Electromagnetic fields – EMC

Electromagnetic fields consist of a combination of the electric field and the magnetic field, and are propagated in the air in the form of electromagnetic waves. Present everywhere in our environment, they are invisible to the human eye and can be attributed to the earth itself and natural events (like the electric field generated by lightning).

In addition to natural sources, the electromagnetic spectrum also includes the fields generated by man-made sources, like: radio-television and mobile telephone antennae, industrial induction heaters, radio-frequency thermoset adhesives, microwave ovens, induction stove tops, radiation therapy, power lines and electrical panels, shopping centre anti-shoplifting barriers, welders, spot welders, etc.

Legislative framework

The 2013/35/EU Directive of 26 June 2013, which replaced the previous Directive 2004/40/EC, indicates the minimum safety and health prescriptions concerning the exposure of workers to risks deriving from physical agents (electromagnetic fields) with particular reference to electromagnetic radiations of frequencies between 0 Hz and 300 GHz.

The European Directive 2013/35/EU was incorporated in Italy with Italian Legislative Decree 159 of 1 August 2016 and therefore must be used as a reference for identifying the action values for the exposure of workers to electromagnetic fields.

The above-mentioned Italian law was, in fact, incorporated into Lgs. Decree 81/2008 to Title VIII (Physical Agents) – Chapter IV (Protection of workers from risks of exposure to electromagnetic fields)

Therefore, the employer must carry out an evaluation of the risk for the health and safety of his/her own workers exposed to electromagnetic fields according to the criteria and limits identified by Italian Legislative Decree 81/08.

Health risks

Only recently have we begun to study the potentially harmful effects of electromagnetic fields on human health, distinguishing acute (when they are manifested over a brief period) and chronic effects (when they can manifest themselves, even after a long period, as a consequence of exposure to low levels over prolonged periods).

For the long-term effects, there are still no definitive answers, while for acute effects it has been ascertained that they occur only above specific levels (thresholds) of exposure. Among the effects of an acute nature are the opacification of the crystalline lens, anomalies in the cornea, alterations in neural and neuromuscular functions; while exposure to low frequencies (50 Hz) has given signs of: effects on the visual system and on the central nervous system, PVC and ventricular fibrillation.

How ECO works

ECO Certificazioni, through qualified technicians and sector specialists, provides services to assess the risk of exposure to Electromagnetic Fields to be done on site on the client’s premises.


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