Personal exposure to radio frequency electromagnetic fields among Australian adults

Berihun M. Zeleke, Christopher Brzozek, Chhavi Raj Bhatt, Michael J. Abramson, Rodney J. Croft, Frederik Freudenstein, Peter Wiedemann, Geza Benke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


The measurement of personal exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMFs) is important for epidemiological studies. RF-EMF exposure can be measured using personal exposimeters that register RF-EMFs over a wide range of frequency bands. This study aimed to measure and describe personal RF-EMF exposure levels from a wide range of frequency bands. Measurements were recorded from 63 participants over an average of 27.4 (±4.5) hours. RF-EMF exposure levels were computed for each frequency band, as well as from downlink (RF from mobile phone base station), uplink (RF from mobile phone handsets), broadcast, and Wi-Fi. Participants had a mean (±SD) age of 36.9 ± 12.5 years; 66.7% were women; and almost all (98.2%) from urban areas. A Wi-Fi router at home was reported by 61 participants (96.8%), with 38 (61.2%) having a Wi-Fi enabled smart TV. Overall, 26 (41.3%) participants had noticed the existence of a mobile phone base station in their neighborhood. On average, participants estimated the distance between the base station and their usual residence to be about 500 m. The median personal RF-EMF exposure was 208 mV/m. Downlink contributed 40.4% of the total RF-EMF exposure, followed by broadcast (22.4%), uplink (17.3%), and Wi-Fi (15.9%). RF-EMF exposure levels on weekdays were higher than weekends (p < 0.05). Downlink and broadcast are the main contributors to total RF-EMF personal exposure. Personal RF-EMF exposure levels vary according to day of the week and time of day.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2234
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 12 Oct 2018


  • Downlink
  • Mobile phone base stations
  • Personal exposure measurement
  • Radiofrequency electromagnetic fields
  • Uplink

Cite this