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Champs magnétiques Page d'accueil
Source :
CSRSEN (2007)

Résumé & Détails:
GreenFacts (2008)
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Champs électromagnétiques


11. Conclusions on electromagnetic fields

The source document for this Digest states:

Over all conclusion

The Committee is mindful of the mandate that requested particular attention to be paid to a wide variety of issues. In most cases the data available are very limited. Some of these issues will be addressed in further opinions as more data become available.

Source & ©: SCENIHR  Possible Effects of Electromagnetic Fields (EMF) on Human Health (2007)
Section 4 Opinion, p.43

 

11.1 Conclusions on Radio Frequency (RF) fields

The source document for this Digest states:

4. OPINION

RadioFrequencyFields (RF ffields)

In its opinion from 2001 the CSTEE concluded regarding radiofrequency (RF) electromagnetic fields:

The additional information which has become available on carcinogenic and other nonthermal effects of radiofrequency and microwave radiation frequencies in the last years does not justify a revision of exposure limits set by the Commission on the basis of the conclusions of the 1998 opinion of the Steering Scientific Committee. In particular, in humans, no evidence of carcinogenicity in either children or adults has resulted from epidemiological studies (the size of some of which was very large, although the period of observation was not long enough for a definitive statement). A relatively large series of laboratory studies has not provided evidence of genotoxicity. Subjective symptoms affecting some individuals possibly exist, but not enough information is available on: the levels of exposure producingsuch effect, on the features underlying individual susceptibility, on the possible biological mechanisms or the prevalence of susceptible individuals in different populations. Thus, current knowledge is insufficient for the implementation of measures aimed at the identification and protection of a highly sensitive sub-group of the population.

Based on the scientific rationale presented above the SCENIHR has updated the CSTEE opinion and concludes the following in regard to non-thermal effects:

The balance of epidemiologic evidence indicates that mobile phone use of less than 10 years does not pose any increased risk of brain tumour or acoustic neuroma. For longer use, data are sparse and any conclusions therefore are uncertain. From the available data, however, it does appear that there is no increased risk for brain tumours in long- term users, with the exception of acoustic neuroma for which there are some indications of an association.

For diseases other than cancer, very little epidemiologic data are available.

A particular consideration is mobile phone use by children. While no specific evidence exists, children or adolescents may be more sensitive to RF field exposure than adults in view of their continuing development. Children of today may also experience a much higher cumulative exposure than previous generations. To date no epidemiologic studies on children are available.

RF exposure has not consistently been shown to have an effect on self-reported symptoms (e.g. headache, fatigue, dizziness and concentration difficulties) or well-being.

Studies on neurological effects and reproductive effects have not indicated any health risks at exposure levels below the ICNIRP-limits established in 1998.

Animal studies have not provided evidence that RF fields could induce cancer, enhance the effects of known carcinogens, or accelerate the development of transplanted tumours. The open questions include adequacy of the experimental models used and scarcity of data at high exposure levels.

There is no consistent indication from in vitro research that RF fields affect cells at the nonthermal exposure level.

In conclusion, no health effect has been consistently demonstrated at exposure levels below the ICNIRP-limits established in 1998. However, the data base for this evaluation is limited especially for long-term low-level exposure.

Source & ©: SCENIHR  Possible Effects of Electromagnetic Fields (EMF) on Human Health (2007)
Section 4 Opinion, p.41

 

11.2 Conclusions on Intermediate Frequency (IF) fields

The source document for this Digest states:

IntermediateFrequency Fields(IFfields)

In its opinion from 2001 the CSTEE did not comment specifically on intermediate frequencies (IF).

Based on the scientific rationale presented above the SCENIHR, however, updates the 2001 opinion with the following statement regarding intermediate frequencies: Experimental and epidemiological data from the IF range are very sparse. Therefore, assessment of acute health risks in the IF range is currently based on known hazards at lower frequencies and at higher frequencies. Proper evaluation and assessment of possible health effects from long term exposure to IF fields are important because human exposure to such fields is increasing due to new and emerging technologies.

Source & ©: SCENIHR  Possible Effects of Electromagnetic Fields (EMF) on Human Health (2007)
Section 4 Opinion, p.42

 

11.3 Conclusions on Extremely low frequency (ELF) fields

The source document for this Digest states:

Extremely low frequency fields (ELF fields)

In its 2001 opinion the CSTEE reached the following conclusions regarding extremely low frequency (ELF) fields:

