FCC examines changes to RF exposure limits

As part of its ongoing review of its rules and regulations, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has recently launch an important re-evaluation of its requirements regarding the safety of radiofrequency (RF) emissions from radio transmitters, signaling possible future changes in current RF exposure limits.

In an extensive communication issued in March 2013, the Commission has initiated three separate actions related to its rules regarding human RF exposure, as follows:

  • First Report and Order—In the First Report and Order, the Commission clarifies evaluation procedures and references to determine compliance with its RF limits, and reaffirms its use of specific absorption rate (SAR) as the primary metric for assessing compliance with its RF exposure requirements. The Report and Order also provides additional information on labeling and other mitigation procedures that can be used to ensure compliance with the Commission’s limits.
  • Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking—In the Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the Commission proposes to update and revise its criteria for determining those devices that are subject to its RF exposure limits and those that are exempt from evaluation. The Further Notice also proposes clarifications regarding the evaluation of portable medical devices, as well as new requirements for signs and barriers at fixed transmitter sites to better address public and occupation-related RF exposure.
  • Notice of Inquiry—In the Notice of Inquiry, the Commission requests comments on whether its current RF exposure limits and policies, originally established in 1996, should be reassessed. Specifically, it seeks input on the appropriateness of existing standards, possible options for exposure reduction, and potential improvements in the equipment authorization process as it relates to RF exposure.

Read the complete text of the Commission’s March 2013 communication on its human RF exposure requirements.