Austria to limit radiation from mobile masts

Government plans to follow international standards, but environmentalists want tougher limits

A regulation to limit radiation from mobile phone transmission transmitters has been proposed by the Austrian ministry for infrastructure. The rules mirror standards developed by the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation which are supported by the World Health Organisation. They would limit radiation levels to 4,500 milliwatts per square metre (m2).

Austrian environmental NGOs, as well as an organisation representing Austrian doctors, believe the proposed limit is too lax, particularly because the number of mobile phone masts is expected to increase rapidly. They are calling on Austria to adopt Italy's much stricter regulations. They argue that a study financed by the Bavarian environment ministry has shown that animals on farms close to transmitting stations display abnormal behaviour.

A Vienna-based environmental attorney Karin Büchl-Krammerstätter has predicted that the government should brace itself for renewed public protests against the erection of new mobile phone masts if the ministry for infrastructure's proposed limit is accepted. A spokesperson for the ministry said that its proposed limits were "completely in line with the opinion of international experts and what European Commission says."

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