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Radiofrequency fields – exposure, dose and health

by Wilén, Jonna

Abstract (Summary)
The overall aim of this thesis is to increase our knowledge of relevant exposure parameters when discussing possible health implication from exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF), especially effects that might occur at non-thermal levels.In this thesis an effort is made to broaden the exposure assessment and to take the exposure time into account and combine it with the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) and the field parameters (electric and magnetic field strength) to approach a dose concept.In the first part of the thesis self-reported subjective symptoms among mobile phone users were studied. As a basis for this an epidemiological study among mobile phone users was completed with the main hypothesis that users of the digital transmission system GSM experience more symptoms than users of the older analogue NMT transmission system.The hypothesis was falsified, but an interesting side finding was that people with longer calling time per day experienced more symptoms than people with shorter calling time per day. The time-aspect (long duration phone call etc.) was also found to be relevant for the occurrence of symptoms in association with mobile phone use as well as duration of symptoms. The new suggested dosimetric quantity Specific Absorption per Day (SAD), in which both calling time per day as well as the measured SAR1g are included showed a stronger association to the prevalence of some of the symptoms, such as dizziness, discomfort and warmth behind the ear compared to both CT and SAR1g alone.In the second part whole body exposure conditions were considered. Methods to measure the induced current were examined in an experimental study, where different techniques were compared in different grounding conditions. The results were used in a study of operators of RF plastic sealers (RF operators) where the health status as well as the exposure were studied. The results showed that RF operators are a highly exposed group, which was confirmed by the fact that 16 out of 46 measured work places exceeded the ICNIRP guidelines. Headaches were found to be associated with the mean value of the time integrated E-field during a weld (E-weld) and the warmth sensations in the hands (warm hands) with the time integrated E-field exposure during one day (E-day).The general findings in this thesis indicated that time should be included in the exposure assessment when studying non-thermal effects such as subjective symptoms in connection with RF exposure. The thesis proposes two different methods for doing this, namely timeintegrated exposure [V/m x t and A/m x t] and dose [J/kg].
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:Umeå universitet

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation

Keywords:electromagnetic fields; SAR; Specific Absorption; subjective symptoms

ISBN:91-7305-293-3

Date of Publication:01/01/2002

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