Radiation Protection standard "Exposure Limits for Electric & Magnetic fields - 0Hz to 3kHz" issued for public review

March 2007

The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) issued a draft standard for public review. Copies of the draft could be obtained from ARPANSA, 619 Lower Plenty Road, Yallambi, VIC 3085, or by email to secretariat@arpansa.gov.au or from their website www.arpansa.gov.au

The standard was proposed to replace “Interim guidelines on limits of exposure to 50 / 60 Hz electric and magnetic fields (1989). Radiation Health Series no. 30, issued by National Health and Medical Research Council December 1989.

The draft standard incorporated exposure limits similar to those in the guidelines with additional precautionary statements included to cover the perceived increase in childhood leukaemia when exposed to very low levels of magnetic fields.

There were also some very useful documents that could be downloaded from the ARPANSA website. These include:
a)Strategies to reduce magnetic field exposure (mitigation).
b)Childhood leukaemia and 50 Hz magnetic fields.
c)ARPANSA ELF Standard – Questions and answers

Unfortunately, despite the 8 years preparation time by a number of experts, the Standard was not issued. There is currently no Australian Standard setting out safe levels for power frequency electromagnetic fields.

Australian Standard AS3000 – SAA Wiring Rules

March 2007

Standards Australia have for many years produced comprehensive wiring rules in which they set out the requirements for all electrical installations in or on buildings, structure and premises, and enumerates the essential requirements for safety from fire or electrical shock. This document has not, in the past, paid serious attention to the effects of electromagnetic fields (emf).

A draft (DR06010) was released in 2006 which included an Appendix E – Electrical Installation practices to reduce EMF.

Appendix E included recommended methods of wiring and placement of electricity meter boxes to minimise emf exposure.

We commend Standards Australia for introducing prudent avoidance into this very important document.