Calibration and uncertainties in personal exposure measurements of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields

Bioelectromagnetics. 2011 Dec;32(8):652-63. doi: 10.1002/bem.20677. Epub 2011 May 4.


In the past 5 years radiofrequency personal exposure meters have been used to characterize the exposure during daily activities. We found from calibration tests for the 12 frequency bands of the EME Spy 121 exposimeter in a Gigahertz Transverse Electromagnetic cell and an Open Area Test Site, that these measurements tend to underestimate the actual exposure. Therefore, a maximum frequency-dependent correction factor of 1.1-1.6 should be applied to the electric field. This correction factor consists of three multipliers correcting for calibration, elevation arrival angle, and influence of the body. The calibration correction factor should be determined per exposimeter, as the maximum range of response between exposimeters in a frequency band is 2.4 dB. Since the range of response for different elevation angles could reach 10.2 dB, a strict protocol for wearing the exposimeter during fieldwork should be followed to be able to compare and combine measurements made by different persons in the same microenvironments. Because the influence of the body depends on the azimuth angle of arrival, it may lead to an over- or underestimation. Thus, the body correction factor is an average over the angles and should only be applied in activities involving movement through the full 360° range of random angles of arrival.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Calibration
  • Electromagnetic Fields* / adverse effects
  • Environmental Exposure / analysis*
  • Environmental Exposure / statistics & numerical data
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods*
  • Epidemiologic Studies*
  • Humans
  • Radiation Dosage
  • Radiation Monitoring / methods*
  • Radio Waves* / adverse effects
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Statistics as Topic / methods*