Representativeness and repeatability of microenvironmental personal and head exposures to radio-frequency electromagnetic fields

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Abstract

The aims of this study were to: i) investigate the repeatability and representativeness of personal radio frequency-electromagnetic fields (RF-EMFs) exposure measurements, across different microenvironments, ii) perform simultaneous evaluations of personal RF-EMF exposures for the whole body and the head, iii) validate the data obtained with a head-worn personal distributed exposimeter (PDE) against those obtained with an on-body worn personal exposimeter (PEM). Data on personal and head RF-EMF exposures were collected by performing measurements across 15 microenvironments in Melbourne, Australia. A body-worn PEM and a head-worn PDE were used for measuring body and head exposures, respectively. The summary statistics obtained for total RF-EMF exposure showed a high representativeness (r2 > 0.66 for two paths in the same area) and a high repeatability over time (r2 > 0.87 for repetitions of the same path). The median head exposure in the 900 MHz downlink band ranged between 0.06 V/m and 0.31 V/m. The results obtained during simultaneous measurements using the two devices showed high correlations (0.42 < r2 < 0.94). The highest mean total RF-EMF exposure was measured in Melbourne's central business district (0.89 V/m), whereas the lowest mean total exposure was measured in a suburban residential area (0.05 V/m). This study shows that personal RF-EMF microenvironmental measurements in multiple microenvironments have high representativeness and repeatability over time. The personal RF-EMF exposure levels (i.e. body and head exposures) demonstrated moderate to high correlations.

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