On January 10 and 11, 22 members of the Subcommittee 4 Standard Revision Working Group of the IEEE International Committee on Electromagnetic Safety (ICES)—formerly known as SCC-28 SC4— met in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Those present agreed on a number of issues regarding standard revision, “based on our current understanding and pending the conclusion of the review and white paper process.” Then at a January 19 SC4 meeting in San Antonio, Texas, members made a few modifications to the following agreements:
- The RF safety standard should be based on science.
- RF safety standard revision should be derived from peer-reviewed publications and documents that are reviewed by the SC4.
- The adverse effect level remains at 4 W/kg subject to revision following completion of the literature evaluation and white papers.
- The maximum exposure limits should be based on established adverse effects after inclusion of an appropriate safety factor(s).
- Safety factor(s) should consider uncertainties in the biological database (e.g., measurements, environmental conditions, exposure duration, individual variability, and other factors.)
- Non-thermal RF biological effects have not been established and none of the reported non-thermal effects are proven adverse to health (does not apply to electro-stimulation). Thermal effect is the only established adverse effect.
- The microwave hearing effect is not adverse and should not be used for setting the peak power limit.
- The shape and size of the averaging volume and the peak SAR limit are still to be determined. The important end point is the temperature change.
- RF standard should be harmonized with other international standards to the extent where scientifically defensible.
- Rationales must be documented for all changes relative to the current standard
- The editorial committee will add in the informative section a paragraph dealing with potentially sensitive subpopulations, such as children.
- Reconsider the two-tier approach (whole body average SAR 0.4 and 0.08 W/kg), the peak SAR value and the averaging volume.
The 5th Revision Working Group members met on April 8 and 9 at the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to discuss more revision details. A revised draft will be presented to the SC4 members for discussion at the June IEEE ICES meeting in Québec City.