AUSTRALIA’S radiation limits for mobile phones and transmitters may be changed for the first time in a decade, after a string of European countries lowered their limits.
The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency is setting up a panel of experts to aid its review of scientific literature published since 2002.
“Should evidence arise to indicate that the exposure limits do not provide adequate protection, then the standard will be revised,” ARPANSA said yesterday.
European countries, including Italy, Greece and Poland, have cut their electromagnetic emission limits for mobile phone towers to a fraction of Australia’s limit of 4.5 watts per square metre.
The European Union has the same maximum standard as Australia – but nine EU countries, as well as Switzerland and Russia, have imposed much lower limits.
In Switzerland, mobile phone towers are not allowed to emit more than 1 per cent of the EU limit if they are near homes, schools or playgrounds while in Belgium the limit for such “sensitive sites” is 7 per cent.
ARPANSA yesterday described the European limits as “precautionary”.
“While most countries in Europe have adopted national standards consistent with those in Australia, some have introduced precautionary limits for some wireless technologies such as mobile phone base stations,” a spokesman for the regulator told The Weekend Australian.
“As far as ARPANSA is aware, these limits are based on what is practically and technologically possible rather than on specific evidence of threshholds for harm at levels below current standards.
“Actually, exposure levels in Australia are generally well below our exposure limits.”