Health impacts from electromagnetic field exposure
This study overviews electromagnetic field (EMF) health impacts based on highly cited biomedical articles. It identifies health impacts resulting from exposure to EMF. A comprehensive query retrieved much of the relevant literature describing EMF health impacts, with strong emphasis on the mid and lower frequency non-ionizing (radio/microwave and power frequencies) portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. This retrieved literature was clustered algorithmically into sixteen biomedical sub-themes (assigned by the author). The highly cited papers and references in the thirteen most relevant of these sub-themes were analyzed, allowing the literature to be viewed through the filter of the most credible science. Two of the thirteen relevant clusters addressed the use of EMF for therapeutic purposes: alleviating joint pain and accelerating healing of bone fractures, with some applications to treating carcinomas (e.g., hyperthermia). All the highly cited papers in these two clusters showed positive results, with varying degrees of the level of impact. The treatments tended to be relatively short exposures of EMF over relatively short periods of time. The remaining eleven relevant clusters were divided into two main groups: (1) basic science research on the interaction of biological systems and organisms with EMF radiation; (2) epidemiological studies, focused mainly on population effects of occupational, residential, and mobile communications exposures to EMF. In group (1), broad agreement among the highly cited papers occurred in the following clusters: EMF interference with medical devices; cell phone neurological impacts; EMF-induced fields/currents in organisms; EMF impacts on calcium dynamics; gene expression/(heat shock protein) HSP induction of cells exposed to EMF; exposure of EMF on rat melatonin/oxidation/brain function; microwave radiation effects on proteins/cells/tissues, and sharp disagreements among the highly cited papers occurred in the following clusters: DNA/immune damage from cell exposure to EMF; cancer/embryo developmental effects on mice exposed to EMF. Group (2) included: cancer risks from EMF exposure; health risks from magnetic field exposure. For 'cancer risks from EMF exposure', the results are mixed. However, there appears to be more agreement that a) occupational exposures to EMF are associated with increased cancer risk than b) mobile phones are associated with increased cancer risk. Within the mobile phone literature, a statement from Kundi et al (2004) appears to reflect many (not all) from the broad range of results: there is evidence for enhanced cancer risk with increasing latency and duration of mobile phone use. For 'health risks from magnetic field exposure', the focus of the highly cited papers tended to be on associations of childhood cancers (mainly leukemia) with magnetic field exposures. The results are mixed, ranging from no statistically significant associations to significant associations with relatively high magnetic field exposures.