German 4G upgrade increases radiation levels
The additional signals from the latest generation of mobile phone network antennas – while still well below safety limits - increase total exposures at ground level, a nationwide study of the German LTE network upgrade has found.
The study commissioned by the Information Centre for Mobile Communications (IZMF) found that while the fourth generation (4G) of antennas produce similar low powered signals as the older technology, when they were combined with older 2G and 3G transmitters the total exposures were higher.
“The new mobile phone standard LTE (Long Term Evolution) increases total emissions from mobile communications at sites it shares with GSM and/or UMTS,” the IZMF said in a media release.
“However, this begins at a very low level and the new values remain significantly below the German legal limits.”
“All in all, the results of the study show that emissions from the LTE network are of the same order of magnitude as emissions from GSM or UMTS base stations. Therefore, the increase in total emissions slightly raises the level of human exposure in the vicinity of base stations. But as the previous emission values only reached a fraction of the legal limit, the newly measured total emissions increase from a very low level.”
Researchers from the Institute for Mobile and Satellite Communication Technology (IMST GmbH) measured one representative base station from each of the 16 German federal states and found from the 91 measurements taken the vast majority were below 10 per cent of the national safety standard.
The readings were taken in autumn 2012 at a variety of distances from the individual antennas and the researchers concentrated specifically on assessing the electromagnetic fields in residential areas and near schools and kindergartens.
“As GSM and/or UMTS mobile network installations were installed at all LTE sites, their emissions were also measured at the same time and the total emissions of all the mobile networks were calculated,” the IZMF said.
“Even when extrapolated to the potential maximum capacity of all base stations at each site, values for 95 per cent of all measuring points still reached less than 10 per cent of the legal limit for field strength.”
Dr. Birgit Keller of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) said the results of the study paint a very detailed picture of emissions from LTE base stations as well as of total emissions from all mobile networks.
“This type of information about actual field strengths creates a climate of transparency and is a perfect starting point for an objective discussion of possible health effects from electromagnetic fields,” Dr Keller said.