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EMF Studies

19 November 2014

Risk Management Policies and Practices Regarding Radio Frequency Electromagnetic Fields: Results from a WHO Survey

This blog is in the process of grouping EMF studies. We signal out this one, where Emilie van Deventer, responsible for the radiation program at WHO, is an author. We were troubled by the conclusion [below] and are awaiting comments from others on this study:  "...attention should be given to unjustified impediments in the development of RF communication technologies due to restrictions that would go beyond compliance with well-grounded health and safety requirements. Such undue restrictions would have important consequences because these technologies contribute heavily to health, economic and social development in all parts of the world, especially in less-industrialized countries and in remote areas."

Risk Management Policies and Practices Regarding Radio Frequency Electromagnetic Fields:  Results from a WHO Survey
Radiat Prot Dosimetry (2014)doi: 10.1093/rpd/ncu324First published online: November 13, 2014

This article is Open Access
1. Amit Dhungel1,*,
2. Denis Zmirou-Navier1,2 and
3. Emilie van Deventer3

+Author Affiliations
1. 1Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, EHESP School of Public Health, Avenue du Professeur Léon Bernard CS 74312, 35043 Rennes, France
2. 2Lorraine University School of Medicine, av. de la Forêt de Haye, 54505 Vandoeuvre-Les-Nancy, France
3. 3Radiation Programme, Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland
1. *Corresponding author: amitdgl@hotmail.com

Abstract

This study aims to describe current risk management practices and policies across the world in relation to personal exposures from devices emitting radiofrequency fields, environmental exposures from fixed installations and exposures in the work environment. Data from 86 countries representing all WHO regions were collected through a survey. The majority of countries (76.8 %) had set exposure limits for mobile devices, almost all (90.7 %) had set public exposure limits for fixed installations and 76.5 % had specified exposure limits for personnel in occupational settings. A number of other policies had been implemented at the national level, ranging from information provisions on how to reduce personal exposures and restrictions of usage for certain populations, such as children or pregnant women to prevention of access around base stations. This study suggests that countries with higher mobile subscriptions tend to have set radiofrequency exposure limits for mobile devices and to have provisions on exposure measurements about fixed installations.

Conclusion

Several drivers shape risk management policies in a certain social, economic and political context. For this reason, there is always more than one-way to handle an environmental health issue such as exposure to radiofrequency EMF. Further, when devising policy options aimed at reducing or preventing known or suspected risks, regulators and policy-makers also consider the opportunities offered by the development of RF technologies because risk management decisions are always tradeoffs between benefits and costs of different types. Among these costs, attention should be given to unjustified impediments in the development of RF communication technologies due to restrictions that would go beyond compliance with well-grounded health and safety requirements. Such undue restrictions would have important consequences because these technologies contribute heavily to health, economic and social development in all parts of the world, especially in less-industrialized countries and in remote areas.

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http://rpd.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2014/11/13/rpd.ncu324.long


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