The Role Of ARPANSA 

The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) are the Australian Government’s primary authority on radiation protection and nuclear safety. They claim to “protect the Australian people and the environment from the harmful effects of radiation through understanding risks, best practice regulation, research, policy, services, partnerships and engaging with the community.”

YET the safety standards that ARPANSA maintain are severely outdated and fail to reflect the growing body of scientific evidence demonstrating harm. Set in 2002, the Australian safety standard does not adequately protect the public from cumulative exposure and the levels of radiation that have increased exponentially over the last two decades.


The ICNIRP Guidelines

The Australian ARPANSA standard is based on the outdated ICNIRP International EMF human exposure Guideline (1998), which was only ever based on short term and immediate health effects from thermal health effects (heating of tissue). People have more daily exposure than 5-10 years ago.

In July 2018 – ICNIRP commenced a review of its guidelines. In October 2018, the TU held the IMT-2020 (5G) workshop regarding the assessments of human exposure to the radiofrequency electromagnetic field and the review of the ICNIRP guideline was discussed.

The workshop notes stated that: [Extract] “It was noted that adoption of lower EMF exposure limits is likely to stifle innovation and deployment of networks and may impact on proven social, security and economic benefits that the technology provides to the community.”

Based on the above statement, a realistic public safety standard would have a major impact on economic benefits for higher processing capacity. If public safety is not the primary consideration, and if economic benefits has more weighting, then full transparency on this issue must be clearly stated. Public interest information would then include disclosure of risk assessment criteria and the rationale when establishing human exposure safety limits.

ICNIRP only provide guidance on human exposure limits, however, are not responsible on whether a technology is safe or not. This is the responsibility of governments and industry to ensure public safety before implementation of mobile technology based on microwaves and mmWaves. Setting an Australian safety standard based on an international guideline that is so far removed from scrutiny must effectively satisfy applicability, safety and probity requirements.

ARPANSA cannot give medical advice and while they do acknowledge those with Electro-Hypersensitivty, they do not factor such illnesses into public exposure policy, instead they refer affected individuals ……. “to seek medical advice from a qualified medical specialist.”

ARPANSA disclaimer on their website: This website is not a substitute for independent professional advice specific to your personal circumstances. Nothing contained in this site is intended to be used as medical advice and, in particular, it should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease in individual cases, nor should it be used for therapeutic purposes or as a substitute for your own health practitioner’s professional advice. ARPANSA does not accept any liability for any injury, loss or damage incurred by use of or reliance on the information provided on this website.

How Do Australian Safety Standards Compare to The Rest of The World?

Amongst other precautionary measures recommended as a result of the Australian Senate Inquiry (2001) into electromagnetic radiation, it was recommended that the exposure level of 200 microwatts per square centimeter be adopted. This was not approved and subsequently, since that time Australians have continued to endure higher exposure levels (currently this is 1000 microwatts per square centimeter) when compared to other countries that have significantly lower exposure limits.

How Has This Happened?

The several “conflict of interests” of both ICNIRP and ARPANSA members due to their relationships with telecommunications or electric companies undermine the impartiality that should govern the regulation of Public Exposure Standards for non-ionizing radiation.


“With 100% consistency, ARPANSA avoids all of the strongest available science in this area. With 100% consistency, ARPANSA has produced a stunningly biased document, whose positions are repeatedly and consistently contradicted by the strongest science and by large numbers of independent scientists. With 100% consistency, ARPANSA has failed to protect the health and safety of the people of Australia. With 100% consistency, ARPANSA has protected the economic interests of the telecommunications industry.”

Dr. Martin Pall 

ARPANSA has ignored a large evidence base that challenges their position. The scientific evidence we have collated, presented and made publicly available demonstrates that there are biological/health effects occurring at exposures well below the ARPANSA standard. Therefore, ARPANSA’s claim that there is “no substantiated evidence that RF exposure at levels below the limits of the ARPANSA Standard causes harm to humans” is misleading. A risk management approach should be adopted urgently for RF-EMR with ALARA as the mainstay of this plan. Wireless technology is not risk-free as implied by ARPANSA’s claim of “no established evidence of harm”. Australians need to be informed of the risks so that they can make informed decisions when it comes to the use of wireless technology, particularly with regards to more vulnerable groups such as children.”

Dr. Martin Pall 

“In May 2011 the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) evaluated cancer risks from radiofrequency (RF) radiation. Human epidemiological studies gave evidence of increased risk for glioma and acoustic neuroma. RF radiation was classified as Group 2B, a possible human carcinogen. Further epidemiological, animal and mechanistic studies have strengthened the association. In spite of this, in most countries little or nothing has been done to reduce exposure and educate people on health hazards from RF radiation. On the contrary ambient levels have increased. In 2014 the WHO launched a draft of a Monograph on RF fields and health for public comments. It turned out that five of the six members of the Core Group in charge of the draft are affiliated with International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), an industry loyal NGO, and thus have a serious conflict of interest. Just as by ICNIRP, evaluation of non-thermal biological effects from RF radiation are dismissed as scientific evidence of adverse health effects in the Monograph. This has provoked many comments sent to the WHO. However, at a meeting on March 3, 2017 at the WHO Geneva office it was stated that the WHO has no intention to change the Core Group.”

Hardell, Lennart. “World Health Organization, radiofrequency radiation and health – a hard nut to crack (Review).” International Journal of Oncology, vol. 51, no. 2, 2017, pp. 405-13. 

Safe EMF Education Network

Helping communities make informed decisions & access technology safely

Adelaide, South Australia

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