Electromagnetic Radiation Standards (EMR) for Mobile Tower and Site Radiation and RF Exposure – Mobile Sites, Towers and Safety / HOME

Electromagnetic Radiation Standards (EMR) for Mobile Tower and Site Radiation and RF Exposure – Mobile Sites, Towers and Safety

Part 1 - The Mobile Base Station
Part 2 - Radio-Frequency Energy Explained
Part 3 - RF Safety and Health Studies
Part 4 - Electromagnetic Radiation Guidelines for Mobile Tower Radiation and RF Exposure


Electromagnetic Radiation (EMR) Standards for Mobile Tower and Site Radiation and Radio Frequency (RF) Exposure

In Australia, ARPANSA (Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency) is responsible for setting the standards for base station operation and mobile site and tower radiation as well as Radio Frequency exposure. The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is the regulator for RF EMR used for communcations purposes in Australia. Their website is http://www.acma.gov.au.

For mobile telecommunications frequencies, the relevant standard enforced in Australia is the Radiation Protection Standard for Maximum Exposure Levels to Radiofrequency Fields – 3kHz to 300GHz (also called RPS3 or simply the ARPANSA Standard). At the frequencies considered in this study, the exposure limits it specifies are equivalent to those of the 1998 Guidelines published by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).

These limits have been determined on the basis of established health effects and include safety margins. They are designed to protect all members of the public including those sometimes thought to be particularly vulnerable (the elderly, the infirm, pregnant women and children).

The most restrictive of the appropriate limits from the ARPANSA Standard is the reference level for time averaged general public exposure. These reference levels are used for all comparisons in this study.

Mobile phone base stations in Australia currently transmit in four frequency bands. Although the allowable limits vary within three of the frequency bands, for simplicity a single value will be used. The chosen values of the limit are more restrictive (slightly lower) than those allowed by the ARPANSA Standard.

Band Name Frequency [MHz] Services Limit [mW/m2]
CDMA800 870 - 890 CDMA & UMTS 4250
GSM900 935 - 960 GSM900 4500
GSM1800 1805 - 1880 GSM1800 9000
UMTS2100 2110 - 2170 UMTS 10000
Power Frequency Graph

The ARPANSA website also includes a survey of random sites conducted in 2007-2009 with the following results.

Summary Results

Suburb/Town Address State DateMeasured RF Level(% of exposure limits)
Calamvale Corner of Beaudesert & Compton Roads QLD October 2009 0.051%
Palmerston 65 Chung Wah Terrace NT October 2009 0.890%
Wynnum North 14 Mungala Street QLD October 2009 0.052%
Holt Playing Fields, Ormsby Place ACT August 2009 0.127%
Lalor 320 Station Street VIC May 2009 0.194%
Lower Sandy Bay Sandown Park, Long Point Road TAS May 2009 0.277%
Pascoe Vale Rayner Reserve, Devon Road VIC Apr 2009 0.316%
City Beach Lot 245 Kilpa Court WA Dec 2007 0.303%
Oaklands Park Warradale Barracks SA Dec 2007 0.579%
Beaconsfield 20 Moran Street WA Nov 2007 0.009%
Bli Bli Whitecross Road QLD Nov 2007 0.026%
Bathurst 230 Howick Street NSW Oct 2007 <0.001%
Rosemeadow Lot 1 Appin Road NSW Oct 2007 0.109%
South Coogee 175 Malabar Road NSW Sep 2007 1.163%
Goodwood 147 Goodwood Road SA Aug 2007 0.132%
Sandringham 48 Bay Road VIC Apr 2007 0.505%

As illustrated, all of the sites were less than or just slightly over 1% of the allowable exposure limits for Radio Frequency exposure.

Community and Organization Responses

In spite of the opinions of international expert groups like the World Health Organization and the American Cancer Society, as well as the findings of numerous studies, concern over possible health risks from mobile tower radiation and RF exposure continues. Many groups exist around the globe that push for limiting base station power outputs or prevalence. Often, schools and day care centres receive much of this focus.

Such views are not limited to private groups, however. Certain public entities have demonstrated concern over RF exposure, including a European Parliament, which voted to restrict both base stations on school property, and the use of mobile phones by young children. Recently, the French government enacted a ban on mobile phones in French public schools. The measure was criticised by several groups for ignoring the base stations themselves. Although both private and public groups often cite studies concerning mobile phones, or even RF energy in general, they also point to a perspective held by many expert groups: that while existing evidence suggests there is little health risk posed by base stations, longer term studies must be performed before any real conclusions on RF exposure can be drawn. They say that until such studies can be enacted, people should not be subjected to radiation that may eventually be proven to have negative effects.

Extended Reading—For more information, see the following sites:

http://www.mcf.amta.org.au/

Stewart W. 2000, ‘Mobile phones and health’, Independent expert group on mobile phones, NRPB, Didcot, UK.
WHO 2000, ‘Electromagnetic fields and public health cautionary policies’, March 2000.


Part 1 - The Mobile Base Station
Part 2 - Radio-Frequency Energy Explained
Part 3 - RF Safety and Health Studies
Part 4 - Electromagnetic Radiation Guidelines for Mobile Tower Radiation and RF Exposure