Does apartment's distance to an in-built transformer room predict magnetic field exposure levels?

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Abstract

It has been shown that magnetic field exposure in apartments located directly on top or adjacent to transformer rooms is higher compared with exposure in apartments located further away from the transformer rooms. It is unclear whether this also translates into exposure contrast among individuals living in these apartments. We performed spot measurements of magnetic fields in 35 apartments in 14 apartment buildings with an in-built transformer and additionally performed 24-h personal measurements in a subsample of 24 individuals. Apartments placed directly on top of or adjacent to a transformer room had on average exposures of 0.42 μT, apartments on the second floor on top of a transformer room, or sharing a corner or edge with the transformer room had 0.11 μT, and apartments located further away from the transformer room had levels of 0.06 μT. Personal exposure levels were approximately a factor 2 lower compared with apartment averages, but still showed exposure contrasts, but only for those individuals who live in the apartments directly on top or adjacent to a transformer room compared with those living further away, with 0.23 versus 0.06 μT for personal exposure when indoors, respectively. A classification of individuals into ‘high’ and ‘low’ exposed based on the location of their apartment within a building with an in-built transformer is possible and could be applied in future epidemiological studies.

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