Radiofrequency electromagnetic field exposure assessment: a pilot study on mobile phone signal strength and transmitted power levels

Christopher Brzozek, Berihun M. Zeleke, Michael J. Abramson, Kurt K. Benke, Geza Benke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


In many epidemiological studies mobile phone use has been used as an exposure proxy for radiofrequency electromagnetic field (RF-EMF) exposure. However, RF-EMF exposure assessment from mobile phone use is prone to measurement errors limiting epidemiological research. An often-overlooked aspect is received signal strength levels from base stations and its correlation with mobile phone transmit (Tx) power. The Qualipoc android phone is a tool that provides information on both signal strength and Tx power. The phone produces simultaneous measurements of Received Signal Strength Indicator (RSSI), Reference Signal Received Power (RSRP), Received Signal Code Power (RSCP), and Tx power on the 3G and 4G networks. Measurements taken in the greater Melbourne area found a wide range of signal strength levels. The correlations between multiple signal strength indicators and Tx power were assessed with strong negative correlations found for 3G and 4G data technologies (3G RSSI −0.93, RSCP −0.93; 4G RSSI −0.85, RSRP −0.87). Variations in Tx power over categorical levels of signal strength were quantified and showed large increases in Tx power as signal level decreased. Future epidemiological studies should control for signal strength or factors influencing signal strength to reduce RF-EMF exposure measurement error.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)62-69
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021


  • EMF
  • Environmental monitoring
  • Epidemiology

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