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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 0.05 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 locations. 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: 0.0007 • Visit the World Health Organization’s website at www.who.int 0.0006 • Refer to fact sheets available through the Australian Radiation Protection and 0.0005 Nuclear Safety Agency’s website at www.arpansa.gov.au/eme_pubs.htm • Contact the ARPANSA Information Officer via email at email@example.com 0.0001 • Contact the ACA’s Radiocommunications Standards Team via email at firstname.lastname@example.org 0 (c) (b) ion (d) V e V io vic FT io FT rad rad ser tat VH UH For further information about EMR regulations: es FM AM • Refer to the ACA’s EMR website at www.aca.gov.au/standards/emr/index.htm ing bas • Contact the ACA’s Radiocommunications Standards Team via email at Pag email@example.com M GS Source: Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency.
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