review of health effects and gaps in knowledge

review of health effects and gaps in knowledge

10 Pages · 2002 · 68 KB · English

devices, anti-theft and remote detection systems. However, a recent WHO . laboratory studies, however, have reported positive results using 120 volt supplies. memory loss, nausea, changes in EEG and other central nervous 

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REVIEW OF HEALTH EFFECTS AND GAPS IN KNOWLEDGE Dr M H Repacholi World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland Tel: +41 22 791 34 27, Fax: +41 22 791 41 23, Email: [email protected] ??Abstract There have been a number of recent reviews of the health effects of various parts of the electromagnetic spectrum In addition to the reviews under the International EMF Project in Munich in November 1996 and in Erice, Sicily in 1999 on RF fields and the review of static and ELF fields, held in Bologna in June 1997, there have been substantial reviews held by other organizations Recent RF field reviews include the Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones (UK, 2000), while reviews on the health effects of static and ELF electric and magnetic fields have been conducted by IARC (June 2001), by the Health Council of the Netherlands (May 2001), and by an expert Advisory Group of the National Radiological Protection Board in the United Kingdom (AGNIR) (March 2001) The results of these reviews will be summarised here and gaps in knowledge identified ??Introduction Electromagnetic field (EMF) sources to which people may be exposed are predominantly in two frequency ranges are currently the main object of concern among the public for their possible effects on human health : ??the extremely low frequency (ELF, < 300 Hz) range incorporating the 50 and 60 Hz frequencies of the electric power supply and of electric and magnetic fields generated by electricity power lines and electric/electronic appliances; ??the radio frequency (RF, microwaves, 10 MHz 300 GHz) range at which the current wireless communication devices operate, mainly the 900 MHz and 1800 MHz used by GSM mobile phones Most research studies devoted to possible biological or health effects of EMF today concern ELF or RF fields The intermediate range of frequency (300 Hz 10 MHz) has not yet received enough attention despite the rapid development of appliances such as induction heating devices, antitheft and remote detection systems However, a recent WHO review of this area is included This review will summarise biological and health effects in the 3 ranges and identify gaps in knowledge that need to receive further research before better health risk assessments can be made ??Health hazard: definitions and criteria Many effects on biological systems exposed to static and ELF fields have been reported However, the seminar's principal concern was to determine whether these lead to any adverse health consequences Explicit distinctions were made between the concepts of interaction, biological effect, and health hazard, consistent with the criteria used by international bodies when making health assessments (Repacholi and Cardis, 1997): Biological effects occur when fields interact to produce physiological responses that may or may not be perceived by people Deciding whether biological or physiological changes have health consequences depends, in part, upon whether they are reversible, are within the range for which the body has effective compensation mechanisms, or are likely, taking into account the variability of response among individuals, to lead to unfavourable changes in health WHO defines health as the state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity Not all biological effects are hazardous Some may be innocuously within the normal range of biological variation and physiological compensation Others may be beneficial under certain conditions, and the health implications of others may be simply indeterminate Uncertainty adds to the unacceptableness Health hazard was generally defined to be a biological effect of field exposure outside the normal range of physiological compensation and adverse to

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