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Sci Total Environ. 2018 Jun 15;627:1544-1551. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.01.318. Epub 2018 Feb 9.

Assessment of radiofrequency electromagnetic field exposure from personal measurements considering the body shadowing effect in Korean children and parents.

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Department of Preventive Medicine, College of Medicine, Dankook University, Cheonan, Republic of Korea.
Broadcasting and Media Research Laboratory, Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute, Daejeon, Republic of Korea.
Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Basel, Switzerland; University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland.
Department of Preventive Medicine, College of Medicine, Dankook University, Cheonan, Republic of Korea. Electronic address:


We aimed to assess the personal radiofrequency electromagnetic field (RF-EMF) exposure levels of children and adults through their activities, with consideration to the body shadowing effect. We recruited 50 child-adult pairs, living in Seoul, Cheonan, and Ulsan, South Korea. RF-EMF measurements were performed between September and December 2016, using a portable exposure meter tailored to capture 14 Korean radiofrequency (RF) bands ranging from 87.5 to 5875MHz. The participants carried the device for 48h and kept a time-activity diary using a smartphone application in flight mode. To enhance accuracy of the exposure assessment, the body shadowing effect was compensated during the statistical analysis with the measured RF-EMF exposure. The compensation was conducted using the hybrid model that represents the decrease of the exposure level due to the body shadowing effect. A generalized linear mixed model was used to compare the RF-EMF exposure levels by subjects and activities. The arithmetic (geometric) means of the total power density were 174.9 (36.6) μW/m2 for all participants, 226.9 (44.6) for fathers, 245.4 (44.8) for mothers, and 116.2 (30.1) for children. By compensating for the body shadowing effect, the total RF-EMF exposure increased marginally, approximately 1.4 times. Each frequency band contribution to total RF-EMF exposure consisted of 76.7%, 2.4%, 9.9%, 5.0%, 3.3%, and 2.6% for downlink, uplink, WiFi, FM Radio, TV, and WiBro bands, respectively. Among the three regions, total RF-EMF exposure was highest in Seoul, and among the activities, it was highest in the metro, followed by foot/bicycle, bus/car, and outside. The contribution of base-station exposure to total RF-EMF exposure was the highest both in parents and children. Total and base-station RF-EMF exposure levels in Korea were higher than those reported in European countries.


Body shadowing effect; Exposure assessment; Mobile phone base-station; Portable exposure meter (PEM); Radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF)

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