Updated 2/23/19

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Conversion Chart Microwave Electromagnetic Radiation (EMR) = (EMF)

Exposure to radiofrequency (RF) radiation is classified as a Group 2B Possible Human Carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer at the WHO as of 2011. Many scientists who work in the field of EMR feel there is clear evidence of harm from long term, low level exposure to this pulsating and penetrating non-ionizing radiation which warrants an IARC upgrade to a Group 1 Known Carcinogen. Hardell and Carlsberg (2018). Reading the scientific literature can be confusing as there are different units of measurements (μW/cm2  μW/m2  W/m2,). In addition, harm from radio frequency exposure varies with power, distance, device, modulation (pulsations and wave design) and length of exposure. The peak power, not the averaged power, is what is key to injury.

It is important to keep in mind not only the current thermal (heat) RF exposure standards in different countries, but also the biologically toxic (oxidative/membrane) RF exposure levels shown to produce harm at non-thermal levels which are far below current RF guidelines. More lenient current U.S. FCC standards put large populations at risk for a diverse array of long term health issues.  We list several exposure standards and limits along with the short conversion chart to enable easier reading of the scientific literature.  The Austrian Medical Association Guidelines of 2016  are also posted below. Scientific references on exposure measurements are listed at the end (Ambient, Children, Skin and Body Exposures, Occupational)

To Print : Conversion Chart Microwave Electromagnetic Radiation PDF

See Also: Safe Living Technology EMF/RF/Magnetic Field full conversion charts here

Scroll down for : *Worldwide Exposure Limits *Current Heat-Based Guidelines and *Scientific References on Measured Human and Children’s Exposures


Levels of Concern and Exposure Limits

Key to Chart: *   **    ***  and  Current Limits in U.S.

*      Low Concern Building Biologists benchmark for long term exposure

**    BioInitiative Limits- No observable effect on humans 

***  Extreme Concern- Building Biologists benchmark for long term exposure Building Biologist EMR Exposure Guidelines are here

Current Limits in U.S. are in μW/m2  Red  highlights and are 1000 μW/cm=1mW/cm2 =.001W/cm2 = 10,000,000 μW/m2 = 10,000 mW/m2 = 10W/m2 = 61.4 V/m= 64,100 mV/m

Conversion Chart EMR = EMF

Power equivalents— 1 μW/cm2 = 10,000 μW/m= 0.01 W/m2

Watts/Square Meter (W/m2)


microWatts/Square Meter (μW/m2)



microWatts/Square Centimeter (μW/cm2 )


0.000,000,000,000,1 W/m2 0.000,000,1 μW/m2 0.000,000,000,01 μW/cm2
0.000,000,000,001 W/m2 0.000,001 μW/m2 0.000,000,000,1 μW/cm2
0.000,000,000,01 W/m2 0.000,01 μW/m2 0.000,000,001 μW/cm2
0.000,000,000,1 W/m2   0.000,1 μW/m2 0.000,000,01 μW/cm2
0.000,000,001 W/m2 0.001 μW/m2 0.000,000,1 μW/cm2
0.000,000,01 W/m2 0.01 μW/m2 0.000,001 μW/cm2
0.000,000,1 W/m* 0.1 μW/m* 0.000,01 μW/cm*
0.000,001 W/m2  **   1 μW/m2  ** 0.000,1 μW/cm2  **
0.000,01 W/m2 10 μW/m2 0.001 μW/cm2
0.000,1 W/m2 100 μW/m2 0.01 μW/cm2
0.001 W/m*** 1,000 μW/m*** 0.1 μW/cm2 ***
0.01 W/m2 10,000 μW/m2 1 μW/cm2
0.1 W/m2 100,000 μW/m2 10 μW/cm2
1 W/m2 1,000,000 μW/m2 100 μW/cm2
10 W/m2 10,000,000 μW/m2 1,000 μW/cm2
100 W/m2 100,000,000 μW/m2 10,000 μW/cm2
1000 W/m2 1,000,000,000 μW/m2 100,000 μW/cm2



Wireless Exposure Limits in Different Countries

The limits are for frequencies between 300Mhz-300GHz in microwatts/cm2 

Limit guidelines in U.S. are from 200 uW/cm2 to 1000 uW/cm2 (2 W/m2 to 10 W/m2) for RF radiation depending on frequency.  Countries developed different standards based on either  *Thermal Effects *Non-Thermal Effects or *Precautionary Considerations

