Extremely Low Frequency (ELF) Radiation

Evaluating Exposure

Public and employee concerns about extremely low frequency (ELF) exposure has grown as a result of increased media coverage over the last few years. The issue of ELF radiation is very controversial. Exposure to electric and magnetic fields (EMFs) depends on the strength of the ELF fields at the source, the distance from the source, and the duration of exposure. The 50 to 60 Hz range is of particular interest because it is associated with electrical power distribution, and equipment utilizing alternating current. The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) has established occupational exposure guidelines for ELF radiation.

  • Electromagnetic Radiation: Field Memo. OSHA, (May 20, 1990). Provides OSHA compliance officers with basic principles of electromagnetic (EM) radiation, discusses the effects of radio frequency interference (RFI) on the operation of industrial hygiene instruments, explains why special isotropic probes are used for making non-ionizing radiation surveys, and emphasizes the need for special attention in measuring radio frequency fields.
  • Manual for Measuring Occupational Electric and Magnetic Field Exposures. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Publication No. 98-154, (October 1998). Assists investigators in developing methods for occupational exposure assessments for electric and magnetic fields (EMFs).
  • EMF Electric and Magnetic Fields Associated with the Use of Electric Power. U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, (June 2002). Provides information on exposures to extremely low frequency (ELF) - electric magnetic fields (EMFs).
  • EMF in your Environment: Magnetic Field Measurements Of Everyday Electrical Devices. National Center for Environmental Publications and Information (NCEPI), P.O. Box 42419 Cincinnati, OH 45242-2419, Fax Number: (513) 489-8695.