BBEMG - Belgian BioElectroMagnetics Group

Belgian BioElectroMagnetics Group

Literature overview & Risk analysis: Reports and publications

Literature overview & Risk analysis: Reports and publications

2013-2016 activity report

M. De Ridder & L. Braeckman

In different locations, workers as well as persons of the general public can be exposed to relatively strong 50 Hz magnetic fields. In scientific research no relation between this exposure and any long-term adverse health effects is established. Only for children an association with acute leukaemia was found in epidemiological studies. Because of the absence of a relation in animal studies and a plausible mechanism, there is no causal relationship for this association.

Literature reviews are inserted in the following page: Literature review - Studies on the health effects of ELF magnetic and electric fields.

In industry a small group of workers is exposed to high electric and magnetic 50 Hz fields strengths. A new legislation makes it mandatory for the employer to assess the risks for the health and safety of the workers and provide health surveillance. We have studied how such a risk assessment has to be carried out in a reliable way and which health surveillance is appropriate.

Read more on the new European Directive (in Dutch, in Veiligheidsnieuws, 2014, 184:18-20) and Belgian legislation.

Past activity reports

2009-2013

M. De Ridder & L. Braeckman

These years have been devoted to the follow up of the activities started during the 2005-2009 project (see the summary below for further information).

Literature reviews are inserted in the following page: Literature review - Studies on the health effects of ELF magnetic and electric fields.

2005-2009

L. Braeckman & M. De Ridder

Epidemiology and risk assessment of the ELF EMF health effects in workers and in the general public

In different locations, workers as well as persons of the general public can be exposed to relatively strong 50 Hz magnetic fields. In scientific research no relation between this exposure and adverse health effects is established. Only for children an association with acute leukaemia was found in epidemiological studies. There is no causal relationship for this association. A lot of new studies concerning possible health effects of 50 Hz magnetic fields are published in scientific literature. We read and evaluate these studies to see if there are new data concerning the hazards of these fields (see Literature review - Studies on the health effects of ELF magnetic and electric fields).

In industry a small group of workers is exposed to high electric and magnetic fields strengths. A European Directive makes it mandatory for the employer to assess the risks for the health and safety of the workers. We study how such a risk assessment has to be carried out in a reliable way.

2001-2005

L. Braeckman & M. De Ridder

Our group analyses epidemiologic literature and the consequences of the findings of these studies for risk assessment as well as for occupational and environmental health policies.

Epidemiology is the study of the distribution and determinants of disease frequency. Studies are carried out to see if there is a relationship between environmental or occupational exposure to 50 Hz magnetic fields and the occurrence of disease (cancer and other). Numerous studies have been published. The overall conclusion of these studies is as follows:

  • There is a fairly consistent statistical association between childhood leukaemia and power-frequency residential magnetic fields strengths above 0,4 µT with an approximately two-fold increase of risk, which is unlikely to be due to chance.
  • There is some, but not consistent, evidence for an association between occupational exposure and adult chronic lymphocytic leukaemia.
  • There is no consistent evidence that residential or occupational exposures of children or adults are related to other (cancer- and non-cancer) health effects.

A statistical association between a disease and exposure to 50 Hz magnetic fields does not necessarily mean that the relationship is causal. For causality evidence, experimental studies are also needed.

1999-2000

L. Braeckman & M. De Ridder

The group has studied the health effect of ELF magnetic fields through a follow-up of the epidemiological, environmental and occupational health literature. In the period, June 1999 to June 2000 a large number of studies on different aspects of the problem were published.

The conclusion of these studies is that the scientific evidence suggesting that ELF exposures pose any health risk is weak. The strongest evidence for health effects comes from associations observed in children living near high voltage powerlines (leukaemia) and occupationally exposed adults (chronic lymphocytic leukaemia).

Publications

Publications related to BBEMG activities

 De Ridder, M. & Braeckman, L. (2015). Elektromagnetische overgevoeligheid. Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde, 71(24):1623-1628.

De Ridder, M. (2014). De Europese Richtlijn Elektromagnetische Velden. Veiligheidsnieuws, 184:18-20. (pdf)

De Ridder, M. (2012). Elektromagnetische overgevoeligheid: bestaat dat? Veiligheidsnieuws 174: 47-49.

De Ridder, M. , Bataille, C., Van Broeck, G., Pée, G. (2006). Omgevingshinder in Vlaanderen. Wolters Kluwer Belgium, 228 pages, 2006. (This book is about environmental problems: noise, odour, light and electromagnetic radiation. The chapters about electromagnetic radiation were written by Maurits De Ridder).

Cardinaels, J., De Ridder, M., Holmstock, L., Vanden Eede, R., & Vinck, B. (2006). Fysische agentia. Dossier Veiligheidswetgeving, Kluwer Belgium, Mechelen, 315 pages, 2006.
(This book contains a chapter about non-ionising radiation (78 pages) which is written by Maurits De Ridder).

De Ridder, M. (2005). Gezondheidseffecten van elektromagnetische straling. Veiligheidsnieuws, 148:40-47.

De Ridder, M. (2005). Elektromagnetische stralingen. In: Arbeidsgeneeskundige diensten in de onderneming. Band 3, Hoofdstuk 13, Pro 2-13, p 1-78. Ed. Kluwer Editorial. Diegem, 2005.

De Ridder, M. (2002). Gezondheidseffecten van elektromagnetische straling. Bijblijven, 18(1):63-74.

De Ridder, M., Decat G., Verschaeve, L., Bossuyt, M. (2001). Niet-ioniserende straling. In MIRA-T 2001 Milieu- en Natuurrapport Vlaanderen : Thema's. Hfdst 2.22:431-439. Garant, Leuven, 2001.

De Ridder, M. (1998). Invloed op de gezondheid van elektromagnetische velden in het 50 Hertz-gebied : Patient Care, 21 (6):63-72.

De Ridder, M. and Vanhoorne, M. (2001). Gezondheidseffecten van 50 Hertz elektrische en magnetische velden rond elektriciteitsgeleiders.: Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde, 57 (4):247-254.

De Ridder, M. (1996). Elektromagnetische stralingen. In : Arbeidsgeneeskundige diensten in de onderneming, Band 3, Hoofdstuk 13, Pro 2-13:107-188. Ed. Kluwer Editorial. Diegem.

De Ridder, M., Lapiere, Ch., Pirotte, P., Vanhoorne, M., and Van Loock, W. (1994). Effect van elektrische en magnetische velden op de gezondheid : Rapport van de deskundigen. Ministerie van Volksgezonheid.

De Ridder, M. (1995). Gezondheidseffecten van extreem laagfrekwente magnetische velden rond elektriciteitsgeleiders : Veiligheidsnieuws, 107:37-46.

De Ridder, M. (1995). Gezondheidseffecten van extreem laagfrequente magnetische velden. In : Problemen van Arbeidsgeneeskunde, 30, p. 33-50.

De Ridder, M. (1995). Niet-ioniserende stralingen. In : Arbeidsveiligheid van A tot Z, 46, 89 p, Ced Samson, Diegem.

De Ridder, M. and Vanhoorne, M. (1995). Exposure to 50 Hz magnetic fields and cancer : an overview of the recent literature : Arch.Public Health., 53:35-52.

Other publication fields

Publications on Occupational Health

Additional information

In case of any questions concerning this topic, do not hesitate to contact us.

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Latest update on 21/12/2016

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