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Open AccessArticle

Exposure Knowledge and Perception of Wireless Communication Technologies

1
Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Berlin 10178, Germany
2
Instituto Superior Técnico/INOV-INESC, University of Lisbon, Lisbon 1000-029, Portugal
3
Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Wollongong, Wollongong 2522, New South Wales, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Paul B. Tchounwou
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(11), 14177-14191; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph121114177
Received: 15 August 2015 / Revised: 6 October 2015 / Accepted: 28 October 2015 / Published: 6 November 2015
The presented survey investigates risk and exposure perceptions of radio frequency electromagnetic fields (RF EMF) associated with base stations, mobile phones and other sources, the key issue being the interaction between both sets of perceptions. The study is based on a cross-sectional design, and conducted with an online sample of 838 citizens from Portugal. The results indicate that respondents’ intuitive exposure perception differs from the actual exposure levels. Furthermore, exposure and risk perceptions are found to be highly correlated. Respondents’ beliefs about exposure factors, which might influence possible health risks, is appropriate. A regression analysis between exposure characteristics, as predictor variables, and RF EMF risk perception, as the response variable, indicates that people seem to use simple heuristics to form their perceptions. What is bigger, more frequent and longer lasting is seen as riskier. Moreover, the quality of exposure knowledge is not an indicator for amplified EMF risk perception. These findings show that exposure perception is key to future risk communication. View Full-Text
Keywords: radio frequency; electromagnetic field; RF EMF; exposure perception; risk perception; risk communication; risk assessment; base stations; mobile phones radio frequency; electromagnetic field; RF EMF; exposure perception; risk perception; risk communication; risk assessment; base stations; mobile phones
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Freudenstein, F.; Correia, L.M.; Oliveira, C.; Sebastião, D.; Wiedemann, P.M. Exposure Knowledge and Perception of Wireless Communication Technologies. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12, 14177-14191.

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