EMF Monitoring—Concepts, Activities, Gaps and Options
- Collection of systematic data and establishment of a paradigm to monitor EMF exposure;
- Development of appropriate equipment to assess and monitor personal EMF exposures;
- Development of appropriate equipment and data interpretation standards for near-field sources (devices used close to the body) in particular;
- Development of reliable exposure assessment methods tailored to the needs of epidemiological studies;
- Reduction of the large uncertainties in EMF exposure assessment when carried out by computational electromagnetics (mostly related to fixed installations).
3. EMF monitoring activities in European Countries
3.1. Existing Reports
|Monitoring of radiated power levels of infrastructure equipment and consumer devices. Used by regulators to control legislated/standardised maximum power output from single sources (devices or installations).||Emission monitoring primarily records the power (in Watt) or current (in Ampere) fed into a source, or measures—generally in close proximity to the source—the radiated electromagnetic field; i.e., E (electric) fields and H (magnetic) fields. Well developed for fixed site installations. |
For devices worn or carried by a person it is restricted to worst case scenarios (not to actual emissions). No information about total ambient exposure levels (distribution, field strengths) or human exposure levels (incident field strengths, absorbed dose).
|Ambient Exposure Monitoring|
|Detection of indoor and/or outdoor field levels. Spatial resolution may vary from single spot data to rather comprehensive local or regional data sets produced by systematic measurement campaigns or by propagation modelling.||Ambient exposure monitoring records the downstream fields (E fields, H fields), i.e., the fields in the wider environment of a source. |
At most places ambient exposures consist of more than just a single source. Exposure levels are measured either with broadband antennas, or summed up from frequency selective measurements, or they are calculated by simulation software. Allows detection of spatial and temporal trends. Outdoor data cannot be used to extrapolate to indoor data and vice versa. No information about personal or population exposure because human exposure depends on the time people spend in a specific environment and includes the exposure from close-to-body devices. These sources are generally not accounted for in ambient exposure monitoring campaigns.
|Personal Exposure Monitoring|
|Monitoring of incident field levels at the location of persons. Measurement duration ranges typically from a few hours to a maximum of one week. Measurement data may be complemented with activity diary and GPS data.||Personal exposure monitoring records the fields (E fields, H fields) at the location of the body, or very close to this location. Because people move, personal exposure monitoring requires mobile measurements with a portable device (exposimeter). |
This approach takes into consideration the behaviour of the people.
All sources (fixed installations, mobile devices, indoor, outdoor) can be included. However, exposure from equipment used close to the body (electric appliances, DECT and mobile phones, other wireless consumer goods) cannot yet be reliably assessed. The statistical significance of personal exposure data strongly depends on the number of persons included into a measurement campaign.
|Assessment of the in-body fields induced by personal exposure to external sources. Several dose metrics exist.||The electromagnetic dose is quantified in terms of electric or magnetic fields strengths or in terms of absorption of energy either per unit mass of tissues (the Specific Absorption Rate, SAR) or per unit area of exposed tissues (power density). In the absence of an established biomarker no in-situ measurements are possible. Dose assessment is based on comprehensive computer simulations. It is widely used for worst-case calculations in compliance testing. For monitoring purposes, dose monitoring is not feasible.|
- EMF-monitoring activities are quite common and widely applied in Europe.
- Scale and scope of the activities are very diverse (absence of any common framework/paradigm).
- Most activity is oriented towards measurement campaigns. Modelling is rather exceptional.
- Monitoring of ELF fields does almost not exist.
- The most frequent activity concerns field measurements in response to citizen requests, mostly in the context of newly erected base-station antennas.
- The design of measurement campaigns in terms of number of sites and applied measurement protocol differs very much between the countries.
- Several “systematic” measurement campaigns (including web-based communication of the data) exist in Europe. In some countries (e.g., France), citizen requests led to the collection of a large amount of measurement data that is analysed as a whole every few years.
|Country||Radio/TV||Mobile Communication Networks||ELF|
|Austria||ad hoc, and workplace conformity check by AUVA in case of suspected problems with limits||ad hoc, and workplace conformity check by AUVA in case of suspected problems with limits||ad hoc, and workplace conformity check by AUVA in case of suspected problems with limits|
|Bulgaria||only when antenna characteristics change||only when antenna characteristics change||measurements when antenna characteristics change|
|Cyprus||all sites every 6 months||all sites every 6 months||measurements at about 10,000 locations|
|Denmark||no activities whatsoever||no activities whatsoever||no activities whatsoever|
|Germany||yearly measurements, sample size 2000 (Radio/TV/Mobile) selected by chance, total immission||no monitoring|
|Spain||yearly measurements, sample size 150, various selection criteria, changing sites, total RF immission||new infrastructure; measurement protocol not specified|
|Finland||ad hoc||ad hoc||ad hoc|
|France||about 2500 measurements p.a. at hot spots, mostly requested by citizens, mostly mobile basestations. 2007 last synthesis report. No differentiation between broadcasting and mobile communication||ad hoc measurements|
|Greece||ad hoc||20% of all sites selected by chance||ad hoc|
|Hungary||sample of 5 installations, yearly measurements and calculations||sample of 60 installations (yearly measurements), 25 installations selected for calculations||sample of 5 sites for yearly measurements|
|Ireland||since 2003, measurements at 900 installations (mainly base stations). |
At present, roughly 20–30 measurements p.a. Frequency selective peak measurements, no calculations
|Italy||yearly measurements (various and variable) at several hundred installations (mainly base stations), broadband measurements, no differentiation between broadcasting and mobile communication||measurements in Torino (2006–2008)|
