Welcome to the electromagnetic shielding Technical Steering Committee
What are guidelines based on?
An important point to make is that a guideline limit is not a precise delineation between safety and hazard. There is no one level above which exposures become hazardous to health; instead, the potential risk to human health gradually increases with higher exposure levels. Guidelines indicate that, below a given threshold, electromagnetic field exposure is safe according to scientific knowledge. However, it does not automatically follow that, above the given limit, exposure is harmful.Nevertheless, to be able to set limits on exposure, scientific studies need to identify the threshold level at which first health effects become apparent. As humans cannot be used for experiments, guidelines critically rely on animal studies. Subtle behavioural changes in animals at low levels often precede more drastic changes in health at higher levels. Abnormal behaviour is a very sensitive indicator of a biological response and has been selected as the lowest observable adverse health effect. Guidelines recommend the prevention of electromagnetic field exposure levels, at which behavioural changes become noticeable.This threshold level for behaviour is not equal to the guideline limit. ICNIRP applies a safety factor of 10 to derive occupational exposure limits, and a factor of 50 to obtain the guideline value for the general public. Therefore, for example, in the radiofrequency and microwave frequency ranges, the maximum levels you might experience in the environment or in your home are at least 50 times lower than the threshold level at which first behavioural changes in animals become apparent.

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