2013 Candidate for Board/Engineering: John F. B. Bolte, The Netherlands

John Bolte, PhD in Physics (2003) and registered Epidemiologist (2011), works as a senior scientist at the Centre for Sustainability, Environment and Health of the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) of the Netherlands. He conducts a course on occupational exposure to extremely low frequency EMF at the universities of Delft, Leiden and Utrecht. He (co-)authored 20 peer reviewed papers on personal exposure, non-specific health effects and effects on ecological systems. He was the principal investigator in the 3-year Dutch study: EMF exposure characterisation using personal exposimeters and an Activity Exposure Matrix (2007-2011). To prepare for implementation of the original EU workers Directive, EU Directive 2004/40/EC, on the protection of workers, he has, on commission of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment, investigated and analysed the exposure in the Dutch working environments. He built a classification system for exposure in the working environment and provided a list of possible measures for the protection of workers. He was a member of the management committee of COST action BM0704 (2008-2012) 'Emerging EMF Technologies and Health Risk Management' and a member of WG1 on measurements and WG3 on epidemiology.

Currently he leads several measurement projects, a.o. with the Dutch Radio Communications Agency and Public Health England on reusing radiofrequency measurements done for ether regulation in epidemiological research. Also he is the PI in a measurement project on validating modeled exposure to overhead powerlines. He participates in several epidemiological surveys on potential associations between radiofrequency EMF and aspecific health effects. He also participates in projects with Utrecht University on occupational exposure to extremely low frequency EMF and in projects with Leiden University on ecological effects of radiofrequency EMF.

Mission Statement

Though a lot of in vivo and in vitro research on animals has been performed, one of the virtually untouched topics is the potential ecological effects of radiofrequency and extremely low frequency EMF on flora and fauna in their living environments. One of the main reasons is that in contrast with the research on effects on humans, with ecological effects nor standardized protocols on the field research nor on the analysis exists. These ecological effects are relatively easy to study and may not only help understanding the effects on humans, but are also important for their secondary effects on human society, e.g. the effects on pollen distributing insects may influence the production of fruits and harvests. I’d like to put focus on this topic and to develop the research on ecological effects to a comparable level as on the effects on humans.

The past decennium in several countries (a.o. Belgium, France, Germany, Switzerland, The Netherlands) personal exposure measurements have been performed, following that improved exposure models have been developed. However, the radiofrequency measurements, and most of the models, still focus on a couple of broadband measurements, not taking into account the whole spectrum, also the types of personal exposimeters still register with a large uncertainty. As these data are necessary for exposure models in epidemiological research, I think the society should stimulate the development of cheaper exposimeters capable of measuring a broader spectrum with less uncertainty.