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Mobile Phones, Wi-Fi Devices and Health

17 February 2016

On Tuesday 16 February 2016, the ABC aired an episode of Catalyst titled Wi-Fried, focusing on the radiofrequency (RF) electromagnetic energy (EME) from mobile phones and Wi‑Fi devices and raising concerns about the potential health effects they present.

It is the assessment of ARPANSA and other national and international health authorities, including the World Health Organization (WHO), that there is no established scientific evidence that the use of mobile phones or Wi‑Fi devices cause any health effects. Some studies have reported a weak association between heavy mobile phone use against the head and brain cancer, but this is not substantiated by the bulk of scientific evidence from the many studies that have been performed.

Although the current available scientific research does not indicate that using a mobile phone is associated with harmful health effects, ARPANSA does provide advice on precautionary approaches for reducing RF exposure for children and others, for people that are concerned -

Protection of the Australian public from exposure to RF

  • ARPANSA is the Australian Government’s primary authority on radiation protection and nuclear safety.
  • ARPANSA’sRadiation Protection Standard for Maximum Exposure Levels to Radiofrequency Fields – 3 kHz to 300 GHz (2002) specifies limits of human exposure to RF, such as those from mobile phones and Wi-Fi devices, to prevent known adverse health effects.
  • The Standard is based on guidelines from the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) and endorsed by the WHO.
  • The Standard is designed to protect people of all ages and health status against all known adverse health effects from exposure to RF EME.
  • ARPANSA’s RF Standard was reviewed by an independent panel of scientists in 2014 which found that the standard continues to provide a high level of protection to the public from Wi‑Fi and mobile phone devices.
  • ARPANSA continues to review the research into potential health effects of RF EME emissions from Wi-Fi and other devices in order to provide accurate and up–to–date advice.
  • Telecommunications devices such as mobile phones and Wi-Fi are regulated by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to comply with exposure limits in the ARPANSA RF Standard.


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