10 Dec 2010
EMF – Electromagnetic Fields Standard Update
Cenelec, the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization, has published new safety standards for compliance with Electro Magnetic Field (EMF) interference requirements for electrical and electronic (EE) products. These electrotechnical standards will become mandatory for manufacturers to follow and they will need to make sure their products comply with these new requirements before entering to EU market area.
Electromagnetic fields are part of the human environment. The most common known fields existing in nature are magnetic fields caused by the earth itself and those caused by the sun. Magnetic fields produced by manmade systems and equipments include radio fields from mobile phones, electromagnetic fields from power lines and low frequency fields coming from the mains current source.
When a television, hairdryer or similar type of household appliance is powered on and draws current from the main, there is an electric field present in the device and its surroundings. Whenever the device is turned on and it draws current from the mains, an electromagnetic field is present.
Electromagnetic fields are caused by the current running in the device and in the power cord and can produce disturbances to other devices like televisions. Magnetic fields usually have more significant effects on health than electric fields.
The EU’s primary product legislation on EMF, the Radio and Telecommunications Terminal Equipment Directive (1999/5/EC) and the Low Voltage Directive (2006/95/EC), require manufacturers and distributors to put safe products on the market, a requirement of the CE-marking. For protection from electromagnetic fields (EMF) in the range 0 Hz to 300 GHz, requirements for exposure are contained within European Council Recommendation 1999/519/EC.
A manufacturer should only affix the CE marking to products covered by the LVD and RTTED once they have established conformity with 1999/519/EC, including the consideration of EMF on the basis pf harmonized standards listed under these directives.
Current EMF Standards
Product standards published by CENELEC (www.cenelec.org) cover a broad scope of EE products including for example mobile phones, household appliances, and luminaries. Where no relevant specific product EMF standard exists, compliance shall be determined by the use of generic standards. For electrical and electronic products a generic standard EN 62311 is often applied.
EN 50366:2003 +A1:2006, a product standard for Household and similar kind of Electrical Appliances will be replaced by EN 62233:2008 by 1st December 2012. After that date, the EN 50366:2003 +A1:2006 standard ceases to give presumption of conformity with the essential requirements of the directive.
After the 1st of January 2011 those products which do not fall into the scope of any product or product family standard have to comply with the requirements of EN 62311:2008. Some home and office used equipment can be considered to comply without testing. Section 7.1 in the standard defines that for example computers, telecommunication equipment, Hi-Fi systems can be defined “low power / inherently compliant” based on the knowledge of the emission level they produce.
SGS Fimko is accredited by its national accredited body FINAS to perform EMF testing according different EMF standards. SGS has a global network of testing laboratories that provide EMF testing globally near points of manufacture and help evaluate which tests are necessary to perform for your product category.