Printed at 10:06am on 11 April 2022
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Radiation Safety of Mobile Communications

Radio Base Stations (RBS)

  • RBS are one of the fundamental components of mobile communications network. It is necessary for mobile network operators to install RBS throughout the territory in order to provide high transmission speed and uninterrupted communications services to the public.
  • About 10,000 locations in Hong Kong are installed with RBS. In the 5G era, more RBS are installed for the provision of 5G services.

What is Non-ionising Radiation?

  • Unlike ionising radiation such as X-rays and nuclear radiation, radiofrequency electromagnetic fields generated by RBS are a type of non-ionising radiation (NIR).
  • NIR has lower energy and is insufficient to change the chemical properties of substances. It cannot cause harm by breaking chemical bonds in the human body.

Radiation Safety of RBS

  • The CA, in consultation with the Department of Health, has adopted the NIR limits as set by the International Commission on Non-ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) as the radiation safety standard.
  • According to the World Health Organization, there is no sufficient scientific evidence indicating that exposure to NIR levels below the ICNIRP limits will cause adverse health effects.
  • Members of the public may call 2961 6648 if they are concerned about the radiation levels at their homes or in public places. OFCA will conduct on-site measurements of radiation level, and will explain to members of the public the measurement results.

To Know More, Watch the Short Videos:

Radiation safety of 5G mobile phones

  • Non-ionising radiation (NIR) generated by 5G mobile phones is on a par with those of the previous generations (2G / 3G / 4G) of mobile phones and is safe to use. Most 5G mobile phones operate in the sub-6 GHz bands and have electromagnetic characteristics same as those of the previous generations.
  • 5G mobile phones shall meet the technical requirements prescribed by the CA and comply with the radiation safety limits as recommended by ICNIRP.
  • If you still have concerns, you may consider taking some prudent measures such as avoiding continuous use of mobile phones and making phone calls with a hands-free kit. In addition, as a mobile phone transmits stronger signal in areas of poor reception, you may wish to minimise the use of mobile phones in such areas.

Radiation Safety of Hand-held Mobile Communications Devices (HMCD)

  • The radiation level of HMCD (including mobile phones) is measured by “Specific Absorption Rate” (SAR).
  • The CA has adopted the SAR limits recommended by the ICNIRP as the radiation safety standard for HMCD.
  • All HMCD for sale on the local market must comply with the radiation safety standard adopted by the CA. Certified HMCD are listed on OFCA’s website, and may be affixed with a label prescribed by the CA as shown on the right:

Check the list of certified models of mobile communications devices and their SAR values

Check the list of certified models of mobile communications devices

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