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 Thursday, 26 April 2012

At its most recent meeting, 11-19 April, ITU-T Study Group 5 – ITU’s lead Study Group on electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) and electromagnetic effects – consented Recommendation ITU-T K.91: Guidance for assessment, evaluation and monitoring of the human exposure to radio frequency electromagnetic fields (RF EMF).

Recognizing that a significant part of the infrastructure needed to bridge the digital divide involves wireless technologies, the K.91 guide was created in response to developing nation concerns with the risks of human exposure to RF EMF and local communities’ growing resistance to the deployment of radio installations in their surrounds.

The new Recommendation responds to Resolution 72 of the 2008 World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly in Johannesburg (WTSA-08) which called upon ITU-T, and in particular Study Group 5, to expand and accelerate its work in this domain.

Specifically, SG 5 was urged to regularly update its guides on the use of ITU-T publications to achieve EMC and safety, with particular emphasis on those relating to measurement methodologies.

Recommendation ITU-T K.91 acknowledges that a variety of methods exist to assess human exposure to RF EMF, that each carry different advantages and disadvantages, and that the choice of a method depends on the needs and circumstances of its user. K.91 therefore provides guidance on methods to assess and monitor human exposure to RF EMF in areas with surrounding radiocommunication installations; based on existing exposure and compliance standards in the frequency range of 9 kHz to 300 GHz. This includes procedures to evaluate exposure levels and to demonstrate compliance with exposure limits.

While existing standards are product or service-oriented, K.91 is intended for the examination of areas accessible to people in the real environment of currently operated services with many different sources of RF EMF. It does however also make reference to standards and recommendations related to EMF compliance of products. For more on the work of SG 5, see the group’s webpage here.

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