Hello and welcome to the first issue of ARPANSA’s half-yearly Electromagnetic Energy (EME) Newsletter, where we update you on the progress of our 2020-2024 EME Action Plan.
It’s been a busy year at ARPANSA as we continue to deliver on a range of EME initiatives, while managing the dynamic challenges of COVID-19.
In this edition you will find updates on Australia’s new EME safety standard, our new research framework, research highlights, and the development of our world-class EME laboratory.
Associate Professor Sarah Loughran
EME Program Director
ARPANSA's new EME safety standard
ARPANSA has developed a new EME safety standard which sets the limits for human exposure from all EME sources, including 5G and other telecommunications, to ensure Australian’s continue to be protected from the harmful effects of excessive EME exposure.
Titled Radiation Protection Standard for Limiting Exposure to Radiofrequency Fields – 100 kHz to 300 GHz (RPS S-1), the new standard aligns Australia’s protection measures with the 2020 international guidelines set by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection and considers the new EME studies that have been conducted since the standard’s last update in 2002.
The standard was published in February 2021 and will be enforced by various regulators in different Australian jurisdictions, including the Australian Communications and Media Authority.
You can view RPS S-1 on ARPANSA’s website.
To ensure public health policies and advice on EME are based on the most up-to-date information, it is important that ARPANSA continues to pioneer EME research.
To support this initiative, ARPANSA has now released its Research Framework, which sets out the research priorities and details how research will be supported under this exciting new program.
The first call for research has just been released and welcomes proposals that align with the requirements set out in the Research Framework.
For more information, please visit the ARPANSA website.
Over the last six months our teams have begun or completed several research initiatives on EME. Some of these initiatives have already been published in peer-reviewed journals and received attention on an international scale. We have collated our progress below, which can also be accessed via our website.
- ARPANSA and Swinburne University produce two world-first reviews into 5G and health. Both papers rank in the top 5% of engagement levels for all research outputs ever tracked.
- ARPANSA and the University of Auckland investigated mobile phone use and the incidence of parotid gland tumours.
- Contribution of $350,000 to the WHO to fund systematic reviews on radiofrequency and health.
- Published a letter with Monash University to the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health commenting on a recent meta-analysis on mobile phone use and cancer.
- Published a protocol for a systematic review of the scientific literature on cancer hazards from exposure to RF-EMF in humans, commissioned by the WHO.
- PhD scholarship contribution provided to Monash University for a joint PhD student project on occupational EME exposure.
National Science Week
On Friday 20 August ARPANSA hosted a National Science Week event titled 'Mobile phones and health'.
Over 130 people registered to attend the event, where we addressed the science behind mobile phones, how ARPANSA provides strong health protections for the Australian public, and updates on our EME Action Plan. The event also featured a 15-minute Q&A session, where participants were able to ask any further questions they had.
You can watch a recording of the session on YouTube.
Upgrading our EME labratory
To continue conducting world-class EME research, ARPANSA is upgrading its current EME laboratory and associated measurement equipment to analyse frequencies that will be used in 5G and other future telecommunications.
In late 2020, ARPANSA commenced a tender process seeking proposals to build this facility. As of August 2021, ARPANSA has completed negotiations with a preferred applicant, and a contract has now been signed.
The building and installation of the chamber is expected to be completed by the first half of 2022.