NIH Press Release
National Institute of
Environmental Health Sciences

Monday, March 10, 1997

Tom Hawkins
(919) 541-1402

How Robust the Data? Electric/Magnetic Fields and Health

Are we being slowly zapped by power lines and our home appliances, or only scared sick by unfounded fear? Congress was concerned enough about the contradictory messages regarding the possible effects of electric and magnetic fields to assign two federal agencies to sort out the available studies. To carry forward that analysis, the first EMF symposium will be held from 8 a.m. March 24 through early afternoon, March 27 at the Regal University Hotel in Durham, N.C.

The meeting is sponsored by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, in Research Triangle Park, which along with the Department of Energy is responsible for the EMF Rapid Program -- ARapid@ standing for Research and Public Information Dissemination.

There will be two additional symposiums (not yet scheduled.) After all three, a working group of senior scientists will perform a critical review of all the available literature to draw conclusions on the strength of all the data and its implications for human health. The NIEHS will use the symposium discussions and the working group document to prepare a final report to Congress.

The first symposium will focus on the use of cell cultures to study the ways EMF effects biological systems. It will review the overall quality of laboratory studies and evaluate if the various effects are reproducible and if the evidence is sufficient to support a cause and effect relationship.

A second and third symposium looking at epidemiology studies and animal and clinical research are also planned for the Research Triangle Park area, with the dates to be announced.

The EMF RAPID Program was established by Congress in the Energy Policy Act of 1992. The program addresses the question of whether extremely low frequency electric and magnetic fields (EMF) produced by the generation, transmission and use of electricity pose a risk to human health, and if so, the program seeks to determine the significance of the risk and to develop technology to prevent health effects.

To Register For This Meeting:

Registration information and other information about this symposium can be obtained at (919) 541-7539, FAX 1479, or by e-mail,

For More Information About EMF and EMF RAPID Symposiums:

Detailed information on the NIEHS and the EMF RAPID Program, and about this and future symposiums, is available on the world wide web at: or