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Looking at the hazardous effects of radiation

The National Radiation Laboratory (NRL) is the lead public health agency for all radiation issues. NRL provides expert advice, service provision and research capability on matters concerning public, occupational and medical exposure to radiation, the performance of radiation equipment and the measurement of radiation and radioactivity.

Toi Te Ora - Public Health Service also carries out some additional activities, including:

  • responding to inquiries and complaints

  • reviewing resource consent applications relating to ionising and non-ionising radiation and staff may also respond to radiation emergencies.

Ionising radiation is radiation which has sufficient energy to knock electrons out of (i.e. ionise) atoms.  X-rays and gamma rays are types of ionising radiation, as are the particulate radiations of alpha and beta particles that are found in some types of nuclear decay. Ionising radiation is what the general public regards as ‘radioactive'.

Non-ionising radiation includes electromagnetic fields in the form of extremely low frequency fields, visible light (including lasers), microwave (including microwave ovens and cell-phone transmissions), radiofrequency fields, ultra violet and infrared.


Further information

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