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: 1.71). 02/1999; 20(3):133-60. DOI: 10.1002/(SICI)1521-186X(1999)20:4+<133::AID-BEM15>3.3.CO;2-S
Source: PubMed


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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    • "Therefore, it has become necessary to systematically elucidate their possible influence on the body. SMF affect biological systems through three ways of interactions: magnetic induction, electronic interaction , and magnetomechanical interaction (Binhi 2002; Repacholi and Greenebaum 1999). The latter one including the orientation of magnetically anisotropic structures such as hemoglobin (Hb). "
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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of subacute exposure to static magnetic fields (SMF) on hematological and muscle biochemical parameters in rats. Male Wistar rats, daily exposed to SMF, were exposed to SMF (128 mT, 1 h/day) during 15 consecutive days. SMF-exposed rats showed a significant decrease in red blood cell (RBC) count, hemoglobin (Hb), and hematocrit (Ht) values compared to sham-exposed rats (p < 0.05). Concomitant decreases of plasma iron level against increase in transferrin amount were also observed after SMF exposure (p < 0.0.05). In postprandial condition, SMF-exposed rats presented higher plasma lactate (p < 0.01). Additionally, SMF exposure increased monocarboxylate transporters (MCT4) and glucose transporter 4 (Glut4)'s contents only in glycolytic muscle (p < 0.05). SMF exposure induced alteration of hematological parameters; importantly, we noticed a pseudoanemia status, which seems to affect tissue oxygen delivery. Additionally, SMF exposure seems to favor the extrusion of lactate from the cell to the blood compartment. Given that, these arguments advocate for an adaptive response to a hypoxia status following SMF exposure.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2015 · Environmental Science and Pollution Research
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    • "Cellular communication has become the main telecommunication system. The microwaves from cellular phones can produce low-frequency electromagnetic fields (EMFs; Repacholi and Greenebaum 1999). Neuronal functions, including neurotransmitter release, neuronal survival, learning and memory, can be affected by EMFs (Salford et al. 2003). "

    Full-text · Article · Aug 2015
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    • "The source of the electric field could be ionic concentration gradients in the local environment of the cell or simply an external stimuli. While the former is of interest due to the fundamental quest to understand transduction mechanisms and signaling in cells, the latter—disruption of biological processes by very weak extremely low frequency fields (ELF) from external sources of electricity—has also been an active topic of discussion (Astumian et al., 1997; Bezrukov and Vodyanoy, 1997; Repacholi and Greenebaum, 1999; Valberg et al., 1997; Simko and Mattsson, 2004; Litvak et al., 2002). It is generally supposed that below a certain threshold–i.e. the thermal– electrical noise, the cell cannot detect an electrical field. "
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    ABSTRACT: Thermal electrical noise in living cells is considered to be the minimum threshold for several biological response mechanisms that pertain to electric fields. Existing models that purport to explain and interpret this phenomena yield perplexing results. The simplest model, in which the biomembrane is considered to be a linear dielectric, yields an equilibrium noise level that is several orders of magnitude larger than what is observed experimentally. An alternative approach of estimating the thermal noise as the Nyquist noise of a resistor within a finite frequency bandwidth, yields little physical insight. In this work, we argue that the nonlinear dielectric behavior must be accounted for. Using a statistical mechanics approach, we analyze the thermal fluctuations of a fully coupled electromechanical biomembrane. We develop a variational approximation to analytically obtain the benchmark results for model fluid membranes as well as physically reasonable estimates of the minimum electrical field threshold that can be detected by cells. Qualitatively, at least, our model is capable of predicting all known experimental results. The predictions of our model also suggest that further experimental work is warranted to clarify the inconsistencies in the literature.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2015 · Journal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids
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