Following more than six years of public input and review, not mention a little urging Congress, FCC Chairman Pai has proposed that the commission maintain it existing radiofrequency (RF) exposure limits for handheld devices, noting that they are among the most stringent in the world.
The proposal would also establish a uniform set of guidelines for ensuring compliance with the limits regardless of the service or technology, replacing the Commission’s current inconsistent patchwork of service-specific rules. In addition, Chairman Pai is proposing that the Commission seek comment on establishing rules formalizing its existing methods of determining compliance with the RF exposure standard for high-frequency devices.
“The FCC sets radiofrequency limits in close consultation with the FDA and other health agencies. After a thorough review of the record and consultation with these agencies, we find it appropriate to maintain the existing radiofrequency limits, which are among the most stringent in the world for cell phones,” said Julius Knapp, chief of the FCC’s Office of Engineering and Technology.
As Jeffrey Shuren, director of the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, wrote to the FCC, “[t]he available scientific evidence to date does not support adverse health effects in humans due to exposures at or under the current limits…” and “[n]o changes to the current standards are warranted at this time.”
The draft item includes these main components:
• Maintaining the current standard: The item would maintain the existing RF exposure limits and thus resolve the Commission’s 2013 Notice of Inquiry that sought public input on whether to strengthen or relax its existing RF exposure limits.
• Establishing uniform rules for determining compliance with RF standards: The item would establish a uniform set of guidelines, agnostic to the service or technology, using science-based metrics around frequency, distance, and power, to determine how entities assess whether they are in compliance with RF standards.
• Formalizing the application of the existing standard to certain frequencies: The item would seek comment on establishing a rule to formalize the Commission’s existing methods of determining compliance with the RF exposure standard for devices operating at high frequencies.