HIGHLIGHTS
  • A comprehensive review of increasing electromagnetic field radiation (EMFR) impacts on building occupant health

  • Scientific evidence identifying adverse effects of EMFR

  • Governments and public health agencies are creating regulations to reduce EMFR exposure

  • National and international regulations with respect to the thresholds they set to protect human health

  • Provides a robust foundation for researchers to use in additional studies of EMFR impacts in various built environment scenarios

ABSTRACT

A significant share of the technology that has emerged over the past several decades produces electromagnetic field (EMFR) radiation. Communications devices, household appliances, industrial equipment, and medical equipment and devices all produce EMFR with a variety of frequencies, strengths, and ranges. Some EMFR, such as Extremely Low Frequency (ELF), Radio Frequency (RF), and Ionizing Range (IR) radiation have been shown to have harmful effects on human health. Depending on the frequency and strength of the radiation, EMFR can have health effects at the cellular level as well as at brain, nervous, and cardiovascular levels. Health authorities have enacted regulations locally and globally to set critical values to limit the adverse effects of EMFR. By introducing a more comprehensive field of EMFR study and practice, architects and designers can design for a safer electromagnetic (EM) indoor environment, and, as building and construction specialists, will be able to monitor and reduce EM radiation. This paper identifies the nature of EMFR in the built environment, the various EMFR sources, and its human health effects. It addresses European and US regulations for EMFR in buildings and provides a preliminary action plan. The challenges of developing measurement protocols for the various EMFR frequency ranges and determining the effects of EMFR on building occupants are discussed. This paper argues that a mature method for measuring EMFR in building environments and linking these measurements to human health impacts will foster occupant health and lead to the adequate development of safeguards for occupants of buildings in future research.

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