2008:12 Recent Research on EMF and Health Risks. Fifth annual report from SSI’s Independent Expert Group on Electromagnetic Fields, 2007

The report for 2007 is divided into four different frequency fields: static fields, extremely low frequency fields (ELF), intermediate fields (IF) and radiofrequency fields (RF). Recent volunteer studies have shown that movement in very strong static magnetic fields (>1T, used in magnetic resonance imaging) can induce electrical fields in the body and sensations of vertigo in some people and also an impaired performance of a visual tracking task.

New data on ELF fields and childhood leukaemia published during the last year does not change the overall conclusions of the previous report. A review has concluded that it appears unlikely that ELF fields cause cardiovascular disease. Only few experimental and epidemiological studies are available on health effects of IF electromagnetic fields.

One study reports that the whole body SAR is higher than previously thought when short subjects or children are exposed to far field RF waves as compared to tall subjects or adults. Recent, methodologically more rigorous human laboratory studies do not replicate the positive findings from smaller, less rigorous studies published a few years ago, but a few positive effects are reported. Few new data on mobile phone use and brain tumour risk have been published during the last year.

This years report also includes results from three surveys: The WHO Environmental Health Criteria (EHC) Document on ELF fields, The European Commission Scientific Committee on Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR) has updated a previous opinion from 2001 regarding health risks from electric and magnetic fields and The UK Stakeholder Advisory Group on ELF EMF (SAGE).