Electromagnetic radiation

Br Med Bull. 2003:68:157-65. doi: 10.1093/bmb/ldg030.


Electromagnetic fields (EMF) are ubiquitous in modern society. It is well known that exposure to strong fields can result in acute effects, such as burns; the mechanisms behind such effects are well established. There is, however, also a concern that long-term exposure to weak fields might have health effects due to an as-yet unknown mechanism. Because of the already widespread exposure, even small health effects could have profound public health implications. Comprehensive research efforts are therefore warranted, and are indeed ongoing. The strongest evidence for health risks is from exposure to fields generated in connection with use of electric power. As for fields used by telecommunications technology, there is still considerably fewer data available and for the time being there is only very weak support for the existence of health effects. However, extensive research activities are ongoing and much more data will be available in the near future. This situation of scientific uncertainty and considerable public concern creates dilemmas for decision makers.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Electromagnetic Fields / adverse effects*
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Radiation*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors