Document of the NRPB - Advice on Limiting Exposure to Elecromagnetic Fields (0-300GHz)

Document of the NRPB - Advice on Limiting Exposure to Elecromagnetic Fields (0-300GHz)


The National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB) has the responsibility for providing advice on exposure guidelines for electromagnetic fields (EMFs). As part of its policy of ongoing evaluation of scientific evidence and health risk assessment, NRPB has reviewed its advice on limiting exposure to EMFs and, at the request of the Department of Health, has particularly addressed the issues of uncertainty in the science and aspects of precaution.

As a result of this review, NRPB recommends the adoption of the guidelines of the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) for limiting exposure to EMFs.

In its review of the science, NRPB has drawn upon advice from individual UK and international scientific experts and from published comprehensive reviews by expert groups. It sought advice from an ad hoc expert group on weak electric field effects in the body and gave careful consideration to the views expressed in response to a consultation document on its proposed guidelines issued in May 2003. NRPB has listened to the concerns raised at a public open meeting on power lines held in December 2002 and is also aware of issues raised at the open meetings held around the country by the Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones (IEGMP).

Uncertainties, particularly in relation to the responses of different groups of individuals, result in a range of possible values for restrictions on exposure. The review of the science, the need to adopt a cautious approach, and recognition of the benefits of international harmonisation combine in the recommendation to adopt the ICNIRP EMF exposure guidelines. These guidelines incorporate two tiers of protection: one set of values for occupational exposure and another, more restrictive, set for general public exposure.

NRPB is committed to monitoring the results of further research related to effects of EMFs on health and to revising its advice when appropriate.

There remain concerns about possible effects of exposure to EMFs and, in particular, power frequency magnetic fields. The view of NRPB is that government should consider the possible need for further precautionary measures