The Environmental Protection Agency proposed limits Thursday on public exposure to radiation from radio and television transmitting equipment because of possible health risks.
Virtually the entire U.S. population is exposed to low levels of so-called radio frequency radiation, which are not considered harmful, the EPA said.
But for people exposed to larger-than-typical doses, the radiation can produce several health effects, including changes in body temperature and nervous disorders.
The EPA defines radio frequency radiation as the signal from radio, television, radars, satellite earth terminals, microwave relays and other communications systems that transmit information to a receiver. Radio and television broadcast stations produce the highest exposure to the public, the EPA said.
The EPA’s proposal suggests four alternatives that, if accepted, would be the first federal standards to limit public exposure to radio frequency radiation. The agency will accept public comments on the alternatives for 90 days, review the comments and advise President Reagan of its recommendations. If Reagan agrees, other federal agencies will be required to apply the guidelines to their regulatory activities.
Three of the proposed alternatives suggest varying ways of limiting the radiation through proposals that would cost broadcasters up to $34 million.
In some cases, broadcasters might be required to shield their antennas from the public or change their configuration, the EPA said. In extreme cases, they might be expected to move their antennas or transmitters out of densely populated areas, the agency said.
A fourth proposal calls for public awareness campaigns and technical assistance to states in place of any federal regulatory effort.