Groups Challenge Government's 5G RF Limits

5g artistic rendering
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Groups that argue the government is allowing dangerous levels of RF radiation from cell phones, towers and computers have called on HHS and the FDA to declare that radiation an imminent hazard.

In their petition they allege that the FDA is misleading the public into thinking it has examined the evidence and based its RF exposure limits for humans on a science based conclusion when that is not the case.

The groups said that the rapid rollout of 5G and an effort to bring wireless to classrooms has raised questions about the "near-constant exposure."

Also: D.C. Court Smacks Down FCC Decision to Keep 5G RF Emission Standards

The groups also argue that the FCC's thermal guidelines fail to address "proven biological impacts."

They point out that in a lawsuit filed against the FCC for deciding to keep its RF safety guidelines, a federal court said the FCC has to review the science on RF exposure and biological harm. The FCC has been fighting the RF limits issue on multiple fronts.

That court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, said that there may be good reasons not to change the standards, but the FCC did not supply them. "To be clear, we take no position in the scientific debate regarding the health and environmental effects of RF radiation," the court said. "[W]e merely conclude that the Commission’s cursory analysis of material record evidence was insufficient as a matter of law."

The basic issue is whether current FCC and FDA standards for safe wireless RF emissions have kept up with the race to 5G and the rise of wireless broadband as the go-to RF access point for millions. ■

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.