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Title: Introduction to extremely-low-frequency electric and magnetic fields

Abstract

The interaction with living systems of electromagnetic fields in the extremely-low-frequency (ELF) range below 300 Hz will be summarized briefly in this paper. In materials with the electrical and magnetic properties of living tissues, these fields have a long wavelength (5000 m) and skin depth (150 m). As a consequence, in their interactions with humans and other living organisms ELF fields behave as though they are composed of independent electric and magnetic components of an ELF field is commonly referred to as the quasi-static approximation,'' which permits the radiating properties of the field to be neglected in describing its interaction with living organisms. The electric and magnetic components of an ELF field have several distinctly different features in their interactions with humans and other living organisms. First, the electrical conductivity of tissue is approximately 14 to 15 orders of magnitude greater than that of air at ELF electric fields. Consequently, the body behaves like a good electrical conductor in ELF electric fields. As a result, an electrical charge is developed on the surface of a living object in an external ELF field, but the electric field penetrates into the body only to a very limited extent.

Authors:
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Pacific Northwest Lab., Richland, WA (USA)
Sponsoring Org.:
DOE/NE
OSTI Identifier:
5465110
Report Number(s):
PNL-SA-17179; CONF-8907166-1
ON: DE90002662
DOE Contract Number:
AC06-76RL01830
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: 8. annual American Statistical Association conference on radiation and health: health effects of electric and magnetic fields: statistical support for research strategies, Cooper Mountain, CO (USA), 9-13 Jul 1989
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
63 RADIATION, THERMAL, AND OTHER ENVIRON. POLLUTANT EFFECTS ON LIVING ORGS. AND BIOL. MAT.; CURRENTS; INDUCTION; ELECTROMAGNETIC FIELDS; BIOLOGICAL EFFECTS; BIOCHEMICAL REACTION KINETICS; LONG WAVE RADIATION; TISSUES; BODY; ELECTROMAGNETIC RADIATION; KINETICS; RADIATIONS; RADIOWAVE RADIATION; REACTION KINETICS; 560400* - Other Environmental Pollutant Effects

Citation Formats

Tenforde, T.S.. Introduction to extremely-low-frequency electric and magnetic fields. United States: N. p., 1989. Web.
Tenforde, T.S.. Introduction to extremely-low-frequency electric and magnetic fields. United States.
Tenforde, T.S.. Sat . "Introduction to extremely-low-frequency electric and magnetic fields". United States. doi:.
@article{osti_5465110,
title = {Introduction to extremely-low-frequency electric and magnetic fields},
author = {Tenforde, T.S.},
abstractNote = {The interaction with living systems of electromagnetic fields in the extremely-low-frequency (ELF) range below 300 Hz will be summarized briefly in this paper. In materials with the electrical and magnetic properties of living tissues, these fields have a long wavelength (5000 m) and skin depth (150 m). As a consequence, in their interactions with humans and other living organisms ELF fields behave as though they are composed of independent electric and magnetic components of an ELF field is commonly referred to as the quasi-static approximation,'' which permits the radiating properties of the field to be neglected in describing its interaction with living organisms. The electric and magnetic components of an ELF field have several distinctly different features in their interactions with humans and other living organisms. First, the electrical conductivity of tissue is approximately 14 to 15 orders of magnitude greater than that of air at ELF electric fields. Consequently, the body behaves like a good electrical conductor in ELF electric fields. As a result, an electrical charge is developed on the surface of a living object in an external ELF field, but the electric field penetrates into the body only to a very limited extent.},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Sat Jul 01 00:00:00 EDT 1989},
month = {Sat Jul 01 00:00:00 EDT 1989}
}

