Electromagnetic Fields

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

In addition to natural sources, the electromagnetic spectrum also includes the fields generated by man-made sources. Some examples are 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, replacing the Directive 2004/40/EC, outlines the minimum safety and health prescriptions concerning the exposure of workers to risks arising from physical agents (electromagnetic fields). It specifically refers to electromagnetic radiations with frequencies from 0 Hz to 300 GHz.

This Directive was incorporated in Italy with Italian Legislative Decree 159 of 1 August 2016. Therefore, it 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). Thus, 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 we have begun to study the potentially harmful effects of electromagnetic fields on human health. These effects can be categorized as either acute or chronic. Symptoms are considered acute if they manifest in the short term; they are chronic if they manifest in the long term, as a consequence of exposure to low levels over an extended period.

For the long-term effects, there are still no definitive answers. Conversely, for acute effects it has been ascertained that they occur only above specific levels (thresholds) of exposure. Among the acute effects there are the opacification of the crystalline lens, anomalies in the cornea, alterations in neural and neuromuscular functions. Exposure to low frequencies (50 Hz) has given side 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.


Contact Us

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