• 10 AUG 12
    • 2

    Important differences between The ICNIRP and IEEE standards and the FCC standard for cell phones.

    From Louis Slesin:

    The current FCC emission standard for cell phones is 1.6 W/Kg averaged over 1g of tissue. The IEEE and ICNIRP standards are 2.0 W/Kg averaged over 10g of tissue. The difference between 1.6 and 2.0 may not seem large but it’s the averaging volume that is the key factor (as Henry Lai just pointed out to the CHE list -). [Included below].

    Changing it from 1g to 10g would lead to a loosening of the cell phone standard by a factor of two or three, according to Jim Lin of the University of Illinois in Chicago. To put it another way, an SAR of 2 W/Kg averaged over 10g is approximately equivalent to an SAR of 4-6 W/Kg average over 1g.

    Lin is no radical. He pointed out this difference back in the year 2000. Since then he has become the editor-in-chief of Bioelectromagnetics and is now a member of ICNIRP. Lin was one of those interviewed by the GAO for its new report (see p.32 of the report).

    Back in August 2000 when the IEEE was considering “harmonizing” its 1.6 WKg over 1g standard with that of ICNIRP’s 2 W/kg over 10g, Microwave News wrote “If the two organizations [IEEE and NCRP] succeed in harmonizing their standards [with ICNIRP] and move away from the 1.6 W/Kg over 1g limit. would the U.S. FCC follow?” Today, a dozen years later, we may soon find out.

    The NCRP is the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements.

    IEEE did follow ICNIRP, as everyone expected. As for the NCRP, it was put out of business. Jim Lin was the chair of the NCRP committee that was working on revising its RF guidelines. At the time, Lin had made it clear that he would resist any loosening of the cell phone limit by switching the averaging volume from 1g to 10g. Was the closing down of Lin’s committee a coincidence? I don’t think so.

    The NCRP no longer works on EMFs or RF, but that’s another story for another day

    It’s also important to point out that the U.S. does NOT have an RF exposure standard. The EPA was going to propose one in the 1980’s after doing years of prep work, but then the agency was forced to give it up after the broadcasting industry raised a stink. (There were no cell phones back then.)

    To read more about the 1g vs 10g issue, see MWN, J/A00 p.8 and MWN, N/D00 p.3. Both are free downloads available at:

    I hope this helps clarify what I wrote a couple of days ago,

    Henry Lai on the GAO Report:

    The GAO Report addresses mobile phone exposure, which is near-field partial body exposure. The concern is in the last paragraph on page 17 of the Report- whether exposure limits should be based on SAR averaged over one or ten grams of tissue. As far as I know, the US FCC still uses 1-gm averaging whereas IEEE and ICNIRP recommend 10-gm. Averaging over 10 gm would allow higher emission from a phone- thus higher exposure.

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