Exposure to electromagnetic fields in households--trends from 2006 to 2012

Bioelectromagnetics. 2015 Jan;36(1):77-85. doi: 10.1002/bem.21887. Epub 2014 Nov 24.


This article is a follow-up study of extremely low-frequency electric and magnetic fields (ELF-EFs, ELF-MFs) and radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMFs) using data collected in 2012 following earlier data sets from 2006 and 2009. Measurements were conducted in 219 bedrooms in Lower Austria. Out of these rooms 113 measurements were done in the same households in 2006, 2009 and 2012, and 106 were conducted in neighbouring buildings added in 2009 and newly recruited buildings in mainly urban areas in 2012. In revisited places the median of the ELF-EFs decreased from 23.20 V/m in 2006 to 13.90 V/m in 2012. The median of all-night measurements of ELF-MFs at 50 Hz decreased from 13.50 to 11.37 nT. The median of total RF-EMFs increased from 28.13 to 52.16 µW/m(2). Highest increases were found for universal mobile telecommunication system (UMTS) and wireless local area networks (WLAN). The analysis of all households showed higher total RF-EMFs in urban (median = 117.73 µW/m(2)) than in rural (median = 34.52 µW/m(2)) areas. Long-term evolution (LTE) in the 2600 MHz frequency range was detected at 17 locations with a maximum of 38.20 µW/m(2). Indoor RF-EMF sources resulted in decreased exposure in the frequency range of digital enhanced cordless telecommunications telephones (DECT) and increased exposure in the frequency range of WLAN.

Keywords: DECT; ELF electric fields; ELF magnetic fields; WLAN; mobile phone base stations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Austria
  • Cell Phone
  • Electromagnetic Fields*
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Housing*
  • Internet
  • Radio Waves
  • Rural Population
  • Urban Population
  • Wireless Technology