FCC Maintains RF Emission Exposure Limits
Thursday, December 05, 2019 | Comments

The FCC declined to propose changes to its existing RF emission exposure limits following a notice of inquiry and an August proposal to maintain the limits. The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) requires the FCC to evaluate the effects of human exposure to RF energy emitted by commission-regulated transmitters and facilities.

“Despite requests from some to increase and others to decrease the existing limits, we believe they reflect the best available information concerning safe levels of RF exposure for workers and members of the general public, including inputs from our sister federal agencies charged with regulating safety and health and from well-established international standards,” the FCC said.

The commission said it also streamlined criteria for determining when a licensee is exempt from its RF exposure evaluation criteria, replacing the prior regime of service-based exemptions with a set of formulas for situations in which the risk of excessive RF exposure is minimal. The FCC also proposed formalizing an additional limit for localized RF exposure and the associated methodology for compliance for portable devices operating at high frequencies on top of existing limits that apply at those frequencies.

The FCC also proposed allowing wireless power transfer (WPT) equipment under Part 15 and 18 of the commission’s rules and proposed specific exposure limits for such operations.

In addition, the commission denied a pending petition for reconsideration and affirmed its prior finding that the pinnae (outer ears) should be treated like other extremities for purposes of determining compliance with RF emission exposure limits.

Last year, the National Toxicology Program (NTP) concluded there is clear evidence that male rats exposed to high levels of radio frequency radiation (RFR) such as that used in 2G and 3G cellphones developed cancerous heart tumors.

The full FCC order is here.

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