Comparison of radiofrequency EMF exposure levels in different everyday microenvironments

dinsdag, 13 maart 2018 - Categorie: Onderzoeken


Comparison of radiofrequency electromagnetic field exposure levels in different everyday microenvironments in an international context

Environment International
Volume 114, May 2018, Pages 297–306

Sanjay Sagara, b, c, d, e, Seid M. Adema, b, Benjamin Struchena, b, Sarah P. Loughrand, Michael E. Brunjesi, Lisa Aranguai, Mohamed Aqiel Dalviec, Rodney J. Croftd, Michael Jerrette, Joel M. Moskowitzf, Tony Kuog, h, Martin Rööslia, b, ,

a Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Socinstrasse 57, 4051 Basel, Switzerland
b University of Basel, Petersplatz 1, 4051 Basel, Switzerland
c University of Cape Town, Centre for Environmental and Occupational Health Research, School of Public Health and Family Medicine, Observatory, 7925, Cape Town, South Africa
d University of Wollongong, School of Psychology, Australian Centre for Electromagnetic Bioeffects Research, Population Health Research on Electromagnetic Energy, Illawarra Health & Medical Research Institute, Wollongong, Australia
e University of California, Fielding School of Public Health, Center for Occupational & Environmental Health, 650 Charles E. Young Dr S, Los Angeles, CA 90095-177220, USA
f University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health, 50 University Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720-7360, USA
g University of California Los Angeles, Fielding School of Public Health, Department of Epidemiology, 650 Charles E Young Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90095-177220, USA
h Department of Family Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, USA
i Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, 3530 Wilshire Blvd #700, Los Angeles, CA 90010, USA

Received 19 August 2017, Revised 8 February 2018, Accepted 22 February 2018, Available online 9 March 2018

• We measured RF-EMF in 94 matched microenvironments in six countries.
• We applied a common protocol for direct comparison of RF-EMF.
• Downlink and broadcasting exposure was most relevant in outdoor microenvironments.
• Uplink is only relevant in public transport with the highest in Switzerland.
• Exposure in urban areas tended to be higher.


The aim of this study was to quantify RF-EMF exposure applying a tested protocol of RF-EMF exposure measurements using portable devices with a high sampling rate in different microenvironments of Switzerland, Ethiopia, Nepal, South Africa, Australia and the United States of America.

We used portable measurement devices for assessing RF-EMF exposure in 94 outdoor microenvironments and 18 public transport vehicles. The measurements were taken either by walking with a backpack with the devices at the height of the head and a distance of 20–30 cm from the body, or driving a car with the devices mounted on its roof, which was 170–180 cm above the ground. The measurements were taken for about 30 min while walking and about 15–20 min while driving in each microenvironment, with a sampling rate of once every 4 s (ExpoM-RF) and 5 s (EME Spy 201).

Mean total RF-EMF exposure in various outdoor microenvironments varied between 0.23 V/m (non-central residential area in Switzerland) and 1.85 V/m (university area in Australia), and across modes of public transport between 0.32 V/m (bus in rural area in Switzerland) and 0.86 V/m (Auto rickshaw in urban area in Nepal). For most outdoor areas the major exposure contribution was from mobile phone base stations. Otherwise broadcasting was dominant. Uplink from mobile phone handsets was generally very small, except in Swiss trains and some Swiss buses.

This study demonstrates high RF-EMF variability between the 94 selected microenvironments from all over the world. Exposure levels tended to increase with increasing urbanity. In most microenvironments downlink from mobile phone base stations is the most relevant contributor.

Radio-frequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF); Microenvironment; Uplink; Downlink; Exposure assessment; Mobile phone handset; Mobile phone base station

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