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Campos electromagnéticos inicio
CCRSERI (2009)

Resumen & Detalles:
GreenFacts (2009)

Campos electromagnéticos Actualización 2009

10. Conclusions on electromagnetic fields

10.1 Conclusions on Radio Frequency (RF) fields

Radio frequency fields (100 kHz - 300 GHz) are for instance generated by mobile telephony and wireless networks.

The question receiving most attention is whether radio frequency field exposure causes cancer.

The balance of epidemiologic evidence still indicates that mobile phone use of less than 10 years does not pose any increased risk of cancer. Regarding longer use, it is still difficult to make an estimate since few persons had used mobile phones for more than ten years.

New improved studies looking into a possible link between radio frequency fields from broadcast transmitters and childhood leukaemia provide evidence against such a link.

Laboratory studies on animals show that radio frequency fields similar to those from mobile phones, alone or in combination with known carcinogens, do not increase the number of cancers in laboratory rodents. Certain studies have also employed higher exposure levels (up to 4 W/kg), still with no apparent effects on tumour development. Furthermore, the in vitro studies on cell cultures found no evidence that radio frequency field exposure could contribute to DNA-damage.

Evidence from studies on humans, animals and cell cultures concur that exposure to radio frequency fields is unlikely to lead to an increase in cancer in humans. However, as the widespread exposure of humans from mobile phones has been shorter than the time needed to induce some forms of cancers, further studies are required to identify whether human exposures to such phones well beyond ten years might pose some cancer risk.

Present scientific knowledge suggests that self-reported symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, dizziness or concentration difficulties affecting some individuals are not linked to exposure to radio frequency fields. These results suggest a “nocebo” effect, an effect caused by the expectation or belief that something is harmful. There is no evidence that individuals are able to perceive radio frequency fields.

There is some evidence that radio frequency fields can influence brain activity and sleep in humans. However, the health relevance is uncertain and how this may occur is not yet explained. Further investigation of these effects is needed. Other studies focusing on different aspects of the nervous system show no or no consistent effects. More...


10.2 Conclusions on Intermediate Frequency (IF) fields

Intermediate frequency fields (300 Hz – 100 kHz) are generated by sources like computer screens and anti-theft devices.

Exposure to intermediate frequency fields at the work place is in some cases considerably higher than exposure to the general public. However, very little research on intermediate frequency fields and health risks in occupational settings or for the general public has been published and the data are still too limited for an appropriate risk assessment.

In view of the increasing exposure to intermediate frequency fields at the work place, for instance in shops and certain industries, it is important that research in this area is given priority. More...


10.3 Conclusions on Extremely low frequency (ELF) fields

Extremely low frequency fields (below 300 kHz) are generated by sources like power lines, and electric appliances.

The conclusion that extremely low frequency magnetic fields are a possible carcinogen, chiefly based on childhood leukaemia results, is still valid. Laboratory studies on cell tissues have not yet provided an explanation of how exactly these fields might cause leukaemia.

No consistent relationship between extremely low frequency fields and self-reported symptoms such as fatigue, headache, and concentration difficulties has been demonstrated.

For some other diseases, notably breast cancer and cardiovascular diseases, recent research indicates that a link with extremely low frequency fields is unlikely. For yet other diseases, such as those affecting the brain and spinal cord, the issue of a link to ELF fields remains open and more research is called for.

New epidemiological studies indicate a possible increase in Alzheimer's disease arising from exposure to extremely low frequency fields. Further epidemiological and laboratory investigations of this observation are needed.

Recent animal studies suggested effects on the nervous system for relatively strong fields of 0.10-1.0 mT. However, there are still inconsistencies in the data, and no definite conclusions can be drawn concerning potential effects on human health.

Very few recent in vitro studies on cell cultures have investigated effects from extremely low frequency fields on diseases other than cancer and those available have very little relevance. There is a need for hypothesis-based studies on cell tissues (in vitro studies) to examine specific diseases. More...


10.4 Conclusions on static magnetic fields

Static magnetic fields are generated by sources such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners and appliances using direct current.

Although a fair number of studies have recently been published there is still a lack of adequate data for a proper risk assessment of static magnetic fields. More research is needed, especially to clarify the many mixed and sometimes contradictory results.

Short term effects have been observed primarily on sensory functions for acute exposure. However, there is no consistent evidence for lasting adverse health effects from short term exposure up to several teslas. More...


10.5 Conclusions on environmental effects

The current database is inadequate for the purposes of the assessment of possible risks due to environmental exposure to radio frequency, intermediate frequency and extremely low frequency fields. More...


10.6 Research recommendations

To fill the important gaps in knowledge the following research efforts are recommended.

Radio frequency (RF) fields (100 kHz – 300 GHz)

Intermediate frequency (IF) fields (300 Hz – 100 kHz)

Data on possible health effects from intermediate frequency fields are sparse. This issue should be addressed both through epidemiological and experimental studies.

Extremely low frequency (ELF) fields (less than 300 Hz)

Static fields (0 Hz)

Studies of mechanisms of action in cells and tissues are needed at exposure levels lower than those causing tissue heating for radio frequencies and nerve and muscle excitation for extremely low frequencies, since there is still no generally accepted model of action of electromagnetic fields at those levels.

Moreover, studies including exposure to combinations of frequencies as well as combinations of electromagnetic fields and other agents are needed. More...

GreenFacts asbl/vzw posee los derechos de autor de la Estructura de Tres Niveles utilizada para la divulgación de esta opinión del CCRSERI.