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Navigating radiation regulation

10 December 2019

How is radiation regulated in Australia? It’s a common question, and unfortunately the answer isn’t as straightforward as it could be.

While ARPANSA is responsible for regulating Commonwealth entities that use or produce radiation, the wider regulation of radiation in Australia falls within the remit of state and territory governments, or in the case of telecommunications, with the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

To assist in navigating radiation regulation, ARPANSA has produced a new report on regulation of non-ionising radiation in Australia. Non-ionising radiation is used for commercial, industrial and health purposes including lighting, cosmetic procedures, telecommunications and ultrasound.

ARPANSA’s role is to develop standards and provide health advice, while promoting uniform regulation of radiation across all jurisdictions. The new report highlights gaps and differences between some states and territories, providing insight into areas for greater alignment.

‘For the first time, this report gives us a consolidated view of regulation of non-ionising radiation around Australia’, said Dr Ken Karipidis, Assistant Director, Assessment and Advice at ARPANSA.

‘We found that there are some key areas that would benefit from greater uniformity and the report gives us a tool to promote a more consistent approach in regulation across the country.’

Cosmetic use of non-ionising radiation is one area that would benefit from better uniformity in regulation.

‘We often get questions from members of the public or practitioners about cosmetic laser or IPL [Intense Pulsed Light] licencing and there are different requirements state to state’, said Dr Karipidis.

‘Our report shows the different methods of regulation and guidance for each jurisdiction and provides us with a basis to work towards more uniform regulation in future.’

You can access the report here: Non-ionising radiation protection in Australia