Assessment of long-term spatio-temporal radiofrequency electromagnetic field exposure

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Abstract

As both the environment and telecommunications networks are inherently dynamic, our exposure to environmental radiofrequency (RF) electromagnetic fields (EMF) at an arbitrary location is not at all constant in time. In this study, more than a year's worth of measurement data collected in a fixed low-cost exposimeter network distributed over an urban environment was analysed and used to build, for the first time, a full spatio-temporal surrogate model of outdoor exposure to downlink Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) and Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) signals. Though no global trend was discovered over the measuring period, the difference in measured exposure between two instances could reach up to 42 dB (a factor 12,000 in power density). Furthermore, it was found that, taking into account the hour and day of the measurement, the accuracy of the surrogate model in the area under study was improved by up to 50% compared to models that neglect the daily temporal variability of the RF signals. However, further study is required to assess the extent to which the results obtained in the considered environment can be extrapolated to other geographic locations.

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