The main aim of the study was to identify and describe methods using non-ionizing radiation (NIR) such as electromagnetic fields (EMF) and optical radiation in Swedish health care. By examining anticipated exposure levels and by identifying possible health hazards we also aimed to recognize knowledge gaps in the field. NIR is mainly used in health care for diagnosis and therapy. Three applications were identified where acute effects cannot be ruled out: magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and electrosurgery. When using optical radiation, such as class 3 and 4 lasers for therapy or surgical procedures and ultra-violet light for therapy, acute effects such as unintentional burns, photo reactions, erythema and effects on the eyes need to be avoided. There is a need for more knowledge regarding long-term effects of MRI as well as on the combination of different NIR exposures. Based on literature and after consulting staff we conclude that the health care professionals' knowledge about the risks and safety measures should be improved and that there is a need for clear, evidence-based information from reliable sources, and it should be obvious to the user which source to address.
Keywords: EMF; Laser; MRI; NIR; TMS; UV; exposure; health care; safety.