  • Combined analyses of the epidemiological studies on the association between exposure to ELF and childhood leukaemia have strengthened the evidence of an association. However, given some inconsistencies in exposure measurements and the absence of other criteria commonly used in assessing causality (particularly a plausible explanation of underlying biological mechanisms, see above), the association does not meet adequate criteria for being considered causal. Thus the overall evidence for 50/60 Hz magnetic fields to produce childhood leukaemia must be regarded as being limited.
  • The effect, if any, seems to be limited to exposures above 0.4 µT. In European countries, the proportion of children exposed to such levels is less than 1%. Assuming that the risk is doubled among the exposed, in the general population this would roughly correspond to an excess incidence of less than 1% childhood leukaemia. To put this in context, in European countries, the incidence of leukaemia is around 45 per million children (age 0-14) per year.
  • Whether changes of recommended exposure limits to 50/60 Hz magnetic fields(12) ought to be recommended on this basis is a problem for risk managers, falling beyond the remit of the CSTEE.
  • There is no convincing suggestion of any other carcinogenic effect of ELF on either children or adults. Current information on this respect does not provide clues for reconsidering exposure limits.
  • Reports on possibly hypersensitive individuals require confirmation and do not provide a basis for proposing changes in the exposure limits.”

Based on the scientific rationale presented above the SCENIHR updates the previous opinion and concludes the following:

The previous conclusion that ELF magnetic fields are a possible carcinogen, chiefly based on childhood leukaemia results, is still valid. There is no generally accepted mechanism to explain how ELF magnetic field exposure may cause leukaemia. Animal studies have not provided adequate evidence for a causal relationship.

No consistent relationship between ELF fields and self-reported symptoms (sometimes referred to as electrical hypersensitivity) has been demonstrated.

In addition, for breast cancer and cardiovascular disease, recent research has indicated that an association is unlikely. For neurodegenerative diseases and brain tumours, the link to ELF fields remains uncertain.

Source & ©: SCENIHR  Possible Effects of Electromagnetic Fields (EMF) on Human Health (2007)
Section 4 Opinion, p.42-43

 

11.4 Conclusions on static magnetic fields

The source document for this Digest states:

Static fields

In its opinion from 2001 the CSTEE did not comment specifically on static magnetic fields.

Based on the scientific rationale presented above the SCENIHR, however, updates the 2001 opinion with the following statement regarding static magnetic fields:

Adequate data for proper risk assessment of static magnetic fields are very sparse. Developments of technologies involving static magnetic fields, e.g. with MRI equipment require risk assessments to be made in relation to the exposure of personnel.

Source & ©: SCENIHR  Possible Effects of Electromagnetic Fields (EMF) on Human Health (2007)
Section 4 Opinion, p.43

 

11.5 Conclusions on environmental effects

The source document for this Digest states:

Environmental Effects

The CSTEE did not consider environmental effects in its opinion of 2001.

The continued lack of good quality studies in relevant species means that there are insufficient data to identify whether a single exposure standard is appropriate to protect all environmental species from EMF. Similarly the data are inadequate to judge whether the environmental standards should be the same or significantly different from those appropriate to protect human health.

Source & ©: SCENIHR  Possible Effects of Electromagnetic Fields (EMF) on Human Health (2007)
Section 4 Opinion, p.43

 
 

11.6 Research Recommendations

The source document for this Digest states:

Research Recommendations

In view of the identifiedimportant gaps in knowledge the following research recommendations are being made.

RF fields

  • A long term prospective cohort study. Such a study would overcome problems that were discussed in relation to existing epidemiological studies, including the Interphone study. These problems include recall bias and other aspects of exposure assessment, selection bias due to high proportions of non-responders, too short induction period, and restriction to intracranial tumours.
  • Health effects of RF exposure in children. To date no study on children exists. This issue can also be addressed by studies on immature animals. This research has to take into consideration that dosimetry in children may differ from that in adults.
  • Exposure distribution in the population. The advent of personal dosimeters has made it possible to describe individual exposure in the population and to assess the relative contribution of different sources to the total exposure. Such a project would require that groups of people with different characteristics are selected and that they wear dosimeters for a defined period of time.

There are several experimental studies that need to be replicated. Examples are studies on genotoxicity and cognition involving sleep quality parameters. For studies on biomarkers it is essential that the impact on human health is considered. Valid exposure assessment including all relevant sources of exposure is essential. A general comment is that all studies must use high quality dosimetry.

IF fields

  • Data on health effects from IF fields are sparse. This issue should be addressed both through epidemiologic and experimental studies.

ELF fields

  • Epidemiological results indicate an increased risk of leukaemia in children exposed to high levels of ELF magnetic fields, however, this is not supported by animal data. The mechanisms responsible for the childhood leukaemia and the reasons for the discrepancy are unknown and require a better understanding and clarification.

Static fields

  • A cohort study on personnel dealing with equipment that generates strong magnetic fields is required. The start of this would have to be a thorough feasibility study.

Additional considerations

  • Studies including exposure to combinations of frequencies as well as combinations of electromagnetic fields and other agents need to be considered.”

Source & ©: SCENIHR  Possible Effects of Electromagnetic Fields (EMF) on Human Health (2007)
Section 4 Opinion, p.43-44


Les droits d’auteur de la Structure à Trois Niveaux utilisée pour communiquer cet avis du CSRSEN appartiennent à GreenFacts asbl/vzw.