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The current state of science and legislation 

In regards to electromagnetic fields it is confirmed that there is no evidence of damage to persons exposed to these types of emissions and that the compliance of the limit of 100 uT, fixed by the advisor to the E.U, following the Recommendation of the European Union, dated 12 July 1999 [PDF] (*), guarantees the protection of the health of employees and consumers.

This is backed by the latest research conducted on the subject. The following points are  the most pertinent due to their scientific quality:

International scopes:

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) published in 2007 a report  entitled "Electromagnetic fields and public health: exposure to extremely low frequency fields".
    This publication concludes that there is no need for any concern relating to health in connection with extremely low frequency fields and denies any casual link between exposure to low-frequency magnetic fields and carcinogenic effects on health.
    Likewise, and based on the scientific evidence, this report argues that it is not necessary to reduce the international  exposure limits in force, and there are no concrete guarantees that reducing current exposure levels will lead to a better health of the population.
  • The International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), composed of a team of independent scientific experts, studies and proposes recommendations regarding the protection against radiation, including ultrasonic and electromagnetic.
    The result of the studies and revisions proposed by the ICNIRP, in combination with analysis of apparent risks in conjunction with the World Health Organisation (WHO), are shown in the Exposure Guidelines, which establish the limits of exposure to different types of radiation.
  • Those Guidelines are used by Different agencies, such as the European Commission, for drafting legislation to protect the public or workers, or to regulate emission limits for manufacturers of equipment  that emits non-ionizing raditation. In 2010, the guide "Guidelines for Limiting Exposure to Time-Varying Electric and Magnetic Fields (1 Hz - 100 kHz). Health Physics 99 (6) :818-836", was published, which states that  “the limits in this guideline are based on acute effects related to solid evidence; the information currently available indicates that complying with these limits protects workers and the general public from the adverse effects of exposure to low-frequency magnetic fields. The epidemiological and biological data on chronic diseases were carefully reviewed and it was concluded that there is no clear and convincing evidence that they are causally related to exposure to low frequency electromagnetic fields”.

European scope:

  • The Council of Ministers of Health of the European Union published in 1999  "Council Recommendation limiting the public exposure to electromagnetic fields 1999/519/EC", setting the limit of magnetic field to 100 microtesla for the domestic electricity supply (at a frequency of 50 Hz).
    As set forth in this Recommendation, the limit of 100 microtesla has been set with a very wide margin of security, following the principle of precaution and considering their long-term effects.
    This recommendation is reviewed periodically, ensuring its foundation in the latest scientific evidence. The European Commission concluded in its "Report from the Commission on the application of Council recommendation of 12 July 1999 (1999/519/EC) on the limitation of the Exposure of the General Public to Electromagnetic Fields (0 Hz to 300 GHz). Second Implementation Report 2002-2007 ", published in 2008, that there is no  scientific evidence showing a need to review the basic restrictions and reference levels established in the Council Recommendation.
  • Subsequently, in January 2009, the Scientific Committee on Emerging  and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENHIR) published its latest opinion entitled "Health Effects of Exposure to EMF" after reviewing the scientific basis and therefore the suitability of exposure limits. It keeps intact the previously idea in 2007 that found "no consistent scientific evidence that showed the need to review the basic restrictions and reference levels proposed in the Recommendation of the Council".

Spanish scope:

  • Professor of Magnetism of Matter and Vice-Chairman of the IUPAP Magnetism (International Union of Pure and Applied Physics), Antonio Hernando Grande, on 12 January 2001, produced the "Report on the recommendations on the electromagnetic field exposure to European Community Council dated 12 July 1999 ", which proves that the EU recommendation 1999 (paragraph 9 of the preamble) is to protect the health of citizens and that it is especially applicable to areas where citizens pass a significant period of time. Therefore, it is intended for normal exposures, such as for citizens in their daily lives. The reference level (or limit exposure) that ensures compliance with the basic restriction, is 100 microtesla (for a frequency of 50 Hz), as noted, it is enclosed  in Annex III, Table 2, 4th line of the aforementioned recommendation of the European Union, as justified in the physical expert’s report by Professor Hernando, which contains an explanation.
  • The Ministry of Public Health and Food Safety published in May 2001, the report “Electromagnétic fields and public health”, this report states that after investigation, made by experts established by the ministry, electromagnetic fields do not cause adverse health effects within limits established by the Recommendation of the Council of Ministers of Health of the EU (1999/519/EC) on public exposure to electromagnétics fields from 0 Hz to 300 Ghz, and that compliance with that recomendation  is enough to ensure the protection of public health.
  • The Spanish government published the Royal Decree 1066/2001 of 28 September, which approves the Regulation establishing conditions for the protection of public radio, radio emissions restrictions and measures of health protection against radio emissions. This regulation was passed in Spain by the Ministries of Health and Science and Technology to prevent social alarm regarding the issue of electromagnetism, and it  endorses and directly  applies the aforementioned  Recommendation of the European Union, 12 July 1999, adopting the criteria for the protection of public health (Preface), establishing the same limits of exposure and basic restrictions, with identical Annexes or Tables of limits, and ratifying the aforementioned limit of 100 microteslas, at 50 Hz.
  • Subsequently, in October 2001, the Spanish Royal Academy of Exact, Physical and Natural sciences, issued an opinion on "Possible effects of residential electromagnetic fields on human health", which has comprehensively taken into account, over 100  national and international scientific reports on the subject (including the "Karolinska Report," 1992, not ratified by the Karolinska Institute itself to date)
  • Subsequently, in 2003, the Ministry of Health developed through a committee of experts, the technical report "Current evaluation of electromagnetic fields in relation to public health", which explicitly accepts the levels proposed in the European Recommendation mentioned above and confirms that its compliance ensures the health of people exposed to this radiation.

(*) Spanish version.

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