Potential health effects of exposure to electromagnetic fields

The EU’s Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR) has published the final Opinion on potential health effects of exposure to electromagnetic fields.

This Opinion addresses the potential health effects of mobile phones, WiFi and the magnetic fields originating from power lines and electrical appliances in the home. It states that:

  • Current scientific research does not link exposure to electromagnetic fields below the limits suggested by EU legislation with adverse health problems
  • The epidemiological studies on mobile phone radiofrequency exposure do not show an increased risk of brain tumours, nor do they indicate an increased risk for other cancers of the head and neck region
  • The association of radio frequencies with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease that was suggested by previous studies was not confirmed by new studies that did not find any link
  • Epidemiological studies link exposure to Extremely Low Frequency (ELF) fields, from long-term living in close proximity to power lines for example, to a higher rate of childhood leukaemia, which is a rare blood cancer. However, this correlation has neither been explained or supported by animal and cellular studies. So far, research findings were not able to find a possible mechanism to explain this association. More research is needed to confirm or exclude a possible causal association.

To read the full Opinion, click here http://ec.europa.eu

For a summary fact sheet, click here on http://ec.europa.eu

Improving indoor air quality in EU schools

On school days, over 64 million European students and almost 4.5 million teachers are affected by the quality of the air they breathe inside their schools. Asthmatic people are particularly sensitive to poor air quality and pollutants. Indoor air quality in school buildings is affected by outdoor air pollution, building characteristics and operation and management practices, including cleaning, maintenance, and ventilation.

The EU has recently funded a research project: SINPHONIE (Schools INdoor Pollution and Health – Observatory Network In Europe) which monitored air quality and related exposure among 5,175 schoolchildren in 114 primary schools in 23 European countries. It assessed the impact of poor air quality on children’s health, growth, learning performance and development.

The project developed a series of guidelines to promote a cost-effective preventive approach to indoor air quality control. They cover cleaning, ventilation, heating, the use of equipment, as well as structural requirements for school buildings. They also contain specific tips for creating a healthy environment in classrooms, science labs, gyms, school canteens, locker rooms and recreational areas.

The guidelines are intended to complement the already existing efforts at national and local level. They are directed at policy-makers and local authorities, who are able to undertake actions but they can also support construction companies, school staff, children and their parents in their aim to make our schools healthier.

To read more about the project, click here on www.sinphonie.eu