February 21, 2014
Fact Sheet: What is Safety Code 6?
The Government of Canada is committed to protecting the health and safety of Canadians from environmental risks, including those posed by exposure to radiofrequency (RF) electromagnetic fields - the kind of energy given off by various electronic devices such as cell phones and Wi-Fi, as well as broadcasting and cell phone towers.
To that end, Health Canada has a guideline, known as Safety Code 6, which recommends limits for safe human exposure to RF electromagnetic energy. The limits established in Safety Code 6 incorporate large safety margins to ensure that Canadians' exposure to RF electromagnetic fields is far below the threshold for potentially adverse health effects. This conclusion is similar to that arrived at by the International Committee on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), the Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR, European Commission), and the World Health Organization. Canada's limits are consistent with science-based standards used in other parts of the world (e.g., the United States, the European Union, Japan, Australia and New Zealand).
To ensure that it continues to provide protection against all known adverse human health effects of RF fields, Safety Code 6 is reviewed on a regular basis. Currently a draft of a revised Safety Code 6 is undergoing review by the Royal Society of Canada (RSC). The RSC hosted a public consultation on Safety Code 6 in October, 2013. Following receipt of the report from the RSC, anticipated in March 2014, Health Canada will consult further with Canadians prior to finalizing the revised Safety Code 6.
Health Canada reminds all Canadians that their health is protected from RF fields by the human exposure limits recommended in Safety Code 6. Health Canada has established and maintains a general public exposure limit that incorporates a wide safety margin and is therefore far below the threshold for potentially adverse health effects. The Department continues to monitor and analyze ongoing scientific research on this issue and should new scientific evidence arise demonstrating that exposure to RF fields poses a health risk to Canadians, Health Canada will take the appropriate action to safeguard the health of Canadians.
For the facts on the protection provided by the guidelines in Safety Code 6, please see the myth busters fact sheet.