2006:02 Recent Research on EMF and Health Risks. Third annual report from SSIs Independent Expert Group on Electromagnetic Fields 2005

SSI:s international independent expert group for electromagnetic fields was established in 2002. In December each year a report on the scientific development in the field is delivered to the Director General of SSI. This is the third annual report. Recent studies from the REFLEX programme suggest genotoxic effects from exposure to relatively weak extremely low frequency and radio frequency (RF) electromagnetic fields. However, results from other recent studies were negative. The recent studies have not established effects that would change the previous conclusions.

Recent results of studies of the blood-brain-barrier aimed at replicating earlier positive work have been negative. On balance, the evidence that exposure to RF fields alters the blood-brain-barrier is weak. Two recent Interphone studies on brain tumours suggest that there is no risk increase either for short-term or long-term use, although long-term data are sparse. However, for longterm use and acoustic neuroma there is a concern, and more information is required. The few studies that have been published on health risks among populations living near transmitters have had major methodological shortcomings. The exposure to the general population from transmitters is very weak and one would not expect such exposure to produce a health risk. Cancer risk in mobile phone users have been discussed in all reports. Short-term use of mobile phones does not appear to be associated with cancer risks in adults. However, other outcomes have not been studied, no studies on children or adolescents have been done, and long-term use has not been fully evaluated.