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Program

Research Unit Activities and Products

The goal of this unit is to help answer four questions decision-makers face as they deal with the EMF issue:

Is there a health problem? ( Risk Research )
Where is the problem? ( Exposure Assessment and Analysis )
What could be done about it? ( Mitigation Research )
What are potential policy options and their pros and cons? ( Policy Analysis )


The program conducts and funds research projects to help answer these questions. For brief descriptions of these projects or to view related reports and materials, please see below. Descriptions are grouped into the four areas listed above.

Risk Research

Epidemiology Workshop

For this meeting, several eminent EMF epidemiologists contracted with the program to write papers about specific biological issues.

Status: This workshop took place in January 1999. Program staff prepared summaries of the workshop discussions and final manuscripts of the papers presented. These were published in a special issue of Bioelectromagnetics, the journal of the Bioelectromagnetics Society. To order a copy of this issue, please contact the journal's Customer Service Department at (212) 850-8776.


Prospective Miscarriage Study

This unique prospective EMF epidemiological study measured the EMF exposure of 1,000 women in early pregnancy. The contracted research team is comparing the exposure levels of women who miscarry with those who experience a normal delivery.

Status: The final report of this project has been written and peer reviewed by the Program's epidemiology peer review panel, and a journal article has been submitted for publication.


Risk Evaluation Guidelines

These guidelines for conducting the EMF program Risk Evaluation describe how to systematically summarize and evaluate the cellular, animal, and human evidence on the possible health effects of EMF exposure during the Program's Risk Evaluation.

Status: These guidelines were revised in response to public comments received during the formal comment period and suggestions from scientific peer reviewers. The final version of the guidelines is available below.

Risk Evaluation Guidelines

Risk Evaluation

This project involves a systematic summary and evaluation of all available information from this and other EMF research programs, taking into account uncertainty.

Status: A first draft was reviewed by a group of California Department of Health Services' (CDHS) scientists, who then offered their comments and suggestions in the course of a three-day workshop. A revised draft was sent to the Program's Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP) for review in November of 2000. The third draft that takes these comments into consideration has been approved by the Director of CDHS for public comment release. The public comment draft is available below or it can be ordered from City Copy Center at (510) 763-0193 at the cost of copying. Comments were due September 10, 2001. The draft is being revised based on the comments.

Risk Evaluation Public Comment Draft

Exposure Assessment

School Exposure Assessment

This survey of EMF exposure in 89 selected public schools identified and characterized major internal and external magnetic field sources and estimated the associated mitigation costs.

Status: Completed. The contractor, Enertech, Inc., of Campbell, California, has completed the survey and the report, incorporating changes based on stakeholder and peer reviewer comments. A copy of the executive summary, in Adobe Acrobat format, is available at the link below. A hard copy of the full report can be ordered from City Copy Center at (510) 763-0193 for the cost of copying.

School Exposure Assessment, Executive Summary


EMF Exposure Assessment Addition to University Of Southern California Breast Cancer Study

Some additional exposure data was collected in case and control homes in a breast cancer study conducted in Los Angeles. This may help clarify the possible significance of harmonic content and other aspects of the EMF exposure mix.

Status: Data collection is complete and initial analyses indicate that harmonic content is not significantly associated with mean magnetic field strength. Other analyses will be carried out as required to assist with the risk evaluation.


California Exposure Analysis

The program will conduct a supplementary analysis of EMF exposure data sets collected in California over the past decade to provide information on EMF exposure in the California population.

Status: EMF staff and a subcontractor carried out special analyses to assess exposures at home, while commuting, and at work. The program also sponsored special analyses of personal EMF measurements from nearly 1000 pregnant women in San Francisco which were collected as parts of the Kaiser Permanente epidemiological study by Li et al. The exposure assessment co-investigator, T. Dan Bracken Inc. carried out these special analyses to determine how the women accumulated high average and brief high spikes of magnetic field exposure.

Supplemental Analyses of Kaiser Report
Appendix to Report


Occupational Exposure Survey

This project explores the possibility of using exposure data associated with various tasks to estimate occupational exposures.

Status: The final product, a computerized questionnaire designed to estimate a worker's exposure from the description of the tasks performed at work, has been validated on a set of subjects participating in an epidemiological study in Colorado. The final report (without the appendices) can be found at the link below. A hard copy of the full report can be ordered from City Copy Center at (510) 763-0193 for the cost of copying.

Occupational Exposure Survey


Mitigation Research

Electric Car Workshop

This workshop on EMF exposure assessment and the possibility of no-and low-cost EMF avoidance in electric car design took place in Detroit in 1998. This work was done in cooperation with the South Coast Air Quality Management Board, the California Air Resources Board, and the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Status: Completed. Major car manufacturers cooperated with the federal program measuring EMF in electric vehicles. The measurements from these cars were not different from those taken in conventional vehicles, which also have EMF sources. The Department of Transportation study resulting from this program, titled "Survey and Assessment of Electric and Magnetic Fields (EMF) Public Exposure in the Transportation Environment," was released in March 1999, by Electric Research of State College, Pennsylvania.
Please Note: Since the files linked below are large, they may take a while to download.

Policy Analysis

School Policy Analysis

A contractor for the program, with extensive input from the Stakeholders Advisory Consultants, is developing a computer model and related report to help analyze the options for dealing with EMF in California's public schools. This project is aimed at state level school decision-makers, and will provide an overview of the issues facing local officials.

Status:Completed. The contractors final report is available in adobe acrobat below. A hard copy can be ordered from City Copy Center at (510) 763-0193 at the cost of copying.

Managing Magnetic Fields in California Public Schools - Final Draft


Power Grid and Land Use Policy Analysis

Decision Insights, Inc, has developed a computer model and related report to help analyze the options for dealing with EMF near California's "power grid," which is the system that delivers energy to communities. This project is aimed at state-level decision-makers.

Power Grid and Land Use Policy Analysis Final Draft


Policy Integration

This systematic overview of the School and the Power Grid Policy Projects will include their implications for other settings in California.

Status: The first draft of this document is available for public comment below or it can be ordered from City Copy Center at (510) 763-0193 at the cost of copying. Comments were due September 10, 2001. The draft below is being revised based on the public comment received.

Policy Options Document
Policy Options - Japanese translation

Technical Support for Citizen Stakeholders

This award enabled the community organizations represented on the stakeholder's advisory consultants to obtain technical advice necessary to evaluate and comment on the two policy analyses.

Status: The recipients of this award used the funds to obtain advice on the cost assumptions used in the policy analyses.

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What's On This Page:

• RISK RESEARCH

Epidemiology Workshop

Prospective Miscarriage Study

Risk Evaluation Guidelines

Risk Evaluation

• EXPOSURE ASSESSMENT

School Exposure Assessment

Breast Cancer Study Addition

California Exposure Analysis

Occupational Exposure Survey

• MITIGATION RESEARCH

Electric Car Workshop

• POLICY ANALYSIS

School Policy Analysis

Power Grid and Land Use Policy Analysis

Policy Integration

Technical Support for Citizen Stakeholders

GLOSSARY