FCC Safety Limits for Electric Fields, Magnetic Fields & RF Radiation

How crazy are the current FCC guidelines for EMF exposures? Take a typical cell phone tower which operates at 1800 MHz, the FCC maximum exposure limit is 1 mW/cm2, that's to say 1000 μW/cm2.  The 2012 BioInitiative report recommends a precautionary level of 0.0003 μW/cm2 to 0.0006 μW/cm2.

These official guidelines are at the heart of the controversy over EMF exposures. They are considered to offer virtually no protection to the general public.

The current Federal Communications Commission (FCC) guidelines for Electromagnetic Field exposures, including radio frequency (RF) Radiation are shown in the 2 tables below. The second table, general population exposures of electromagnetic fields, will be the one most people will want to refer to.

Limits for Occupational/Controlled Exposure

Frequency        Electric Field    Magnetic Field      Power Density        Averaging Time

Range Strength (E) Strength (H) (S) E  2,    H  2   or S
(MHz)                       (V/m)                   (A/m)              (mW/cm2)            (minutes)
0.3-3.0 614 1.63 (100)*


3.0-30 1842/f 4.89/f (900/f2)*


30-300 61.4 0.163 1.0


300-1500 f/300


1500-100,000 5



Limits for General Population/Uncontrolled Exposure

Frequency         Electric Field       Magnetic Field      Power Density    Averaging Time

Range Strength (E) Strength (H) (S) E  2, H  2   or S
(MHz)                       (V/m)                   (A/m)                    (mW/cm2)            (minutes)
0.3-1.34 614 1.63 (100)*


1.34-30 824/f 2.19/f (180/f2)*


30-300 27.5 0.073 0.2


300-1500 f/1500


1500-100,000 1.0


f = frequency in MHz                          *Plane-wave equivalent power density


NOTE 1:  Occupational/controlled limits apply in situations in which persons are exposed as a consequence of their employment provided those persons are fully aware of the potential for exposure and can exercise control over their exposure.  Limits for occupational/controlled exposure also apply in situations when an individual is transient through a location where occupational/controlled limits apply provided he or she is made aware of the potential for exposure.

NOTE 2:  General population/uncontrolled exposures apply in situations in which the general public may be exposed, or in which persons that are exposed as a consequence of their employment may not be fully aware of the potential for exposure or can not exercise control over their exposure.”

The information above is an extract from the FCC OET Bulletin 56, click here to consult the PDF in full.

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  • Terry said,

    I just received my Cornet ED78S. At what mW/m2 should I start to be concerned?

  • Lloyd said,

    You should aim to reduce exposures in your environment to safer levels – the LEDs on the Cornet go green to indicate this.

  • Terry said,

    LED’s are very ambiguous, numbers are exact and if the meter spikes I would like to be able to view the max numbers to see if I have had an unsafe exposure.

  • Fee said,

    Hi I have measured my electric fields from my household wiring and the readings come out higher than the meter suggests (ideally less than 20v/m). I found it confusing as the meter readings varied depending on whether I put my feet on the floor or (as suggested) stood on a plastic stool. I didn’t know how much I was contributing to the reading as someone else holding it in the same place had a lower reading as apparently it reacts differently to different people. I am worried that for years my son has had levels of 30-35 v/m where his bed was and even where I have moved it now it is 21-30. I could not see what the bioinitiative report said about electric fields- I could only see RF and magnetic parameters? many thanks. Fee

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