Electric and Magnetic Fields (EMF)


World Health Organization Findings


Who Findings

The Who Report

The WHO report concluded that evidence linking ELF magnetic fields and childhood leukemia “is not strong enough to be considered causal, but sufficiently strong to remain a concern.” “Virtually all the laboratory evidence and the mechanistic evidence fail to support” this reported association. For all other diseases, there is inadequate or no evidence of health effects at low exposure levels. 

The report emphasized that, given the weakness of the evidence for health effects, the health benefits of exposure reduction are unclear and adopting policies based on arbitrary low exposure limits is not warranted. In light of this situation, WHO made these and other recommendations: 

  • National authorities should implement communication programs with all stakeholders to enable informed
  • decision-making, including how individuals can reduce their own exposure. 
  • Policy makers and community planners should implement very low-cost measures to reduce exposures when constructing new facilities and designing new equipment, including appliances. 
  • Policy makers should establish guidelines for ELF field exposure for both the general public and workers. The best source of guidance for both exposure levels and the principles of scientific review are the international guidelines.
  • Government and industry should promote research to reduce the uncertainty of the scientific evidence on the health effects of ELF field exposure. Several recommended research projects are already under way through the Electric Power Research Institute, of which SDG&E® is a member.

To view the full report and a fact sheet summarizing it, visit WHO website for more information