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Revision of RHS 30

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ARCHIVED - 13 AUGUST 2015

Revision of RHS 30 - Interim guidelines on limits of exposure to 50/60 Hz electric and magnetic fields (1989)

A project to develop a new document to replace the NHMRC publication, Radiation Health Series No. 30, Interim guidelines on limits of exposure to 50/60 Hz electric and magnetic fields (1989) was commenced by the Radiation Health Committee (RHC) in 2002. A Working Group of the RHC was established to develop a draft publication in relation to extremely low frequency (ELF) electric and magnetic fields (EMF) and a Consultative Group involving a range of stakeholders was created to review drafts and contribute to the development.

Consultation on the proposed draft Standard for Exposure Limits to Electric and Magnetic Fields 0 Hz - 3 kHz.

A draft Standard was released for public comment in December 2006. The draft Standard specified limits of human exposure to ELF electric and magnetic fields in the frequency range 0 Hz to 3 kHz, to prevent adverse health outcomes. These limits are defined in terms of Basic Restrictions for exposure of all or a part of the human body. Reference Levels are also provided as a practical means of showing compliance with the Basic Restrictions. In particular, Basic Restrictions for occupational exposure and general public exposure with corresponding derived Reference Levels as a function of frequency were specified. Schedules and Annexes providing a detailed rationale, and literature reviews of epidemiological research and studies on low level effects, along with information on precautionary approaches to exposure to ELF fields were included.

A consultation Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) was prepared and a range of other background information to assist in the consultation was also released.

These documents are provided in PDF format only. If you can not access PDFs, please contact us for access to an alternative version of the information.

Redrafting of proposed Standard to Guidelines

Following the consultation period the Working Group developed the document further, making modifications to address the issues raised in submissions where appropriate. Publishing delays occurred because of difficulty in obtaining approval from the RHC for the revised document in the form of a Standard and for clearance of the supporting final RIS by the Office of Best Practice Regulation (OBPR).

In an effort to satisfy all jurisdictions and the OBPR, the RHC decided in 2011 to redraft the proposed Standard as Guidelines. Significant work has since been undertaken to develop the Guidelines on Maximum Exposure Levels to Electric & Magnetic Fields - 0 to 3kHz and ensure the language is in a non-regulatory style. The new Guidelines will align with the most recent scientific research and guidance from the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) Guidelines for limiting exposure to time-varying electric and magnetic fields (1Hz to 100 kHz) published in 2010.  Precautionary measures have been omitted from the draft ELF Guidelines which will only provide guidance on the maximum exposure levels based on established health effects. ARPANSA is planning to provide separate advice (from the ELF Guidelines) on precautionary measures that will encompass all the different radiation types including ELF, radiofrequencies, ultraviolet and ionising radiation.

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