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20) Do exposure standards for static electric and magnetic fields exist?




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This article is from the Static Electromagnetic Fields and Cancer FAQ, by John Moulder jmoulder@its.mcw.edu and the Medical College of Wisconsin with numerous contributions by others.

20) Do exposure standards for static electric and magnetic fields exist?

Yes. A number of governmental and professional organizations have
developed exposure standards, or have modified or reaffirmed their
previous standards. For pacemakers and implanted medical device
standards also see Q22.

In 1987, the US Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory developed and
published guidelines for personnel exposure to static magnetic fields
[54]. Under their guideline, people with pacemakers and prosthetic
devices are limited to a peak field of 1 mT, training and medical
surveillance is required for persons exposed to fields above 50 mT, and
time-weighted average fields are limited to 60 mT to the whole-body and
600 mT to the arms and legs. Peak exposures are limited to 2000 mT.

In 1987, the World Health Organization (WHO) published health criteria
for workers exposed to static magnetic fields [60]. Their report
concluded that: "from the available data it can be concluded that short-
term exposure to static magnetic fields of less than 2 T [2000 mT] does
not present a health hazard."

In late 1993, the British National Radiation Protection Board (NRPB)
issued exposure guidelines for static fields [58]. For static magnetic
fields, the limits recommended are 200 mT averaged over 24 hours, 2000
mT as a maximum whole-body field, and 5000 mT as a maximum to arms and
legs. For static electrical fields the limit recommended is 25 kV/m.
This standard applies to both residential and occupational exposure.

Also in 1994, the American Conference of Governmental Industrial
Hygienists (ACGIH) issued a standard for exposure to static magnetic
fields [59]. The ACGIH static magnetic field limit is 0.5 mT for
pacemaker users, and for everyone else the time-weighted limit is 60 mT
for whole body exposure and 600 mT for exposure of the extremities.
Because of the nature of ACGIH this standard is applied only to
occupational settings.

In 1994, the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation
Protection (ICNIRP) published guidelines for exposure to static magnetic
fields [50]. For the general public the magnetic field exposure
standard is 40 mT for continuous exposure, except for persons with
cardiac pacemakers and other implanted electronic devices, where the
standard is lower (0.5 mT). For occupational exposure, the standard is
200 mT for continuous exposure, 2000 mT for short-term whole-body
exposure, and 5000 mT for exposure to arms and legs.

 

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next page: 21) What is the basis for the safety standards set by Lawrence Livermore, WHO, ACGIH, NRPB, and ICNIRP? (Static Electromagnetic Fields and Cancer)