The Taiwan Electromagnetic Radiation Hazard Protection and Control Association yesterday warned that the national freeway eTag system could expose motorists to levels of electromagnetic radiation that may affect their health.
The eTag is a sticker-like electronic device that is applied to motorized vehicles and allows the National Freeway Bureau to collect freeway tolls automatically by utilizing radio-frequency identification technology to receive signals.
Association founder and chairperson Chen Chiao-hwa (陳椒華) said the group had received complaints from drivers saying they tended to have headaches, sore eyes, felt tired or suffered other uncomfortable physical symptoms when driving after they applied the eTag to their vehicles.
The eTag should only be able to receive signals from freeway toll stations — between 922.75 megahertz (MHz) and 924.24MHz — but it can actually receive signals from a broader bandwidth, Chen said.
The association’s actual experiments found that the electromagnetic radiation levels in vehicles with an eTag were about 100 to 200 microwatts per square meter higher than those without it, she said.
The electromagnetic radiation emission range of the eTag is about 15m, so anyone in the immediate vicinity of vehicles with eTags installed is exposed to their electromagnetic radiation, Chen added.
Association executive director Wu Li-hui (吳麗慧) said children and elderly people should avoid sitting in vehicles with an eTag to prevent long-term exposure to dangerous levels of electromagnetic radiation.
The association encourages people not to apply the transponder sticker and urged the government to re-evaluate the eTag system.