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Sintra Municipal Council, Institute of Telecommunications and Vodafone co-operate to measure electromagnetic radiation

Lisbon, 3 June 2003 – A new project was unveiled today for the continuous measurement of electromagnetic radiation, known as ITEM (Technical Information on Electromagnetic waves). Developed by the Institute of Telecommunications with support from Vodafone Telecel, and now implemented in the Municipality of Sintra with the blessing of the municipal council, the project aims to provide the public with accurate and relevant information about electromagnetic radiation.

Conscious of public concern about the widely reputed effects of such radiation and of the need to provide accurate and comprehensive information to its citizens, Sintra Municipal Council has decided to join the project, the first local authority to participate in this pioneering initiative in Portugal.

In addition to an electromagnetic radiation measuring station on the Pena Palace alongside a number of telecommunications antennas, other measuring stations are in operation in Rio de Mouro, Manique de Cima, Ramalhão and Portela de Sintra. Additional measurements will be taken at random points around the municipality, particularly in the vicinity of schools.

The ITEM Project was set up amid growing concern about the possible effects of the electromagnetic radiation emitted by mobile telecommunications antennas. The Project stems from work that has been carried out for some time in this field by a team at the Institute of Telecommunications’ centre at the Higher Technical Institute in Lisbon. It is supported by Vodafone in the context of support for scientific research in Portugal and internationally under the aegis of the World Health Organisation.

Vodafone ensures that its stations comply with the recommended exposure levels and makes regular measurements in the surrounding areas. In addition, it attaches importance to the publication of accurate scientific information about electromagnetic radiation to ensure that the public is properly informed.

In addition to publishing the results of the systematic measurement of electromagnetic radiation levels in various public places in the country and specific technical information, the ITEM Project offers a range of information on its website about exposure to electromagnetic radiation from mobile telecommunications systems in language readily understandable by the general public.

In order to make an objective assessment of possible effects, it is necessary to quantify the levels of electromagnetic radiation so that they can be subsequently compared with the safety limits established by international bodies. This information is not readily available in Portugal, and this is one of the gaps that the Project is designed to fill, by organising systematic measurements throughout the country.

The Institute of Telecommunications, which exists to produce and disseminate information about telecommunications, will be independently responsible for the following activities under the ITEM Project over the next three years: carrying out measurements in around four hundred locations alongside antennas erected by Vodafone in Portugal; establishing a remote measuring network in a medium-sized city; establishing a website to publish all the information compiled by the Project and the results of measurements made, and to provide ongoing access to the results of measurements from the remote network; and preparing studies on the use and methods of monitoring the emission of electromagnetic radiation.