A Caution on Precaution –Radio Base Stations and EMFPeter Zollman,Chair GSM Association EMF Expert PanelITU Workshop on“Human Exposure to Electromagnetic Fields ”(Turin, Italy, 9 May 2013)Turin, Italy, 9 May 2013
ContextLocal base stations are needed to support thepersonal voice/data communications serviceswhich provide economic and social benefitsLimiting exposure according to ICNIRPrecommendations protects all people from provenRF EMF health risksThe WHO* and most expert reviewers nowconsider there is little plausible risk to thegeneral public from base station RF signalsHowever some people remain concerned…2Turin, Italy, 9 May 2013*WHO fact sheet No 304, www.who.int/emf
Some people remain concerned3Better to have a fence at the top of a cliff rather than anambulance at the bottom…Turin, Italy, 9 May 2013
Some people remain concerned4Turin, Italy, 9 May 2013But if you don’t know if there is a cliff and where it may be...
Some people remain concerned5Turin, Italy, 9 May 2013But if you don’t know if there is a cliff and where it may be…Where do you put the fence(s)?
Some people remain concerned6Turin, Italy, 9 May 2013But if you don’t know if there is a cliff and where it may be…Where do you put the fence(s)?What is a useful warning?
Some people remain concerned7Turin, Italy, 9 May 2013Which landscape is better for your wellbeing?Are the public safer with these fences and warnings?How to judge if a proposed measure is appropriate?
Some cost-benefit criteria8European Commission Some cost-benefit criteria………Examining costs andbenefits entails comparing theoverall cost to the Communityof action and lack of action, inboth the short and long term.This is not simply an economiccost-benefit analysis: its scopeis much broader, and includesnon-economic considerations,such as the efficacy of possibleoptions and their acceptabilityto the public.Low financial cost?Low environmental impact?Reduces potential health risk?Reduces general public anxiety?Turin, Italy, 9 May 2013EC COM(2000) 1
Two types of precautionary basestation policiesCompliance limits lower than ICNIRP*Restricting exposure to base station EMFs to a fractionof ICNIRP recommended public limitsWHO says “…Considering the very low exposure levels and research results collectedto date, there is no convincing scientific evidence that the weak RF signals from basestations and wireless networks cause adverse health effects.”*Note the EU Recommendation 1999/519/EC is very closely aligned to ICNIRPrecommendations for restricting general public exposure so only ICNIRP is referred to here.Planning exclusion zonesProhibiting base stations within arbitrary distances ofdefined “sensitive” locations (e.g. schools, hospitals..)UK, Health Protection Agency (now Public Health England) says“…there is no scientific basis for establishing minimal distances between base stationsand areas of public occupancy… There are many sources of exposure to RF fields, and itwould in practice have little impact on people’s overall exposure.”9Turin, Italy, 9 May 2013
10Compliance limits lower than ICNIRP-Does this reduce potential health risk?No known/anticipated health effectto mitigate so do lower compliancelimits reduce general publicexposure?Consider simple roof top 3G antennaTurin, Italy, 9 May 2013“The general RF exposure level of the population from the fixed RF sourcesincluding LF/MF broadcast, VHF broadcast, UHF TV and telecommunications isvery low. The range is between 0,01-1 V/m in Europe that is many timesbelow the exposure limits of EU recommendations.” EFHRAN 2010
11Compliance limits lower than ICNIRP-do not mean lower exposureNow apply 1/10 ICNIRP compliancelimit without any other changeSize of compliance zones increases(reassuring or alarming?)But public exposure remains at thesame low level in areas outsidethese zones where people live andworkTurin, Italy, 9 May 2013
NetherlandsGSM900 limit (ICNIRP) = 41 V/mMeasured average = 0.38 V/mBelgiumGSM900 limit = 3 V/mMeasured average = 0.93 V/mJoseph et al., 2012.Rowley et al, 2012.9.6% ofBelgium limit0.01% ofICNIRP limitTurin, Italy, 9 May 2013Compliance limits lower than ICNIRP-do not mean lower exposure12
Compliance limits lower than ICNIRP-Cost / Environmental impact?ICNIRP compliance 1/10 ICNIRP compliance13Turin, Italy, 9 May 2013Compliance change does not reduce public’s exposure
Compliance limits lower than ICNIRP-Cost / Environmental impact?UK (ICNIRP) Italy (ICNIRP/~40)14Turin, Italy, 9 May 2013Compliance increases cost & can make antennas more visible
Compliance limits lower than ICNIRP-Application of criteriaCriterion Analysis Met?Effective inreducing potentialhealth risk?No plausible benefit. Does not reduceexposure. Non-optimum site locationmay increase handset average powerincreasing exposure.NoReduces generalpublic anxiety?Larger zones feeds non-scientifically-supported fear of base stations.Moving from science-based limitsreduces trust in the validity of thoselimits and public authority’smanagement of risk.NoLow environmentalimpact?Antennas more visible NoLow financial cost? Significant costs toredeploy/redesign sites / unable tooffer serviceNo15Turin, Italy, 9 May 2013
Planning exclusion zone policies –Case study Melbourne (Australia) - 1Current policy is ICNIRP limits and noplanning-based siting restrictions“What if” case studyWhat % area would become unavailable forbase station deployment if prohibited within500m of pre-schools, schools and hospitals?Publicly available mapping data for communityfacilities and base station locationsTurin, Italy, 9 May 201316
