ICNIRP - An Independent Voice In NIR Protection

Aim & Roots
Main Commission
Scientific Expert Group
Project Groups
What & How?
Optical Radiation
NIR International
NIR national

Charter - Statutes German/English - Annual Report

What is ICNIRP?
ICNIRP is the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection. It is a publicly funded body of independent scientific experts consisting of a main Commission of 14 members, its Scientific Expert Group and its Project Groups. The expertise is brought to bear on addressing the important issues of possible adverse effects on human health of exposure to non-ionising radiation.

What are ICNIRP's aims?
ICNIRP's principal aim is to disseminate information and advice on the potential health hazards of exposure to non-ionizing radiation to everyone with an interest in the subject. ICNIRP's information and advice covers all of the non-ionizing radiations including, the optical radiations (ultraviolet, visible and infrared - and lasers), static and time-varying electric and magnetic fields and radiofrequency (including microwave) radiation, and ultrasound. Much of the information that ICNIRP provides is published in the form of scientific reviews and reports and the proceedings of scientific meetings. The results of these reviews combined with risk assessments carried out in collaboration with the World Health Organization, WHO, result in the publication by ICNIRP of Exposure Guidelines. Examples of these are guidelines limiting exposure to electromagnetic fields, to laser radiation, to ultraviolet radiation, to incoherent optical radiation and to ultrasound.

Who are ICNIRP's members?
ICNIRP's members are independent experts in the scientific disciplines necessary for non-ionizing radiation protection. ICNIRP's main Commission members are elected by the Commission under the rules of its Charter. Nominations are invited from all the national radiation protection bodies represented by the International Radiation Protection Association, IRPA, and from ICNIRP's main Commission itself. The Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Commission are elected by the members of the main Commission. Individual membership of the main Commission is limited to 12 years. ICNIRP Commission members do not represent either their countries of origin or their institutes nor can they be employed by industry. Members are asked to declare any interests detrimental to ICNIRP's status as an independent advisory body. Members' declaration of personal interest are available here.

What scientific expertise does ICNIRP have?
The scientific expertise of ICNIRP includes medicine, dermatology, ophthalmology, epidemiology, biology, photobiology, physiology, physics, electrical engineering and dosimetry.

How does ICNIRP consult?
ICNIRP consults widely in the development of its advice with both individual experts, through many scientific meetings and workshops and with its international partner organisations in non-ionizing radiation protection. These include the World Health Organization, WHO, the International Radiation Protection Association, IRPA, (the professional representative body for radiation protection professionals world-wide and its national societies with over 16,000 professional members), the (US) National Council for Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP), the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), the International Commission on Illumination (CIE), the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and others. Since 2009 ICNIRP additionally started an open consultation process for all its guidelines prior to final approval. All ICNIRP guidelines are available during a period of 90 day for review by anyone interested in the subject matter. Comments are not answered indivdually but are taken into account during the following drafting period prior to publication.

Where does ICNIRP get its funds?
ICNIRP is a publicly funded, non-profit making organisation and is legally registered as such in Germany. All its income is used to offset the year-on-year costs of its various activities including carrying out its scientific programme, organising scientific meetings and producing scientific publications. Its income derives from various sources with the exception of industry. In the same way that individual ICNIRP Commission members cannot be employed by industry, ICNIRP as an organisation does not accept funding from industry. The regular income that ICNIRP receives is an annual grant from IRPA. It also receives support from national governments, most notably from the German Environment Ministry for ICNIRP's Scientific Secretariat based in Munich. All other income is generated by the Commission through contract work (to the exclusion of any work for industry), organisation of scientific meetings and sales of its scientific publications. Currently, ICNIRP's contract income comes from contracts placed by various organisations including, the European Commission, EC, the WHO (contract to carry out scientific reviews of the epidemiology, biology and physics and engineering aspects of exposure to extremely low frequency electric and magnetic fields). ICNIRP also receives income from the sales of its publications that defray some of the cost of producing these. ICNIRP members are not paid for their work for the Commission - it is entirely voluntary. Only travel and necessary costs for attendance at meetings are reimbursed to members. ---> View the budget in ICNIRP's annual report.

How does ICNIRP carry out its work?
The main inputs to ICNIRP's scientific work are through the activities of the working groups. The various activities of the working groups are co-ordinated and integrated by the main Commission to address the scientific problems of NIR protection. Since 2013 the working groups are called Project Groups. Those are recruited out of the Scientific Expert Committee and the ICNIRP main Commission. Each Project Group had its own work programme set out in agreement with the main Commission. Information on how these groups are formed are available here.

Where does ICNIRP publish its advice and information?
ICNIRP publishes its advice and information in various ways. For example, ICNIRP's exposure guidelines and its statements on particular topics of interest are published in the Scientific Journal of the Health Physics Society "Health Physics". Other material, including reviews of the relevant scientific literature are published in various scientific meeting reports and conference proceedings and often in ICNIRP's own publication series "The Blue Books on NIR Protection". ICNIRP also publishes a number of scientific publications in collaboration with the WHO and the ILO. Details of all ICNIRP's publications are provided on this WebPage. Many of ICNIRP's publications can be downloaded free.

Who are ICNIRP's partners in non-ionizing protection?
ICNIRP carries out its work in collaboration with a number of national and international scientific partner organisations. ICNIRP works closely with WHO through two major non-ionizing radiation and health programmes - the International EMF Project and the INTERSUN Project. ICNIRP also collaborates closely with ILO on matters relating to occupational non-ionizing radiation protection. ICNIRP is officially recognised by WHO and ILO as the international independent advisory body for non-ionizing radiation protection. ICNIRP also collaborates with the EC, principally DG EMPL (Employment), SANCO (Health), with the European Society for Skin Cancer Prevention, EUROSKIN, the International Commission on Illumination, CIE, the International Commission for Occupational Health, ICOH, the European Bioelectromagnetics Association, EBEA, and others.

In summary

ICNIRP is independent from industry in both membership and funding.

ICNIRP is a non profit making body and is legally registered as such in Germany.

ICNIRP seeks to provide a service of information provision or advice to all persons, whether professionally involved with non-ionizing radiation protection or with a personal interest.

ICNIRP's information and advice is provided, wherever possible, at no cost to the recipient.

ICNIRP promulgates its information and its publications through its WebPage www.icnirp.org.

ICNIRP's members and ICNIRP SEG members are independent experts in the scientific disciplines necessary for non-ionizing radiation protection. In carrying out their voluntary work for the Commission they do not represent either their countries of origin or their institutes. ICNIRP members are asked to declare any personal interests in relation to the activities of ICNIRP. The Commission members' declaration of personal interests are available here. The SEG members' declaration of personal interests are available here.

ICNIRP works in close collaboration with many health protection related agencies both national and international, including, for example, WHO, ILO, ICOH, IRPA and the EU.