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Suggested Citation:"EMF-RAPID Funding." National Research Council. 1999. Research on Power-Frequency Fields Completed Under the Energy Policy Act of 1992. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9587.
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Objectives of the EMF Communication Component were:

  • plan, support, and conduct communication research to improve understanding of how various groups perceive the EMF issue, to evaluate their needs and utilization of information, and to determine more effective methods of communication;

  • educate the public, workers, government officials, policy makers, and other interested parties by establishing appropriate channels of communication and providing materials and services that respond to their communication and information needs;

  • improve coordination and communication within the national and international MF scientific community. Provide referral services for the public, government, scientists, and businesses to make research findings more widely and readily available; and

  • encourage communication from the public decision-makers to those who plan scientific studies. This information could help identify areas of conflicting findings that require further research.

Objectives of the Policy Support Component were:

  • improve understanding of the possible health risks, economic effects, and value judgments that must be considered when formulating power-frequency magnetic field policy or regulation;

  • improve understanding of how economic costs related to power-frequency magnetic field concerns are affecting citizens, utilities, manufacturers, and other interested parties;

  • analyze the potential effects of EMF concerns on the safety, availability, reliability, and costs of electric power and electrical equipment;

  • develop and evaluate various regulatory and policy instruments that could be implemented; These instruments may differ depending on the power-frequency magnetic field sources, exposures, and potential health impacts;

  • involve the various interested parties in activities related to EMF policy analysis so that individuals or groups can gain an appreciation of trade-offs inherent in various decisions and policies; Comments from interested parties will also assist policy makers in identifying, evaluating, and formulating policy choices;

  • develop potential frameworks, including guidelines, criteria, and computer simulations, to assist regulatory bodies in making logical, responsible decisions; and

  • ensure that policy research and analysis encompass a broad range of options to account for regulatory and related policy decisions that are made at various levels.

Three implementation plans were published in 1994 to further define the health-effects research and risk communication (DOE 1994a), the engineering research (DOE 1994b), and the communication components of the EMF-RAPID program (DOE 1994c).

EMF-RAPID FUNDING

This committee has not received a formal, complete accounting of EMF-RAPID income and expenses. However, on the basis of preliminary figures received from DOE and

Suggested Citation:"EMF-RAPID Funding." National Research Council. 1999. Research on Power-Frequency Fields Completed Under the Energy Policy Act of 1992. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9587.
×

NIEHS, we estimate that a total of about $41 million was spent on the program; estimated expenditures are summarized as follows:

Estimated EMF-RAPID expenditures

Activity

Amount, in thousands of dollars

Percent of total dollars spent

Biologic research

25,553a

62

Estimated indirect costs for biologic research (38%)

9,710

24

Engineering projects

2,670b

6

Communication

3,350c

8

Total

41,283

100

a Total from appendix A.

b Total from appendix B.

c Total from appendix C.

Nearly all the biologic research was carried out under National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants, which normally are described in terms of "direct cost" dollars. Universities separately negotiate reimbursement of "indirect costs" with the government. To complete an estimate of the indirect costs associated with these direct costs, we assumed an average indirect cost rate of 38%. The engineering and other external activities were conducted under contracts, which include direct and indirect costs in the total amount. The Battelle MF-cancer-promotion biologic study was also conducted under a contract.

Despite the uncertainty in the figure for total EMF-RAPID expenditures, it is clear that the amount spent is much less than the $65 million authorized by the enabling legislation. About $20.5 million was actually provided from federal sources. If funded as planned, there would have been $13 million per year for 5 yr. Because a 50% matching with nonfederal dollars was required and because less than $32.5 million was allocated by federal sources, the total budget ($41 million) was 37% less than the $65 million planned.

Because the effective life of EMF-RAPID was four yr, annual funding averaged $10 million per year. (Funding came from FY 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, and 1998, suggesting a 5-yr program. However, FY 1994 funds were committed late in September 1994, and EMF-RAPID activities ended on December 31, 1998, in effect producing a 4-yr program). Before 1992, when EMF-RAPID was authorized, DOE, the Electric Power Research Institute, and a number of utilities were supporting a major research program on MF bioeffects. Although this committee does not have data on the total funding available at that time, EMF-RAPID might not have represented the major increase in funding that was expected when the authorizing legislation was approved.