U.S.                                   200 microwatts/cm2  to 1,000 microwatts/cm2

Canada                           1,000 microwatts/cm2

China                                               10 microwatts/cm2

Russia                                              10 microwatts/cm2

Italy                                                 10 microwatts/cm2

France                                             10 microwatts/cm2

Poland                                             10 microwatts/cm2

Hungary                                          10 microwatts/cm2

Switzerland General                         9.5 microwatts/cm2

Switzerland Schools and Hospitals   4.25 microwatts/cm2

Belgium                                                        2.4 microwatts/cm2

Bulgaria                                                        2.4 microwatts/cm2

Luxembourg                                                2.4 microwatts/cm2

Ukraine                                                         2.4 microwatts/cm2

Lichtenstein                                                         0.1 microwatts/cm2

Austria  Outdoor                                                        0.001 microwatts/cm2

Austria  Indoor                                                                 0.0001 microwatts/cm2


Cosmic EMR background we evolved from                         <0.00000000001 μW/cm2


BioInitiative Report recommendation – ‘No Observable Effect’  with factor of 10 added for safety = 0.0003 μW/cm2.   http://www.bioinitiative.org/conclusions/


Austrian Medical Association (AMA) Exposure Limits

“In general, a wide variety of forms of EMF exposure (e.g. from cordless phones, wireless internet access, electrical installations and electrical devices in the building, mobile phone base stations, radio and TV transmitters, high-voltage lines or transformer stations) may be the root causes of health problems….Irrespective of the ICNIRP recommendations for acute effects, the following benchmarks apply to regular exposure of more than four hours per day…” AMA

The EUROPEAM EMF GUIDELINES 2016  for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of EMF-related health problems and illnesses is based on the Austrian Medical Association Guidelines and  gives an “overview of the current knowledge regarding EMF-related health risks and provides recommendations for the diagnosis, treatment and accessibility measures of EHS to improve and restore individual health outcomes as well as for the development of strategies for prevention.” List of scientific references given. Here are their recommendations.

High-frequency electromagnetic radiation (as power flow density)

0.1 μW/cm2   (≥1000 μW/m2 ) (≥1 mW/m2)—Very  far above normal
μW/cm2   to  0.1 μW/cm2   (10-1000 μW/m2) (0.01-1 mW/m2)- Far above normal

0.000,1 μW/cm2   to  0.001 μW/cm2   (1-10 μW/m2) (0.001-0.01 mW/m2)- Slightly above normal

Less than 0.000,1 μW/cm2   (≤1 μW/m2) (≤0.001 mW/m2) – Within normal limits

“The benchmarks listed are intended to be applied to individual types of radiation, e.g. GSM, UMTS, WiMAX, TETRA, radio, TV, DECT or WLAN, and refer to peak levels [not averaged levels]. The benchmarks do not apply to radar, which must be evaluated separately. Highly critical types of radiation, such as periodic signals (mobile telephony, DECT, WLAN, digital broadcasting…), should be critically evaluated, especially if levels are far above normal, while less critical types, such as non-pulsed or non-periodic signals (USW, shortwave, medium and long wave, analogue broadcasting), may be considered more leniently.” AMA- Here are the EUROPEAM EMF Guidelines 2016 EHS – PDF to print or download.


Low-frequency Alternating Electric Fields

≥10 V/m  Very far above normal

1.5-10 V/m -Far above normal

0.3-1.5 V/m- Slightly above normal

≤0.3 V/m – Within normal limits

*The benchmarks (potential-free measurement) are intended to be applied to the range up to and around 50 Hz; higher frequencies and distinct harmonics should be more critically evaluated.

Exposure Limits Have Never Considered Long Term Exposure or Non-Thermal Bio-Effects

Here is a 1999  letter (posted on EHTrust.org), 1999-radiofrequency-interagency-workgroup,  from US Health and Human Services Radiofrequency Interagency Working Group to the Industry IEEE.  It states, “There is a need to discuss and differentiate the criteria for guidelines for acute and chronic exposure conditions. The past approach of basing the exposure limits on acute effects data with an extrapolation to unlimited chronic exposure durations is problematic. There is an extensive data base on acute effects with animal data, human data (e.g. MRI information), and modeling to address thermal insult and associated adverse effects for acute exposure (e.g., less than one day). For lower level (“non-thermal”), chronic exposures, the effects of concern may be very different from those for acute exposure (e.g., epigenetic effects, tumor development, neurologic symptoms). It is possible that the IEEE RF radiation guidelines development process may conclude that the data for these chronic effects exist but are inconsistent, and therefore not useable for guideline development. If the chronic exposure data are not helpful in determining a recommended exposure level, then a separate rationale for extrapolating the results of acute exposure data may be needed. In either case (chronic effects data that are useful or not useful), a clear rationale needs to be developed to support the exposure guideline for chronic as well as acute exposure.”

