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Public Health
Expert opinion

Potential health effects of exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF)

Final Opinion

Description

WG on EMF
SCENIHR members: Theodoros Samaras, Norbert Leitgeb
External experts: Anssi Auvinen, Heidi Danker-Hopfe, Kjell Hansson Mild, Mats-Olof Mattsson, Hannu Norppa, G. James Rubin, Maria Rosaria Scarfí, Joachim Schüz, Zenon Sienkiewicz, Olga Zeni
Contact:SANCO-C2-SCENIHR@ec.europa.eu
On request from: European Commission
Doi: 10.2772/75635
Adopted on: 27 January 2015

Content of the opinion:

As part of its mandate, the SCENIHR is asked to continuously monitor new scientific evidence that may influence the assessment of risks to human health in the area of electromagnetic fields (EMF) and to provide regular updates to the Commission.

This Opinion updates the SCENIHR Opinions of 2009 in light of newly available information and gives special consideration to areas where important knowledge gaps were identified. In addition, biophysical interaction mechanisms and the potential role of co-exposures to environmental stressors have been addressed.

The results of current scientific research show that there are no evident adverse health effects if exposure remains below the levels recommended by the EU legislation. Overall, the epidemiological studies on radiofrequency EMF exposure do not show an increased risk of brain tumours. Furthermore, they do not indicate an increased risk for other cancers of the head and neck region.

Previous studies also suggested an association of EMF with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. New studies on that subject did not confirm this link.

Epidemiological studies associate exposure to Extremely Low Frequency (ELF) fields, from long-term living in close proximity to power lines to a higher rate of childhood leukaemia. No mechanisms have been identified and no support from experimental studies could explain these findings, which, together with shortcomings of the epidemiological studies prevent a causal interpretation.

Concerning EMF hypersensitivity (idiopathic environmental intolerance attributed to EMF), research consistently shows that there is no causal link between self-reported symptoms and EMF exposure.

Keywords:

Electromagnetic fields, EMF, RF, IF, ELF, static fields, millimetre wave, THz, health effects

Opinion to be cited as:

SCENIHR (Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks), Potential health effects of exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF), 27 January 2015.

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