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New RF exposure rules to take effect Aug. 5

New FCC rules regarding limits on RF exposure have been published in the Federal Register and will take effect Aug 5, 2013.

The rules, adopted March 27 and released to the public two days later, cover a wide range of issues intended to protect the public from exposure to RF. For instance, they give licensees and grantees permission to show that they comply with the FCC’s RF exposure rules based on specific absorption rate (SAR) at frequencies below 6GHz in lieu of maximum permissible exposure (MPE) for fixed and mobile transmitters.

(Editor's note: For more information, see: "FCC launches major effort to re-evaluate health, safety rules for RF emission.")

Concurrent with adoption of the new rules, the agency released a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Notice of Inquiry on RF exposure. Among the issues addressed in the FNPRM are:

  • new power- and distance-based exemptions used to determine if a routing RF evaluation is required;
  • procedures, such as the use of signs, labels and barriers, to mitigate RF levels exceeding allowable limits following an evaluation;
  • clarification of the calculation or measurement methodologies used in the RF evaluation process.

In the Notice of Inquiry, some of the issues on which the FCC seeks comment are:

  • how to better provide the public with information about RF exposure;
  • conventional exposure limits vs. other precautionary approaches;
  • how the agency might be able to improve the process of developing evaluation procedures;
  • the FCC’s current portable device separation distance policy used to determine compliance.

The FCC has set Sept. 3 as the comment deadline for the FNPRM and NOI. Reply comments are due Nov. 1.