Opinions of Leading Government Authorities
The British Journal study was published in September 2000. It was this
study (collaborated by other studies) that indicated the earlier research
finding no link between EMF and cancer was wrong.
"Many people believe there are no data to support an association between residential magnetic fields exposure and childhood leukemia. To the contrary, the data strongly and relatively consistently support such an association." Daniel Wartenberg in a paper commissioned by the California Health Department, printed in Bioelectromagnetics Supplement 5:S86-104,2001
"Recent large and well-conducted studies have provided better evidence than was available in the past on the relationship between power frequency magnetic field exposure and the risk of cancer. Taken in conjunction they suggest that relatively heavy average exposures of 0.4 µT [4mG] or more are associated with a doubling of the risk of leukaemia in children under 15 years of age." Report of an Advisory Group on Non-ionising Radiation, [UK] National Radiological Protection Board, March 6, 2001.
"I have become increasingly convinced that electric and magnetic fields do affect living systems,...that these effects...can occur at low frequencies and low intensities,...and that we are very close to understanding several of the mechanism involved." Magda Havas, Canadian Research Council's Environmental Reviews, p249, September, 2000
Some have claimed the epidemiological evidence is clouded by potential bias. A study conducted for the California Public Utilities Commission suggests that bias, if it exists, would work the other way, to make it harder for epidemiology to identify a risk.
The ICNIRP (International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection) is a leading quasi-governmental authority on the dangers of radiation. In a detailed review of the literature, the ICNIRP concludes that a doubling of risk among children with average exposures above 4 mG is "unlikely to be due to chance." For ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease), the ICNIRP believes that the data "point toward a possible risk increase."
The UK National Radiological Protection Board has finds that "Recent large and well-conducted studies have provided better evidence than was available in the past on the relationship between power frequency magnetic field exposure and the risk of cancer. Taken in conjunction they suggest that relatively heavy average exposures of 0.4 µT or more are associated with a doubling of the risk of leukaemia in children under 15 years of age." This represents a dramatic change for the NRPB, which previously quoted the UKCCS study, which "did not find that the risk of childhood cancer is associated with the strength of magnetic fields from the electricity supply." (The UKCCS findings have subsequently been reversed.)
Published before September 2000:
"The Working Group concluded that ELF EMF are possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B, Appendix B)" Assessment of Health Effects from Exposure to Power-Line Frequency Electric and Magnetic Fields, Working Group Report, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, U.S. National Institutes of Health, August 1998 This finding has just been accepted by the full IARC.
The following quote is from the 1977 US National Research Council study. This study is viewed as denying a relationship between EMF and Cancer, but, as the quote shows, this is not entirely true. (This is one of the studies, which, when reworked in the British Journal research, was shown to have in fact demonstrated a strong relationship between EMF and Cancer)
"The associations [between ELF EMF and cancer] for childhood leukemia have been shown to be statistically reliable and robust -- findings that must be considered carefully in drawing conclusions about overall risk." Possible Health Effects of Exposure to Residential Electric and Magnetic Fields, National Research Council, 1997
The Environmental Protection Agency concluded the following in an Assessment dated September 8, 1996. It is not clear why the Assessment was not released, although it is known that previous findings by the EPA research group had been overruled by EPA managers.
"There is a consistent association between childhood leukemia and perhaps brain cancer and surrogates of prolonged magnetic field exposures in residence that has been observed in several studies. It is not likely a chance occurrence or an artifact of the way the studies were carried out, since it has been observed in different studies, countries, and time periods and with different study designs."
The National Research Council stated in 1996 there was "no convincing evidence" of an association between low frequency EMF and cancer. One of the members of that council, Daniel Wartenberg of the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, has subsequently changed is views. The conclusions of the study itself were reversed by the project's leader, Martha Linet.
United Kingdom Childhood Cancer Study (UKCCS) was published in a December,
1999, edition of the British medical journal, The Lancet. The UKCCS concluded
it could not find a relationship between EMF and Cancer. Interestingly, The
Lancet published a Commentary in the very same issue accusing the UKCCS of
using outdated methodology and an insufficiently large sample size. The Commentary
must have been correct, because the UKCCS' principle researcher, Nicholas Day,
revisited his data in the subsequent British
Journal study, and concluded the
UKCCS did find a relationship between ELF and cancer.