High radiofrequency radiation at Stockholm Old Town: An exposimeter study including the Royal Castle, Supreme Court, three major squares and the Swedish Parliament

Mol Clin Oncol. 2017 Apr;6(4):462-476. doi: 10.3892/mco.2017.1180. Epub 2017 Mar 3.


Exposure to radiofrequency (RF) radiation was classified as a possible human carcinogen, Group 2B, by the International Agency for Research on Cancer at WHO in 2011. The exposure pattern is changing due to the rapid development of technology. Outdoor RF radiation level was measured during five tours in Stockholm Old Town in April, 2016 using the EME Spy 200 exposimeter with 20 predefined frequencies. The results were based on 10,437 samples in total. The mean level of the total RF radiation was 4,293 µW/m2 (0.4293 µW/cm2). The highest mean levels were obtained for global system for mobile communications (GSM) + universal mobile telecommunications system (UMTS) 900 downlink and long-term evolution (LTE) 2600 downlink (1,558 and 1,265 µW/m2, respectively). The town squares displayed highest total mean levels, with the example of Järntorget square with 24,277 µW/m2 (min 257, max 173,302 µW/m2). These results were in large contrast to areas with lowest total exposure, such as the Supreme Court, with a mean level of 404 µW/m2 (min 20.4, max 4,088 µW/m2). In addition, measurements in the streets surrounding the Royal Castle were lower than the total for the Old Town, with a mean of 756 µW/m2 (min 0.3, max 50,967 µW/m2). The BioInitiative 2012 Report defined the scientific benchmark for possible health risks as 30-60 µW/m2. Our results of outdoor RF radiation exposure at Stockholm Old Town are significantly above that level. The mean exposure level at Järntorget square was 405-fold higher than 60 µW/m2. Our results were below the reference level on 10,000,000 µW/m2 established by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), which, however, are less credible, as they do not take non-thermal effects into consideration and are not based on sound scientific evaluation. Our highest measured mean level at Järntorget was 0.24% of the ICNIRP level. A number of studies have found adverse, non-thermal (no measurable temperature increase) health effects far below the ICNIRP guidelines.

Keywords: base stations; cancer; exposimeter; health; public exposure; radiofrequency electromagnetic field; radiofrequency radiation.