Analysis of EMR Health Complaints Register data 2020-2021

ARPANSA commenced Australia’s first centralised Electromagnetic Radiation (EMR) Health Complaints Register on 4 July 2003. The Register collects reports of health concerns related to possible EMR field exposures in the range of 0-300 GHz. Members of the public who believe they have suffered ill-effects as a result of exposure to EMR can lodge a written complaint to the Register describing the nature of their exposure and any adverse health effects they claim to have experienced. ARPANSA does not investigate or attempt to resolve individual complaints. Relevant data gathered is used to produce annual statistical summaries on the nature and level of complaints received. The Register operates in strict compliance with the Privacy Act 1988 and, as such, personal information on people reporting may not be disclosed.

Reports received

Since its commencement the Register has received 176 reports. The number of reports received for different years is shown below.

Year Number of reports
2003-04 24
2004-05 5
2005-06 1
2006-07 7
2007-08 3
2008-10 9
2010-12 6
2012-13 36
2013-14 35
2014-15 22
2015-16 7
2016-17 6
2017-18 2
2018-19 4
2019-20 7
2020-21 2

EMR sources

The sources of EMR reported during July 2020-June 2021, noting that some reports included more than one EMR source, were:

EMR source Cumulative July 2020-June 2021
Mobile phone base stations 45 1
5G 3  
Household electric and magnetic fields 29  
Smart meter 71 1
Mobile phones 45  
Wi-Fi 34 1
Solar inverters 5  

Health effects

The top ten health effects reported during July 2020-June 2021, noting that the reports included more than one health effect, were:

Health effects Cumulative July 2020 - June 2021
Lethargy 47 1
Tinnitus 43 1
Cognitive problems 9  
Insomnia 30 2
Anxiety 54 1
Concentration issues 32  
Digestive problems 7  
Dizziness 35  
Headaches 89  
Nausea 34  

Demographics

Age (years)

  Min Max Median
July 2020 - June 2021 45 51 48
Cumulative  8 88 53

Gender (no. of reports)

  Males Females Not specified
July 2020 - June 2021 1 (50%) 1 (50%)  
Cumulative 68 (39%) 104 (59%) 4 (2%)

State

  NSW VIC SA WA QLD TAS ACT NT
July 2020 - June 2021 - - 1 (50%) - 1 (50%) - - -
Cumulative 43 (24%) 104 (59%) 6 (3%) 7 (4%) 10 (6%) 5 (3%) 1 (1%)  

Other

  • All of the people reporting during July 2020 – June 2021 were willing to be contacted (33 people in total reporting since the commencement of the register were not willing to be contacted).
  • One person reporting during July 2020 – June 2021 had not seen a medical practitioner about their condition (35 people in total reporting since the commencement of the register had not seen medical practitioner).