Full Text PA-95-033

RESEARCH ON THE EFFECTS OF POWER FREQUENCY ELECTRIC AND MAGNETIC FIELDS

NIH GUIDE, Volume 24, Number 6, February 17, 1995

PA NUMBER:  PA-95-033

P.T. 34

Keywords: 
  Health, Radiation Effects 
  Environmental Effects 


National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

PURPOSE

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), the
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), and
the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
invite grant applications through a joint Program Announcement (PA)
for basic studies on the effects of electric and magnetic fields.
This solicitation is issued to encourage investigator-initiated
research projects in areas of special programmatic interest to the
National Institutes of Health (NIH).

HEALTHY PEOPLE 2000

The Public Health Service (PHS) is committed to achieving the health
promotion and disease prevention objectives of "Healthy People 2000,"
a PHS-led national activity for setting priority areas.  This Program
Announcement, Research on the Effects of Power Frequency Electric and
Magnetic Fields, is related to the priority area of environmental
health.  Potential applicants may obtain a copy of "Healthy People
2000" (Full Report:  Stock No. 017- 001-00474-0 or Summary Report:
Stock No. 017-001-00473-1) through the Superintendent of Documents,
Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402-9325 (telephone
202-783-3238).

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

Applications may be submitted by foreign and domestic, for-profit and
non-profit organizations, public and private, such as universities,
colleges, hospitals, laboratories, units of State and local
governments, and eligible agencies of the Federal government.
Foreign institutions are not eligible for First Independent Research
Support and Transition (FIRST) (R29) awards.  Racial/ethnic minority
individuals, women, and persons with disabilities are encouraged to
apply as principal investigators.

MECHANISM OF SUPPORT

This program announcement will use the NIH research project grant
(R01) and FIRST (R29) award.

RESEARCH OBJECTIVES

This program announcement is issued to encourage and foster
investigator-initiated basic and applied research on the possible
health effects of electromagnetic fields (EMF).  Because of the
limited data on EMF biological effects it is anticipated that some
projects may be more focused on identification of EMF effects than on
the possible mechanisms of EMF actions.  Such applications should
state the means by which the information generated will be useful in
risk assessment and/or developing mechanistic hypotheses.
Collaborative research efforts among toxicologists, physicists,
engineers, and scientists in closely related disciplines are
encouraged to ensure quality in all aspects of the proposed study.

Research interests include, but are not limited to, studies designed
to:

a.  Determine the effects/mechanisms of action of EMF on cellular
responses such as DNA synthesis, modulation of ion binding, and
interaction with hormones and growth factors.
b.  Determine the effects on cancer processes in vivo and in vitro.
c.  Determine the effects of EMF on reproductive/developmental and
nervous systems in vivo and in vitro.
d.  Development of well-characterized EMF exposure systems for
assessing biological effects.

Background

The NIEHS is the principal NIH component for support of basic
research on environmental factors that contribute to human health
problems and disease.  Major emphasis by NIEHS is placed upon
research examining those physical and chemical substances to which
humans are exposed in their general environment as a result of human
activities such as modern technologies and industrial and commercial
processes.  In addition to the NIEHS, the NINDS also supports
research on those factors that impinge on the nervous or sensory
systems.  The NICHD is interested in factors such as EMF that may
affect reproduction and development.

As a result of electrification of our homes and work places, people
from all walks of life and of all ages are now exposed to power
frequency (60 Hz) electric and magnetic fields.  Increasingly,
scientists, regulators and lay people are asking whether human
exposure to theses fields involves risks to human health.  EMF causes
biological effects in human beings, in laboratory animals, and in
cells and tissues from humans and animals.  However, the extant
literature does not provide a basis for assessing the risks, if any,
from exposure to these fields.  Thus there is a need for additional
research on the biological effects of EMF exposure particularly at
the frequencies of power lines and electrically powered devices.

The results of studies on the biological effects of EMF are
controversial.  One reason for controversy is the finding of positive
and negative effects in some similar studies.  Also, there are
scientists who believe that power frequency fields cannot cause
biological effects other than the well known hazards of electrical
shock and burn.  This position is based on two points.

(1) the energy of a 60 Hz electromagnetic wave is too weak to break
chemical bonds; (2) natural electric fields in the body are orders of
magnitude greater than those that can be induced by common EMF
exposure.

On the other hand, there are reports of biological effects of EMF at
many levels of biological organization.  These studies have examined
a wide range of endpoints but, for the most part, have been
phenomenological rather than hypothesis based.  For example, in vitro
studies report effects on the cell membrane, DNA synthesis, RNA
transcription, ornithine decarboxylase activity, calcium-ion efflux,
cellular response to hormones and cancer cells.  These responses to
EMF at the cellular level display a considerable complexity including
resonant responses in frequency and field strength, complex time
dependencies, and dependence on the ambient DC magnetic field created
by the earth.

Animal systems have been used for studies under a range of electric
and magnetic field intensities for varied exposure conditions and
durations.  A few examples are studies of animal behavior with and
without drugs, melatonin synthesis in the pineal gland, and circadian
rhythms.  In general, research is needed to determine if in vivo EMF
exposure has a deleterious effect on animals and to define exposure
conditions that may be effective.

The results of epidemiological studies are controversial because some
studies report no association between residential EMF exposure and
cancer while other work suggests a possible association.  For
example, a study published in 1979 reported increased incidence of
leukemia and brain tumors in children exposed to EMF.  Criticisms of
the report led to a second study, which addressed many of the study
design problems.  This work also found a weak association between EMF
exposure and leukemia and brain tumors.  However, another
epidemiological study in 1980 failed to demonstrate an association
between residential EMF exposure and childhood leukemia.  In
addition, some but not all studies of occupational exposure of
electrical workers have suggested an increased incidence of leukemia
and brain cancer; however, the causative agent for this pattern
remains unknown.

