Overview of the EMF Regulation in Australia

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Several research journals from profound radiation researchers have proven both ionizing and non-ionizing radiation has been in the environment for centuries as both natural phenomenon band artificial causes contribute to the emission. 

Although data may vary from person to person, the average Australian is exposed to 1.5 mSv of radiation annually; this is equivalent to receiving 75 chest x-ray. Australia’s average radiation amount is considered comparatively lower than other regions; however, there are several risks this amount of radiation can cause in certain individuals. These risks include cancer, migraine, and other fatal ailments.

Because of these possible risks, the commonwealth government of Australia decided to set up an agency whose main responsibility is to manage, investigate/research, and regulate the emission, use, and compliance of these regulations to ensure the safety and health of Australians. This organization is the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA).

What is the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA)?

The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) is the official radiation regulatory in Australia. It is saddled with the responsibility of protecting the citizens of Australia from all sources of hazardous ionizing and non-ionizing radiation.

ARPANSA works under the close guidance of the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Act of 1998  as they serve as the regulatory body. The organization has an average employee count of 150 and independent offices in each Australian state that properly enforce the radiation regulations.

The Australian government assesses all code standards set by ARPANSA to ensure the average Australian citizen is protected from hazardous radiation exposure and promotes the safe use of radiation in Australia’s medicine and surgery. The standard is enforced simply: radiation is duly taught to Australians and radiation-centered product owners and businesses; after that, the standards are then relayed, understood, and finally enforced.

Some of ARPANSA Radiation codes and standards include:

The Standard for limiting exposure to radiofrequency fields – 100kHz to 300 GHz (Rev.1) (2021)

This is an ARPANSA code that limits exposure to radiofrequency (RF) electromagnetic energy (EME) for the public and workers and was set to provide maximum protection to all forms of the adverse health effect of radiofrequency levels set above the normal.

The limit in this code is aligned with the guidelines of the regulations in the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) standards developed in 2020. 

Radiation Protection Standards for Maximum Exposure Levels to Radiofrequency Fields – 3 kHz to 300GHz (2002)

This standard specifies mainly the limit of human exposure to radiofrequency fields in the high range of 3kHz to 300GHz and the prevention of adverse effects. This limit also entails basic restrictions for occupational exposure to this level of radiofrequency and general exposure, equipment, and parameters. 

However, the Standard has superseded this limit for limiting exposure to radiofrequency fields – 100kHz to 300 GHz (Rev.1) (2021).

How does ARPANSA regulate the radiation emission standards in Australia?

ARPANSA performs a wide array of activities that collectively help regulate the radiation exposure and emission from radiofrequency devices to the users and environment. One of these activities includes setting a national radiation limit of 3kHz to 300Ghz that all business providers and radiation-emitting products must abide by. 

Before these standards are set, ARPANSA consults the expertise of radiation and health agencies worldwide and engages research from all forms of principles regarding radiation emission. The collated standards are then put to rest with international agencies like ICNIRP and IAEA for future analysis and accuracy. 

The organization also actively monitors and investigates compliance as regards EMF radiation by inspecting businesses and products that emit radiation regularly, and if misconduct or non-compliance to the regulations is found, ARPANSA takes the necessary actions against the party.

ARPANSA also give out radiology license to businesses and are conferred the power to withdraw them in cases of misconduct to ensure other businesses follow the standards.

The agency helps Australian citizens by sending out daily reports of radiation levels in many cities in Australia, alerting people of their current exposure. This data is accurately collated from the UV sectors placed in several parts of Australia that regularly calculate and update their data. 

ARPANSA also inspects radiation protection clothing by meeting with the Cancer Association of Australia to test the materials. These materials can either be UV protecting dresses, sunglasses, UV creams, shade cloths, or hats. This is to ensure Australians receive the best in radiation-protecting products.

Supporting organizations

The Australian Communications and Media Authority sets rules on how radiocommunications devices and transmitters are used and must function to minimize the emission of EMF radiations to the environment. They operate using the exposure limit as directed by the guidelines of the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA).

They set rules on devices like mobile phones, baby monitors, smart meters, two-way radios, routers, and modems with integral antennas to ensure a safe EMF level. They also ensure suppliers of these products follow their Radiocommunications Equipment (General) Rules 2021 before and after they supply their products. 

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