The International Commission on Non-Ionizing
Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) held a Workshop
"15 years on: Reviewing the past and looking forward"
to critically review its strategy and philosophy
for the development of international guidelines
on non-ionizing radiation (NIR) protection on
15-16 September 2008 in Prague, Czech Republic.
It is intended to publish a summary of the main
topics debated at the workshop in a Journal.
Scope and aim: Following its founding stages as
a Working Group and then the International NIR
Committee of the International Radiation Protection
Association (IRPA), ICNIRP was chartered by IRPA
as an independent Commission at its 1992 meeting
in Montreal. ICNIRP's charter was based on the
highly successful model of the International Commission
on Radiological Protection (ICRP) that develops
guidance on protection for ionizing radiation.
ICNIRP was chartered for the purpose of advancing
NIR protection for the benefit of people and the
environment, and in particular:
- to independently develop scientific protection
criteria based on science
- to provide scientific guidance and recommendations
on protection from NIR exposure
- to carry out scientific seminars and educational
- to publish scientific reports on protection
against NIR, and
- to inform the scientific community and the general
public about protection against NIR.
After 15 years, ICNIRP guidelines have now been
accepted by a large number of countries around
the world. ICNIRP has been working closely with
the World Health Organization and other international
agencies to achieve the highest standards of health
risk assessment from which sound, science based
NIR exposure limits can be developed.
With the EMF technology revolution continuing
unremittingly, leading to increasingly complex
NIR exposure situations, it is difficult for researchers
to conduct studies fast enough for their results
to be relevant to the latest technological advances
and exposure situations. Assessing health risks
is increasingly difficult because of scientific
uncertainty, leading to concerns that more precautionary
approaches are needed. Social impact on radiation
protection philosophies is increasing and there
seems to be a need to reconsider basic principles
for standard setting in comparison with other
environmental risk factors such as ionising radiation.
Now is an appropriate time for ICNIRP to review
its achievements, strategy, philosophy and challenges
for the future to be relevant to an ever-changing
world. The program of the Workshop will allow
considerable scope for participants to provide
their insights on how a 21st century ICNIRP should
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