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Updated international radiation safety guidelines

16 March 2020

ARPANSA maintains the safety standard for radiofrequency electromagnetic energy – also known as radio waves. Radio waves are produced from various sources including mobile telecommunications, radio, television and Wi-Fi.

Our safety standard is based on guidelines published by the International Commission on Non-ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) and relied on by the World Health Organization (WHO).

ICNIRP has recently released a revision of its guidelines for radiofrequency radiation protection.

The 2020 ICNIRP guidelines are an update of the previous 1998 guidelines and include a detailed explanation of how exposure limits have been set, along with a review of current research into radio waves and health.

The exposure limits set in the updated guidelines are similar to those in the 1998 guidelines, with some refinements. These refinements take into account modern measurement practices and advances in modelling based on relevant research.

‘The level of protection provided by our current standard is comparable to that provided by the new ICNIRP guidelines’, said Dr Carl-Magnus Larsson, ARPANSA CEO.

‘It is reassuring to see the scientific consensus continues to support current standards, which provide strong public protection’.

The refined ICNIRP guidelines have triggered a review and update of ARPANSA’s radiofrequency standard.

The volume of research and scientific evidence underpinning these new guidelines has increased substantially since the previous edition. It is important that this evidence, along with advances in measurement and modelling is addressed in our revised standard.

ARPANSA’s standard for radio waves: Radiation Protection Standard for Maximum Exposure Levels to Radiofrequency Fields - 3 kHz to 300 GHz (2002) will be updated during 2020 to ensure alignment with the new ICNIRP guidelines.

‘We look forward to sharing our new draft for public consultation later in the year’, said Dr Larsson.

View the updated ICNIRP guidelines: https://www.icnirp.org/en/activities/news/news-article/rf-guidelines-2020-published.html