The Alaska Supreme Court upheld an Alaska Workers' Compensation Board decision awarding an AT&T equipment installer 100-percent disability due to exposure to radiofrequency radiation (RF) at levels slightly above the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) RF safety limit. The award is based on psychological and cognitive effects of RF overexposure.

The decision is significant, says the EMR Policy Institute, a Vermont-based public action group, because the FCC RF limit protects only against people from being heated while it ignores other adverse biological effects at much lower levels.

The RF exposure level in question was well below FCC's recognized level of "thermal" harm. The board decision concurs with medical experts who found adverse RF health effects from exposure occurring above the FCC safety limit but below the thermal threshold.

Going forward, says the EMR Policy Institute, the decision could significantly impact the wireless industry, as it opens the door for disability claims from millions of workers who experience occupational exposures to operating antenna arrays and have suffered similar cognitive and neurological symptoms. The FCC requires no onsite radiation measurements to document RF safety compliance. Millions of worksites host camouflaged operating antenna arrays where no RF safety program is carried out.