FAQ – Non Ionising (Radiofrequency) Radiation

(Including Radiation from Mobile Phone Towers, Mobile Phones, TV Masts, etc)

 

The following information has been supplied by the Department of Health’s Radiation Health Branch. It is relevant for people that may have questions about the health effects from exposure to radiofrequency radiation around their home or at work.

 

What is a safe distance from a mobile phone tower?: 

For health effects associated with mobile phones and radiofrequency radiation we are guided by the Australian Standard, AS2772.1 Radiofrequency radiation Part 1: Maximum exposure levels-100 kHz to 300 GHz and also by the Radiation Protection Standard, Maximum Exposure Levels to Radiofrequency Fields - 3 kHz to 300 GHz published by the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency as (RPS 3).  These standards recommend maximum exposure levels for the general public as opposed to recommending safe distances in metres.

What is the current scientific opinion about health effects from the emissions of mobile phone towers?: 

Mobile telephone towers radiate small amounts of power, used for communication, over wide areas resulting in low intensities at ground level.  The weight of current scientific opinion is that harmful effects have not been observed from these relatively small amounts of radiation, and current research has supported this viewpoint.  The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency published a nationwide study in 2000 which found that; “the typical exposure level from mobile phone base stations is hundreds and sometimes thousands of times below the regulated limit”. 

 

Many studies have used sensitive laboratory equipment to test radiofrequency radiation at the cellular level to explore potential mechanisms that may lead to human detriment.  It is hoped that future laboratory studies may help explain the rationale for current apprehension in our population with regard to long term health concerns from radiofrequency radiation. While suggestions for research have been offered in the scientific community including theoretical mechanisms - laboratory testing has struggled to provide any replicated results related to health concerns.  Currently the lack of replication of international research results doesn’t necessarily exclude health detriment; however it does usually imply that no strong health detriment is obvious in our population.  Science cannot give absolute guarantees for the health risks for any activity. 

 

The Radiological Council of Western Australia continues to monitor international and federal government publications with regard to the health effects associated with radiofrequency radiation.

What about mobile phones?:

The weight of scientific opinion is that provided all mobile phones comply with the recommended health standard (for Australia see regulations of the Australian Communications Authority) there should be no adverse health affects to humans. This applies for all mobile phone use i.e. both during conversations and during periods of inactivity.

Where is a good starting point to find more information on radiofrequency radiation?: 

For more information on this topic relevant to Australia and around the world:

The Australian Radiation Protection & Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) is a federal government agency that has the responsibility for protecting the health and safety of people, and the environment, from the harmful effects of ionizing and non-ionizing radiation.

The Australian Communications Authority (ACA) is a federal government agency responsible for regulating telecommunications and radiocommunications, including promoting industry self-regulation and managing the radiofrequency spectrum.

 

 

The Radiation Health Branch (RHB) has compiled a list of consultants that may be able to assist enquiries in this area. To view this list please select the following link and then click “send” to email your request to the RHB (the auto-generated subject line should indicate your request). A response should be sent to you by email containing the required information:- Request for Radiation Monitoring Consultants List.

If further information is required, please contact a Radiological Council officer on 9346 2260.