Electromagnetic fields (EMF)

2003 WHO research agenda for radio frequency fields


Overarching issues:

  • Expert dosimetric support for studies of all types is critical to their proper design and interpretation.
  • Dosimetry through numerical calculation should be experimentally verified.


  • Completion of the design of free-running animal exposure systems is needed to ensure that the large scale, rodent bioassay studies, when taken collectively, are able to optimally address the requirements for signal intensities and amount of time per day that the animals are RF exposed.
  • Completed reviews of the relevance of data across different signal schemes.

Short-term or urgent needs:

  • Additional research is needed to document the rapidly changing exposure scenarios for both the general public and workers, in support of epidemiology studies.
  • Improved dosimetry and additional data are needed to characterize tissue-specific exposure parameters (SAR and temperature load) in support of priority cellular, animal, and human studies.
  • Enhancement of the dielectric database to include cancerous tissue, age dependency, etc.
  • Dosimetric models of RF energy deposition in humans combined with appropriate models of the human thermoregulatory responses should be developed in order to predict potential hazards associated with specific RF exposure conditions

Long-term or future needs:

  • Microdosimetry research (i.e., at the cellular or subcellular levels) may yield new insights concerning biologically relevant targets of RF.


Goldstein LS, Dewhirst, MW, Kheifets,L, Repacholi M. Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations: Adverse Temperature Levels in the Human Body. Int. J. Hyperthermia. 19, 373-384, 2003