Assessment of personal exposure from radiofrequency-electromagnetic fields in Australia and Belgium using on-body calibrated exposimeters

Environ Res. 2016 Nov;151:547-563. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2016.08.022. Epub 2016 Aug 31.


The purposes of this study were: i) to demonstrate the assessment of personal exposure from various RF-EMF sources across different microenvironments in Australia and Belgium, with two on-body calibrated exposimeters, in contrast to earlier studies which employed single, non-on-body calibrated exposimeters; ii) to systematically evaluate the performance of the exposimeters using (on-body) calibration and cross-talk measurements; and iii) to compare the exposure levels measured for one site in each of several selected microenvironments in the two countries. A human subject took part in an on-body calibration of the exposimeter in an anechoic chamber. The same subject collected data on personal exposures across 38 microenvironments (19 in each country) situated in urban, suburban and rural regions. Median personal RF-EMF exposures were estimated: i) of all microenvironments, and ii) across each microenvironment, in two countries. The exposures were then compared across similar microenvironments in two countries (17 in each country). The three highest median total exposure levels were: city center (4.33V/m), residential outdoor (urban) (0.75V/m), and a park (0.75V/m) [Australia]; and a tram station (1.95V/m), city center (0.95V/m), and a park (0.90V/m) [Belgium]. The exposures across nine microenvironments in Melbourne, Australia were lower than the exposures across corresponding microenvironments in Ghent, Belgium (p<0.05). The personal exposures across urban microenvironments were higher than those for rural or suburban microenvironments. Similarly, the exposure levels across outdoor microenvironments were higher than those for indoor microenvironments.

Keywords: Exposimeter; Far-field radiofrequency-electromagnetic exposure; Microenvironment; On-body calibration; Personal exposure.

MeSH terms

  • Australia
  • Belgium
  • Electromagnetic Fields*
  • Environmental Monitoring / instrumentation*
  • Humans
  • Radio Waves*