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Effects of Electro-Magnetic Fields on Humans Print
July 2008

Update in July 2010

This article pertains to Low Level Radiation (and non-ionising) that emanates from electrical power lines, industrial heating, radio, television, mobile phones, and wireless (Wi-Fi) devices that most of us expose to in our daily live.  The article is based on a briefing published in the June 2010 edition of the Institution of Engineering and Technology Members News.

Is there an authority in the world that provides an official statement if any of the above low level radiation is adverse to health?  Yes, there is one group within the Institution of Engineering and Technology called the Biological Effects Policy Advisory Group.  The group was first set up in 1992 and its scope was extended to include electromagnetic spectrum up to 300GHz in 1998.

The group consists of 6 scientists and engineers with expertise in fields related to the subject matter.  The group does not carry out its own experiments.  Instead it assesses each month the global-published peer-reviewed literature on the subject and forms the evidence for reporting every two years on trends.

What does the latest position statements tell us?  There is the reassurance that there is still no unequivocal and repeatable laboratory evidence that low level Electromagnetic Fields (EMF) cause any adverse health effects.   Oh, thanks!

That said, science can never prove that EMF cannot cause adverse health effects.  We would be wise to adopt precautionary exposure avoidance measures if practical and economically justifiable.

Original Post in May 2008

The following is an abstract from a positioning statement issued by the Institution of Engineering and Technology in UK in May 2008.  The statement is entitled "The possible harmful biological effects of low level electromagnetic fields of frequencies up to 300GHz".  The range of frequencies covers computers, mobile phones & radio uses. The full statement can be downloaded at www.theiet.org/factfiles/bioeffects/.  The abtract is replicated here for the convenience of Compucon user community members only and it should not be relied upon as an official guide.  Compucon does not own the copyright of the abstract.


The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) has a special interest in any possible health effects of occupational exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMFs) as well as in any due to exposure of the population at large. The IET remains determined to be at the forefront of rigorously examining the scientific evidence for any such effects and identifying any hazards as early as possible. To this end it maintains its Biological Effects Policy Advisory Group on low-level electromagnetic fields (BEPAG).

BEPAG has concluded that the balance of scientific evidence to date still does not indicate that harmful effects occur in humans due to low-level exposure to Electro-magnetic frequencies. This conclusion remains the same as that reached in its previous position statements, the last being in May 2006, and has not been substantially altered by the peer-reviewed literature published in the past two years.

BEPAG regards the replication of experimental studies as essential in order to improve the quality of the existing literature at both low and high frequencies. It recommends that isolated reports of biological effects or epidemiological findings should be treated with caution, until confirmed by independent groups.

In summary, the absence of robust new evidence of harmful effects of EMFs in the past two years is reassuring and is consistent with findings over the past decade. The public availability of electricity and the widespread use of telecommunications both have many demonstrable benefits to society, including health benefits. BEPAG is of the opinion that these factors, along with the overall scientific evidence, should be taken into account by policy makers when considering the costs and benefits of both the implementation of precautionary approaches to public exposure and also in the development of exposure guidelines.