In recent years electromagnetic radiation has been implicated as a contributory factor in a variety of adverse health effects. These range from skin cancers due to exposure to increased levels of ultra-violet radiation from the Sun because of the thinning of the ozone layer, through various childhood and adult cancers (especially childhood leukaemia) due to power line magnetic fields, to such things as cases of clinical depression and 'Cot deaths'.
Investigating 'man-made' EMFs
Initially most research was done investigating the effects of time-varying electric fields, though in the last ten years the effort has concentrated on power frequency magnetic fields. They are probably both involved in some, or all, of the reported effects, and later in this chapter we look at some of the suggested ways in which they can interact with our bodies.
Some extensive reports on the subject and detailed reviews of the literature have been produced by such organisations as the U.S.A. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), the World Health Organisation (WHO), the U.K. National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB) and the International Radiation Protection Association (IRPA).
There have been thousands of laboratory studies, both on isolated cells, animals, and occasionally, people. These are primarily to try and identify possible interactions and effects of electric and magnetic fields on living systems, and to try to test hypotheses about how the effects could occur.