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Exposure to electromagnetic fields
This recommendation establishes a common framework for giving the general public a high level of protection against the potential harmful effects of exposure to electromagnetic fields, particularly by limiting exposure to sources of non-ionising radiation.
Council Recommendation of 12 July 1999 on the limitation of exposure of the general public to electromagnetic fields (0 Hz to 300 GHz) [Official Journal L 199 of 30.7.1999].
Basic restrictions and reference levels
The recommendation advocates a system of basic restrictions * and reference levels * for limiting overall exposure of the general public to electromagnetic fields * and ensuring an increased level of protection.
Since there is a safety factor between the basis restrictions and the frequency levels which could have an effect on health, this recommendation covers possible long-term effects in the whole frequency range.
The annexes contain details of the basic restrictions to which the Member States are expected to adhere as regards public exposure. These basic restrictions are designed to take account of uncertainties related to individual sensitivities and environmental conditions, and of the diversity in the age and health status of the general public.
The annexes also contain the reference levels which the Member States are encouraged to use for the purpose of ensuring compliance with the basic restrictions. They set out the formulae to be used for assessing situations where simultaneous exposure to fields of different frequencies occurs.
Action to be taken by the Member States
The Member States ought to guarantee a high level of health protection against exposure to electromagnetic fields by:
- adopting a framework of basic restrictions and reference levels in line with the recommendation;
- implementing measures in respect of sources or practices giving rise to exposure of the general public to electromagnetic fields.
The Member states are also encouraged to:
- evaluate situations involving exposure from sources with multiple frequencies;
- take account, where appropriate, of criteria such as the duration of exposure, the parts of the body exposed, and the age and health status of the persons concerned;
- consider both the risks and the benefits in deciding whether action is needed, when they adopt measures in respect of exposure of the general public to electromagnetic fields.
The Member States should provide, in an appropriate format, information to the general public on the health impact of electromagnetic fields and the measures taken in this connection. They are also encouraged to promote research into the effects of electromagnetic fields on human health.
Action to be taken by the Commission
It is hoped that the Commission will:
- work towards the establishment of European standards for exposure reference levels;
- foster research into the short- and medium-term effects of exposure to electromagnetic fields;
- continue to participate in the work of international organisations competent in this field;
- promote the establishment of an international consensus on the guidelines and advice relating to preventive and protective measures.
The Member States should forward to the Commission reports on the national guidelines adopted and the measures taken in the context of this recommendation. These legislative measures have been published in an implementation report (pdf ).