In a statement issued on 2 June 2010, the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) has released an updated position statement concluding overall that "the balance of scientific evidence to date still does not indicate that harmful effects occur in humans due to low-level exposure to EMFs."  EMF stands for Electric and Magnetic Fields, which are, as described by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), “invisible lines of force associated with the production, transmission, and use of electric power”.

Further, the IET chastises scientists who have published studies that it says have "erroneously heightened public concern" and asserts that researchers "have a responsibility to ensure that their findings are as robust as possible before publication." IET "remains concerned that pressures on scientists to publish their work may encourage the reporting of apparent effects that have not been adequately investigated."

One perhaps logical conclusion from the IET analysis would be to suggest that perhaps more effort should be directed towards analysis of and expansion of the therapeutic uses of EMF. One such use was reported in the following article from the Center for Medical Education, Indiana University School of Medicine: "Noninvasive treatment of inflammation using electromagnetic fields: current and emerging therapeutic potential."

Does this mean we should all be connected to cell phones 24/7?  Should we invite electric utility companies to string their power lines through our residential communities?  Maybe we should not go that far – even though you need water to drink, you can still drown in it if there is too much.  Defined biological effects from excessive EMF have been demonstrated and reproduced during legitimate scientific studies, and rational groups of engineers and scientists have developed human exposure standards to prevent exceeding these high levels.

The public does not need to be prodded into panic-driven demands for eliminating any EMF.  We have to remember that every creature on earth, from before they are born, is exposed to the Earth’s magnetic field.  Moderation, as is often the case, seems to be the key.

From a news brief reporting on the IET position statement: "The IET is a UK-based advisory group that was formed in 2006 by merging the Institution of Electrical Engineers (IEE) and Institution of Incorporated Engineers (IIE). It maintains a Biological Effects Policy Advisory Group (BEPAG) on low-level electromagnetic fields, which is responsible for monitoring evidence in the literature for possible biological effects of static, ELF and RF EMF.  BEPAG members include Anthony Barker, Leslie Coulton, Camelia Gabriel, Minouk Schoemaker, Zenon Sienkiewicz, John Swanson, and Graham Barber."

For more information on position statements and other reports from IET on engineering and technology topics, their database can be accessed at “Factfiles”.

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