Welcome to the electromagnetic shielding Technical Steering Committee
Difficulties in ruling out the possibility of very small risks

"The absence of evidence of detrimental effects does not seem to suffice in modern society. The evidence of their absence is demanded more and more instead". (Barnabas Kusch, Austrian Research Centre Seibersdorf )"There is no convincing evidence for an adverse health effect of electromagnetic fields" or "A cause-effect link between electromagnetic fields and cancer has not been confirmed" are typical of the conclusions that have been reached by expert committees that have examined the issue. This sounds as if science wanted to avoid giving an answer. Then why should research continue if scientists have already shown that there is no effect?The answer is simple: Human health studies are very good at identifying large effects, such as a connection between smoking and cancer. Unfortunately, they are less able to distinguish a small effect from no effect at all. If electromagnetic fields at typical environmental levels were strong carcinogens, then it would have been easy to have shown that by now. By contrast, if low level electromagnetic fields are a weak carcinogen, or even a strong carcinogen to a small group of people in the larger population, that would be far more difficult to demonstrate. In fact, even if a large study shows no association we can never be entirely sure that there is no relationship. The absence of an effect could mean that there really is none. But just as well it could mean that the effect is simply undetectable with our method of measurement. Therefore, negative results are generally less convincing than strong positive ones.The most difficult situation of all, which unfortunately has developed with epidemiology studies involving electromagnetic fields, is a collection of studies with weak positive results, which however are inconsistent among each other. In that situation, scientists themselves are likely to be divided about the significance of the data. However, for the reasons explained above, most scientists and clinicians agree that any health effects of low level electromagnetic fields, if they exist at all, are likely to be very small compared to other health risks that people face in everyday life.

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