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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

New Testing procedure for RF radiation in schools in Israel

The new test procedure is far than perfect, but might be a small step forward.
It is far from perfect but may be a small step forward as it advice to use MAX Value measurements, to scan the class, to measure several places where student sit, to use the WIFI system under load and to use meters that can cover the frequency higher than 5GHz.
It still uses a ICNIPR based heat only standard, using MAX Values is only a recommendation and the meters are low sampling rate meters.

Proper Disclosure

It is possible that to same extent I had some influence on the new test procedure for RF radiation in schools that was released this year. Last year Prof Stelian Gelberg, the head of radiation and noise department in the Israeli ministry of environment protection, asked my to help guide two students for first degree in Public health as they were analyzing the existing procedure, determining the week points and improving it to a new test procedure.  I meet with them several times, I explained the problems, what can be done and what should be done. We also did some testing together and a long.
The new testing procedure might relay on their work.

Old Procedure

For the past few years, myself and other activists, have been criticizing the way RF tests were done in schools (after WIFI systems were installed - low duty cycle) using the test procedure that was meant to RF radiation from cellphone tower (high duty cycle signal), using very slow sampling rate meters (2-5 samplings per seconds), using the meters in Average mode, and doing the tests only in several points, usually next to the router.
These tests usually showed no radiation at all, a prof that there were not done correctly.

First look at the new procedure

First look at the new test procedure I can note few improvements but there is still a long way to go.

Improvements:


  1. There is a recommendation to use MAX value setting on the meter (not Average).
  2. The tests should be done in several points in the classroom where students sit. 
  3. The test should start with background RF testing.
  4. The tests should be done while the WIFI network should have heavy traffic. 
  5. The meters' frequency band must cover the frequency off all sources in the class, including 5GHz WIFI routers.

Still problematic:

  1. Using the meter in MAX Value setting is not a must, only a recommendation.
  2. In every point in which the tester will see high values, he is required to Average them (which is the best way to bring the numbers down).
  3. The outcomes of the tests are then compared to a ICNIRP based standard (will give the OK to every outcome, even if in Bio-active level). 
  4. There is no direction on the test procedure to use high sampling rate meters (I don't think there are any approved meter that have high sampling rate) which is a key issue when measuring low duty cycle signal as WIFI.
  5. There is no attention to the students' use of cell phones in the class. If such a use is permitted, the radiation from the cell phones should also be measured while active and transmitting.

What now?

The Environment Protection ministry should be congratulated on the steps done, and I will continue to criticize it for the problematic issues that still need to be addressed. Meanwhile we wait for the first test reports done by the new test procedure. 

In the picture, the new test procedure, in Blue the new steps

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