In Slovenia, we have been paying special attention to electric and magnetic fields for several years. Since limit values for electric and magnetic fields (EMF) were not determined in the past, people were afraid that they were excessively exposed to it. In December 1996, the Decree on electric and magnetic fields in the natural and living environment entered into force (Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia, No. 70/96, 41/04 – ZVO-1) (hereinafter: the Decree). Furthermore, the Rules on the first measurements and operational monitoring of electric and magnetic fields sources and the conditions for its implementation have been adopted (Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia, No. 70/96, 41/04 – ZVO-1 and 17/11 – ZTZPUS-1) (hereinafter: the Rules). Both regulations refer to electric power infrastructure with rated voltages greater than 1 kV as sources of electric and magnetic fields of frequency 50 Hz. With the mentioned documents, Slovenia obtained two regulations, which are among the strictest in terms of protection against electric and magnetic fields from electric devices and the control over it - not only in the European but also in the global context - as they require some of the lowest electric and magnetic fields limit values in the European Union, while the electric and magnetic fields limit values for new sources are ten times lower than those recommended by the European Union. The WG C3.01 Working Group on the Magnetic Field Value, working in the framework of the International Council on Large Electric Systems CIGRE, made a statement about magnetic field values and its impact on health in connection with epidemiological studies in the article Magnetic Fields of the 50-60 Hz and 50 Hz frequency grid and cancer, forty years of research: time for reconciliation (original in English and a certified translation in the Slovenian language), which was published in the June issue of ELECTRA 2016 (No. 286). The summary of the article was published in April 2017 in the 291th issue of ELECTRA, entitled Living with electric and magnetic fields (EMF).
The website on electric and magnetic fields and health presents different levels of electric and magnetic fields, obligatory limit values in some countries, and recommended values and conditions under which they are measured.
In addition, electric and magnetic fields are presented in detail in the brochure Electric and Magnetic Fields, published by the Milan Vidmar Electric Power Research Institute – EIMV as well as on the website of the Institute for the non-ionising radiation – INIS.
Observance of the precautionary principle
Several international studies and research projects on the biological influences of low-frequency electromagnetic fields on people have not provided reliable results that would confirm a health risk. Furthermore, a connection between exposure to electric and magnetic fields and certain serious diseases has not been clearly proven. Electra magazine published the point of view of the CIGRE association regarding this question.
Regardless of these findings, we implement the precautionary principle in accordance with applicable legislation and perform adequate measurements at our facilities. Since the employees of the ELES are an exposed work group, we strive to reduce exposure to the environmental influences of electric and magnetic fields to the lowest possible level everywhere in the premises.
Implementation of the operational monitoring for electric and magnetic fields
Protection against excessive impacts of electric and magnetic fields on the environment is defined by the Decree and the Rules. Control over the burdening of the environment with electric and magnetic fields caused by the operation of transmission lines or over operational monitoring is the country’s responsibility. It is performed on the country’s behalf by the Slovenian Environment Agency (ARSO).
The operator of the EMF source is responsible for ensuring operational monitoring, but its execution can be performed by qualified organisations. These have to use accredited test methods according to the SIST EN ISO/IEC 17025 standard, which reflects the credibility of the measurements and is at the same time a prerequisite for issuing the authorisation for performing operational monitoring. The list of authorised persons and control over their work is operated by ARSO, which publishes the data on operational monitoring on its website.