13 April 2023

Australian government research scientist Associate Professor Sarah Loughran has been appointed to the World Health Organization (WHO) Task Group on Radiofrequency Fields and Health Risks.

She joins experts from 14 other countries who will collect and analyse the available evidence on the effects of radio wave exposure on health.  

The task group will support WHO by independently drawing scientific conclusions, assessing health risks , compiling best practice guidelines, and identifying research gaps. 

A/Prof Loughran says her involvement in the task group will complement her role as Director of the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency’s (ARPANSA) electromagnetic energy (EME) program. 

'The task group will consider all the scientific literature on health effects of radio waves and perform a health risk assessment, which will then be published as a monograph,’ A/Prof Loughran said.  

‘I’m looking forward to working with experts from around the world to consider the science on the health effects from radio wave exposure.’  

The task group’s work is expected to be completed by December 2023. 

To learn more, visit the WHO website

About Sarah Loughran

Sarah is currently Director of Radiation Research and Advice, and the Principal Researcher and Director of the Electromagnetic Energy Program at the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA).

She is also a Chief Investigator for the Australian Centre for Electromagnetic Bioeffects Research (ACEBR), an NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence (CRE), and an adjunct researcher at the University of Wollongong.

She received degrees in physiology and psychology from Deakin University before completing a PhD in cognitive neuroscience and psychophysiology in 2007 at Swinburne University of Technology.

She subsequently spent several years as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Zurich, Switzerland, specialising in bioelectromagnetics, sleep, and EEG signal analysis research. During this time she was also accepted as an experienced research fellow in the Marie Curie Training in Sleep and Sleep Medicine initiative.

Her research focuses on a wide range of bioelectromagnetic and non-ionising radiation health issues including the effects on sleep, human brain function, and the mechanisms associated with these effects, as well as sleep, cognitive neuroscience, and risk communication research more generally.

She is a member of the current World Health Organisation (WHO) RF Environmental Health Criterion evaluation committee and is an elected member of the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection's (ICNIRP) Scientific Expert Group.

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