Effects of Electromagnetic Fields on the Human Body
Due to the ongoing development and increasing use of wireless technologies and other devices that act as sources of electric, magnetic, and electromagnetic fields, public concerns about the potential health effects of these fields are growing.
- Can cell phone radiation cause cancer? How does 5G affect people?
- What is "electrosmog" and does it harm my family?
- Do high-voltage power lines generate dangerous fields?
Today, sound knowledge exists in the field of acute interactions of strong fields, i.e., those whose field strengths are above the limits recommended by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). These limits provide protection against direct effects by influencing nerve and muscle cells ("non-thermal effects") and by increasing tissue temperature due to the absorption of radiofrequency energy ("thermal effects").
In addition, there are also indirect effects of electromagnetic fields, such as interference with electronic medical devices (e.g., pacemakers), projectile effects on ferromagnetic objects in static magnetic gradient fields, the triggering of electrical ignition devices (detonators), and the occurrence of fires or explosions due to sparking caused by induced fields, contact currents, or spark discharges.
In addition to the above-mentioned, well-researched direct effects that can occur at field strengths above the currently recommended limits, some scientific studies partly indicate biological effects even below these limits. However, the health relevance of these effects needs further investigation before definitive conclusions can be drawn. Due to the uncertain data situation regarding some of these reported effects, low-frequency magnetic fields (https://publications.iarc.fr/98) and high-frequency electromagnetic fields (https://publications.iarc.fr/126) have been classified as possibly carcinogenic to humans (Class 2b) by the WHO's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).
We have been working on research into the effects of electromagnetic fields on humans and biological systems in general for more than 30 years, advising governments, industry, and health authorities. Our experts belong to international and national standardization and advisory bodies.