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Safety Code 6

Health Canada


The purpose of this code is to establish safety limits for human exposure to radiofrequency (RF) electromagnetic energy in the frequency range from 3 kHz to 300 GHz.

The safety limits in this code apply to all individuals working at, or visiting, federally regulated sites.

These guidelines may also be adopted by the provinces, industry or other interested parties.

Directly from the Consumer & Clinical Radiation Protection Bureau (CCRPB) – Health Canada

Industry Canada (IC) is the Canadian regulator of radio communication and broadcasting installations and apparatus, and has jurisdiction over cell phone tower installation and placement. To ensure that public exposures fall within acceptable guidelines, Industry Canada has developed regulatory standards that require compliance with portions of the radiofrequency (RF) exposure limits recommended in Health Canada’s Safety Code 6.   If you would like more information about the compliance of a specific cellular tower, you can contact them at res.nmr@ic.gc.ca.  If you would like to contact your regional office, you can reach them through the following link http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/smt-gst.nsf/eng/sf01742.html

As part of Industry Canada’s mandate, it has established the process that must be followed by proponents seeking to install or modify antenna systems, which may include public consultations. 

Health Canada's mandate on the issue of human exposure to radiofrequency (RF) electromagnetic energy, such as those from cell phones and other wireless devices is to

  • carry out research into possible health effects,
  • monitor the scientific literature related to such effects, and,
  • develop exposure guidelines such as Safety Code 6 (Limits of Human Exposure to Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Energy in the Frequency Range from 3 kHz to 300 GHz, 2009)

Based on all the available scientific evidence, Health Canada has concluded that the levels specified in Safety Code 6 are well below the threshold for any potential harm.  Safety Code 6 is current and valid for protecting the health and safety of Canadians, including children and the most vulnerable. The RF exposure limits specified in Safety Code 6 have been established through careful evaluation of the scientific literature on both thermal and non-thermal effects of RF energy on biological systems.  Safety factors have been incorporated into these limits to add an additional level of protection.
The limits in Safety Code 6 take into account the total RF exposure from all sources of RF energy.  For example, in a given area, the combined RF energy from all cell towers and other wireless infrastructure are not to exceed the limits in Safety Code 6.  Therefore, no adverse health effects are expected from exposure to RF emitting devices if the devices adhere to Safety Code 6.  This is the case for the cellular tower and your cellular telephone.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified RF energy as “possibly carcinogenic to humans” (Class 2B) in May 2011, based on limited evidence that it might increase the long-term risk of brain cancer incidence for long term/heavy cell phone users.  However, the vast majority of scientific research to date does not support a link between RF energy exposure and human cancers.   A Health Canada scientist was a member of the IARC Expert Working Group that examined this issue.  As a result, Health Canada recently updated its advice pertaining to cell phone use to be more precautionary (e.g. limit the length of cell phone calls, and use text messaging or hands-free options when possible).  

The Department does not consider additional precautionary measures for other wireless devices, such as cell phone towers and WiFi equipment, to be warranted at this time, since the intensity and distribution of the RF energy absorbed within the body from these devices are very different from that of cell phones and health risks from exposure below the limits specified in Safety Code 6 have not been established.  However, it is in agreement with both the World Health Organization and IARC that additional research in this area is warranted.

Relevant Articles:

Relevant Documents:


Safety Code 6
Interpretation and Compliance Assessment of Health Canada's Radiofrequency Exposure Guidelines
Problems with Safety Code 6
Our Children, Our Future, Our Responsibility
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Review Panel Conflicted

Did you know...

  • Exposure limits in China, Russia and India are 100 times more stringent than those of Canada's SC6.
  • SC6 only takes into account thermal affects from non-ionizing radiation, not the biological effects the research and evidence is pointing to being a major problem.
  • The SC6 levels designated as “Safe” were based on science tested in the 1980's on a 220lb mannequin.
  • There is no consideration or distinction for the developing brains and cells of children, weak, or the elderly.
  • Industry Canada receives in excess of $400 Million/yr in licensing fees from the telecom industry.
  • Industry Canada does not measure the output of the cellular towers they approve based on Safety Code 6.
    Watch here “Industry Canada Representative Jack Holt discussing with Town of Oakville Councillors”
  • Towers under 15m in height do not require any approval from Industry Canada
  • Under the Radio Telecommunications Act, Industry Canada can overrule every level of government in their decisions re cell tower placement
  • Industry Canada will not accept concerns re Health Issues/Effects as a basis for discussion around the placement of cell towers and antennae
  • Industry Canada claims the output from the CN tower is 10% of the limits of Safety Code 6.
    Watch here “Industry Canada Representative Jack Holt discussing with Town of Oakville Councillors”

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