ICNIRP's latest guidelines for limiting radio frequency exposure have been published


International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection, ICNIRP, updated in March guidelines for protection against radiation on the radio frequencies. This update was published following a public consultation process that began two years ago. The Tnuda Center submitted its comments in the course of this process.


The currently published guidelines represent an update of the guidelines published by ICNIRP in 1998. During 22 years ago from the previous publication, the exposure limitations underwent a review and validation process, based on the scientific knowledge gained during this period. The update relates to the frequency range 100 kHz - 300 GHz.


It is worth noting that ICNIRP's international guidelines are used by many countries around the world to set exposure limits for non-ionizing radiation to the general public. In Israel, exposure limits for the general public of the Ministry of Environmental Protection are based on ICNIRP guidelines, as "health threshold for exposure to non-ionizing radiation". Environmental protection has taken various stricter measures towards them in order to grant permits to radiation sources (such as cellular sites).


Many of the previous exposure limits remained unchanged. They were validated by ICNIRP in the gained light of scientific knowledge. In particular, the threshold values ​​for current cellular and Wi-Fi frequencies have not changed.


At high frequencies, updates have been made to address situations where the previous limitations were inaccurate for new technologies, such as cellular fifth generation (5G) technologies, basing on current scientific knowledge. It should be emphasized that the ICNIRP guidelines provide a response to the protection expected in the cellular fifth generation (5G), in particular to devices close to the human body (as well as to base stations).


There have also been various updates in defining the populations to which the guidelines apply. For example, exposure during cosmetic procedures (unless performed under medical supervision) is included in the guidelines scope.


The International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) has made it clear that in setting its latest radiation exposure limits that it has examined all possible health effects, including non-thermal effects. Nevertheless, recommendations in respect of exposure limitations relate to health effects, which, according to ICNIRP's position, are based on established adverse health effects, mainly thermal effects and neural excitation. ICNIRP's position is that exposure limits (thresholds) can only be established when there is well-based and solid scientific knowledge in regard of these effects. Therefore, no separate thresholds for long-term non-thermal effects have been established.