Radio Frequency (RF) Safety

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All roofs that contain RF emitters should be readily posted. Access to these areas are restricted and require personal monitoring as well as an escort. Please contact OEHS and the RFSO if you need access to these areas.

"RF" Emission Signage


“RF” Emission Signage

The Division of Medical Physics and Radiation Safety is the responsible department for ensuring that all clinical, research, and infrastructure uses of radio frequency “RF” generating devices are utilized in a safe fashion as codified by the Mass. Department of Public Health 105 CMR 122.000 and supported by technical standards (i.e. C95.1-2005, C95.3-2008, etc.) set forth by the IEEE (The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers). This responsibility has been delineated, by the Boston University Radiation Safety Committee, to the stewardship of the Radio Frequency Safety Officer (RFSO) whom is required to implement a comprehensive RF program that ensures the safety of RF workers and members of the public. This program includes but is not limited to, the aspects of training, exposure monitoring, policy writing, classifying, and inventorying RF emitters.

RF radiation is any emission that is below the infrared wavelength/frequency (1nm/ 300Ghz) but greater than that of DC current. The only currently accepted biological effects of such emissions are thermal burns and electrical shock. To this point there is not substantiated scientific evidence to support RF induced carcinogenesis as shown with higher frequency UV and Ionizing radiations. Although not presenting the same intrinsic chronic exposure danger as other forms of electromagnetic radiation, the extensive scope of RF usage possess its own dangers for acute exposures to unaware and untrained individuals.

RF generating devices are most commonly and obviously used in the telecommunications industry. Radio Broadcasting, satellite communications, pager systems, cellphone relays, and microwave point-to-point dishes are just some of the many different emitters that this segment uses. However, RF emitters can be found in a variety of other fields of research and industry. Geology, Electrical Engineering, Biology, Physics, Astronomy, and Medicine are just a few examples of such fields. Instruments such as Plasma-Source Mass Spectrometers, RF Heat Sealers, Signal Generators, RF Ablators, Radar Arrays, and Radio Telescopes are all examples of equipment that utilize different forms of RF emissions. All such equipment should be inventoried, categorized, and annually tested for leakage by the RFSO.

Please contact the RFSO, Anthony Blatnica, by email or phone (617) 638-7052 if you have any questions or concerns in regards to RF equipment or usage areas.