What are Electromagnetic Fields (EMF)?
The word EMF is a general term that includes radio waves (electromagnetic waves with a specific magnetic:electric ratio of 1 milligauss:30 V/m), and an electric or magnetic field whether oscillating or not- even if it is a pure electric field such as from static electricity, or a purely magnetic field, such as from an electromagnetic (AC or DC) source. Radio Frequency (RF) is more specific than EMF.
In our modern world, we are exposed to EMF from a variety of sources: High Voltage Power Lines, Cellular Phone Towers, Electric Meters, WiFi Routers, and even common household appliances.
There are two types of fields that are of most concern: Magnetic and Radio Frequency.
Any time an electrical current is flowing through a wire, there is an associated magnetic field that is generated. The strength of this field is directly proportional to the amount of current- we would expect to see higher levels in close proximity to High Voltage power lines, near an electrical meter and the service panel in a home, or near wiring running through the walls to a high-demand appliance such as a clothes dryer or electric hot water heater.
Radio & Microwave
Radio and Microwave frequency EMFs are generated by cellular phone towers, including 5G antennae, WiFi Routers, cellular phones, and some household appliances. Elevated RF levels from standard cellular phone towers are measurable more than ¼
Electric fields are of lesser concern, but if they read over 50 (standard or weighted) on a metal surface, like a refrigerator door, it could present a shock hazard and the grounding should be checked for safety. Sometimes an elevated electric field reading from an appliance can be significantly reduced by simply reversing the polarity of the plug.
Many different EMF exposure limit standards have been published. Below is a table of some of the published national and international standards. There are many variables that determine the basis of these standards, including EMF frequency, length of exposure, and affected body part(s). One thing to note is that the IEEE and most western European limits are based on the thermal impact of EMF on the human body, whereas the Russian and eastern European limits focus more on dose over extended exposure periods.
|Magnetic (mG)||Electric (V/m)||RF (mW/m2)|
 SanPiN 188.8.131.522-00, Sanitary and epidemiological requirements for residential buildings and premises
 GB 8702-2014, Controlling limits for electromagnetic environment
 ICNIRP GUIDELINES FOR LIMITING EXPOSURE TO TIME‐VARYING ELECTRIC AND MAGNETIC FIELDS (1HZ – 100 kHZ)
 ICNIRP GUIDELINES FOR LIMITING EXPOSURE TO TIME‐VARYING ELECTRIC, MAGNETIC AND ELECTROMAGNETIC FIELDS (UP TO 300 GHZ)
 IEEE Std C95.6™-2002, IEEE Standard for Safety Levels with Respect to Human Exposure to Electromagnetic Fields, 0-3 kHz
 IEEE Std C95.1™-2005, IEEE Standard for Safety Levels with Respect to Human Exposure to Radio Frequency Electromagnetic Fields, 3 kHz to 300 GHz