Non-Ionizing Radiation Safety

Updated June 5, 2024

The Non-Ionizing Radiation Safety Program is designed to help protect University personnel, students and the general public from the harmful effects of non-ionizing radiation.

Non-ionizing radiation refers to electromagnetic radiation that does not have sufficient energy to ionize (remove electrons from) atoms or molecules. Instead, the energy is converted to heat, which can lead to burns, depending on the exposure time and the energy concentration of the radiation. Therefore, those working with non-ionizing radiation must take precautions to ensure they are not exposed to excessive levels.

Non-ionizing radiation at the UW

There are many sources of non-ionizing radiation within the University such as nuclear magnetic resonance, magnetic resonance imaging, nuclear fusion research, furnaces, microwaves ovens, UV lamps, fluorescent objects, induction heaters, transmission generators, Wi-Fi, mobile phones, cell antennas and more. Very few of these will actually pose a significant risk during use.  

Sources of non-ionizing radiation that pose a risk are generally associated with a specific research project or only pose a risk during maintenance activities when existing controls are removed or modified.

Refer to the sections below and the Non-Ionizing Radiation (NIR) Safety Manual for guidance in maintaining a safe work environment when using non-ionizing radiation.

What You Need to Know

Services available

EH&S provides the following services:

  • Training
  • Evaluation of NIR sources
  • Design review
  • Consultation

Frequently asked question

More Information



Radiation Safety Contact

(206) 543-0463