What EMF Level is Safe?
By Michael R Neuert, MA, BSME, ©2020
Possible Safety Levels to Consider
(Notes 1 & 4)
Radio Frequency Fields or
Unit of Measurement in USA
(V or VAC)
per meter (V/m)
|Lowest Level Linked to Cancer 5, 6||1.0 (2.0) 5||unknown||2000 6||0.2 6||0.87 6|
|Average Level in Homes 7||0.5 - 1.0||0.5 - 2.0||1 - 5000||0.0001 - 0.5||0.02 - 1.4|
|Building Biology, Severe Concern 8||1.0||0.1 (sleep)||10||0.001||0.061|
|BioInitiative Report 9||1.0||n/a||3||0.0003||0.034|
|General Public Precautionary 10||0.5||1.0 (sleep 0.5)||100||0.01||0.19|
|EMF Hypersensitivity Advice 11||0.1||0.1||1||0.0001||0.02|
|Official FCC Safety Limit 12, 13||n/a||n/a||10,000,000||1000 13||61.4 13|
|ICNIRP for General Public 12||2000||n/a||10,000,000||1000 13||61.4 13|
5 The Lowest Level Linked to Cancer for Magnetic Fields: The strongest evidence comes from the Swedish epidemiological study which reported increased leukemia for children at levels of 2.0 mG or more (Feychting & Ahlbom, 1993). And a German study has linked exposures as low as 1.0 mG to reduced survival rates of children trying to recover from leukemia (Svendsen, Weikopf, Kaatsch & Schuz, 2007).
6 The Lowest Level Linked to Cancer for RF is from two Australian studies of radio/TV broadcast towers that found increased childhood leukemia at levels as low as 0.2 microwatts/cm². The first (Hocking, 1996) found that leukemia death rates were more than double for the exposed children. The second (Hocking, 2000) found that children trying to recover from leukemia were twice as likely to survive in a lower exposure home.
7 The Average Level in Homes for magnetic fields is derived from nationwide research studies and confirmed in my own testing experience. The average levels for electric fields and RF fields are estimates from my own 28 years of professional testing in the San Francisco Bay area.
8 The Building Biologists’ Severe Concern levels are from the “Building Biology Evaluation Guidelines” published by the Institute for Baubiology. (Go to https://buildingbiology.com/site/wp-content/uploads/richtwerte-2015-englisch.pdf .)
9 The BioInitiative Report Recommendations are from the 2012 update of the “BioInitiative Report: A Rationale for a Biologically-Based Public Exposure Standard for Electromagnetic Fields”. (Go to www.bioinitiative.org. For a list of the RF studies reporting adverse health effects and the associated RF levels, go to https://bioinitiative.org/rf-color-charts/ .)
10 The General Public Precautionary levels are my own offering to healthy concerned clients based on my own understanding of the EMF research, and leaning towards caution. For example, for magnetic fields, to offer some margin of safety below the 1.0 mG linked to cancer, I might suggest a safety level of 0.5 mG.
11 The EMF Hypersensitivity Advice levels are my own suggestions – based upon anecdotal evidence by EMF consultants (like myself) who often find it necessary to reduce EMFs to these levels in order for most highly sensitive people to report relief of their symptoms. However, there is no guarantee that these levels will be low enough for any particular individual.
12 The FCC Safety Limit is the US “Maximum Permissible Exposure for the General Public” in FCC/OET Bulletin #56 (www.fcc.gov/Bureaus/Engineering_Technology/Documents/bulletins/oet56/oet56e4.pdf). The ICNIRP Guidelines are from the commonly cited 2010 publication by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (http://www.icnirp.org/cms/upload/publications/ICNIRPLFgdl.pdf).
13 The official safety level depends on frequency. Value shown is for RF frequencies of 1500 MHz (1.5 GHz) and higher.
What Are the Health Concerns?
Cancer & Other Health Risks
Published studies from around the world have linked electromagnetic fields (EMFs) to increased risks for several types of cancer — as well as increased stress, suppression of the immune system, cellular and hormonal changes, and even depression and suicide. As of 2020, several thousand studies have reported important biological effects related to EMFs. Note 1
Specific Illnesses Linked to EMFs
Some of the specific illnesses include leukemia, lymphoma, brain tumors, melanoma, breast cancer, asthma, Alzheimer’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease, miscarriage and birth defects. Anecdotally, EMFs are often associated with sleep problems, headache, fatigue, anxiety, confusion, irritability, memory loss, dizziness, itchy or burning skin, tinnitus, and many other symptoms. Note 1
A variety of debilitating symptoms are being reported by people with serious health issues related to sensitivity from exposure to EMFs. This is sometimes also called “Electrical Sensitivity” (ES) or “Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity” (EHS). As an EMF engineer and consultant since 1992, I have worked with thousands of individuals who reported troubling EMF symptoms and sensitivities.
Medical Science and EMF Sensitivity
Today, although several thousand scientific studies have reported biological effects related to EMFs – studies that can explain the biological mechanisms behind these symptoms – EMF sensitivity is generally not yet accepted or understood by the mainstream medical system. However, it is becoming increasingly recognized by alternative medicine and integrative health systems. Note 1 Please click this link for special detailed information about Electromagnetic Sensitivity.
Special Note:Note 1 I am engineer, and not a medical doctor. I cannot diagnose or treat any EMF-related health concerns or symptoms. Please consult with your own doctor or other health professional regarding EMFs and your health.