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Low Frequency

Low frequency or LF refers to radio frequencies (RF) in the range of 30kHz–300kHz. Power lines fall within this range.

The frequency of electromagnetic waves is the number of waves passing a given point in one second.

Electromagnetic frequencies are grouped and named as listed below:

Frequency Wavelength Name Abbreviation
3–30Hz105–104kmExtremely low frequencyELF
30–300Hz104–103kmSuper low frequencySLF
300–3000Hz103–100kmUltra low frequencyULF
3–30kHz100–10kmVery low frequencyVLF
30–300kHz 10–1km Low frequency LF
300kHz–3MHz1km–100mMedium frequencyMF
3–30MHz100–10mHigh frequencyHF
30–300MHz10–1mVery high frequencyVHF
300MHz–3GHz1m–10cmUltra high frequencyUHF
3–30GHz10–1cmSuper high frequencySHF
30–300GHz1cm–1mmExtremely high frequencyEHF

Source: Kitchen, R. RF microwave radiation safety handbook, 2nd ed, Boston, MA: Newnes 2003


elecPowerlines.jpgResearch has shown that extremely low frequency (ELF) fields can interact with biological systems. The findings have not provided convincing evidence that exposure to ELF fields can cause adverse health effects to humans, such as cancer. 

Epidemiological studies have not established an association between exposures to ELF fields and the development of cancer in adults. The epidemiological evidence associating cancer in children with exposure to ELF fields is inconclusive.

With respect to childhood exposure to ELF fields, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) makes the following assessment: "Overall, extremely low frequency magnetic fields were evaluated as possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B); although children who are exposed to residential ELF magnetic fields less than 0.4 microTesla have no increased risk for leukaemia.” 

The Federal-Provincial-Territorial Radiation Protection Committee (FPTRPC) has documents available in both official languages related to the health concerns of electric and magnetic fields. 

RIN 1 - Power Frequency Electric and Magnetic Fields, produced by Radiation Protection Services of the BCCDC summarizes the findings.

Exposure guidelines

Cardiac pacemakers & EMF fields

Modern pacemakers are designed to prevent interference from external electromagnetic fields (EMF) up to electric fields of 100 Volts per meter (V/m).

The EMF devices used by the public or in medical facilities generate electric fields far below 100 V/m.


SOURCE: Low Frequency ( )
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