Non-ionizing Radiation

Non-ionizing radiation is composed of electric and magnetic fields (EMFs) that do not have sufficient energy to remove electrons from atoms or molecules. Types of non-ionizing radiation are: ultraviolet (UV), visible light, infrared (IR), microwave, radio (and television), and extremely low frequency (ELF). Non-ionizing radiation is produced by a wide variety of products in the workplace and in the home, from lasers to power lines, tanning beds to household appliances, cellular phones to radios.

Infographic: Electromagnetic spectrum diagram
Source: NIEHS

The most common sources of non-ionizing EMFs are radio frequency (RF) and ELFs (also known as ELF-EMF). Radio frequency sources include cell phones, portable wireless devices, such as tablets and laptops, FM/AM radios, and older televisions that operate at radio frequencies lower than cell phones. ELF-EMF sources, which are lower in energy than radio frequency sources, include power lines, electrical wiring and home appliances.

DWMRC has the responsibility and authority to control all sources of radiation, including non-ionizing sources. The Utah Radiation Control Board may adopt rules to control and protect the public from these sources if they constitute a significant health hazard. Currently, the Board has not written rules to limit exposure to the various types of non-ionizing radiation. However, because of public concerns regarding potential health effects from ELF-EMF, the Board directed the Division to review available literature to see if additional controls are warranted. Based on the Division’s review, the Board concluded that existing scientific evidence is not sufficient to warrant legislation or regulation at this time. DWMRC continues to monitor reputable scientific literature on the health effects of ELF-EMF for evidence indicating additional regulations are needed.

For more information about ELF-EMF visit the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the World Health Organization’s informational pages. To date, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) indicates that “no consistent evidence for an association between any source of non-ionizing EMF and cancer has been found.

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