SAFETY CODE 6
The purpose of Safety Code 6 is to establish safety limits for human exposure to RF energy in the frequency range from 3 kHz to 300 GHz, to prevent adverse health effects.
The exposure limits in Safety Code 6 have been established by scientific studies related to thermal and possible non-thermal effects of RF energy on biological systems. Safety factors have been incorporated into these limits to add an additional level of protection. A safety factor of 10 has been incorporated for exposures in controlled environments. A safety factor of 50 has been incorporated for exposures in uncontrolled environments.
The predominant adverse health effects associated with RF energy exposure relate to the occurrence of tissue heating and excitable tissue stimulation from short term exposure. At present, there is no scientific basis to conclude that there are health risks associated with RF energy below the specified limits. For the frequency range from 3 – 100 kHz the health effect to be avoided is the unintentional stimulation of excitable tissues which can lead to nerve and muscle depolarization. For the frequency range from 100 kHz – 300 GHz the health effect to be avoided is tissue heating.
The limits of Safety Code 6 have been specified with a 0.1 hour (6 minute) time element. It must be noted that the maximum allowable limits may be exceeded for short durations provided the field strength and power densities averaged over the 6 minute period cannot be exceeded. Safety Code 6 includes the methodology of calculation if the maximum allowable limits are exceeded.
If the limits specified within the 0.1 hour (6 minute) time element are not exceeded, the area may be occupied on a continuous basis for the duration of the work period.
Controlled Environment vs. Uncontrolled Environment
Safety Code 6 defines the controlled environment and uncontrolled environment as follows:
“Controlled environments are defined as those where all of the following conditions are satisfied:
a) The RF field intensities in the controlled area have been adequately characterized by means of measurements, calculations or modeling
b) The exposure is incurred by persons who are aware of the potential for RF exposure and are cognizant of the intensity of the RF energy in their environment and,
c) The exposure is incurred by persons who are aware of the potential health risks associated with RF energy exposures and whom can control their risk using mitigation strategies.
All situations that do not meet the specifications above are considered to be uncontrolled environments. Uncontrolled environments are defined as areas where either insufficient assessment of RF energy has been conducted or where persons who are allowed access to these areas have not received proper RF awareness training and have no means to assess or, if required, mitigate their exposure to RF energy.”
Safety Code 6 Document
The most recent Safety Code 6 document was published in 2015 and is entitled “Safety Code 6 - Limits of Human Exposure to Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Energy in the Frequency Range from 3 kHz to 300 kHz (2015)”
This document can be found on the Health Canada website.