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Electric, magnetic and electromagnetic fields in everyday life
- Physical basics
- Electromagnetic fields in the human environment

Electric, magnetic and electromagnetic fields in everyday life

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With the development and use of electricity our living conditions have changed profoundly. Besides naturally occuring static electric and magnetic fields the number of alternating fields that have been created by humans for residential, occupational and environmental purposes is growing constantly. Without electricity, our current standard of living would be impossible, based on our dependency of convenient household devices, diagnostic and therapeutic advances in medicine and the steadily increasing use of modern communication devices. The beneficial effects result in greater mobility, time savings and leisure. In addition, the electromobility, so for example the use of electric cars, will play an increasingly important role.

However, since a few decades we know that very strong electromagnetic fields (EMF) can cause acute health effects. A variety of technical and dosimetric norms and guidelines have been established in the past years to limit the effects on health and well-being. Germany has set a very conservative safety standard, which is consistent with the recommendations of the European Union, the WHO, and recognized international commissions making risk assessments on a scientific basis.

In everyday life, the general public is exposed to relatively weak electromagnetic fields. The possible health effects of the exposure to weak electromagnetic fields have initiated a controversial public debate in the last years. People want to know whether electromagnetic fields (common speech: electromagnetic pollution or “electrosmog”) can cause medical conditions or other adverse health effects. It is speculated that a variety of diseases including cancer is related to the effects of electromagnetic fields. This finally leads to concerns and prejudices against innovative technical developments.

Having access to objective and integrative information is promoting a better understanding of electromagnetic fields and its effects on health and environment. This information platform including a large scientific EMF literature database provides access to a broad spectrum of research on electromagnetic fields.

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Glossary: acute, alternating fields, cancer, current, diagnostic, diseases, dosimetric, electric, electric cars, electrosmog, EMF, exposed, exposure, health, initiated, leads, magnetic fields, risk, spectrum, static, therapeutic, WHO