|Croatia||yearly ±10% of all installations (measurements and calculations)||yearly ±10% of all installations (measurements and calculations)||not specified|
|Malta||yearly, all installations (20)||yearly, all installations (500)||not specified|
|Netherlands||measurements: yearly, all installations, and ad hoc on public request; ad hoc calculations||ad hoc measurements|
|Norway||ad hoc||ad hoc||ad hoc|
|Portugal||ad hoc (about 100 measurements p.a., no differentiation between broadcasting and mobile communication||not specified|
|Romania||ad hoc on request, about 20 p.a.||ad hoc on request, about 100 p.a.||not specified|
|Sweden||no monitoring||10 sites permanent measurements, and 5 sites annually selected by chance. Calculations at selected hot spots||no monitoring|
|Slovakia||at least all 3 years measurements at all installation sites||at least all 3 years measurements at all installation sites||ad hoc measurements and calculations|
|Slovenia||yearly monitoring measurements at a few dozen installations||yearly monitoring measurements at a few dozen installations||yearly monitoring measurements at a few dozen installations|
|Switzerland||Calculations and measurements at new installations||Calculations and measurements at new installations, ad hoc measurements at selected locations, emission monitoring (24 h data for all sites), systematic ambient exposure monitoring in central Switzerland (measurements and calculations)||Calculations and measurements at new installations|
|UK||no measurements||ad hoc measurements on request, roughly 50 sites per year||a few ad hoc measurements on request|
4. Moving from Ambient to Personal Exposure Monitoring
|Approach||Section in the Paper||Exposure to Installations||Exposure to Close-to-Body Devices|
|Ambient Exposure Monitoring|
|Fixed Site Transmitter Modelling||4.2||Outdoor||No|
|High Spatial Resolution Modelling||4.3||Outdoor, indoor||From third parties’ devices|
|Personal Exposure Monitoring|
|Representative Sample with Exposimeters||4.4||Outdoor, indoor||From third parties’ devices|
|Quota Sample with Exposimeters||4.4||Outdoor, indoor||From third parties’ devices|
|Close-to-body Exposure Monitoring|
|Emission Monioring||4.1||No||From own devices|
|Exposure Measurements||4.5||No||From own devices|
4.1. Emission Monitoring
4.2. Fixed Site Transmitter Modelling
4.3. High Spatial Resolution Monitoring
4.4. Personal Monitoring
4.5. Dose Modelling, Gaps and Open Issues
- Near-field (close-to-body) sources: exposure from portable consumer goods (mobile phones, DECT phones, Bluetooth and WiFi equipment, to list but devices from the RF domain) represent a major, or even—especially for young people being heavy users of these commodities—the dominant, source of personal exposure . Better knowledge about the emission patterns of these sources is needed as mentioned in section 4.1., and has to be combined with not yet existing data on detailed usage behavior (e.g., duration and posture of use). Potentially, crowd sensing approaches may also be useful for gaining such data.
- Uncertainty assessment: which uncertainty budgets have to be taken into account due to emission variability of the devices, due to the variability in handling devices (frequency, duration and practice), and due to the variability in the location of measurement antennas?
- Measurement accuracy: what is the uncertainty of personal measurement devices, in particular regarding crosstalk between adjacent frequency bands, harmonics, or lack of frequency bands in many current devices [79,80,81,82,83,84]? Also the impact of body shielding on the measurements has to be considered [85,86,87]. Recently, an approach using body worn antennas—e.g., integrated into textiles for a distributed personal exposimeter —has been proposed to address this problem.
- Reference volume: what is a biologically sensible and technically feasible reference volume and what measurement locations (single point, multiple points) have to be selected to realistically cover the defined volume for personal exposure assessment of far-field sources?
- Exposure metrics: no scientifically convincing personal exposure metrics for monitoring purposes have been established so far. The basic quantity metrics inside the body relates to induced biological effects, i.e., nerve stimulation and heating. These well-established biological effects are controlled, for instance, in the ICNIRP guidelines by the basic restrictions [6,7]. However, endpoints relating to potential non-thermal effects require an exposure metric that takes signal forms and strengths into account . Such exposure information collected in the context of monitoring campaigns and/or epidemiological research would have considerable practical relevance. For instance, the explanatory power of future prospective cohort studies strongly depends on an exposure metric comprehensive enough to address several potential health endpoints.
|High Spatial Resolution Monitoring||Different types of compartments (microenvironments)||Quick collection of highly reproducible measurements for a wider range of compartments||Representativiy of the measurements for larger areas, no account for exposure to own use of close-to-body devices|
|Representative Sample with Exposimeters||Random or convenient population sample||Data for real exposure of population||Limited reliability of data gathering, no account for exposure to own use of close-to-body devices, very expensive, possible bias in volunteer selection|
|Quota Sample with Exposimeters||Life-style groups||Data for real exposure of selected sub-populations (real types)||Limited reliability of data gathering, no account for exposure to own use of close-to-body devices, very expensive|
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© 2014 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/).
Dürrenberger, G.; Fröhlich, J.; Röösli, M.; Mattsson, M.-O. EMF Monitoring—Concepts, Activities, Gaps and Options. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11, 9460-9479. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph110909460
Dürrenberger G, Fröhlich J, Röösli M, Mattsson M-O. EMF Monitoring—Concepts, Activities, Gaps and Options. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2014; 11(9):9460-9479. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph110909460Chicago/Turabian Style
Dürrenberger, Gregor, Jürg Fröhlich, Martin Röösli, and Mats-Olof Mattsson. 2014. "EMF Monitoring—Concepts, Activities, Gaps and Options" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 11, no. 9: 9460-9479. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph110909460