Radiofrequency exposure assessment: a French population-based pilot study using personal dosimeters

Category: Metrology, dosimetry


Radiofrequency exposure assessment: a French population-based pilot study using personal dosimeters




The aim of this study is to finalise the statistical analyses of a French pilot study on the evaluation of the RF exposure in a general population. The results will give to epidemiologists important information on the indicators to be collected and used in future epidemiological studies to better characterize the exposure of the subjects.




Faculty of medicine – Lyon 1



University of Franche Comté

Laboratory de Chrono-environnement, UMR CNRS N°6249


CREAL – IMIM – Barcelone

Centre for research in environmental epidemiology



Alain Bergeret            Laboratory UMRESTTE

[email protected]



12 months





1) Introduction

The aim of this study is to finalise statistical analyses of a pilot study which aimed to assess RF exposure on a population basis in order – to clarify the relative contributions of different sources of RFs; – to identify the indicators that are most important in determining exposure levels and most amenable to being recorded adequately within populations.


2) State of the art

Despite the rapid growth of new technologies using radiofrequency fields (RFs), little is known about population exposure from these and other RF sources and even less about the relative importance of different sources. Epidemiologic studies thus far have relied on rather crude proxies for exposure and improvement of exposure assessment approaches is critical. Ideally, the dose, time pattern, and frequencies (wavelengths) of exposure from all key sources should be estimated for each individual in the study. A key element in linking the complexity of the exposure sources and patterns with the needs of epidemiology is the availability of a meter that is capable of monitoring individual exposure. Such meters have now been developed.


3) Scientific methodology

A pilot study was conducted in Lyon and Besançon. Personal dosimeters were worn by adults and teenagers, either during 24 hours (2 x 200 persons) or during one week (2 x 20 persons). Technical problems needed further investigations before analysing data. The first step of analysis consisted in the characterisation of several exposure parameters in each frequency band. The new analyses will allow us to separate and evaluate the part of each source of exposure by comparing the data measurements with the information obtained through the space-time budget, and so, to determine the parameters which contributed for the most important part of the exposure. Such parameters will be of great importance to be gathered in future studies. The results will help epidemiologists when they will develop an efficient protocol for a large-scale exposure assessment study resulting in a more representative mapping of RF French exposures and design further analytical epidemiological studies with more accurate exposure assessment.


4) Partnership, skills

The study is piloted by a team in which each partner is very complementary with the others. Franche Comté University is a team of epidemiologists in environment, particularly specialised in using space-time modelisation. Umresste is an epidemiological team specialised in general and occupational environment; it participated in the INTERPHONE Study. E. Cardis (IARC) is the coordinator of the INTERPHONE study: she knows particularly well the field of the non ionising radiations. She is particularly experienced in error and uncertainty modelisation. She acts as a link with other European teams which performed similar studies. She supervised he first step of analyses with Monica Moissonnier.


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