Policies & Issues

Electromagnetic Fields Directive (EMF)


What is it ?

Electro-Magnetic Fields (EMF) can have natural causes (sun, lightning) as well as many artificial causes in the wide spectrum of what is scientifically called ‘non-ionising radiations and waves’. These come from everyday modern life and the plethora of electrical and electronic equipment and applications, from electric power lines to mobile telephony.

Protection of the general public: In 1999 the Council of the EU issued a Recommendation 519/1999/EC with restrictions and reference levels on the exposure of the general public to electromagnetic fields (0 Hz- 300 GHz), based on scientists’ guidelines (ICNIRP*).

Protection of workers: 20 years after it was proposed by the European Commission, the Directive 2013/35/EU “on the minimum health and safety requirements regarding the exposure of workers to the risks arising from physical agents (electromagnetic fields)" was enacted. Member states had until 1 July 2016 to transpose it into national law. As a consequence, the unsuccessful Directive 2004/40/EC was repealed from 29 June 2013.  The 2013 Directive’s application depends, however, on a non-binding implementation guide which was recently completed.


Why is it important?

Despite a long-standing investigation project co-ordinated at international level by the WHO, to date there is no scientific evidence of a direct hazardous effect on health from exposure to electromagnetic fields in the overwhelming majority of civil and professional exposure situations. Nevertheless, it is important to reassure the general public and workers that manufacturers and employers apply a regulated approach of precaution in the making available on the EU market and use of machinery and other electrical or radio equipment.

These requirements on EMF exposure serve as a reference for the application of the Low Voltage (electrical safety), Machinery and Radio equipment Directives.


How we’ve been engaged

Orgalime continues to monitor this issue closely together with its sister organisation on the employers’ side, CEEMET, in order to ensure that protection from EMF exposure remains indisputable, harmonised throughout the EU, practically applicable with the least administrative burden for manufacturers, without ambiguities for authorities, fair for all (manufacturers, users, infrastructure managers), transparent and thus, accountable, as it is necessary to restore a climate of mutual confidence amongst all stakeholders.


Useful links


Related issue position papers

Orgalime comments on Commission "LVD UPDATE.2"

13 December, 2002
Policies & Issues:
Low Voltage Directive (LVD)
13 December, 2002
Policies & Issues:
Low Voltage Directive (LVD)

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