FCC proposes $40,000 fine for cumulative RF radiation
For the first time Wednesday, the FCC proposed forfeitures against four licensees for violating the radio frequency radiation maximum permissible exposure limits at a multi-user site where the power density level produced by each individual licensee was within acceptable limits, but the cumulative effect exceeded the limits established by the FCC. The transmitters at issue are located on Mt. Wilson in Los Angeles. The Commission proposed a forfeiture of $10,000 for each station — a total of $40,000.
FCC rules establish maximum permissible exposure (MPE) limits for radio frequency radiation (RFR) from FCC-regulated transmitters. If these limits are exceeded due to the cumulative RFR emissions of multiple transmitters, as at Mt. Wilson, then all of the licensees whose transmitters produce power density levels exceeding 5 percent of the power density exposure limit applicable to their particular transmitter share responsibility for reducing RFR to permissible levels.
FCC agents inspecting the Mt. Wilson transmitter site determined that RFR levels in a publicly accessible area, located about 100 feet from a U.S. Post Office, exceeded the maximum permissible exposure limits by 60.5 percent. Measurements taken by the agents revealed that transmitters for four stations, KBIG-FM, KKBT, KRTH-FM, and KWHY-TV, each were producing RFR power density levels at significantly more than 5 percent of the public RFR MPE limits in this area, an FCC press release alleges. The agents found that the licensees of the four stations failed to take adequate steps to prevent the public from accessing areas that exceeded the RFR exposure limits, the FCC alleges.
Shortly after the violation was brought to the stations’ attention by the FCC, however, they took steps to limit public access to the area where the RF radiation exceeded the maximum permissible exposure limits.