The harmonized standard EN 50360

There EN 50360 standard deals with the limit values for human exposure to electromagnetic fields that radio equipment used in contact with the ear must respect in their normal operation.

The objective of the standard is to demonstrate compliance of devices with basic restrictions and exposure limits regarding human exposure to electromagnetic fields.

The EN 50360 standard is drawn up and issued by CENELEC (European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization), which is the European committee for electrotechnical standardization, and is applied to demonstrate compliance with the essential requirements of the Radio Directive 2014/53/EU, art. 3.1 (a).

Field of application: the standard applies to wireless communication devices used near the ear, in the frequency range from 300 MHz to 6 GHz.

Among the equipment subject to the EN 50360 standard are:

  • mobile phones
  • wireless headphones
  • walkie-talkie


The EN 50360 standard specifies the limits of SAR (Specific Absorption Rate), i.e. the measurement of the percentage of electromagnetic energy absorbed by the human body when it is exposed to the action of a radio frequency (RF) electromagnetic field, which must be respected for devices transmitters used near the ear.

SAR (Specific Absorption Rate)

The SAR is a very important parameter for characterizing the emissions of devices and their potential harmfulness. On the basis of specific standards, all manufacturers must evaluate the SAR that the devices can induce in the head following their use. In order for a maximum reference value to be respected, the results of these tests, carried out in the laboratory under standard conditions on phantoms simulating a human head, can be consulted in the product manuals, which must report the maximum SAR value measured for that given model of equipment.

The SAR value is expressed in J/sx 1/kg=W/kg (Watts per kilogram), which expresses the energy absorbed in a certain amount of time by an element of unit mass; consequently it will be calculated in watts per kg.

The standard distinguishes the basic restrictions of the SAR value for equipment intended to be used by the general population from those for equipment intended to be used by workers, referring to the European Council Recommendation 1999/519/EC and Directive 2013/ 35/EU respectively.

Human exposure to electromagnetic fields

The presumed harmfulness to human health of exposure to radio frequency (RF) electromagnetic fields has been the subject of both scientific and public interest for several years, in particular with regard to the use of mobile phones.

Cellular technology generates electromagnetic fields in two ways:

  • first, through antennas positioned in cities and streets;
  • secondly, by the devices themselves that transmit to the antennas.

The way these electromagnetic fields interact with biological organisms depends on their energy and frequency. The human body is transparent at some frequencies compared to others: for example, sunlight penetrates deeply into the skin and is totally absorbed, while electromagnetic fields can pass through the body. Equally important is the aspect linked to energy, which is why there are special creams to protect yourself from particularly strong sun rays.


For these reasons, the EN 50360 standard and other standards for verifying human exposure to electromagnetic fields report the recommended exposure limits for equipment used near the ear and the human body.

In today's society, exposure to electromagnetic fields is inevitable, also due to the increase in the diffusion of mobile phones and also the density of mobile phone antennas in cities. Therefore, the question of whether devices used near the ear are harmful to health or not is of particular importance.

To date there is no scientific evidence attesting to the presence of harmful effects due to human exposure to RF electromagnetic fields at the typical levels present in environments commonly frequented by the population.

It should be remembered that data regarding the health effects of long-term exposure are lacking, given the recent age of mobile technology devices and the significant effort that such research requires, both in terms of time and cost.

Where to find SAR values

Generally, the values are indicated on the paper manual inside the newly purchased smartphone and/or on the digital manual that can be downloaded from the official website. It is best to be wary of unofficial sites and rely only on reliable sources such as the manufacturer or certification bodies.

New technologies always present risks and opportunities, which is why it is essential to be supported by expert figures in the sector such as Sicom Testing, a testing laboratory competent in evaluating levels of human exposure to electromagnetic fields and SAR measurements.

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