Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Environ Int. 2018 Aug;117:204-214. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2018.04.026. Epub 2018 May 10.

Spatial and temporal variability of personal environmental exposure to radio frequency electromagnetic fields in children in Europe.

Author information

1
ISGlobal, Barcelona, Spain; Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona, Spain; Spanish Consortium for Research on Epidemiology and Public Health (CIBERESP), Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Madrid, Spain.
2
Departement of Epidemiology and Public Health, Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Basel 4051, Switzerland; University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland.
3
Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences (IRAS), Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
4
Institute of Non-ionizing Radiation (INIS), Ljubljana 1000, Slovenia.
5
Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of California, Los Angeles, USA.
6
BIODONOSTIA Health Research Institute, Dr. Begiristain Pasealekua, San Sebastian, Spain; University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), Preventative Medicine and Public Health Department, Faculty of Medicine, Leioa, Spain.
7
Spanish Consortium for Research on Epidemiology and Public Health (CIBERESP), Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Madrid, Spain; Epidemiology and Environmental Health Joint Research Unit, FISABIO-Universitat Jaume I-Universitat de València, 46020 València, Spain.
8
Spanish Consortium for Research on Epidemiology and Public Health (CIBERESP), Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Madrid, Spain; University of Granada, Department of Radiology and Physical Medicine, Instituto de Investigación Biosanitaria ibs.GRANADA, Granada, Spain.
9
Danish National Birth Cohort, Statens Serum Institut, Copenhagen, Denmark.
10
BIODONOSTIA Health Research Institute, Dr. Begiristain Pasealekua, San Sebastian, Spain; Public Health Division of Gipuzkoa, Basque Government, San Sebastian, Spain.
11
Spanish Consortium for Research on Epidemiology and Public Health (CIBERESP), Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Madrid, Spain; ib-salut, Area de Salut de Menorca, Menorca, Spain.
12
Department of Public Health - Amsterdam Public Health Research Institute, Academic Medical Centre, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
13
Danish Epidemiology Science Centre, Department of Public Health, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark.
14
Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences (IRAS), Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands; Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, University Medical Center Utrecht, The Netherlands; School of Public Health, Imperial College London, London, UK.
15
ISGlobal, Barcelona, Spain; Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona, Spain; Spanish Consortium for Research on Epidemiology and Public Health (CIBERESP), Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Madrid, Spain; Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry/Psychology, Erasmus University Medical Centre-Sophia Children's Hospital, Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Electronic address: monica.guxens@isglobal.org.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) has rapidly increased and little is known about exposure levels in children. This study describes personal RF-EMF environmental exposure levels from handheld devices and fixed site transmitters in European children, the determinants of this, and the day-to-day and year-to-year repeatability of these exposure levels.

METHODS:

Personal environmental RF-EMF exposure (μW/m2, power flux density) was measured in 529 children (ages 8-18 years) in Denmark, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Switzerland, and Spain using personal portable exposure meters for a period of up to three days between 2014 and 2016, and repeated in a subsample of 28 children one year later. The meters captured 16 frequency bands every 4 s and incorporated a GPS. Activity diaries and questionnaires were used to collect children's location, use of handheld devices, and presence of indoor RF-EMF sources. Six general frequency bands were defined: total, digital enhanced cordless telecommunications (DECT), television and radio antennas (broadcast), mobile phones (uplink), mobile phone base stations (downlink), and Wireless Fidelity (WiFi). We used adjusted mixed effects models with region random effects to estimate associations of handheld device use habits and indoor RF-EMF sources with personal RF-EMF exposure. Day-to-day and year-to-year repeatability of personal RF-EMF exposure were calculated through intraclass correlations (ICC).

RESULTS:

Median total personal RF-EMF exposure was 75.5 μW/m2. Downlink was the largest contributor to total exposure (median: 27.2 μW/m2) followed by broadcast (9.9 μW/m2). Exposure from uplink (4.7 μW/m2) was lower. WiFi and DECT contributed very little to exposure levels. Exposure was higher during day (94.2 μW/m2) than night (23.0 μW/m2), and slightly higher during weekends than weekdays, although varying across regions. Median exposures were highest while children were outside (157.0 μW/m2) or traveling (171.3 μW/m2), and much lower at home (33.0 μW/m2) or in school (35.1 μW/m2). Children living in urban environments had higher exposure than children in rural environments. Older children and users of mobile phones had higher uplink exposure but not total exposure, compared to younger children and those that did not use mobile phones. Day-to-day repeatability was moderate to high for most of the general frequency bands (ICCs between 0.43 and 0.85), as well as for total, broadcast, and downlink for the year-to-year repeatability (ICCs between 0.49 and 0.80) in a small subsample.

CONCLUSION:

The largest contributors to total personal environmental RF-EMF exposure were downlink and broadcast, and these exposures showed high repeatability. Urbanicity was the most important determinant of total exposure and mobile phone use was the most important determinant of uplink exposure. It is important to continue evaluating RF-EMF exposure in children as device use habits, exposure levels, and main contributing sources may change.

KEYWORDS:

Cell phones; Children's health; Electromagnetic fields; Radio waves; Smart phones; Wireless technology

PMID:
29754001
DOI:
10.1016/j.envint.2018.04.026
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center