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Do current safety standards for exposure to radiofrequency/microwave (RF/MW) radiation protect the public from all mechanisms of harm?

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Most countries base their RF/MW safety standards/guidelines on a thermal model of harm, i.e., that the temperature of human tissue must be raised 1°C in order for biological harm to occur. Some countries have adopted precautionary exposure regulations that recognize possible harm from non-thermal levels of RF/MW radiation exposure. Alasdair Philips, Director of Powerwatch in the U.K has documented regulations of several countries in a table entitled: “Comparing Standards for general public RF exposure levels.

See also: “Serious Flaws with the FCC RF/MW safety guidelines,” adapted from B. Blake Levitt, Electromagnetic Fields: A Consumer’s Guide to the Issues and How to Protect Ourselves, Harcourt Brace, ©1995. Used by permission of author.

The EMR Policy Institute is currently carrying forward to the federal Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit a challenge to the U.S. RF Safety Guidelines adopted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 1996-97. This Petition for Inquiry to the FCC was originated by The EMR Network in September, 2001. Two documents that are part of that proceeding explain further the issues laid out by the federal health agencies responsible for RF/MW regulatory policy.

· June 17, 1999 letter written on behalf of the federal Radiofrequency Interagency Work Group (RFIAWG) by W. Gregory Lotz of the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to Richard Tell, Chairman of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) subcommittee for RF safety. FCC looks to IEEE for primary input on RF safety standards. The letter outlines 14 issues that the federal health agencies find in the IEEE exposure scheme.

· July 16, 2002 letter from EPA’s Norbert Hankin, Center for Risk Assessment Radiation Protection Division, to Janet Newton, then President of The EMR Network, discussing whether the current FCC RF exposure guidelines “adequately treat nonthermal, prolonged exposures” to RF radiation.

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