cells, described above, are extremely powerful for elucidating biochemical mechanisms but are less well suited for discovering complicated effects that could be related to human health. For such extrapolation, animal experiments are more likely to reveal a subtle effect that might be relevant to human health. The obvious experiment is to expose animals, say mice, to high levels of electric or magnetic fields to observe whether they develop cancer or some other disease. The experiments of this sort that have been done have demonstrated no adverse health outcomes. Such experiments by themselves are inadequate, however, to discount the possibility of adverse effects from electric and magnetic fields, because the animals might not exhibit the same response and sensitivities as humans to the details of the exposure. For that reason, a number of animal experiments have been carried out to examine a large variety of possible effects of exposure. On the basis of an evaluation of the published studies in this area, the committee concludes the following:
There is no convincing evidence that exposure to 60-Hz electric and magnetic fields causes cancer in animals.
A small number of laboratory studies have been conducted to determine if any relationship exists between power-frequency electric-and magnetic-field exposure and cancer. In the few studies reported to date, consistent reproducible effects of exposure on the development of various types of cancer have not been evident. One area with some laboratory evidence of a health-related effect is that animals treated with carcinogens show a positive relationship between intense magnetic-field exposure and the incidence of breast cancer.
There is no evidence of any adverse effects on reproduction or development in animals, particularly mammals, from exposure to power-frequency 50- or 60-Hz electric and magnetic fields.
There is convincing evidence of behavioral responses to electric and magnetic fields that are considerably larger than those encountered in the residential environment; however, adverse neurobehavioral effects of even strong fields have not been demonstrated.
Laboratory evidence clearly shows that animals can detect and respond behaviorally to external electric fields on the order of 5 kV/m rms or larger. Evidence for animal behavioral response to time-varying magnetic fields, up to 3 µT, is much more tenuous. In either case, general adverse behavioral effects have not been demonstrated.
Neuroendocrine changes associated with magnetic-field exposure have been reported; however, alterations in neuroendocrine function by magnetic-field exposures have not been shown to cause adverse health effects.
The majority of investigations of magnetic-field effects on pineal-gland function suggests that magnetic fields might inhibit nighttime pineal and blood melatonin concentrations; in those studies, the effective field strengths varied from 10 µT (0.1 G) to 5.2 mT (52 G). The experimental data do not compellingly