The two Basels are the only cantons that maintain an emission register.
The Air Hygiene Office of both Basels is a joint service of the Basel-Landschaft Directorate for Building and Environmental Protection and the Department of Economic, Social and Environmental Affairs Basel-Stadt. It monitors the status and development of air pollution. It implements the regulations of the Air Pollution Control Ordinance by stipulating requirements for industrial and commercial systems and checking these through operational controls. The Air Hygiene Office provides regular information about air quality. The non-ionizing radiation department ensures that the population is protected against electrosmog.
The emission register for non-ionizing radiation (e.g. from mobile radio) for 2019 is available on the Internet. It shows the exposure to high-frequency electromagnetic radiation in the two Basel areas almost everywhere. The radiation exposure is still significantly below the legal emission limits.
The Emission Register 2019 shows, for both Basels, the spatial distribution of the exposure to non-ionizing radiation (NIS) from stationary mobile radio, paging and radio transmission systems that are installed outside of buildings. The values shown are the result of model calculations that take the operating data of the antennas into account in August 2019.
In February 2019, the Federal Office of Communications (OFCOM) auctioned off a wide range of additional mobile radio frequencies (700 MHz, 1’400 MHz and 3’500 MHz). These are the prerequisites for the development of the more powerful 5G mobile technology. The 3,500 MHz band was already used in August 2019. It is included in the 2019 Emission Registry.
The interpretation of the field strength map allows an assessment of the high-frequency radiation, which is mainly caused by mobile radio systems. The Federal Ordinance on Protection against Non-Ionizing Radiation (NISV) specifies emission limit values for the electric field strength, which protect against scientifically recognized damage to health. They are 28 volts per meter (V / m) for broadcasting and between 36 and 61 V / m for mobile radio (technology-independent, i.e. currently for 2G to 5G) and must be observed wherever people are – even for a short time.
The field strength map shows that the values in both Basels are well below the emission limit values.
Compared to 2018, there are hardly any changes over a large area. In some areas there is an increase in some areas and a decrease in other areas. These changes are usually in the range of ± 0.5 V / m and are negligible.
Only values outside of buildings are shown. It has been shown that the radiation exposure can only be insufficiently modeled within buildings. The necessary data is not available for the predominantly private sources – namely mobile devices such as mobile phones and wireless telephones (DECT) and wireless networks such as WLAN – nor for the construction and equipment of the buildings.
The radiation exposure within a building can only be determined using measurement technology. The next emission register is scheduled for early 2021.
The pollution register is available on the Internet at:
“5G is still shining below the limit”
The conclusion of Axel Hettich, Head of Non-Ionizing Radiation at the Air Hygiene Office of both Basels, is simple: “Emissions in Baselland and Basel-Stadt are still significantly below the emission limit values. This becomes obvious when studying the published field strength map, which shows in detail the calculated radiation over the two cantonal areas.”
Compared to the previous year, emissions increased slightly at individual locations, while they decreased slightly at other locations. “The changes are mostly in the range of plus / minus 0.5 V / m and are negligible. On average, one can speak of constant radiation values“, explains Axel Hettich. This makes it clear that the upgrade of mobile technology to the 5G standard did not lead to stronger radiation on average in 2019. “If an antenna is upgraded to 5G, the mobile phone provider has to throttle other technologies – most likely 2G (GSM) – so that the limit values are not exceeded.” Because already today most antennas are used up to the permitted limit values.
However, in its calculations, the Air Hygiene Office does not investigate whether a change in radiation at a location has to do with a change in technology. Only the emissions that are caused by the entire radiation are shown and not by which frequencies they come about.
5G effects will only become apparent next year
Axel Hettich is looking forward to the emission register for the current year, which will be published in early 2021. Then the effects of 5G will be even more evident. According to Hettich, he would not be surprised if this did not increase the radiation. “If more 5G antennas come, older technologies, for example 2G, have to be reduced even more due to the specified limit values per system. And because 5G technology is more efficient than 2G technology, the radiation is reduced.”
However, the Federal Council decides whether the system limits of the individual antennas will be increased due to the increasing demand for faster Internet, as desired by mobile operators. However, the emission limits remain the same.