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Environ Int. 2012 Nov 1;48:133-42. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2012.07.006. Epub 2012 Aug 18.

Personal radiofrequency electromagnetic field measurements in The Netherlands: exposure level and variability for everyday activities, times of day and types of area.

Author information

1
Laboratory for Radiation Research, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), PO Box 1, 3720 BA Bilthoven, The Netherlands. john.bolte@rivm.nl

Abstract

Knowledge of the exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields is necessary for epidemiological studies on possible health effects. The main goal of this study is to determine the exposure level and spatial and temporal variances during 39 everyday activities in 12 frequency bands used in mobile telecommunication and broadcasting. Therefore, 24 h measurements were gathered from 98 volunteers living in or near Amsterdam and Purmerend, The Netherlands. They carried an activity diary to be kept to the minute, a GPS logger sampling at an interval of 1 s, and an EME Spy exposimeter with a detection limit of 0.0066 mW/m(2) sampling at an interval of 10s in 12 frequency bands. The mean exposure over 24 h, excluding own mobile phone use, was 0.180 mW/m(2). During daytime exposure was about the same, but during night it was about half, and in the evening it was about twice as high. The main contribution to environmental exposure (calling by participant not included) is from calling with mobile phones (37.5%), from cordless DECT phones and their docking stations (31.7%), and from the base stations (12.7%). The exposure to mobile phone base stations increases with the percentage of urban ground use, which is an indication for high people density. In agreement, the highest mean exposure relates to the activities with high people density, such as travelling by public transport, visiting social events, pubs or shopping malls. Exposure at home depends mainly on exposure from people calling in the neighbourhood of the participant and thus on the number of persons in a household. In addition just the possession of DECT docking stations leads to exposure as most models transmit continuously in stand-by. Also wireless internet routers continuously transmit in the WiFi band. Though the highest exposure peaks in the WiFi band, up to 0.265 W/m(2), come from stray radiation of microwave ovens. The mean total exposure largely depends on phone calls of a high exposure level and short duration. These calls lead to potentially high contrasts as well in exposure levels between sessions of the same activity as between persons, thus posing a challenge for personal exposure prediction.

PMID:
22906414
DOI:
10.1016/j.envint.2012.07.006
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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