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Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20554
News media information 202 / 418-0500
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TTY: 202/418-2555

This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action. See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974).

June 2, 2000

David Fiske 202-418-0513


Washington - - The FCC and the Local and State Government Advisory Committee (LSGAC) today released a "plain-English" guide on radiofrequency (RF) emissions to assist local governments and individual citizens in better understanding the origin and application of FCC safety rules to safeguard public health from RF exposure.

The handbook was issued at a meeting today of the LSGAC. The guide, entitled "A Local Government Official's Guide to RF Emission Antenna Safety: Rules, Procedures, and Practical Guidance," is available on the FCC's RF safety web page at It is also available on the LSGAC website at

The guide is designed to provide local communities with a greater understanding of RF emission issues and comprehensive information and guidance in devising efficient procedures for assuring that local antenna facilities comply with the FCC's limits for human exposure to RF electromagnetic fields. It is designed to answer in clear, understandable language the questions of elected officials and local residents alike on the impact of antenna towers on community health.

A purpose of the guide is to inform citizens and to help state and local government officials play an important role in ensuring that innovative and beneficial communications services in the wireless telecommunications and broadcast industries are provided to the public in a manner consistent with public health and safety.

FCC Chairman William Kennard said, "I commend LSGAC for its tremendous effort toward developing this guide. I believe the guide will be an invaluable resource for countless communities around this nation."

LSGAC Chairman Kenneth Fellman said, "LSGAC welcomes the opportunity to join with the FCC in increasing public access to quality information about the health effects of RF emissions. Efforts such as this Guide demonstrate both the importance we attach to our public accountability as elected officials, and the FCC's commitment to support that accountability through vigorous enforcement of their existing RF Guidelines."

The guide explains the process whereby federal, state and local agencies with expertise in health and safety issues, including the EPA and FDA, assisted the FCC in establishing consensus limits for human exposure to RF emissions. It says the limits themselves are set many times below levels generally accepted as having the potential to cause adverse health effects.

The guide explains the RF exposure limits themselves, how they are derived, their margin of safety and how exposure is calculated. It describes the FCC's requirements for broadcasters and wireless telecommunications providers to comply with the RF emission limits. It discusses FCC procedures to verify compliance with the RF exposure guidelines, particularly in reviewing license applications for new, renewed or modified facilities. The guide also provides information as to how local officials can identify, in a manner not burdensome to either the officials or the service providers, facilities that are unlikely to raise issues of compliance with the federal guidelines.

It focuses on the FCC limits for human exposure to RF emissions. It does not address other issues falling generally under the jurisdiction of state and local governments, such as construction, antenna siting, permits, inspections, zoning, or environmental review.

Topics in the guide discussed in text, charts, illustrations and check-off lists include:

  • What an RF signal is, where various services that produce RF emissions fit into the radiofrequency spectrum, and ways different RF frequencies can result in different levels of maximum permissible exposure under the guidelines.

  • The methodology, in clear English, the FCC used to develop its guidelines for human exposure to RF emissions.

  • An explanation of how to apply the guidelines.

  • Discussion of how local officials and citizens can initially contact a facility's operator regarding any questions about compliance.

  • Instructions as to how local officials and citizens can contact the FCC with any compliance questions they have after communicating with the facility's operator.

  • Explanations of procedures to determine compliance and to bring violators of the guidelines into compliance.

  • Explanations and comparisons of determining RF emission measurements for facilities with single antennas as opposed to multiple antennas.

  • A checklist for determining which kinds of facilities are by their very nature highly unlikely to result in RF exposure in excess of the guideline limits, and therefore are excluded from processing procedures.

  • A list of transmitters, facilities and operations subject to routine environmental evaluation.

  • An appendix listing distances that should be maintained from single cellular, PCS and paging base station antennas.

The FCC and the LSGAC said this handbook highlights many of the most common concerns and questions connected with the process of siting wireless telecommunications and broadcast antennas.

They said it will allow local officials to make initial judgments whether RF emissions are and should be of concern, consistent with FCC regulations, and is designed to insure that FCC and state and local officials can work together to ensure public health and safety.

- FCC -

FCC Contacts:
Jeffrey Steinberg (WTB) 202-418-0620;
Robert Cleveland (OET) 202-418-2464;
Bruce Romano (MMB) 202-418-2120

LSGAC Contacts:
Kenneth Fellman, Chairperson, 303-320-6100;
Marilyn J. Praisner, Vice Chairperson, 240-777-7968;
Jonathan L. Kramer, Technology Advisor, 818-344-5100