ICNIRP EMF Guidelines

ICNIRP guidelines are designed for short term EMF exposure protection at high intensity. It is supposed to protect from physical effect such as muscle twitching. It is not fit for purpose when it comes to evaluating biological impact of a long term EMF exposure at lower intensity. Yet, it is still the only standard adopted by the UK government and is used as the legal reference for general public exposure limits in the UK. 

Background 

 

ICNIRP is an association registered in Munich, Germany, as a non-profit organization with a scientific mission (Statutes). It is formally recognized as an official collaborating non-state actor by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Labour Organization (ILO). ICNIRP is consulted by the European Commission. ICNIRP is linked to many organizations engaged in NIR protection worldwide through diverse collaborative projects. In 1992 ICNIRP was chartered as an independent commission to continue the work of the International Non-Ionizing Radiation Committee (INIRC) of the International Radiation Protection Association (IRPA). As per its Charter, ICNIRP was incorporated as a non-profit making scientific body and as such was registered in the register of associations (Vereinsregister) in Germany (Statutes). Its Secretariat is since then based in Munich. 

ICNIRP’s beginnings go back to 1973 when, during the 3rd International Congress of the International Radiation Protection Association (IRPA), for the first time, a session on non-ionizing radiation protection was organized. IRPA is the international body representing radiation protection professionals world-wide. This was followed in 1974 by the formation of a Working Group on non-ionizing radiation and in 1975 by a Study Group to review the field of non-ionizing radiation. During the 4th IRPA International Congress in 1977 the International Non-Ionizing Radiation Committee (INIRC) was created. This Committee was the immediate forerunner of ICNIRP, which was chartered as an independent Commission in 1992 during the 7th IRPA International Congress in Montreal. 

 

Application 

The ICNIRP guidelines are still based on over twenty years old research, which focused on short term physical effects at high intensity EMF exposure. In reality, this standard has not been updated since its publication back in 1997. Since that time, hundreds of independent studies have been completed and we have learned a lot more about the long term impacts of electromagnetic fields on humans as well on all life on the Earth.  The truth is, the ICNIRP EMF guidelines do not reflect the latest scientific findings, and frankly, it is not fit for purpose, as it does not consider long term exposure effects at the biological level at all. The reference level mentioned in this standard is 100uT(microtesla). This is an extremely high value, considering that in areas located right below a 400kV power lines the magnetic field strength will be in a region of 3-7uT(microtesla). This is about as high as it gets in any areas accessible by the general public.