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Revision of the HF Guidelines

Dec 2017

Munich, Germany, 7 December 2017

Note on the Revision of the High-Frequency Portion of the ICNIRP 1998 EMF Guidelines

ICNIRP’s current guidelines for the high-frequency (100 kHz – 300 GHz) portion of the electromagnetic spectrum were published in 1998. Given the large body of relevant research that has been generated since those 1998 guidelines, ICNIRP is now revising the guidelines to incorporate this literature.

The revision of the guidelines has been underway since 2014, and a public consultation version of the updated guidelines is expected within the first half of 2018. Given this timing, ICNIRP has been asked whether, in the interim period, the current guidelines can still be considered as protective. This is a very reasonable question, particularly given that changes are anticipated in the revised guidelines.

As part of the revision process ICNIRP has considered in detail whether the 1998 guidelines remain protective for current exposure scenarios, where it was noted that the anticipated changes relate primarily to the improvement of transparency and consistency across the exposure limits and the addition of new limits to account for exposure situations associated with potential technological advances, and further that the anticipated exposure limit changes are very small compared to the large degree of precaution that was built into the 1998 guidelines. ICNIRP therefore concluded that the 1998 guidelines do remain protective. That is, the 1998 guidelines still provide protection against all known health effects of high-frequency radiation within the frequency range 100 kHz – 300 GHz. However, if ICNIRP should discover aspects of the 1998 guidelines that are not sufficiently protective during the remainder of the high-frequency guidelines revision process, ICNIRP will immediately publish interim amendments that would remain in force until the revised guidelines are published.

ICNIRP is keen to obtain feedback on the upcoming high frequency guidelines, and will seek this feedback via a public consultation process. It is anticipated that the public consultation document will be completed mid-2018, with the associated public consultation period beginning thereafter. Further updates on the high-frequency guidelines revision process, including publication of the public consultation document, will be made available through this website and via newsletter (;

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