The International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) guidelines and the IEEE C95.1 standard are currently under revision. In the guidelines/standard, the dominant effect for electromagnetic field exposures at frequencies above 100 kHz is the thermal effect. The whole-body-and 10g-averaged specific absorption rates (SARs), which are surrogates for core and local temperature elevations, respectively, are set as metrics for exposure evaluation. The external field strengths or incident power density, corresponding to the limit for SARs, are also used as metrics for practical compliance purposes. Although the limits for the SARs are identical amongst the guidelines/standard, the limits for the external field strengths differ by a factor of 7.4-12.9 in an intermediate frequency range (100 kHz-100 MHz). Due to the fact that the standard/guidelines were published before the computation with anatomical human models was available, it is worth revisiting the relationship between the SARs and external field strengths by computations using the human models. Intercomparison using different numerical codes was also performed to verify the results. For the main finding, as expected, the 10g-averaged SAR was a less restrictive factor for whole-body exposure over the frequencies considered in this paper. It was also found that the relationship between SARs and external field strength was satisfied, but was more conservative in the ICNIRP guidelines, whereas there were slight discrepancies below 30 MHz in the IEEE standard. The computational results would be useful for revising the permissible external field strength based on scientific results.
- biological effects of radiation
- radiation safety