Roosli M, Frei P, Bolte J, Neubauer G, Cardis E, Feychting M, Gajsek P, Heinrich S, Joseph W, Mann S, Martens L, Mohler E, Parslow RC, Poulsen AH, Radon K, Schuz J, Thuroczy G, Viel JF, Vrijheid M. (2010). Conduct of a personal radiofrequency electromagnetic field measurement study: proposed study protocol. Environ Health. 9(1):23.
We have seen in recent year’s higher environmental exposure to radiofrequency fields coming from wireless telecommunication devices such as mobile phones but also other new technologies (Wifi). The public concern of RF exposure and adverse health effects is growing and the problems with exposure assessment methodology for day-to-day measurements of RF emitted from different sources needs to be addressed. Exposure patterns in the general population such as average personal exposure, time spent above a threshold or rate of change are proxies more relevant to the conduct of health risk assessments and epidemiological studies. Comparing exposure levels between countries using data recorded from personal exposimeter is problematic because different types of measurement devices and/or different measurement and analysis procedures have been used in past studies.
The objective of the study is to propose basic requirements for the conduct of personal measurement studies of total RF environmental exposure using past results and experiences on RF measurements: description of the study instruments, selection procedures for study participants, handling of the exposimeter, collection of other relevant data, data handling and reporting of the results.
Methods and Results
The authors describe criteria for future studies based on past experiences. For instance, how to develop a good research protocol for studies on personal RF exposure measurements including clearly setting the study objectives, understanding the capability and limitation of the study instrument (personal exposimeter), the use of Geographic Position System (GPS) device and time-activity diary and questionnaire, the detailed study procedures, selection of study participants and instructions provided to them, maintenance and calibration of the exposimeters, data management and cleaning, and data analysis.
Interpretation and Conclusion
The development and use of exposimeters has enabled researchers to more easily and precisely measure personal exposure from numerous sources of RF in the total environment. But, comparison of such measurements between investigations is hard due to use of different basic methods and procedures. The authors summarized experiences of various investigators with personal RF-EMF measurement studies, and based on these experiences they proposed criteria for such exposure assessment studies. Applying a common core protocol in future personal measurement studies is important in order to make sure that observed differences in measurement studies are due to real exposure differences and not due to the methodology and protocol used.