Human Health and Exposure to Electromagnetic Radiation
NATIONAL RADIOLOGICAL PROTECTION BOARD OXFORD (UNITED KINGDOM)
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This review consists of three main parts. In the first the general features of electromagnetic fields and their interactions with the human body are described. It is pointed out that some evidence from biological experiments means that it is not a priori possible to conclude that there are no longterm effects on human health from exposure to levels of electric and magnetic fields below the thresholds for electric shock, bum and overheating. The second part deals with the epidemiological evidence for effects on general health and birth outcome. It is considered that the bulk of the evidence suggests that there are no long-term effects on general health from the levels to which people are normally exposed from power frequencies, radiofrequencies or microwaves. As regards birth outcomes, the average female user of visual display units VDUs does not seem to be at risk of adverse birth outcome. There is a little evidence suggesting that intensive use is associated with an increase in spontaneous abortion, but this could be a result of higher job stress and postural problems rather than of exposure to the small electromagnetic fields. The third part describes the epidemiological evidence from occupational and residential studies of a possible association between electromagnetic field exposures and cancer. Studies of electrical and electronic workers are suggestive of such a link, but are subject to the confounding factor of occupational class. If the association is real the average excess risk appears to be small.
- Medicine and Medical Research
- Electricity and Magnetism
- Radiofrequency Wave Propagation