AGNIR was an independent scientific advisory group that reported to Public Health England (PHE) until the Group completed its work and came to an end in May 2017. AGNIR was set up in 1990 and also reported to PHE’s predecessor organisations that held responsibilities for advising on the public health aspects of exposures to non-ionising radiation, i.e. the Health Protection Agency (2005-2013) and the National Radiological Protection Board (1990-2005).
The Group’s remit was ‘to review work on the biological effects of non-ionising radiation relevant to human health and to advise on research priorities’.
Documents from the Group, including its review reports, statements and history, are held in the National Archives, except for the Group’s final report which was published by PHE and can be found by clicking here. AGNIR’s documents address exposure to
- electromagnetic fields
- ultraviolet radiation
- ultrasound and infrasound
AGNIR’s documents are referred to by the UK government and the devolved administrations and have been used in developing exposure guidelines.
By the time PHE was formed in 2013, AGNIR had already produced major comprehensive reviews covering all of its topic areas. Also, the dedicated nationally and internationally coordinated research programmes on the health effects of electromagnetic fields, which had produced important results during the first 20 years of AGNIR’s existence, were coming to an end. These factors led PHE to decide that it was no longer viable to support a dedicated standing expert advisory group to solely address non-ionising radiation, and that AGNIR would be brought to an end once it had completed its work.
PHE remains committed to delivering expert review reports on non-ionising radiation topics as and when sufficient new evidence has accumulated. In that respect, PHE notes that the Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment (COMARE) is an existing Department of Health expert committee that has a watching brief on non-ionising radiation.
Enquiries about AGNIR’s work should be addressed to Public Health England at its general enquiries contact points.