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Mobile Base Stations and EMR - A comparison between mobile base


									        Mobile Base Stations and EMR
What is radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation (EMR)?
Radiofrequency EMR is the transfer of energy by radio waves. Mobile phone base stations,
broadcast towers and radar facilities all emit radiofrequency EMR. EMR also occurs in                                                                A comparison between mobile
nature and is part of everyday life. Natural sources like the sun, the earth and the
ionosphere all emit low levels of EMR.
                                                                                                                                                     base stations and other sources
                                                                                                                                                         of radiofrequency EMR
Are there set limits on exposure to EMR in Australia?
Yes. The Australian Communications Authority (ACA) sets limits for exposure from
mobile phone base stations to protect public health. All mobile base stations must
comply with the ACA limits.                                                                                                                         200
                                                                                                                                                                                                         ACA exposure limit
What is the ACA’s public exposure limit?
It is 200 microwatts per square centimetre. This is at least 50 times below a level of
exposure to EMR which is known to have adverse health effects on the human body
and is consistent with World Health Organization guidelines.

So what are the exposure levels around mobile base stations?
They are less than 0.1 per cent of the ACA limit. And, in most locations, they are less
than television or radio signals measured in the same place.

Has anybody measured EMR from mobile base stations?
Yes. As part of a national survey the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear
Safety Agency (ARPANSA) measured EMR at 14 localities near mobile phone base                                                                        150
stations. ARPANSA found that emissions from mobile base stations at these localities
were comparable to television and FM radio transmitters measured at the same time,
                                                                                                              (microwatts per square centimetre)

and are lower than those from AM radio transmitters.

What action is the Federal Government taking on EMR?
                                                                                           Power density(a)

The Government established the Committee on Electromagnetic Energy and Public
Health Issues to advise it on health exposure standards, compliance procedures,
national and international research findings and further research.

The Government also provided $4.5 million to fund an Australian research program
and to provide public information. The current Australian research is part of the
world-wide research program coordinated by the World Health Organization.

Since June 2000, the ACA standard, which limits human exposure to EMR, has covered
all mobile phone handsets and base stations, cordless phone handsets and cradles, and
satellite phone handsets. The standard will be widened to cover all                                                                                             0.0464
radiocommunications transmitters by the end of 2001.                                                                                                                                           (a) The power density measurements on which this chart is
                                                                                                                                                                                                   based were made to compare emissions from particular
                                                                                                                                                                                                   mobile phone base stations and other sources of
What action are phone companies taking on EMR?                                                                                                                                                     radiofrequency EMR at a range of locations. Power
                                                                                                                                                                                                   densities were measured in an open area within 500 metres
Consumer representatives, the telecommunications industry and the Government are
                                                                                                                                                    0.04                                           of the base station. Results shown are averages of the 14
working together to develop a code of practice to address community concerns
                                                                                                                                                                                               (b) The exposure limit for AM radiofrequencies is
about EMR. The code will set guidelines for the siting, design and operation of                                                                                                                    approximately 2000 microwatts per square centimetre.
telecommunications facilities and will take EMR into account. In addition, the code                                                                                                            (c) One location chosen to measure mobile phone base station
                                                                                                                                                                                                   power densities was within 150 metres of two FM radio
will cover the steps carriers will be required to take when installing and operating                                                                                                               station transmitters. FM radio emissions at this location
telecommunications facilities. They will also be required to consult with the                                                                                                                      were much higher than the average of the other locations.
                                                                                                                                                                              0.0024               In general, the power density from FM radio stations is
community and local councils.                                                                                                                                                                      similiar to that from UHF and VHF TV. The average power

                                                                                                                                            0.002                                                  density from FM radio at the other locations was 0.0005
                                                                                                                                                                                                   microwatts per square centimetre.
Are mobile base stations a health risk?                                                                                                                                                        (d) Power densities for GSM base stations were measured also
                                                                                                                                                                                                   at many locations around the base stations. The maximum
Evidence gathered by ARPANSA suggests that exposure levels in public areas are                                                                                                                     measured power density at any location was 0.072
so far below the exposure limit set by the ACA that EMR emissions from mobile                                                                                                                      microwatts per square centimetre. The difference between
                                                                                                                                                                                                   this maximum and the average shown in the graph is typical
phone base stations have no implications for health.                                                                                                                                               and indicates the influence of the local environment on
                                                                                                                                                                                                   power densities.

Want more information on EMR?                                                                                                                      0.001
For further information on EMR and health effects:
• Visit the World Health Organization’s website at                                                                                                                                                   0.0006
• Refer to fact sheets available through the Australian Radiation Protection and                                                                                                                                                     0.0005
  Nuclear Safety Agency’s website at
• Contact the ARPANSA Information Officer via email at                                                                                                                                                                           0.0001
• Contact the ACA’s Radiocommunications Standards Team via email at

                                                                                                                                                                                               ion (d)







For further information about EMR regulations:

• Refer to the ACA’s EMR website at

• Contact the ACA’s Radiocommunications Standards Team via email at

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Source: Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency.

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