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Limits

There are no compulsory international safety standards for the exposure to electromagnetic fields. Instead, various international limit guidelines, which have been developed on different bases, are implemented in each country into its national recommendations or legally binding regulations. An international harmonization of limits and measurement protocols, needed to verify the limits, has been ongoing for decades. This is, among others, supported by the World Health Organization (WHO) (Link). Compliance with the limits is monitored by national authorities. In Germany this is the task of the Federal Network Agency (FNA, see Conformity assessment by FNA, Monitoring of the FNA).

The WHO is planning to provide a current overview of the worldwide standards for limiting exposure to electromagnetic fields in its Global Health Observatory (GHO) web portal (see WHO International EMF Project Progress Report 2014, p. 13). In Europe, there are different EMF guidelines, such as the Council Recommendation 1999/519/EC of the European Union, which have been implemented in national law in each country. In Germany, the compliance with the limits in the low-frequency and high-frequency field ranges is regulated by law in the Twenty-sixth Ordinance Implementing the Federal Immission Control Act (Ordinance on electromagnetic fields - 26. BlmSchV).

EMF limits can either determine the limits of emissions from a device or a system, or the limits of human exposure to fields (immission) which are produced by such devices in the environment or at the workplace. Therefore, in the application of limit values, reference levels (in the case of emission) and basic restrictions (in the case of immission) have to be distinguished. Depending on the frequency range, various physical quantities are used to specify these limits (see Basic restrictions and Reference levels).