Magnetic-field-exposed initiated animals. Early studies that suggested an influence of magnetic-field exposure on mammary-cancer development could be extended in initiated animals. Studies should include a rigorous investigation of mammary-tumor development in exposed animals. Additionally, the possible changes observed in relevant hormonal factors in magnetic-field-exposed animals should be investigated to examine potential mechanisms related to mammary cancer.
The characteristics of electric and magnetic fields generated by the production, transmission, and use of electric energy and the possible effects of these fields on biologic systems have been the subject of extensive research for the past two decades. Due to the uncertainties and inconsistencies in the results of much of this work, Congress passed legislation in 1992 to fund an enhanced program of scientific research in this area. The Energy Policy Act of 1992 established a 5-year program of enhanced study of the characteristics of environmental exposure to power-frequency electric and magnetic fields and enhanced study of the in vitro and in vivo biologic responses to exposure to low-strength 60-Hz magnetic fields. This program is now in its third year of research and is focusing on the replication of experiments considered important to understanding the mechanism by which such fields might interact with the living system. This program is an important part of the research strategy for resolving the issues related to the possible biologic effects of magnetic-field exposure.
The work supported by the Energy Policy Act of 1992 is not anticipated to answer all the questions regarding the possible health effects of exposure to electric and magnetic fields by the program's end in 1997. Following the enhanced study supported by the Energy Policy Act of 1992, research in engineering, dosimetry, biology, and epidemiology could be initiated based on the scientific merit of the proposed work and could follow leads to plausible mechanisms that have been uncovered in previous studies. Continued research is important, however, because the possibility that some characteristic of the electric or magnetic field is biologically active at environmental strengths cannot be totally discounted. If ongoing or future research should uncover evidence of potential mechanisms that could lead to such a result, research should be continued to follow those leads and address that possibility.