer, miscarriage and some cardiovascular effects. The BioInitiative Report concluded that a reasonable suspicion of risk exists based on clear evidence of bioeffects at environmentally relevant levels, which, with prolonged exposures may reasonably be presumed to result in health impacts. Regarding ELF a new lower public safety limit for habitable space adjacent to all new or upgraded power lines and for all other new constructions should be applied. A new lower limit should also be used for existing habitable space for children and/or women who are pregnant. A precautionary limit should be adopted for outdoor, cumulative RF exposure and for cumulative indoor RF fields with considerably lower limits than existing guidelines, see the BioInitiative Report. The current guidelines for the US and European microwave exposure from mobile phones, for the brain are 1.6 W/Kg and 2 W/Kg, respectively. Since use of mobile phones is associated with an increased risk for brain tumour after 10 years, a new biologically based guideline is warranted. Other health impacts associated with exposure to electromagnetic fields not summarized here may be found in the BioInitiative Report at www.bioinitiative.org.

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