Conference:
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  • Studies have been conducted at Battelle, Pacific Northwest Laboratory, to examine extremely-low-frequency (ELF) electromagnetic fields for possible biological effects in animals. Three areas of investigation are reported here: (1) studies on the nervous system, including behavior and neuroendocrine function, (2) experiments on cancer development in animals, and (3) measurements of currents and electric fields induced in animal models by exposure to external magnetic fields. In behavioral experiments, rats have been shown to be responsive to ELF electric field exposure. Furthermore, experimental data indicate that short-term memory may be affected in albino rats exposed to combined ELF and static magnetic fields.more » Neuroendocrine studies have been conducted to demonstrate an apparent stress-related response in rats exposed to 60-Hz electric fields. Nighttime pineal melatonin levels have been shown to be significantly depressed in animals exposed to either electric or magnetic fields. A number of animal tumor models are currently under investigation to examine possible relationships between ELF exposure and carcinogenesis. Finally, theoretical and experimental measurements have been performed which form the basis for animals and human exposure comparisons.« less
  • A description is given of the fundamental physical properties of extremely-low frequency (ELF) electromagnetic fields, and the mechanisms through which these fields interact with the human body at a macroscopic level. the mechanisms through which ELF electric and magnetic fields induce currents in humans and other living objects are described. Evidence is presented that cell membranes play an important role in transducing ELF signals. Both experimental evidence and theoretical models are described that relate pericellular currents and electrochemical events at the outer membrane surface to transmembrane signaling pathways and cytoplasmic responses. Biological responses to ELF fields at the tissue, cellularmore » and molecular levels are summarized, including new evidence that ELF field exposure produces alterations in messenger RNA synthesis, gene expression and the cytoplasmic concentrations of specific proteins. 50 refs., 9 figs., 2 tabs.« less
  • Studies have been conducted at the Pacific Northwest Laboratory to examine extremely-low-frequency (ELF) electromagnetic fields for possible biological effects in animals. Two areas of investigation are reported here: (1) studies on the nervous system, including behavior and neuroendocrine function, and (2) experiments on cancer development in animals. In behavioral experiments, preliminary data suggest that short term memory may be affected in albino rats exposed to combined ELF and static magnetic fields. Neuroendocrine studies were conducted to demonstrate an apparent stress-related response in rats exposed to 60-Hz electric fields. Finally, using a chemically-induced mammary tumor model, experiments were conducted in whichmore » rats, chronically exposed to 60-Hz electric fields, showed an enhancement in the number of tumors per tumor bearing animal.« less
  • There is now convincing evidence from a large number of laboratories, that exposure to extremely low frequency (ELF) magnetic and electric fields produces biological responses in animals. Many of the observed effects appear to be directly or indirectly associated with the neural or neuroendocrine systems. Such effects include increased neuronal excitability, chemical and hormonal changes in the nervous system, altered behavioral responses, some of which are related to sensing the presence of the field, and changes in endogenous biological rhythms. Additional indices of general physiological status appear relatively unaffected by exposure, although effects have occasionally been described in bone growthmore » and fracture repair, reproduction and development, and immune system function. A major current emphasis in laboratory research is to determine whether or not the reported epidemiological studies that suggest an association between EMF exposure and risk of cancer are supported in studies using animal models. Three major challenges exist for ongoing research: (1) knowledge about the mechanisms underlying observed bioeffects is incomplete, (2) researchers do not as yet understand what physical aspects of exposure produce biological responses, and (3) health consequences resulting from ELF exposure are unknown. Although no animal studies clearly demonstrate deleterious effects of ELF fields, several are suggestive of potential health impacts. From the perspective of laboratory animal studies, this paper will discuss biological responses to ELF magnetic and/or electric field exposures.« less
  • Prolonged exposure of the myxomycete Physarum polycephalum to either continuous wave (75 Hz) or frequency modulated wave (76 Hz) electromagnetic fields (EMF) (0.1 to 2.0 G and 0.035 to 0.7 V/m) lengthens the mitotic cycle and depresses the respiration rate. Once induced, these effects persist indefinately in the presence of EMF without increasing or decreasing in magnitude beyond that due to normal variability of the organism. Similar effects are observed when either individual electric fields (0.7 V/m) or magnetic fields (2.0 G) are applied; however, the magnitude of the response is less than that observed with simultaneous fields. The individualmore » field effects appear to be additive for respiration but not for nuclear division rate. For fields applied simultaneously at levels below 0.14 V/m and 0.4 G the response was independent of field intensity. No threshold was observed for simultaneously applied electric and magnetic fields; however, indirect evidence is presented that suggests either the electric or magnetic field is below threshold at levels of 0.14 V/m and 0.4 G, respectively. Frequency modulation of the fields seems to have no major effect o the response induced in P. polycephalum.« less