INCLUSION OF WOMEN AND MINORITIES IN RESEARCH INVOLVING HUMAN
SUBJECTS

It is the policy of the NIH that women and members of minority groups
and their subpopulations must be included in all NIH supported
biomedical and behavioral research projects involving human subjects,
unless a clear and compelling rationale and justification is provided
that inclusion is inappropriate with respect to the health of the
subjects or the purpose of the research.  This new policy results
from the NIH Revitalization Act of 1993 (Section 492B of Public Law
103-43) and supersedes and strengthens the previous policies
(Concerning the Inclusion of Women in Study Populations, and
Concerning the Inclusion of Minorities in Study Populations), which
have been in effect since 1990.  The new policy contains some
provisions that are substantially different from the 1990 policies.

All investigators proposing research involving human subjects should
read the "NIH Guidelines for Inclusion of Women and Minorities as
Subjects in Clinical Research," which have been published in the
Federal Register of March 28, 1994 (FR 59 14508- 14513) and reprinted
in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts, Volume 23, Number 11,
March 18, 1994.

Investigators also may obtain copies of the policy from the program
staff listed under INQUIRIES.  Program staff may also provide
additional relevant information concerning the policy.

APPLICATION PROCEDURES

Applications are to be submitted on the grant application form PHS
398 (rev. 9/91) and will be accepted at the standard application
deadlines as indicated in the application kit.  Application kits are
available at most institutional offices of sponsored research and may
be obtained from the Office of Grants Information, Division of
Research Grants, National Institutes of Health, Westwood Building,
Room 449, Bethesda, MD 20892, telephone 301/435-0714.  The title and
number of the program announcement must be types in Section 2a on the
face page of the application.

Applications for the FIRST Award (R29) must include at least three
sealed letters of reference attached to the face page of the original
application.  FIRST Award (R29) applications submitted without the
required number of reference letters will be considered incomplete
and will be returned without review.

The completed original application and five legible copies must be
sent or delivered to:

Division of Research Grants
National Institutes of Health
6701 Rockledge Drive, MSC 7710
Bethesda, MD  20892-7710
Bethesda, MD  20817 (express mail)

REVIEW CONSIDERATIONS

Applications will be assigned on the basis of established Public
Health Service referral guidelines.  Applications will be reviewed
for scientific and technical merit by study sections of the Division
of Research Grants, NIH (or by the review group of the relevant
Institute, Center, or Division), in accordance with the standard NIH
peer review procedures.  Following scientific-technical review, the
applications will receive a second-level review by the appropriate
national advisory council.

As part of the initial merit review, a process (triage) may be used
by the initial review group in which applications will be determined
to be competitive or non-competitive based on their scientific merit
relative to other applications received in response to the Program
Announcement.  Applications judged to be competitive will be
discussed and be assigned a priority score.  Applications determined
to be non-competitive will be withdrawn from further consideration
and the Principal Investigator and the official signing for the
applicant organization will be notified.

Review Criteria

o  scientific, technical, or medical significance and originality of
proposed research;

o  appropriateness and adequacy of the experimental approach and
methodology proposed to carry out the research;

o  qualifications and research experience of the Principal
Investigator and staff, particularly, but not exclusively, in the
area of the proposed research;

o  availability of the resources necessary to perform the research;

o  adequacy of plans to include both genders and minorities and their
subgroups as appropriate for the scientific goals of the research.
Plans for the recruitment and retention of subjects will also be
evaluated.

o  appropriateness of the proposed budget and duration in relation to
the proposed research;

The initial review group will also examine the provisions for the
protection of human and animal subjects and the safety of the
research environment.

AWARD CRITERIA

Applications will compete for available funds with all other approved
applications assigned to that IC.  The following will be considered
in making funding decisions:  quality of the proposed project as
determined by peer review, availability of funds, and program
priority.

INQUIRIES

Inquiries are encouraged.  The opportunity to clarify any issues or
questions from potential applicants is welcome.

Direct inquiries regarding programmatic issues to:

Dr. Michael J. Galvin, Jr.
Division of Extramural Research and Training
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
P.O. Box 12233, MD 3-02
Research Triangle Park, NC  27709
Telephone:  (919) 541-7825
Email:  GALVIN@NIEHS.NIH.GOV

Dr. Eugene Streicher
Division of Fundamental Neurosciences
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
Federal Building, Room 916
Bethesda, MD  20892
Telephone:  (301) 496-5745

Dr. Felix de la Cruz
Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Branch
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
Executive Plaza North, Room 631
Bethesda, MD  20892
Telephone:  (301) 496-1383
Email:  CRUZF@HDOL.NICHD.NIH.GOV

Direct inquiries regarding fiscal matters to:

David L. Mineo
Division of Extramural Research and Training
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
P.O. Box 12233, MD 2-01
Research Triangle Park, NC  27709
Telephone:  (919) 541-1373
Email:  MINEO@NIEHS.NIH.GOV

AUTHORITY AND REGULATIONS

This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic
Assistance No. 93.113 and 93.115.  Awards are made under
authorization of the Public Health Service Act, Title IV, Part A
(Public Law 78-410, as amended by Public Law 99-158, 42 USC 241 and
285) and administered under PHS grants policies and Federal
Regulations 42 CFR 52 and 45 CFR Part 74.  This program is not
subject to the intergovernmental review requirements of Executive
Order 12372 or Health Systems Agency review.

The PHS strongly encourages all grant recipients to provide a smoke-
free workplace and promote the non-use of all tobacco products.  This
is consistent with the PHS mission to protect and advance the
physical and mental health of the American people.

.

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