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Assessment of environmental radiofrequency electromagnetic field levels in a neonatal intensive care unit

Abstract : Preterm neonates represent a vulnerable population with a high sensitivity to their environment. While hospitalized in Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU), they can possibly be exposed to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) due to the increased number of devices using wireless communications (mobile phones, DECT, WIFI). Strikingly, data on RF-EMF levels in NICU are currently not available in the literature. The aim of the present study was to quantify the RF-EMF levels in a NICU by performing a mapping of environmental RF-EMF levels and by measuring spot emissions from medical devices. Measurements of RF-EMF levels were performed in a tertiary NICU including 34 beds using three-axis dosimeters. A first set of 24h measurements aimed at evaluating the RF-EMF levels in the general environment and in children’s rooms. A second set of measurements, in faradised chamber, assessed RF-EMF emitted by medical devices commonly used in the NICU and identified as potential sources of exposure. For a total of 102 measurement points were analysed. Mean RF-EMF levels were significantly higher in the staff environment than in children’s rooms (p<0.0011), and were also significantly higher during the day than during the night (p<0.001). The highest RF-EMF levels (above the mean value ± 2SD) represented 3.5% of the measurement duration. Very high peak values above 6 V/m were also detected. The measurements with isolated NICU medical devices showed that they do not emit RF fields. Globally, mean RF-EMF levels in the NICU were low. The detection of RF-EMF levels was more probably related to the parents and staff activities rather than to medical devices. A chronic exposure combined with high peak values in this specifically vulnerable population should require particular attention. Decreasing the preterm neonates’ exposure to RF-EMF would include parental and staff intervention to reduce the wireless communication and others devices in the NICU.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, May 19, 2021 - 9:24:21 AM
Last modification on : Friday, August 5, 2022 - 11:25:41 AM


  • HAL Id : ineris-03229556, version 1



Dimitri Besset, Brahim Selmaoui, Pierre Tourneux, Stéphane Delanaud, René de Seze, et al.. Assessment of environmental radiofrequency electromagnetic field levels in a neonatal intensive care unit. EAP Congress and master course, Sep 2019, Porto, Portugal. pp.1727-1728. ⟨ineris-03229556⟩



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