Public opinion

We list below the studies we are aware of on public opinion on EMFs in the UK and Europe.

Caution! The answer you get to a question depends very much on how you ask it - what words you use and what introductory information you give people before asking the question. With EMFs, it would appear that:

  • The more you talk about the science and the possibility of a health risk (and, obviously, the more alarming you make it sound) the more people will appear to be concerned.
  • Conversely, the more you put EMF in the context of other issues, the less people will seem to be concerned about it.

To understand the results of any study (and to understand the widely varying results that have been obtained) you need to know how the questions were asked.  The series of polls by MORI conducted for National Grid were designed to test the public view with as little bias as possible.

 

Scottish Executive Environment Group


"Public Attitudes and Environmental Justice in Scotland" (2005)
John Curtice, Anne Ellaway, Chris Robertson, George Morris, Gwen Allardice and Ruth Robertson.

 

Ipsos MORI Opinion Polling work

commissioned by National Grid

(7 surveys between 1997 and 2011).
See separate page with full details of this

Ipsos MORI also performed opinion polling for the Health Protection Agency (HPA) in 2007 and 2009 

 

Centre for Environmental Risk

funded by the Department of Health

"Public Risk Perceptions of the Health Effects of Ionising Radiation and Power Frequency Electromagnetic Fields" (2005)
reference RRX89
Patrick Cox, Nick Pidgeon, Iain Lake and Wouter Poortinga

 

University of Bristol

funded by the Department of Health
"Non-ionising radiation risk perception in exposed and non-exposed subjects and their response to information on the nature of the risk" (1999)
reference RRX67
AW Preece, B Stollery and A Smith.

 

Opinion Leader

commissioned by the charity Children with Leukaemia

"The public's view on an appropriate response to the relationship between EMFs and childhood leukaemia"

 

Opinion Leader Research summary of a UK quantitative survey by TNS,

commissioned by the charity Children with Leukaemia
"The public's view on an appropriate response to the relationship between EMFs and childhood leukaemia" (2006)

 

Opinion Leader Research summary of a quantitative survey in Scotland by TNS

commissioned by the charity Children with Leukaemia
"Scottish Attitudes on an appropriate response to the relationship between EMFs and childhood leukaemia" (2006)

 

Eurobarometer

requested by the European Commission
"Electromagnetic Fields" (2007)
"Electromagnetic Fields" (2010)

 

Australian research among cancer patients

Researchers in Australia asked cancer patients to say what they thought had contributed to the development of their cancers.  0.3% mentioned overhead power lines.  see full details