The goal of EMF-RAPID was to conduct a special, focused program to provide the public with answers to the general question: "The matter having been intensively

Suggested Citation:"EMF-RAPID Funding." National Research Council. 1999. Research on Power-Frequency Fields Completed Under the Energy Policy Act of 1992. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9587.
×

investigated to reduce uncertainty, has scientific concern about the possibility of unrecognized adverse health effects of the use of electric power increased or diminished?" Answers are being offered as a result of EMF-RAPID. However, given the shortened time available (4 yr instead of 5 yr), the less-than-requested funding support ($41 million instead of $65 million), and the use of grants rather than contracts for the biology program, it is not surprising that EMF-RAPID was unable to provide a more definitive answer.

Biologic Research

According to NIEHS, EMF-RAPID funded 61 biologic research projects (appendix A), providing a total of $25,553,000 in direct cost support. Funding began in FY 1994 with $4,743,000, peaked in FY 1997 with $7,101,000, and ended in FY 1998 with $2,239,000. The average grant was $419,000; the smallest was $5,000 (supplementing other funding), and the largest was $1,837,000; these three figures are direct-cost totals. Seven investigators each received two grants, and a total of 54 investigators were funded. Twenty-nine projects (48%) began with FY 1994 money, 6 (10%) with FY 1995 money, 3 (5%) began with FY 1996 money, and 20 (33%) began with FY 1997 money.

Engineering Projects

EMF-RAPID also funded 12 engineering projects; 11 final reports arrived in time for the EPACT Committee to review. Support for these 12 projects totaled about $2,670,000 (appendix B). The committee assumes that because these projects were funded by contracts, overhead costs are included in that amount.

Program Management and Risk Assessment

EMF-RAPID committed $3,350,000 to biologically-oriented non-research activities (appendix C). A small contract provided a database of MF publications. NIEHS reports spending a total of $718,000 for program administration; this is a small percentage (1.7 %) of the total EMF-RAPID effort. Three-fourths of the funding in this class of activities—$2,480,000—was for the entire process of information gathering and exchange, including the three workshops, the completion of the working-group report, the public reviews of the working-group report, and preparation of the NIEHS report to Congress; this is 6% of all EMF-RAPID funding.

Suggested Citation:"EMF-RAPID Funding." National Research Council. 1999. Research on Power-Frequency Fields Completed Under the Energy Policy Act of 1992. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9587.
×
Page 16
Suggested Citation:"EMF-RAPID Funding." National Research Council. 1999. Research on Power-Frequency Fields Completed Under the Energy Policy Act of 1992. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9587.
×
Page 17
Suggested Citation:"EMF-RAPID Funding." National Research Council. 1999. Research on Power-Frequency Fields Completed Under the Energy Policy Act of 1992. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9587.
×
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Since the 1970s, concerns about health hazards associated with electric and magnetic fields from power lines and from workplace, school, and household use of electricity have led to many studies and continued controversy about whether adverse health effects occur. In the Energy Policy Act of 1992 (Public Law 102-486), Congress authorized a focused national research program to study the possible health effects of exposure to low-intensity, 60-hertz electric and magnetic fields. In response to this legislation and at the request of the Department of Energy (DOE), the National Research Council established a committee under the Board on Radiation Effects Research (BRER) in the Commission on Life Sciences (CLS) to aid in its review of the power-frequency magnetic field research activities completed under the Electric and Magnetic Fields Research and Public Information Dissemination (EMF-RAPID) program that was authorized by the Energy Policy Act. The Research Council's Committee to Review the Research Activities Completed Under the Energy Policy Act of 1992 (EPACT) was asked to review the EMF-RAPID program implemented by DOE and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), and research strategies suggested by other federal and nonfederal groups.

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