Until 2016, the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET, formerly the Institution of Electrical Engineering, IEE) maintained a Policy Advisory Group on possible biological effects of EMFs. That Policy Advisory Group is now in abeyance, and the IET considers EMF matters directly at its Health and Safety Policy Panel.
The Group issued a FactFile in 2001. In a section entitled “Should I be worried?”, this concluded for power frequencies:
“It will, unfortunately, never be possible to say with certainty that fields are safe. Science can never prove that anything is totally safe. Quite properly, on a sensitive public-health issue, research continues. However, there is a broad consensus among the many national and international bodies that have reviewed the evidence (including the IEE): the balance of the evidence is against the fields encountered by the public being a cause of cancer or any other disease.”
They also issue position statements roughly every two years. The most recent, in 2010, concludes:
“BEPAG has concluded in this report that the balance of scientific evidence to date does not indicate that harmful effects occur in humans due to low-level exposure to EMFs. Our examination of the peer-reviewed literature published in the last two years has not justified a change in the overall conclusions published in our previous report in May 2012.
At power frequencies (50 or 60 Hz, as used for electricity supply), the balance of evidence from the large body of scientific papers built up over several decades suggests that the existence of harmful health effects from environmental levels of exposure remains unsubstantiated. There is no generally accepted experimental demonstration of any biological effect, harmful or otherwise, due to such fields. Pooled analyses of epidemiological studies have shown an association between childhood leukaemia and higher levels (greater than about 0.4 microteslas) of power-frequency magnetic fields in the home. However, in the absence of convincing mechanistic and experimental evidence, these epidemiological findings do not provide good grounds for concluding that there is a causal relationship. Problems of study design including selection bias and confounding remain a possible explanation of these results. A major epidemiological study published in early 2014 suggests that the risk of childhood leukaemia associated with living near high-voltage power lines has decreased over the past forty years and is no longer elevated, despite the magnetic fields from the lines having increased along with electricity consumption. This finding makes a link between the fields from the power lines and leukaemia significantly less likely and, if confirmed by other studies, indicates potential new avenues for research such as the effect of population changes on the incidence of the disease.”
Other review groups:
- World Health Organization (WHO)
- International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)
- International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP)
- The European Union's Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR)
- Public Health England (PHE), formerly Health Protection Agency (HPA),
- Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET)
- National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
- National Academy of Sciences (NAS)
- California Department of Health Services