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Review of Radiofrequency Health Effects Research

An Expert Panel has concluded that the science behind the ARPANSA Radiofrequency (RF) Exposure Standard remains valid and the exposure limits in the Standard continue to provide a high degree of protection against the known health effects of RF electromagnetic fields.

On 14 March 2014 the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) published the Report by the ARPANSA Radiofrequency Expert Panel on Review of Radiofrequency Health Effects Research – Scientific Literature 2000–2012.

A copy of the report can be found at ARPANSA Technical Reports.

Since the publication of the Radiation Protection Standard for Maximum Exposure Levels to Radiofrequency Fields – 3 kHz to 300 GHz (RPS3) in 2002 there have been many studies investigating whether RF exposure causes health effects. In July 2012 ARPANSA established a RF Expert Panel to make an assessment of the scientific literature since 2000 in order to determine whether there are any significant changes to the science behind the 2002 Standard and to advise whether it continues to provide adequate protection.

On the basis of an examination of the scientific literature in this area from January 2000 to August 2012, the Expert Panel concluded that the science behind the ARPANSA RF Exposure Standard remains sound and that the exposure limits in the Standard continue to provide a high degree of protection against the known health effects of RF electromagnetic fields.

However, the Expert Panel concluded that, on the basis of improved knowledge, some of the limits in the RF Exposure Standard are not as conservative under certain circumstances as originally thought.  There is no evidence that this difference has an impact on health.

The Expert Panel identified areas where the RF Exposure Standard and its annexes could be updated, to incorporate increased scientific knowledge and to better harmonise with revised international guidance.

In late 2014 the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) and the World Health Organization (WHO) will be publishing updated guidance.  ARPANSA will review and update the RF Exposure Standard to take account of increased knowledge and to maintain alignment with the revised international guidance.

More information on radiofrequency radiation can be found in Radiation and Health Fact Sheets published by ARPANSA.

14 March 2014

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