Radiation Protection

Radiation Information from Other Agencies

EPA sets protective limits on the radioactivityHelpradioactivityThe emission of ionizing radiation released by a source in a given time period. The units used to measure radioactivity are curie (Ci) and becquerel (Bq). in soil, water and air that comes from human use of radioactive elements such as uranium. EPA also provides technical advice on federal radiation protection and helps state and local responders respond to radiological emergencies.

Electromagnetic radiation, such as radiation from cell phones, power lines, smart meters and other wireless devices is regulated by a combination of other state and federal agencies.

Cell phones use radiofrequency radiationHelpradiationEnergy given off as either particles or rays. (RF), which is addressed in part by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC). FCC works with other federal health and safety agencies to monitor and investigate issues related to RF exposure. For more information, please visit:


  • Radiofrequency
    U.S. Federal Communications Commission, Radio Frequency Safety
  • Specific Absorption Rate
    U.S. Federal Communications Commission, Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) for Cellular Telephones
  • Cell Phones
    U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Radiation-Emitting Products

Several federal agencies play a role in nuclear power plant safety.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is responsible for licensing facilities, commercial use of nuclear materials, facility inspection and the creation of standards and regulations for nuclear power plant safety. For information about NRC's regulatory role, please visit:

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) oversees radiological emergency response planning for state and local authorities in the event of a nuclear power plant incident. For more information, see:

EPA's role in nuclear power generation is to set public health and environmental radiation protection standards. Please visit:

EPA does not regulate or set standards for smart meters or power lines.

Smart meters use radiofrequency radiation (RF), a type of non-ionizing radiationHelpnon-ionizing radiationRadiation that has enough energy to move atoms or cause them to vibrate, but not enough to remove electrons. Examples of this kind of radiation are radio waves, visible light and microwaves.. The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) sets exposure limits for RF radiation. FCC works with other federal health and safety agencies to monitor and investigate issues related to RF exposure.

There are no U.S. federal standards limiting residential or occupational exposure to electric and magnetic fields (EMF) from power lines. For more information, please visit:

Some medical procedures use radiationHelpradiationEnergy given off as either particles or rays. to help diagnose or treat illnesses. These procedures can include x-rays, mammograms, CT scans, fluoroscopy treatments and radiation therapy to treat cancer. Different medical procedures expose patients to different amounts of radiation. When considering any medical use of radiation, patients should consult with their health care providers to ensure that the benefits outweigh the risks.

Depending on the type of radiation and how it is used in medical procedures, different federal agencies may play a role in regulation.

EPA has an indirect role in the use of radiation in medicine. EPA develops and issues general radiation guidance to other federal agencies. These agencies use EPA's radiation protection federal guidance as a reference to develop rules and regulations to protect public health.