Mobile communications have become a way of life. Mobile phones are no longer used solely for voice communication purposes. They have also become a means of socialising and doing business.
A radio transmitting network needs to be set so as to facilitate mobile communications. This involves the establishment of multiple radio transmitting apparatus spread across the area where the service is required; on a nationwide basis in the case of Malta.
Any radio transmitting apparatus exposes its surroundings (including people) to electromagnetic waves. The Malta Communications Authority (MCA) is the entity responsible to monitor that radiation from such apparatus is within predefined set limits and therefore, not harmful. The Authority is very active in this respect. It independently monitors and measures electromagnetic field (EMF) levels on a regular basis and takes the necessary action, when needed.
Licensees intending to install or modify radio transmitting apparatus need to evaluate the Radio Frequency field strength in the vicinity of this apparatus and in areas that are accessible to the general public. These levels are an aggregate of the radiating fields emanating from the said apparatus as well as other radiating sources. Thresholds for limiting exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF), as applicable at Law, are set following the guidelines published by the International Commission for Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP Guidelines).
The EMF Guidelines are intended to deliver a higher level of harmonisation to the procedures followed by licensees in adherence to their obligations when installing or modifying their radio transmitting apparatus, including amongst others, by specifying the reporting format, measurment methodology and compliance processes to be undertaken prior to bringing the radio apparatus into service.
These Guidelines continue to build on the efforts of the MCA to ensure compliance in relation to EMF radiation limits.