FCC Maintains Current RF Exposure Safety Standards

Proposed Changes in the Commission’s Rules Regarding Human Exposure to Radiofrequency
Electromagnetic Fields; Reassessment of Federal Communications Commission Radiofrequency
Exposure Limits and Policies-

In the Matter of Proposed Changes in the Commission’s Rules Regarding Human Exposure to
Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields; ET Docket No. 03-137 (Terminated)

Reassessment of Federal Communications Commission Radiofrequency Exposure Limits and
Policies;  ET Docket No. 13-84 (Terminated)

Targeted Changes to the Commission’s Rules Regarding Human Exposure to Radiofrequency
Electromagnetic Fields;  ET Docket No. 19-226

The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) requires the Commission to evaluate the
effects of our actions on the quality of the human environment, including human exposure to RF
energy emitted by Commission-regulated transmitters and facilities.1 The Commission has
accordingly promulgated rules that set limits for RF exposure and, through the years, has created
a framework to ensure compliance with these limits. Today, we take a number of steps regarding
these limits to ensure the health and safety of workers and consumers of wireless technology,
while also clarifying and streamlining rules to reduce regulatory burdens on licensees.

First, we resolve a Notice of Inquiry that sought public input on, among other issues, whether the
FCC should amend its existing RF emission exposure limits.2 After reviewing the extensive record
submitted in response to that inquiry, we find no appropriate basis for and thus decline to propose
amendments to our existing limits at this time. We take to heart the findings of the Food & Drug
Administration (FDA), an expert agency regarding the health impacts of consumer products, that
“[t]he weight of scientific evidence has not linked cell phones with any health problems.”3 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.

Second, based on our existing limits, we revise our implementing rules to reflect modern technology
and today’s uses. We streamline our criteria for determining when a licensee is exempt from our RF
exposure evaluation criteria, replacing our prior regime of service-based exemptions with a set of
formulas for situations in which the risk of excessive RF exposure is minimal. For those licensees
who do not qualify for an exemption, we provide more flexibility for licensees to establish
compliance with our RF exposure limits. And we specify methods that RF equipment operators can
use to mitigate the risk of excess exposure, both to members of the public and trained workers
(such as training, supervision, and signage).

Third, we notice further targeted proposals on the application of our RF emission exposure limits
for future uses of wireless technologies. Specifically, we propose to formalize a an additional limit
for localized RF exposure and the associated methodology for compliance for portable devices
operating at high frequencies (gigahertz (GHz) frequencies). on top of our already existing limits
that apply at these frequencies, and propose to extend this to terahertz (THz) frequencies as well 4
We also propose to allow wireless power transfer (WPT) equipment under Part 15 and 18 of the
Commission’s rules and propose specific exposure limits for such operations.

Fourth, and finally, we deny a pending petition for reconsideration and affirm our prior finding
that the pinnae (outer ears) should be treated like other extremities for purposes of determining
compliance with our RF emission exposure limits.

https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/FCC-19-126A1.pdf

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