Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 96-129, 1996 Sep; 1-4
This fact sheet answered frequently asked questions concerning possible health effects of exposures to the electric and magnetic fields (EMFs) which surround all electric devices. Workers may be exposed to high magnetic fields when they work near electrical systems that use large amounts of electric power. High magnetic fields are also found near power saws, drills, copy machines, electric pencil sharpeners, and other small electric appliances. Median exposures were listed for clerical workers with and without computers, machinists, electric line workers, electricians, and welders. Some studies indicated increased cancer rates for workers exposed to high magnetic fields, but the findings do not necessarily show that the EMF exposures were the causes of the cancer. Many studies report small increases in the rate of leukemia or brain cancer in groups of people living or working in high magnetic fields. Other studies report no such increases. Since there is such uncertainty in the scientific community, no Federal limits have been set as yet for worker exposures to EMFs in the United States. NIOSH and other government agencies do not consider EMFs to be a proven health hazard. However, there are simple, inexpensive measures to take in reducing EMF exposures: inform workers about possible hazards, increase the distance between the worker and the EMF source, use low EMF designs when possible, and reduce EMF exposure times.
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