Radiation Protection Series No. 3
Radiation Protection Standard for Maximum Exposure Levels to Radiofrequency Fields - 3 kHz to 300 GHz (2002)
This standard specifies limits of human exposure to radiofrequency fields in the range 3kHz to 300GHz to prevent adverse effects. It specifies basic restrictions for occupational exposure, general public exposure, and equipment and usage parameters.
RPS No. 3 has been superseded by the following publication:
Attention ARPANSA licence holders
RPS S-1 will come into force as a licence condition from 1 July 2021 when updated Regulations take effect. However there will be a grace period until 1 October 2021 to allow for relevant safety documentation to be updated to refer to the new standard. There will then be an expectation of compliance with RPS S-1.
Download the Standard
Publications from the Radiation Protection Series are now available in digital format only. If you require access to a format other than PDF, please contact us.
The digital edition of the standard includes:
ARPANSA has revised Schedule 5 of RPS3 by extending the scope to include equipment operating up to 6 GHz. The revision is intended to reduce compliance costs for suppliers of low-powered mobile or portable transmitting equipment. The revision does not affect the requirements of this equipment in meeting the human exposure limits.
Prior to the revision exemptions in Schedule 5 applied to mobile or portable devices emitting RF fields at frequencies between 100 kHz and 2500 MHz. An increasing number of low-powered transmitting devices operate outside this range, for example Wi-Fi operating at 5,000 MHz. Because these devices were outside the scope of Schedule 5, suppliers were required to demonstrate compliance by conducting an individual assessment (by direct measurement or calculation). By increasing the scope of Schedule 5, more low-powered devices will be exempt from the direct testing provisions, thereby reducing compliance costs and regulatory burden.
In developing the amendment to Schedule 5, ARPANSA consulted the joint Standards Australia/Standards New Zealand TE-007 Committee, which developed the Australian and New Zealand RF standard (AS/NZS 2772.2:2011). This Committee includes members from various stakeholders, including members of the telecommunications industry.
ARPANSA’s preliminary assessment of the revision concluded that there will be no regulatory impact on business or individuals. The Office of Best Practice Regulation agreed, therefore a regulatory impact statement was not required.
The proposed amendments to Schedule 5 are provided in the comparison table below:
Schedule 5 - Table of Amendments:
RPS3 Supporting Documents
An explanatory Question & Answer Guide to the ARPANSA Radiation Protection Standard for Maximum Exposure Levels to Radiofrequency Fields - 3kHz to 300Ghz
(PDF 411 kb)
(Note: this document contains hypertext navigation links and is best viewed in the Adobe Acrobat Reader. A text only version without links is also available for printing
Text version - An explanatory Question & Answer Guide to the ARPANSA Radiation Protection Standard for Maximum Exposure Levels to Radiofrequency Fields - 3kHz to 300Ghz (PDF 245 kb)
- A brief outline of the human auditory perception associated with exposure to high power short pulse radiofrequency electromagnetic fields and in particular, with the appropriate formulation and specification of human exposure limits. Finally, a proposed revised formulation of relevant restrictions is presented as a solution to the problem. The proposed formulation introduces a new limiting quantity and alters the way in which localised pulse or modulated RF exposure to the head would be evaluated:
Human auditory perception resulting from exposure to high power pulsed or modulated microwave radiation — specification of appropriate safety limits (PDF 111kb)
- Paper describing the management of overexposures to electromagnetic fields, specifically the flowchart on page 192 shows the steps in the management of the patient. (PAPER: Hocking B and Gobbo F.
Medical aspects of overexposures to electromagnetic fields
(PDF 401 kb). J Health Saf Environ 2011, 27(3): 185-195)
First published by CCH Australia in the 2011 Journal of OHS
- Exposure limits for far field exposure to microwave radiation vary depending on the frequency of radiation. At frequencies below 10 GHz relatively large "hot spots" are formed and the heat load on the whole body is generally the major constraining factor. A measurement averaging time of around six minutes is quite adequate. At higher frequencies, absorption of RF energy is restricted to relatively small volumes of tissue near to the surface of the body. In such circumstances, heating can be quite rapid and progressively shorter measurement averaging times are required. This document discusses the effect of frequency on measurement averaging times:
Measurement averaging considerations on appropriate specification of exposure limits for radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (PDF 278kb)
- Abstracts on research into bio-effects of RF at low levels of exposure (PDF 161 kb)
- Neurological case studies (PDF 22 kb)
- Research into bio-effects at low levels of exposure (PDF 109 kb)
- Case reports: Neurological effects of RFR in humans (PDF 19 kb)
- Durney, C.H., Massoudi, H. & Iskander, M.F. 1986, Radiofrequency Radiation Dosimetry Handbook, 4th edn, United States Air Force Research Laboratory Technical Report USAFSAM-TR-85-73, Brooks Air Force Base, Texas USA.
- The RF Radiation Safety Handbook (Ronald Kitchen, Pub. Butterworth-Hienemann Ltd. 1993) provides a practical description when performing RF surveys for a variety of applications. The same book also describes the various commercial instruments and personal RF dosimeters.
- Stewart W. 2000, ‘Mobile phones and health’, Independent expert group on mobile phones, NRPB, Didcot, UK.
- WHO 2000, ‘Electromagnetic fields and public health cautionary policies’, March 2000.
- Communications Alliance Ltd, 2011, Industry Code C564: Mobile Phone Base Station Deployment
- Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Committee on Man and Radiation (COMAR). Medical aspects of radiofrequency radiation overexposure. Health Physics 2002;82(3):387-39.
- Mobile Phones and Health
- ARPANSA Base Station Survey 2007-2013
- ARPANSA Environmental EME Reports
- Tissue Dielectric Properties Calculator This is a Tissue Dielectric Properties Calculator, developed by Dr Vitas Anderson and Dr Jack Rowley for Telstra Research Laboratories, presented as a spreadsheet. The permission of the authors and Telstra Research Laboratories to make the calculator spreadsheet available from this site is gratefully acknowledged.
- Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Energy and the new ARPANSA safety Standard