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Effects of Radiation

As part of its mandate, the National Telecommunications Regulatory Agency (ANRT) handles complaints about potential risks of radiation effects of radio facilities on the health of citizens.

The ANRT handles complaints made by associations, residents or individuals about the potential risks of radiation effects on the health of citizens of radio installations, including of base stations of mobile networks.

In fact, the development of the telecommunications sector in Morocco resulted in the granting of licenses to operators operating public telecommunications networks using radio access technologies (UMTS, WIMAX, CDMA, GSM ...). The deployment of such networks has led to important needs in radio base stations installation. This increase, although designed to meet users' requirements in terms of coverage and quality of service, increases the concern of some citizens concerned about the effect of electromagnetic radiation on health.

This situation is not unique to Morocco. The concern of some people is not always appeased by the results of international studies. In fact, studies by the World Health Organization (WHO) showed that there is no evidence on the risks of "harmfulness" of electromagnetic fields emitted by radio stations and the emphasis is placed on the key principle of "precaution". This principle is reflected in the adoption of a maximum power level, often defined on the basis of recommendations of the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). The Study Group n°5 of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is working on methods for measuring and evaluating levels of RF fields. Some countries have enacted legislation setting maximum levels of exposure with some significant differences compared to the values of the ICNIRP, but do not have a scientific argument when it comes to justifying the differences.

At the national level, an inter-ministerial committee composed of representatives of the Ministry of Health, National Centre for Radiation Protection, the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Industry, Trade and New Technologies, Ministry of Energy, of Mines, Water and Environment, Department of Civil Protection and ANRT led a work group since 2000 to take note of the progress of studies carried out internationally. The goal is to ensure the harmonious development of many areas related to the use of electromagnetic waves as a means of communication and, secondly, to ensure the protection of the public health. Following the recommendations and results of these meetings, the Ministry of Health, in its Circular No. 21 of May 22, 2003, adopted limits on exposure to ICNIRP electromagnetic fields as national benchmarks.

On this basis, the ANRT has developed a protocol for handling the means and procedures necessary for the completion of each electromagnetic field evaluation. The Agency has also set up monitoring teams that conduct surveys in several cities of Morocco, to measure the levels of exposure to non-ionizing radio installations around radio installations. For the 500+ base stations controlled, and based on the results obtained, the ANRT found that these levels are below the national values.