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Exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields: Comparison of exposimeters with a novel body-worn distributed meter

Abstract : Background: Exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) is often measured with personal exposimeters, but the accuracy of measurements can be hampered as carrying the devices on-body may result in body shielding. Further, the compact design may compromise the frequency selectivity of the sensor. The aim of this study was to compare measurements obtained using a multi-band body-worn distributed-exposimeter (BWDM) with two commercially available personal exposimeters (ExpoM-RF and EmeSpy 200) under real-life conditions. Methods: The BWDM measured power density in 10 frequency bands (800, 900, 1800, 2100, 2600 MHz, DECT 1900 MHz, WiFi 2.4 GHz; with separate uplink/downlink bands for 900, 1800 and 2100 MHz); using 20 separate antennas integrated in a vest and placed on diametrically opposite locations on the body, to minimize bodyshielding. RF-EMF exposure data were collected from several microenvironments (e.g. shopping areas, train stations, outdoor rural/ urban residential environments, etc.) by walking around pre-defined areas/routes in Belgium, Spain, France, the Netherlands and Switzerland. Measurements were taken every 1-4 s with the BWDM in parallel with an ExpoM-RF and an EmeSpy 200 exposimeter. We calculated medians and interquartile ranges (IQRs) and compared difference, ratios and correlations of geometric mean RF-EMF exposure levels per microenvironment as measured with the exposimeters and the BWDM. Results: Across 267 microenvimnments, medians and IQR of total BWDM measured RF-EMF exposure was 0.13 (0.05-0.33) mW/m(2). Difference: IQR of exposimeters minus BWDM exposure levels was -0.011 (-0.049 to 0.0095) mW/m(2) for the ExpoM-RF and -0.056 (-0.14 to -0.017) for the EmeSpy 200; ratios (exposimeter/BWDM) of total exposure had an IQR of 0.79 (0.55-1.1) for the ExpoM-RF and 0.29 (0.22-0.38) for the EmeSpy 200. Spearman correlations were 0.93 for the ExpoM-RF vs the BWDM and 0.96 for the EmeSpy 200 vs the BWDM. Discussion and conclusions: Results indicate that exposimeters worn on-body provide somewhat lower total RF-EMF exposure as compared to measurements conducted with the BWDM, in line with effects from body shielding. Ranking of exposure levels of microenvironments showed high correspondence between the different device types. Our results are informative for the interpretation of existing epidemiological research results.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, September 28, 2021 - 2:45:54 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, September 28, 2021 - 4:07:01 PM

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Anke Huss, Stefan Dongus, Reza Aminzadeh, Arno Thielens, Matthias van den Bossche, et al.. Exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields: Comparison of exposimeters with a novel body-worn distributed meter. Environment International, Elsevier, 2021, 156, pp.106711. ⟨10.1016/j.envint.2021.106711⟩. ⟨ineris-03356879⟩

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