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Static EM Fields & Cancer FAQs


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Archive-name: medicine/static-fields-cancer-faq
Posting-Frequency: monthly
Last-modified: 17 June 2003
Version: 3.4.3
URL: http://www.mcw.edu/gcrc/cop/static-fields-cancer-FAQ/toc.html
Copyright: (c) 1994-2003 John E. Moulder & The Medical College of
Wisconsin
Maintainer: John E. Moulder <jmoulder@mcw.edu>

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
FAQs on Static Electromagnetic Fields and Cancer

** Summary: ** 

The purpose of this FAQ is to examine the laboratory and
epidemiological evidence relevant to the issue of whether static
(direct current, DC) magnetic or electric fields cause or contribute to
cancer or other health problems in humans.

While most public concern about electromagnetic fields and cancer has
concentrated on power-frequency, microwave (MW) and radiofrequency (RF)
fields, claims have been made that static magnetic fields cause or
contribute to cancer.

There is very little theoretical reason to suspect that static fields
might cause or contribute to cancer or any other human health problems
(Question 17), and there is very little laboratory (Questions 11-16,
Question 23) or epidemiological evidence (Questions 8-10, Question 23)
for a connection between static fields and human health hazards. 

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The full version of this FAQ is now available only on the web at:
     http://www.mcw.edu/gcrc/cop/static-fields-cancer-faq/toc.html

Note that "-faq" is lower-case; "-FAQ" MAY NOT WORK 

-----------

El documento "Preguntas y respuestas sobre campos eléctricos y
magnéticos estáticos y cáncer" está disponible en español:
http://www.mcw.edu/gcrc/cop/campos-estaticos-cancer/toc.html

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There are two related FAQs: 
FAQs about Cell Phone Base Antennas and Human Health
     http://www.mcw.edu/gcrc/cop/cell-phone-health-faq/toc.html
Powerlines & Cancer FAQs
     http://www.mcw.edu/gcrc/cop/powerlines-cancer-faq/toc.html

Note that "-faq" is lower-case; "-FAQ" MAY NOT WORK 

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* Revision Notes **

In 2003:
 - Exposure of immune system cells to a 10,000 milliT field caused the
   loss of some cell types under some conditions [116].
 - Exposure of human tumor cells to 1500 or 7050 milliT fields for 1-12
   hours had no effect on cell growth [113]. 
 - Exposure of tumor cells to 0.1-7.5 milliT fields had no effect on
   membrane function [114]. 
 - Exposure of rats to 7000 or 14,000 milliT fields caused behavioral
   changes within 5 minutes [115]. 
 - A 3570 milliT field had no effect on intracellular calcium,
   proliferation or immunological function in normal or activated
   lymphocytes, but proliferation was decreased in leukemic cells
   [112]. 
 - Static fields from MRI units can effect pacemakers at fields as low
   as 500 milliT [110]. 
 - A 4000 milliT static field had no effect on apoptosis in brain tumor
   cells, but inhibited apoptosis induced by heat or cytotoxic drugs.
   The field also increased intracellular calcium im the same cells
   [111].
----------

** Contents **

1) Does anyone think that static electric or magnetic fields cause
   cancer or any other human health problems?
2) When evaluating whether there might be a connection between
   cancer and static electric or magnetic fields, can all
   electromagnetic fields be considered the same?
3) When evaluating whether there might be a connection between
   cancer and static electric or magnetic fields, do we have to
   consider electromagnetic radiation as well as electromagnetic
   fields?
4) When evaluating whether there might be a connection between 
   cancer and static electric or magnetic fields, do we have to
   consider the electric as well as the magnetic component of the
   field? 
5) What units are used to measure static fields?
6) What sort of static magnetic fields are common in residences?
7) What sort of static magnetic fields are common in workplaces?
8) What is known about the relationship between occupational
   exposure to static magnetic fields and cancer?
9) How do scientists determine whether an environmental agent, such
   as a static electric or magnetic field causes or contributes to
   the development of cancer?
10) How does the epidemiological evidence relevant to a connection
    between static fields and cancer stand up to the Hill criteria?
11) How could laboratory studies be used to help evaluate the
    possible relationship between static magnetic fields and cancer?
12) Are static magnetic fields genotoxic?
13) Do static magnetic fields enhance the effects of other genotoxic
    agents?
14) Do laboratory studies indicate that static magnetic fields have
    an biological effects that might be relevant to cancer or other
    human health hazards?
15) Do static magnetic fields show any reproducible biological
    effects in laboratory studies?
16) Do static magnetic fields of the intensity encountered in
    occupational settings show reproducible biological effects?
17) Are there known mechanisms that would explain how static
    magnetic fields of the intensity encountered in occupational
    settings could cause biological effects in people?
18) How does the sum of the laboratory and epidemiological evidence
    relevant to a connection between static magnetic fields and
    cancer stand up to the Hill criteria?
19) Have any independent bodies reviewed the research on static
    electric and magnetic fields and possible human health effects?
20) Do exposure standards for static electric and magnetic fields
    exist?
21) What is the basis for the safety standards set by Lawrence
    Livermore, WHO, ACGIH, NRPB, and ICNIRP?
22) Do static fields affect cardiac pacemakers?
23) Do static fields decrease fertility, cause birth defects or
    increase miscarriage rates?
24) Could static field sources (like DC powerlines) cause health effects
    by creating or attracting ionized particles or chemicals?
25) Bibliography

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