EMF effects can be split into two categories:

  • Known or established effects, which science has proven.
  • Research into possible health effects below the exposure limits.


Established (Direct) effects on humans

EMFs can cause induced currents to flow in the body, which if high enough can interfere with nerves. These effects are well understood, and the exposure limits are in place to prevent these occurring.

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Established (Indirect) effects

As well as the direct effects of EMFs, which the exposure limits protect against, they can also have indirect effects, which are listed below:

Microshocks: electric fields can cause unearthed conducting objects to become charged. If these objects are then touched by a person at a different charge, this can result in a microshock being perceived. Although initially the spark can seem concerning, there are no health effects associated with these, and they are similar to receiving a static shock like you may get from a car door or trampoline.


Potential interference to medical devices.


Effects on other equipment.

Other equipment


Research into possible health effects below the exposure limits

There is concern that EMFs can cause health effects at levels below the exposure limits. These potential effects have been the subject of a vast amount of research, carried out over the past 40 years. This research has not proven any health effects at levels below the exposure limits. However, there is one area where some uncertainty exists and that is around childhood leukaemia.

Current evidence on health

Further information is provided on the following pages:

Childhood leukaemia – What does the science say?

Other health effects – What is the evidence for the other health effects that have been investigated?

Mechanisms – Are there any ways we know of that EMFs could cause health effects?