If 500m zone applied:across whole urbanarea would affect >50%of antennasRises to ~90% in denseurban areaService impacts notdirectly assessedGSMA report availableCommunity facility centredTurin, Italy, 9 May 2013Planning exclusion zone policies –Case study Melbourne (Australia) - 217
Planning exclusion zone policies –Application of criteriaCriterion Analysis Met?Effective in reducingpotential health risk?No plausible benefit. Non-optimum site location mayincrease handset average powerincreasing exposure whereservice can be providedNoReduces general publicanxiety?Potentially feeds non-scientifically-supported fear ofbase stationsNoLow environmentalimpact?More than 50% sites to be re-deployed – where?NoLow financial cost? Costs to redeploy sites / unableto offer serviceNo18Turin, Italy, 9 May 2013
UK StrategyInternational limitsNational mast policyCode of practiceSample auditsInformationResearch supportMOA, 2012Impact of policies on public concern –Appropriate policy can manage concernTurin, Italy, 9 May 201319
Impact of policies on public concern –Eurobarometer findings66% - 100%46% - 65%31% - 45%0% - 30%Data-source:SpecialEurobarometer347,2010,p.66;presentationbyGSMAEurope2010Strong precautionaryadvice bygovernmentsStricter legal safetystandards (limits,exclusion zones)ICNIRPComplianceCommunicationsTurin, Italy, 9 May 201320
ConclusionsITU should recommend:Applying evidence based EMF exposure limits asadvised by the WHOCooperation with the WHO to clarify scientificuncertaintyHaving consistent mast policyBe cautious with precautionary measures andavoid policies that are ineffective especially ifthey create alarm and/or are costlyCommunicating using trusted health agenciesTurin, Italy, 9 May 201321
Thank YouPeter ZollmanChair GSMA EMF Expert Panelpeter.email@example.comDr Jack RowleySenior Director Research &Sustainabilityjrowley@gsma.comTel: +61 427 070 369www.gsma.com/healthTurin, Italy, 9 May 201322
Slide Short ref Full reference2, 9 WHO Base stations and wireless networks - Fact Sheet N°304 (May 2006) www.who.int/emf [accessed17/4/13]8 EC COM(2000)1COMMISSION OF THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES, Brussels, 02.02.2000, COM(2000) 1COMMUNICATION FROM THE COMMISSION, on the precautionary principlehttp://ec.europa.eu/dgs/health_consumer/library/pub/pub07_en.pdf [accessed17/4/13]9 Public HealthEngland§53, Documents of the NRPB, Vol 15 No.5 2004http://www.hpa.org.uk/webc/HPAwebFile/HPAweb_C/1194947333240 [accessed17/4/13]10 EFHRAN 2010 European Health Risk Assessment Network on Electromagnetic Fields Exposure, Report on thelevel of exposure (frequency, patterns and modulation) in the European Union, Part 1:Radiofrequency (RF) radiation,http://efhran.polimi.it/docs/D4_Report%20on%20the%20level%20of%20exposure%20in%20the%20European%20Union_Oct2010.pdf [accessed 17/4/13]12 Joseph et al.,2012.Assessment of RF Exposures from Emerging Wireless Communication Technologies in DifferentEnvironments, Joseph et al., Health Physics, 102(2):161-172, February 2012.12 Rowley et al,2012.Comparative international analysis of radiofrequency exposure surveys of mobile communicationradio base stations, Rowley et al., Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology,22(3):304–315, May/June 2012.16-17 GSMA 2012 Prepared for GSMA by Evans Planning, in association with Manidis Roberts and Piconet Consulting,Impact of exclusion zones policies on siting of base stations Australian case study analysis, August2012. http://www.gsma.com/publicpolicy/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/GSMA_2012_impact_planning_restriction_network_web.pdf [accessed17/4/13]19 MOA 2012 Public Attitudes towards Mobile Phones and Masts, YouGov for the Mobile Operators Association,September 2012. (slide 11) http://www.mobilemastinfo.com/opinion-research/opinion-research.html [accessed 17/4/13]20 Eurobarometer2010Data from - European Commission, Special Eurobarometer, Electromagnetic fields, June 2010http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/ebs/ebs_347_en.pdf [accessed 17/4/13]24 IEC 62232 IEC 62232 Edition 1.0 2011-05, Determination of RF field strength and SAR in the vicinity ofradiocommunication base stations for the purpose of evaluating human exposure25 Wiedemann,2011How to deal with uncertain risks? The EMF case and beyond, Academy of Disaster Reduction andEmergency Management, Ministry of Civil Affairs & Ministry of Education, The Peoples Republic ofChina, Beijing Normal University, 16th of March 2011, Prof. Dr. Peter WiedemannTurin, Italy, 9 May 2013
Field strength falls quicklyas you move away fromthe antennaLowering the compliancelimit affects access-controlzones near antennaCompliance to lower limitsmay require site designchanges without improvingnetwork performance orreducing public exposure24Compliance limits lower than ICNIRP-Some technical backgroundFor typical base stationantennas the field fallsaway more slowly close tothe antenna than at largerdistancesTurin, Italy, 9 May 2013
Precautionary Measures =Increased ConcernStudy conducted in Australia, Brazil, India, Japan, Germany,The Netherlands, South Africa, UK and USA.ICNIRP recommends limits, however, in some countries debatecontinues.Base station informationPrecautionary limitsProtect sensitive areasMinimise exposureWiedemann, 2011All precautionary measures increased concern.More concern ►◄ Less concernTurin, Italy, 9 May 2013