Summary of the situation report bulletin (2/2016) published online

In December, an “International Workshop on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection” (2016 NICT/ICNIRP WS) was organized by ICNIRP in Tokyo, Japan. The main focus of this event was on radio-frequency electromagnetic fields. As regards extremely low-frequency fields, I am not aware of any international events of particular interest having taken place in the fall.

As to my knowledge, guidelines and standards are being produced, both nationally and internationally, in relation to the Directive 2013/35/EU on the “minimum health and safety requirements regarding the exposure of workers to the risks arising from physical agents (electromagnetic fields)”, and the same applies to the Finnish Government Decree on the protection of workers from risks related to electromagnetic fields.

I have once again found some interesting publications for this bulletin. The first papers discuss the exposure of children to magnetic fields, with results, for example, from France and Italy.

In Germany, an interesting approach was adopted to investigate how far a high-voltage power line should be located for it to be accepted and considered safe. The paper suggests that the way information is provided has an impact.

Towards the end of the bulletin, there is a paper on a topic that reaches beyond what we usually discuss here. It deals with the safety and interaction of patients with implantable cardiac defibrillators driving a hybrid vehicle.

Hope you enjoy reading this summary in English!

Summary of the situation report bulletin (1/2016) published online

The Finnish Government Decree (388/2016) relating to the Directive 2013/35/EU on the “minimum health and safety requirements regarding the exposure of workers to the risks arising from physical agents (electromagnetic fields)” came into force on 1 July 2016. Moreover, a practical guide has been issued, with advice on how to control hazards caused by electromagnetic fields in workplaces.

I have once again found some interesting publications for this bulletin. As many times before, the first papers are about field exposure and childhood leukemia, this time including one on the European Commission-funded ARIMMORA project, which I expect to produce further interesting publications later on.

Another paper reports on a study that investigated the perceived quality of life, among other things, in people with idiopathic environmental intolerance attributed to electromagnetic fields. Hopefully, research will find means to help those suffering from these symptoms.

Finally, I would like to mention that this is the first situation report bulletin produced outside Tampere University of Technology. I found interesting new challenges outside TUT, but the situation report bulletin will continue despite the change.

Hope you enjoy reading this summary in English!

Summary of Situation Report Bulletin on Animals Exposed to Power Lines published online

This situation report on power lines and animals was initiated in a Board discussion in which a regular situation report bulletin was reviewed prior to its publication. The question of potential effects of power lines on animals keeps coming up from time to time, and we found that, at least in Finnish, not much has been published on this topic. This gave us the idea to compile a special situation report dedicated to studies on animals.

The studies summarized in this bulletin focus exclusively on animals exposed to power lines, with all other animal-related studies left out of consideration. Emphasis was put on recent studies, and a variety of database searches were carried out to achieve extensive coverage. More time was spent on this than usual, as the search spanned a time period of a considerable number of years.

The first paper in this bulletin discusses bee hives in the vicinity of power lines. It reviews a number of previous studies and draws conclusions based on the findings. The Finnish guidelines recommend that bee hives should be located at the edge of a right-of-way. Also, hives reinforced with metal should, where necessary, be provided with electric-field shielding in the form of wire mesh connected to the ground. The article on bees is followed by several on dairy cows, investigating, for example, milk production in pregnant and non-pregnant cows, and hormone levels.

I hope you enjoy reading this summary in English!

Summary of Situation Report Bulletin on Animals Exposed to Power Lines published online

This situation report on power lines and animals was initiated in a Board discussion in which a regular situation report bulletin was reviewed prior to its publication. The question of potential effects of power lines on animals keeps coming up from time to time, and we found that, at least in Finnish, not much has been published on this topic. This gave us the idea to compile a special situation report dedicated to studies on animals.

The studies summarized in this bulletin focus exclusively on animals exposed to power lines, with all other animal-related studies left out of consideration. Emphasis was put on recent studies, and a variety of database searches were carried out to achieve extensive coverage. More time was spent on this than usual, as the search spanned a time period of a considerable number of years.

The first paper in this bulletin discusses bee hives in the vicinity of power lines. It reviews a number of previous studies and draws conclusions based on the findings. The Finnish guidelines recommend that bee hives should be located at the edge of a right-of-way. Also, hives reinforced with metal should, where necessary, be provided with electric-field shielding in the form of wire mesh connected to the ground. The article on bees is followed by several on dairy cows, investigating, for example, milk production in pregnant and non-pregnant cows, and hormone levels.

I hope you enjoy reading this summary in English!

Summary of the situation report bulletin (2/2015) published online

Once again, my editorial starts with a look at the Directive 2013/35/EU on the “minimum health and safety requirements regarding the exposure of workers to the risks arising from physical agents (electromagnetic fields)”. The preparation of national regulations implementing the Directive is still underway, but I expect it to be finished soon, as the regulations shall be brought into force in the summer.

According to the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health (STM) website, Finland is also working on a legislation project relating to non-ionizing radiation, including extremely low-frequency electric and magnetic fields. This work is part of the overall reform of the radiation legislation, having the purpose of transposing the new EU directive on radiation safety into national law.

I have again found some interesting publications for this bulletin. The first three are about field exposure and childhood leukemia, with my attention particularly drawn to the publication focusing on magnetic field exposure from underground cables. When reading this paper, an important point to note is that both AC and DC cables are included. The nature of exposure is, therefore, at least to some extent, different than that in the vicinity of conventional overhead power lines.

I hope you enjoy reading this summary in English!