Precautionary For High and Low Frequency EMFs

The World Health Organization

WHO Invokes Precautionary Principle For High and Low-Frequency EMFs


Microwave News, 2003

What’s Next Is Far From Clear

The World Health Organization (WHO) has decided that there is “sufficient evidence” to apply the precautionary principle to both power-frequency and high-frequency electromagnetic fields (EMFs).

In a draft position paper distributed at a workshop held in Luxembourg, February 24-26, Drs. Michael Repacholi and Leeka Kheifets, who run the WHO’s International EMF Project, announced that they are now invoking the precautionary principle for extremely-low-frequency (ELF) EMFs and radiofrequency and microwave (RF/MW) radiation.

The precautionary principle calls for taking action to protect human and environmental health in the face of uncertain risks. While many, though not all, at the meeting agreed with WHO’s decision, the big question that remains unresolved is what types of precautionary recommendations will emerge from the EMF project in Geneva.

“It could mean nothing or it could change the way people approach the EMF issue,” Dr. Joel Tickner told Microwave News on returning from the workshop. “It all depends on the EMF group at WHO.” Tickner, who has written extensively on the precautionary principle, teaches at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell.