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Bioelectromagnetics. 2002 Sep;23(6):429-43.

Determination of safety distance limits for a human near a cellular base station antenna, adopting the IEEE standard or ICNIRP guidelines.

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Department E56 "EMC and EMCE," T-Systems GmbH, Technologiezentrum, Darmstadt, Germany.


This paper investigates the minimum distance for a human body in the near field of a cellular telephone base station antenna for which there is compliance with the IEEE or ICNIRP threshold values for radio frequency electromagnetic energy absorption in the human body. First, local maximum specific absorption rates (SARs), measured and averaged over volumes equivalent to 1 and to 10 g tissue within the trunk region of a physical, liquid filled shell phantom facing and irradiated by a typical GSM 900 base station antenna, were compared to corresponding calculated SAR values. The calculation used a homogeneous Visible Human body model in front of a simulated base station antenna of the same type. Both real and simulated base station antennas operated at 935 MHz. Antenna-body distances were between 1 and 65 cm. The agreement between measurements and calculations was excellent. This gave confidence in the subsequent calculated SAR values for the heterogeneous Visible Human model, for which each tissue was assigned the currently accepted values for permittivity and conductivity at 935 MHz. Calculated SAR values within the trunk of the body were found to be about double those for the homogeneous case. When the IEEE standard and the ICNIRP guidelines are both to be complied with, the local SAR averaged over 1 g tissue was found to be the determining parameter. Emitted power values from the antenna that produced the maximum SAR value over 1 g specified in the IEEE standard at the base station are less than those needed to reach the ICNIRP threshold specified for the local SAR averaged over 10 g. For the GSM base station antenna investigated here operating at 935 MHz with 40 W emitted power, the model indicates that the human body should not be closer to the antenna than 18 cm for controlled environment exposure, or about 95 cm for uncontrolled environment exposure. These safe distance limits are for SARs averaged over 1 g tissue. The corresponding safety distance limits under the ICNIRP guidelines for SAR taken over 10 g tissue are 5 cm for occupational exposure and about 75 cm for general-public exposure.

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