European Communities Progress towards Electromagnetic Fields Exposure Standards in the Workplace
The regulatory activity of the European Community (EC) on protecting humans from non-ionizing radiation dates back to 1970. That year the Commission’s Directorate General for Employment, Social Affairs and Education was given the responsibility for protecting human health. A Working Group of experts was established and a technical document containing the basic restrictions for health protection from microwaves was prepared. This document was converted into a proposal for a directive to be submitted to the Council for approval. This proposal, aimed to protect workers and the general public from microwave radiation hazards, was published in the Official Journal of the European Communities in 1980. In 1981 the European Parliament and the Economic Social Committee made a positive evaluation, but, in spite of that, the proposed Directive has never been approved by the Council of Ministers. From 1983 to 1984 the proposal on microwaves was modeled and aligned according to the framework of other Council Directives on the protection of workers from hazards due to exposure to other chemical, biological and physical agents. The introduction of basic limits defined in terms of Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) was the peculiar improvement of workers protection philosophy adopted by the EC at that time. The basic restriction for SAR was defined at the value of 0.4 W/kg averaged over any period of six minutes and over the whole body mass and at the value of 4 W/kg for one gram of tissue. However, no agreement was reached on the derived limits expressed in terms of electric and magnetic field intensity or power density.
KeywordsMagnetic Field Intensity Physical Agent Personal Protective Equipment Basic Restriction Specific Absorption Rate
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