The NIEHS RAPID Program: Anatomy of Failure

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Second EMF Science Review Symposium — EMFRAPIDProgram

[Federal Register: December 16, 1997 (Volume 62, Number 241)]
[Page 65814-65815]

Electric and Magnetic Fields Research and Public Information Dissemination (EMFRAPID) Program

Environmental Toxicology Program, Office of Special Programs
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health

Notice: Second EMF Science Review Symposium - -EMFRAPID Program

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the Department of Energy (DOE) are coordinating the implementation of the Electric and Magnetic Fields (EMF) Research and Public Information Dissemination (RAPID) Program. EMFRAPID was established by the 1992 Energy Policy Act (Section 2118 for Public Law 102-486) which was signed in October 1992. This five-year effort is designed to determine the potential effect from exposure to 60 Hz electric and magnetic fields on biological systems, especially those produced by the generation, transmission and use of electric energy. DOE is responsible for characterizing field exposures and for mitigating exposures which may be hazardous. The NIEHS is responsible for the development and implementation of a research program on the possible human health effects of electric and magnetic fields (EMF). The RAPID Program requires the NIEHS to report on the extent to which exposure to electric and magnetic fields adversely affects human health.

The NIEHS has three groups that assist in managing and directing the science portion of RAPID and who will provide guidance on reporting on the health effects of electric and magnetic fields. The first, known as the Interagency Agency Committee on Electric and Magnetic Fields (IAC) is composed of representatives from 10 federal agencies with responsibilities related to electric and magnetic fields (DOE, NIEHS, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Defense (DOD), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the Department of Transportation (DOT), the Rural Electrification Administration (REA), the Department of the Interior (DOI), and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)). The IAC, established by the President of the United States, must also prepare a final report for Congress.

The second is the National Electric and Magnetic Field Advisory Committee (NEMFAC). NEMFAC consists of representatives from public interest groups, organized labor, state governments, academia, and industry. This groups advises DOE and NIEHS on the design and implementation of the program. NEMFAC also provides recommendations to the IAC.

Finally, the NIEHS has an internal EMF Steering Committee (SC) consisting of senior scientists with broad programmatic responsibilities and a broad scientific perspective. The SC manages all aspects of the EMFRAPID Research Program at the NIEHS.

NIEHS Report on Human Health Effects of EMF
The report development process combines a critical evaluation of the scientific literature with an assessment of the strength of the evidence for human health effects resulting from EMF exposures. To accomplish the initial part of this process, the NIEHS is convening a series of open, public symposia on science related to EMF exposures and their biological effects for these study areas: theoretical/in vitro research findings, epidemiological results, and in vivo/clinical laboratory findings. The symposia (March 1997, January 1998, and April 1998) provide a forum for the discussion and evaluation of the research findings in the selected area. At each symposia the participants consider the quality and reproducibility of the research findings for evaluating the degree to which scientific evidence can support a causal linkage between EMF and biological/health effects. Written reports summarizing the deliberations of breakout group discussion sessions are publicly available for the first symposium (send name and address to fax:919-541-0144 or from EMFRAPID Program/LCBRA, NIEHS, PO Box 12233, MD EC-16, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709). The participants for each symposium include scientists studying EMF effects in the science area being reviewed, experts on measuring and producing EMF exposures, risk assessment experts, and recognized scientists in the area being evaluated who may have little EMF experience but can contribute to a broader understanding of the research findings.

Following the symposia a working group meeting is planned for June 1998. The working group will use information from the symposia’s discussions as well as perform an overall critical evaluation of the literature and produce a report. This document will draw conclusions on the strength and robustness of the data and its implications for human health effects and disease etiology.

Per the request from Congress, the NIEHS will use the final report of the working group, information obtained from the science review symposia and other relevant information to prepare a report to Congress on the potential for human health effects from exposure to EMF that result from the production and distribution of electricity. This report will be made publicly available at the time it is sent to Congress. Detailed information about the EMFRAPID Program is available on the world wide web at

Science Review Symposium on Epidemiology: Open to the Public
In its series of science review symposia, the second EMF Science Review Symposium is scheduled for January 12-14, 1998 at the Camberley Gunter Hotel, San Antonio, Texas. This meeting includes plenary overview talks on exposure assessment, methodological issues and problems in epidemiological studies as well as substantive talks on disease endpoints. Breakout group sessions are planned for in-depth discussions of the research findings from epidemiological studies as well as methodological and exposure assessment issues. This meeting is open to the public and the registration fee is $85; for registration information contact telephone:919-541-7534 or fax:919-541-0144.

Science Review Symposium on Clinical and In vivo Research Studies
Planning is underway for the third EMF Science Review Symposium, April 6-9, 1998 at the Hyatt Regency at Civic Plaza, Phoenix, Arizona. To receive additional information about this meeting, send your name and address to fax:919-541-0144 or EMFRAPID Program/LCBRA, NIEHS, PO Box 12233, MD EC-16, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709.

Dated: December 2, 1997


Samuel H. Wilson, Ph.D.
Deputy Director
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

[Billing Code 4140-01-P]


Note: The original posting is available online at http://ntp/

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