When I was at university (in Australia) a lecturer mentioned that the Australian standard for radio frequency radiation levels were deliberately raised to accommodate mobile phone technology. So that the previous recommended level of dosage was raised so that mobile phones could be sold.

Is this true and was this done in countries other than Australia?

I have found this page on the internet which seems to partially confirm his claim:

"Why do we need a new standard when technology is operating perfectly well at the present lower levels?" asks EMR News. It seems that "Last year the committee that devised the standards was told that the higher radiation levels were needed to accommodate new mobile phone technology. That begs the important question: has the standards-setting process been driven by scientific research or by economic motives?"

A copy of the standard and supporting documents is available from ARPANSA's website at www.arpansa.gov.au/rf_standard.htm

Source: EMR News June 2002.

  • That specific standard was most recently revised in 1998, and prior to that was written in 1990, see here. Unfortunately those standards are pretty expensive to buy and have a look at, so I can't tell you the differences, nor do I know whether there was some applicable standard prior to 1990.
    – John Lyon
    Commented May 11, 2011 at 3:37
  • It’s news to me that there is even such a thing as regulated radio frequency radiation levels (as opposed to other forms of radiation which are ionising). Do you have a source for that? Commented May 11, 2011 at 6:37
  • @Konrad - The link in the quote above redirects to the page where the current standard is listed.
    – going
    Commented May 11, 2011 at 7:17

1 Answer 1


ICNIRP is the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection.

ICNIRPImage Source

In 1998 the

Guidelines for Limiting Exposure to Time-Varying Electric, Magnetic, and Electromagnetic Fields (up to 300 GHz)

were published (they include radiation from mobile phones).

They form the basis of WHO and ITU recommendations to governments all around the world.

These guidelines will be periodically revised and updated as advances are made in identifying the adverse health effects of time-varying electric, magnetic, and electromagnetic fields.

(e.g. 2009 Statement on EMF Guidlines)

You can look up the standards in your country using the

EMF World Wide Standards Database


According to this study the exposure limits for the relevant moblie phone frequencies of the ARPANSA standard (current standard in Australia) are

equivalent to those of the 1998 Guidelines published by the ICNIRP.

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