Radiofrequency exposure amongst employees of mobile network operators and broadcasters

Ian Litchfield, Thomas Sorahan, Martie van Tongeren

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Little is known about personal exposure to radiofrequency (RF) fields amongst employees in the telecommunications industry responsible for installing and maintaining transmitters. IARC classified RF exposure as a possible carcinogen, although evidence from occupational studies was judged to be inadequate. Hence, there is a need for improved evidence of any potentially adverse health effects amongst the workforce occupationally exposed to radiofrequency radiation. In this study we present results from an exposure survey using data from personal monitors used by employees in the broadcasting and telecommunication industries of the UK. These data were supplemented by spot measurements using broadband survey meters and information on daily work activities provided by employee questionnaires. The sets of real-time personal data were categorised by four types of site determined by the highest powered antenna present (high, medium, or low power and ground level sites). For measurements gathered at each type of site the root mean square and a series of box plots were produced. Results from the daily activities diaries, suggested that riggers working for radio and television broadcasters were exposed to much longer periods as compared to colleagues working for mobile operators. Combining the results from the measurements and daily activity diaries clearly demonstrate that exposures were highest for riggers working for broadcasting sites. This study demonstrates that it is feasible to carry out exposure surveys within these populations that will provide reliable estimates of exposure that can be used for epidemiological studies of occupational groups exposed to RF fields.
Original languageEnglish
JournalRadiation Protection Dosimetry
Early online date13 Oct 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 Oct 2016


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