WHO (the World Health Organization) is the directing and coordinating authority for health within the United Nations system.

The WHO position on human exposure to EMF is to comply with the ICNIRP guidelines for short-term high-level exposure. 

The WHO recommendations for long-term, low-level exposure to ELF (extremely low frequency , defined as <100 kHz) fields, based on a precautionary approach, include the following : 

  • Provided that the health, social and economic benefits of electric power are not compromised, implementing very low-cost precautionary procedures to reduce exposures is reasonable and warranted.
  • Policy-makers and community planners should implement very low-cost measures when constructing new facilities and designing new equipment including appliances.
  • Changes to engineering practice to reduce ELF exposure from equipment or devices should be considered, provided that they yield other additional benefits, such as greater safety, or involve little or no cost.
  • When changes to existing ELF sources are contemplated, ELF field reduction should be considered alongside safety, reliability and economic aspects.

In 1996 WHO established the International EMF Project. The project will assess health and environmental effects of exposure to static and time varying electric and magnetic fields in the frequency range 0-300 GHz.

The International EMF Project has compiled the EMF World Wide Standards Database with EMF exposure limits for different countries. To harmonize the EMF standards the project has also developed a framework for harmonization of EMF standards.

Published February 29, 2012

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Coordinator: Andreas Vogl, SINTEF FP7
Duration: 1st May 2011 - 1st February 2014
EU contract FP7-SST-265772 in the Sustainable Surface Transport call in Framework Program 7.