Sensitivity of different population groups

In order to protect the population against possible health effects of electromagnetic fields limit values are defined (cf. chapter limit values). Therefore different limit values apply to occupational and public exposure. The limit values for the general public are significantly lower in comparison to occupational limit values. An additional safety factor is applied to the limit values of occupational exposure to assure the safety of people of different ages and with different physical health, even during permanent 24-hour exposure.

The question of whether children as well as teenagers are especially sensitive to electromagnetic fields has not yet been scientifically clarified (German Federal Environmental Agency 2004, BfS). Likewise, there is no scientific evidence that elderly people react more sensitively to electromagnetic fields.

Until further research has been carried out, the German Federal Office for Radiation Protection recommends precautionary measures for radiofrequency electromagnetic fields of mobile communication technologies (e.g. mobile phones or WLAN, German Federal Office for Radiation Protection) or extremely low frequency magnetic fields (e.g. of power lines or household appliances), German Federal Office for Radiation Protection). Mobi Kids, the collaborative research project comprising 14 countries is investigating whether radiofrequency electromagnetic fields of mobile communication technologies increases the risk of brain tumor (Mobi-Kids). An increased risk of childhood leukemia in association with exposure to extremely low frequency magnetic below the limit values has not yet been clarified and research on this topic is, for example conducted within the European Community project ARIMMORA (Advanced Research on Interaction Mechanisms of electroMagnetic exposures with Organisms for Risk Assessment (ARIMMORA); Cancer and childhood leukemia).