Forschungsgemeinschaft Funk e.V.

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Edition No. 11/E September 1996
Guidelines for experiments to investigate the effect of high-frequency electromagnetic fields on biological systems - High-frequency aspects -

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Volkert Hansen, Lehrstuhl für Theoretische Elektrotechnik, Bergische Universität-Gesamthochschule Wuppertal

In recent years public interest in the question of ‘the effects of electromagnetic fields on biological systems’ has markedly increased. This interest is also reflected in a continually growing number of very different experiments in this area. Nevertheless, the increasing effort expended so far has not necessarily led to the public being better informed. Also the scientists, who deal with this subject in depth, can often check the value of a new publication only with great effort or frequently not at all. The reason for this is that, apart from the complexity of the research subject, the planning, execution and evaluation of experiments is usually carried out according to very different criteria. Consequently comparing the results of experiments with initially very similar objectives is often impossible.

In order to improve the basis for future experiments, initiated by the Forschungsgemeinschaft Funk e.V. in spring 1994, a group of scientists from the Federal Republic of Germany started the work of compiling ‘Guidelines for experiments to investigate the effect of high-frequency electromagnetic fields on biological systems’; the editor is the author of this report, which summarises the considerations and discussions.

The guidelines are structured in seven sections. Following the introduction a catalogue of the aims of possible experiments is provided in section 2. The aim of such investigations can be to reveal interactions or to prove their impossibility or to confirm theoretical concepts, hypotheses or published experimental findings. Section 3 deals with general requirements for experiments. This section is included only for the sake of completeness, since the factors listed – particularly guaranteeing the clarity and thereby the repeatability of the experiments –apply to any scientific experiment and hence are familiar to every scientist. Practice reveals, however, that they are often not respected to the degree that is desirable. Section 4 deals exhaustively with the criteria for selecting the HF-measurement device and Section 6 with the not yet concluded considerations regarding the form of the signal. The intervening Section 5, ‘Classification of electromagnetic fields’, is directed in particular to the scientists who are not experts in high-frequency technology. The list of the most important types of fields is supplemented in each case with an evaluation, on the basis of the criteria established in Section 4. Section 7 reports the experiences gathered from experiments performed so far. In the appendix a checklist for planning and performing experiments, some considerations on numerical methods for analysing field problems and two test signals of the standard EN 50061 are given.

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