Martin Pall, PhD. Discusses Development of ICNIRP Guidelines Based on Heat

5G: Great risk for EU, U.S. and International Health! Compelling Evidence for Eight Distinct Types of Great Harm Caused by Electromagnetic Field (EMF) Exposures and the Mechanism that Causes Them. (2018) Martin L. Pall, PhD. Discusses SCENIHR and ICNIRP (International Commission on Non Ionising Radiation Protection – ICNIRP, Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR) Guidelines for RFR and robust scientific literature on adverse health effects which are both considered and not considered in their deliberations.   https://einarflydal.files.wordpress.com/2018/04/pall-to-eu-on-5g-harm-march-2018.pdf


Environmental Health Trust also has a list of Key Policy Issues related to Exposure Guidelines here.


Exposure Limits for Radio frequency Energy: Three Models

Ken Foster, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

This article points out that different long term exposure limits in different countries are due to their different models of reasoning.

  • Heat: The U.S. uses science based studies but only those that examine heat based adverse effects. They do not take into account studies on non-thermal adverse effects.
  • Non-Thermal Effects:  Russia and China use science based studies on non-thermal effects.
  • Precautionary: Switzerland, Italy and many other countries use precautionary language for their long term exposure limits


“Thus, Russian (and Eastern European) limits clearly reflect the conviction that long-term (hours or more) exposures at levels far below Western limits result in adverse health effects. Indeed, the Russian and Eastern European medical literature contains many reports of health effects from low-level exposure to RF energy. These include, for example, nonspecific problems (such as headaches, fatigability, irritability, sleep disorders, and dizziness) in workers in radio factories, who are exposed to RF energy at undetermined levels11 12. The Chinese literature contains similar reports.13 The Russian literature contains references to a “microwave disease” characterized by “asthenic, asthenovegetatic, and hypothalamic syndromes”14 The disease is not recognized in Western medicine, and its diagnostic criteria would undoubtedly strike many Western physicians as vague and nonfalsifiable. Even some Eastern European physicians have complained about the nonspecificity of these criteria as well.15 16″


Russia Explains Protective Standards for EMR

Russian National Committee of Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection – 2008 report: This sobering report discusses the need for exposure guidelines that protect children and the general population from chronic levels of radio frequency radiation.



Russian National Committee on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection and EMF RF standards. New conditions of EMF RF exposure and guarantee of the health to population.  Prof. Yu. Grigoriev,  Russian National Committee on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection Federal Medical Biophysical Centre, FMBA, Moscow, Russia. https://www.radiationresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/021235_grigoriev.pdf



See Also 

Scientific References

Terrestrial Radiofrequency Levels: Natural versus Manmade 


Insect and Animal Studies on Exposure Duration and Power Limits



Human Exposures Scientific References: Ambient, Children, Skin


Ambient Environmental RF Exposures of Cell Towers and Wi Fi

  • High ambient radiofrequency radiation in Stockholm city, Sweden. (2019) Carlberg M et al. Oncology Letters. December 3, 2018. Pages: 1777-1783.  https://www.spandidos-publications.com/ol/17/2/1777    “The total mean level was 5,494 µW/m2 (median 3,346; range 36.6‑205,155). The major contributions were down links from LTE 800 (4G), GSM + UMTS 900 (3G), GSM 1800 (2G), UMTS 2100 (3G) and LTE 2600 (4G). Regarding different places, the highest RF radiation was measured at the Hay Market with a mean level of 10,728 µW/m2 (median 8,578; range 335‑68,815). This is a square used for shopping, and both retailers and visitors may spend considerable time at this place. Also, the Sergel Plaza had high radiation with a mean of 7,768 µW/m2. All measurements exceeded the target level of 30‑60 µW/m2 based on non‑thermal (no heating) effects, according to the BioInitiative Report.”


Children’s Exposures to RF


Skin and Body Absorption

Occupational Exposures