The Science

The definite effects of EMFs

EMFs definitely have some effects on us as humans – but at high field levels, bigger than we usually meet in the environment.

These established effects include:

These effects are well understood and there are exposure guidelines in place to protect against these effects.

The possible effects of EMFs

There are other concerns about EMFs. Over the past 20 years, scientists have linked exposure to everyday levels of EMFs with various health problems, ranging from headaches to Alzheimer's disease. The most persistent of these suggestions relates to childhood leukaemia. But the evidence is not straightforward.

  • A number of epidemiological studies, particularly in the US and in Scandinavia, have suggested an association between the incidence of childhood leukaemia and EMFs or the proximity of homes to power lines.
  • Not every study has found the same association, but taken as a whole, the epidemiological studies certainly show a statistical association
  • Because of problems inherent in epidemiology, finding an association does not mean there is a risk.
  • No causal link has been established between cancer (or any other disease) and EMFs and there is no established mechanism by which these fields could cause or promote disease.

Nonetheless, the possibility remains that EMFs are a cause of disease, and in these pages we summarise:

Static fields

This site is principally concerned with alternating fields at 50 or 60 Hz, but we also give a summary of the effects of static fields.

The Expert View

See the expert view for the conclusions of different national and international review bodies on the science and the authoritative view from the UK and Europe.