EFFECTS OF ELECTROMAGNETIC FIELDS (EMF) ON HUMAN HEALTH

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ABSTRACT

Recently, the possible effects of extra low frequency electromagnetic fields on the public health have become an interesting subject. Generally, electromagnetic fields occur around the high voltage lines. However, electromagnetic fields also occur with some electrical machines use for fun and TV used routinely at our home and offices. Epidemiological researches explained that the effects of electromagnetic fields are related with the childhood cancer such as leukemia and melanoma. The  results of some researches focused on cellular level which shows that electromagnetic fields have no direct mutagenic effects on DNA, but also changed the cellular metabolism and arrangement. In this review, the results of some researches on the effects of electromagnetic fields on the biological systems have beencompiled.

  CHAPTER ONE

1.0  BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

For the general public, Council Recommendation of 12 July 1999 on the limitation of exposure of the general public to electromagnetic fields (0 Hz to 300 GHz) fixes basic restrictions and reference levels to electromagnetic fields (EMFs). These restrictions and reference levels are based on the guidelines published by the International Commission on Non Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP)3. The ICNIRP guidelines had been endorsed by the Scientific Steering Committee (SSC) in its opinion on health effects of EMFs of 25–26 June1998.

For workers, the Council and the Parliament have adopted Directive 2004/40/EC of  29 April 2004 on the minimum health and safety requirements regarding the exposure of workers to the risks arising from physical agents(EMFs).

In a questionnaire sent to Member States in 2000, all have notified the Commission that they have implemented the provisions of Council Recommendation on the limitation of exposure of the general public to EMFs. The position of the new member states has not yet been ascertained.

The Commission has announced that it intends to prepare a report to the Council on the implementation of the Recommendation, taking account of an earlier report of 2002 on implementation by the then member states.

The Scientific Committee on Toxicity, Ecotoxicity and the Environment (CSTEE) was requested to prepare an update of the Scientific Steering Committee’s opinion. The request derived from the increasing exposure to EMF consequent to the further growth in the use of electricity, from the continuous development of the telecommunications industry, and to a rapid increase in the installation of transmitter masts used as radiotelephone base stations. In addition to domestic, industrial and medical electrical appliances and devices, the high voltage overhead transmission lines (and to a lesser extent underground cables) are major sources of exposure to Extremely Low Frequencies (ELF) in the environment. The CSTEE opinion “on Possible effects of Electromagnetic Fields (EMF), Radio Frequency Fields (RF) and Microwave Radiation on human health”, of

30 October 2001, concluded that the information that had become available since the SSC opinion of June 1999 did not justify revision of the exposure limits recommended by theCouncil.

A substantial number of scientific publications and reviews on the possible health effects of EMF (focusing mostly

The main frequencies in the ELF frequency range are 50 Hz in Europe and 60 Hz in North America. The RF and lower microwave frequencies are of particular interest for broadcasting, mobile telephony. The 2.45 GHz frequency is mainly used in domestic and industrial microwave ovens.