The environment contains low level radiation. It is not harmful to health if properly managed. There are natural sources like radon gas which comes out of the ground, particularly in areas where the bedrock is granite, and there are man-made sources such as telecoms masts and radiations sources used in industry and health care. In daily life, common sources of non-ionising radiation include the sun, sunbeds, household electrical appliances, mobile phones, Wi-Fi, and microwave ovens.
Southwark Council has very limited involvement in the control of radiation sources. Below are links to information regarding the most common sources of local radiation.
Southwark is in a low Radon area. For information about Radon visit the UK Radon website.
All electrical currents cause electromagnetic radiation. These can range from the very powerful such as high voltage cables and powerlines, to the very weak such as Wi-Fi. For more information on electromagnetic radiation visit the World Health Organization (WHO) website.
The safety of telecoms masts is overseen by the Health & Safety Executive. There are a number of telecoms masts in Southwark. To get a list of telecoms masts or base stations in a particular area visit Mast data.
Visit the Public Health England (PHE) website for guidance on mobile phone base stations, radio waves and health.
Exposure levels from living near to mobile base stations are low and the evidence indicates they are unlikely to pose a risk to health, as long as the following national requirements are met.
- that the telecoms mast complies with the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP)
- that the operations are managed in accordance with the Wireless Telegraphy Act 2006 licence issued by Ofcom
- that all operations are managed in accordance with Ofcom Guidance
Industrial Sources of radiation
Radiation sources used in industry and health care are regulated by the Health & Safety Executive. For more information visit the HSE website.
The Environment Agency keep a register of significant radiation sources which can be searched by area.
Excessive tanning and sunburn can cause skin cancer due to ultra-violet (UV) radiation and thermal damage to skin from the sun. For more health advice visit Cancer Research UK website.
Sunbeds cause tanning by using ultraviolet (UV) rays that increase your risk of developing skin cancer. Many sunbeds give out greater doses of UV than the midday sun in the tropics. For more health information on sunbeds visit the NHS website
The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health has produced guidance on sunbeds. For more information visit CIEH website.
Micro waves are a form of electromagnetic radiation. For information on microwave oven safety on the World Health Organization (WHO) website.
Page last updated: 18 September 2017