Standards vs. Guidelines – The Rationale for Testing
Regulations adopted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 1996, and fully implemented in 2000, limit human exposure to electromagnetic radiation from cell phone, broadcast, and other radio communication systems. Both U.S. and international standards governing exposure to radio frequency (RF) fields have long existed, and the FCC regulations were adapted from a pre-existing standard. They establish Maximum Permissible Exposures, or MPEs, for the full range of frequencies encountered near transmitting equipment, towers, and antennas. These are the formal exposure standards in the U.S., and have full regulatory force.
For cellular antennas on towers, the level of RF energy that one would realistically be exposed to is usually less than 1% of the MPE. For broadcast towers and building mounted cellular antennas, much higher exposures are possible, although the MPEs are still unlikely to be exceeded in areas accessible to the public. So why are people concerned about cell towers, or RF exposure in general? Is some caution warranted? Three reasons for this concern are recognized:
1. Some people don’t trust the cell phone companies or the government to act with the public’s best interest in mind.
2. Many people equate the potential adverse health effects of cell phone use, which has received a lot of media coverage, with the presence of cell towers. (In reality, the energy that one is exposed to while holding a cell phone to the head is far greater than one is exposed to in the vicinity of a cell tower.)
3. The existing exposure limitations are based primarily on the avoidance of energy deposition in the body sufficient to cause heating of tissue. More recent research data indicates that some types of radio frequency fields influence cellular function through mechanisms that do not involve heating. Therefore, the existing limitations may be based upon incomplete and outdated science, and thus not fully protective. http://www.emfnews.org/store/home-cell-phone-and-mobile-tower-radiation-meters.html
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