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Environmental Health Institute report concludes evidence is 'weak' that electric and magnetic fields cause cancer

But the report said NIEHS also found inadequate evidence of any link to such non-cancer diseases as Alzheimer's, depression and birth defects. Christopher Portier, Ph.D., the associate director of the Environmental Toxicology Program at NIEHS who coordinated the evaluation effort, said, "This risk assessment gains strength and reliability from the conduct of extensive new research focused to support the evaluation and through obtaining the opinion of hundreds of scientists who participated in the evaluation. The novel methods used in this risk assessment can serve as a blueprint for resolving other difficult issues."

To assist NIEHS in reaching its conclusions, several panels of scientists reviewed the data in open, public hearings. A major panel of scientists ? many of them EMF researchers ? was assembled in a suburb of Minneapolis, Minn., last June to advise NIEHS. The panel rejected EMF as a "known" or proven, or even "probable" carcinogen but a majority of the panel said a role in cancer could not be ruled out and so it should be regarded as "possible" carcinogen. The NIEHS report today also recommends that the fields continue to be recognized as a "possible" cancer hazard, but emphasizes the weakness of the data and the low risk that may be involved. The NIEHS report says the evidence does not seem to meet the standard for listing as a known or even "anticipated" human carcinogen in the National Toxicology Program's Report on Carcinogens.


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Contact: Grigg 301-402-3378; Hawkins 919-541-1402
grigg@niehs.nih.gov
NIH/National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
15-Jun-1999


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