Occupational ELF-EMF exposure 50 Hz

Just as the comfort of our modern homes requires the use of multiple electric household appliances, the economic competitiveness of companies, industries and the technical progress of medicine also require a growing number of electric devices.

Note: Around these devices and apparatuses, fields of various frequencies can be measured, like static fields, 50/60 Hz fields, RF fields…

See sources of electric and magnetic fields in hospitals, in factories and in transportation.

EMF in hospitals

In the medical field, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR), a medical imaging technique, generates significant, but mainly continuous, magnetic fields (up to 10T in typical systems), which are associated with fields in the range of radio frequencies. See further information on these fields in a thematic file on static fields.

Another very promising example is the application of electromagnetic fields to stimulate bone fracture repairs and to treat pseudo osteoarthritides or chronic pain (Ellis, 1993). However, these fields do not have the same characteristics of fields at the industrial frequency.

Magnetic fields are also used in treating certain forms of depression. The patient receives painless transcranial magnetic stimulations that have no dangerous side effects.

EMF in factories

Several professions are particularly exposed to electric and magnetic fields (e.g. arc welders, personnel responsible for power line maintenance, electricians, sub-stations operators).

Measurements performed in various occupations indicate a significant daily variability of exposure according to the task carried out: the relatively low averaged values are associated with high peaks at certain periods of the day.
For example, the measurements performed for assemblers of power lines indicate a minimal exposure of 0.05 µT, with a median value of 0.15 µT and maximal values of 304 µT (Sahl, 1994).

Here is a document on electromagnetical fields of welding equipment (pdf 9.5Mo).

EMF in trains

Most Belgian electrified railways, except high speed trains, work on direct current. Thus, electrical lines (catenaries) supplying trains, generate direct electric and magnetic fields.

In trains (direct fields in Belgium) and HST (alternating fields), passengers are exposed to magnetic fields from the power supply cable. People living in the vicinity are also exposed to magnetic fields from this overhead cable.

When we travel by train, we can find ourselves in static electrical fields of the order of 300 V/m (Source: ICNIRP). The static magnetic field is of the order of 40 µT. Maximum values of 120 µT have been measured in locomotives supplied with direct current (voltage of 3 kV DC as found in Belgium, measurements were carried out in Russian and Italian trains).

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