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How dangerous are mobile phones, transmission masts, and electricity pylons?
  1. A W Wood
  1. Correspondence to:
    Andrew W Wood
    Faculty of Life and Social Sciences, Swinburne University of Technology, Hawthorn, Vic 3122, Australia; awood{at}


Electrical power and mobile communications deliver enormous benefit to society, but there are concerns whether the electric and magnetic field (EMF) emissions associated with the delivery of this benefit are linked to cancer or other health hazards. This article reviews the strength of the available epidemiological and laboratory evidence and notes that this falls short of what is normally required to establish a causal link. However, because of scientific uncertainty a cautious approach is often advocated, but here, too, there may be a tendency to judge these risks more harshly than those in other areas with similar strength of evidence.

  • B-field, magnetic field
  • CI, confidence interval
  • E-field, electric field
  • EHS, electromagnetic hypersensitivity
  • EMF, electric and magnetic field
  • IARC, International Agency for Research into Cancer
  • ICNIRP, International Commission of Non-Ionising Radiation Protection
  • OR, odds ratios
  • RF, radiofrequency
  • SAR, specific absorption rate
  • electric and magnetic field
  • EMF
  • hypersensitivity
  • leukaemia
  • magnetic fields
  • radiofrequency

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  • Competing interests: none declared