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Government Report calls EMF
"Possible Human Carcinogen"

Scientists Prepare Advisory Report on What Has Been Learned About the Adverse Health Effects of Electric Fields

Scientists met June 16 to 24, 1998 in Brooklyn Park, Minn., to review the research and write an advisory report on what is now known on the possible adverse health effects of the extremely low frequency electric and magnetic fields created in the generation, transmission and use of electricity.

The scientists' appraisal was based on a comprehensive review of the scientific literature as well as discussion reports from recent EMF science review symposiums organized under the Health Sciences Congressionally mandated EMF/RAPID Program (the Electric and Magnetic Fields Research and Public Information Dissemination Program) by the Department of Energy and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, one of the National Institutes of Health. The Working Group is composed of scientists with a broad range of expertise. Some have experience in EMF-related research while some have other backgrounds, and some of the expert panel members came from as far away as Sweden, Japan, Italy and France. The panel began this review six months ago when members prepared summaries of the data.

This international panel of experts convened by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences reported to the institute on June 24 that electric and magnetic fields like those surrounding electric power lines should be regarded as a "possible human carcinogen."

The panel found inadequate evidence in various studies for a link to such non-cancer diseases as Alzheimer's, depression and birth defects, but the international criteria agreed upon gave great weight to human carcinogenicity. The epidemiological studies showed a slight increase in childhood leukemia risk from power line/residential exposures and an increase in chronic leukemia risk in adults in electricity-intensive industries.

The members will provide guidance to NIEHS on the strength of the experimental data and its implications for human health and disease etiology, and NIEHS Director Kenneth Olden, Ph.D., will use the appraisals and working group review as well, as other relevant information, in formulating his own report to Congress later this year.

Click here to download the full report

Click here to read the full press release at the NIH website

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