Studies to investigate electromagnetic field health effects have been taking place around the world for more than 30 years.
Such research included laboratory studies concerning the effects on cells, tissues and animals, as well as studies on human exposure and epidemiology (study of human populations).
Over the past decade alone, there are many international studies of possible health effects of low-level electromagnetic field exposure.
By 1990 alone, more than 100 studies on electromagnetic field had been conducted worldwide. Of these, at least 2 dozens epidemiological studies (human population studies which link human health effects to a specific cause) indicated a link between electromagnetic field and serious health problems.
There has been an intense and controversial debate over electromagnetic field. However, more recently high profile organizations have reviewed all the research and concluded there is cause for some concern.
For example, scientists in California's Department of Health Sciences have concluded that electromagnetic field can cause some degree of increased risk for childhood leukemia, adult brain cancer, Lou Gehrig's disease, and miscarriage.
The WHO is currently carrying out further analysis. Although research is continuing, scientific knowledge in this area is now more extensive than for most chemicals.
In the meantime, more and more experts are convinced that the threat is real.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) now warns "there is reason for concern" with electromagnetic field and advises "prudent avoidance."
"In all my years of looking at chemicals, I have never seen a set of epidemiological studies that remotely approached the weight of evidence that we're seeing with ELF electromagnetic fields."
- Martin Halper, EPA director in an article in Fortune Magazine, December 1990
"I am now convinced those electromagnetic fields pose a health hazard. There is statistical association between magnetic fields and cancer that goes beyond the shadow of reasonable doubt. I think there is clear evidence that exposure to electromagnetic field increases the risk of cancer."
"This is most clear with leukemia and brain tumors. But in residential studies, statistical significance increased for all kinds of cancers. And we are just beginning to have a whole body of evidence that reproductive cancers are increased by exposure."
- Dr David Carpenter, Dean of State of New York School of Public Health
"I analyzed weekly mortality statistics, which the US Centers for Disease Control publish for 122 US cities. Each of dozens of cities recorded a 10% - 25% increase in mortality, lasting 2-3 months, beginning on the day in 1996 or 1997 on which that city's first digital cell phone network began commercial service."
"It is harder to show effects today than 10 year ago because now the entire planet is exposed, making it impossible to do experiment with unexposed controls. But most experiments still show effects such as effects on rhythms, brain waves, blood-brain barrier, sleep, eyes, gonad, skin, hearing, calcium, melatonin, glucose, metabolism, and on human well-being."
- Arthur Firstenberg, founder and director of the public advocacy group Cellular Phone Task Force in US, and author of the 1996 book, Microwaving Our Planet: The Environmental Impact of the Wireless Revolution
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