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Electromagnetic Energy Reference Group

The Electromagnetic Energy Reference Group (EMERG) has been established by ARPANSA to enable input from the community and other stakeholders on issues relating to EME and health.

The Australian Government recognises that there is public concern about the health effects of electromagnetic energy (EME), and the need to ensure that public health policies and advice are based on the best available scientific information. In 1996, the Australian Government announced a five-year EME Program to fund research into the health impacts of exposure to EME such as that from mobile phones, base stations and other communications devices and equipment, as well as engage with the World Health Organization and provide public health information.

ARPANSA EME activities

ARPANSA has continued to fund EME activities from general appropriation, including international collaboration, environmental exposure studies, providing public health information, and engagement with community stakeholders to hear concerns.

ARPANSA currently provides a recommended EME research program, and advice on the appropriateness of applications for research grants.

The research program is managed by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) to conduct research into EME issues of relevance to Australia and to complement overseas research activities. This has led to funding various research projects to investigate specific EME issues including two recent centres of research excellence, the Australian Centre for Electromagnetic Bioeffects Research (ACEBR) and the Centre for Population Health Research on Electromagnetic Energy. Details of all the grants for EME research are available from the NHMRC website.

ARPANSA is a World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre for radiation protection, facilitating Australian participation in the WHO International Electromagnetic Fields (EMF) Project. Details on the International EMF Project are available from the WHO website.

ARPANSA also manages a public information program to provide general health advice to the public and the media. Information on EME and health, including typical exposures in the home and the environment is available from ARPANSA's Radiation and Health Fact Sheets.

EME reference group

As part of ARPANSA's public information program on EME, the EME reference group (EMERG) was established to hear the views of the community and other stakeholders on EME and health, to help ARPANSA best address public health issues related to the use of the radiofrequency spectrum (3kHz to 300 GHz) for communications technology, including:

  • the current overseas and Australian research into EME and health
  • issues related to EME causing concern amongst the general public and stakeholder groups and measures to address them
  • emerging EME issues related to new technologies
  • the development of ARPANSA public information on EME
  • whole of Government approaches to addressing the EME health issue.

EMERG Terms of Reference - November 2016 to November 2019:

File Electromagnetic Energy Reference Group - Terms of Reference - Nov 2016 - Nov 2019

EMERG comprises representatives from the community and industry as well as representatives from relevant government agencies and academic organisations.  Engagement with organised community groups and others, both within and outside EMERG has enabled ARPANSA to better understand the source of community concern and to determine the type of information required to address it.

The current membership of EMERG includes:

  • Australian Centre for Electromagnetic Bioeffects Research
  • Australasian Faculty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
  • Australian Communications and Media Authority
  • Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (Community)
  • Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association
  • Castle Hill High School P&C (Community)
  • Department of Communications
  • Department of Health
  • Dr David Mercer (University of Wollongong)
  • Mobile Carriers Forum
  • National Health and Medical Research Council
  • No Towers Near Schools (Community)
  • SafeWork Australia
  • Stop Smart Meters Australia (Community)

EMERG meeting summaries







If you believe there are issues that EMERG or ARPANSA need to address that are not covered by ARPANSA's website, please contact us.