Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Research on health effects of electromagnetic fields

Among the public, low levels of electromagnetic radiation are now routinely blamed for a variety of health symptoms, from headache to cancer. In Europe, top-level research in this field has been concentrated in a few established countries, but a recent EU project has researched to change that.
Research on health effects of electromagnetic fields
Everyone is exposed to a complex mix of weak electric and magnetic fields, both at home and at work. This radiation is generated and transmitted by domestic electrical appliances, industrial equipment, and telecommunications and broadcasting systems.

More troubling electromagnetic field (EMF) sources can include power lines, mobile phones and wireless technology base stations. It is not disputed that EMFs can trigger biological effects. The question is: how serious are these effects?

The EU-funded project SAFE EMF was aimed at supporting the safe integration of mobile and wireless technologies in Europe. It also worked to promote and enable highest quality research on the adverse effects of radio frequency EMF on human brain functioning.

More specifically, SAFE EMF set out to upgrade the research capacity of Ss. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje, in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). The project successfully promoted regional- and global-level networking and cooperation between Western Balkan and other countries and with EU institutions.

Building research capacity meant first better understanding what kinds of facilities and equipment are required. Project partners consulted experts and visited two EU partner laboratories to understand equipment and methods for measuring EMF-related health effects. Ultimately, this enabled the University's Centre for Electromagnetic Compatibility (CEMC) to participate in joint EU research projects, including EMF-NET and COST281.

SAFE EMF described required national-level regulations, based on current EU standards for EMF-related health research. It also developed a roadmap aimed at helping FYROM's Environment Ministry to initiate and support necessary legislative processes.

Other parties in the Western Balkans now face a similar need for research capacity, including Kosovo, Serbia and Montenegro. The outcomes of SAFE EMF are therefore likely to have a regional impact, making Ss. Cyril and Methodius University a geographical centre of expertise in the field.

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