An Evaluation of Electromagnetic Exposure While Using Ultra-High Frequency Radiofrequency Identification (UHF RFID) Guns

Sensors 202020(1), 202;


The aim is to evaluate specific absorption rate (SAR) values from exposure near handheld ultra-high frequency radiofrequency identification readers (UHF RFID guns—small electronic devices, or even portable computers with relevant accessories—emitting up to several watts of electromagnetic field (EMF) to search for RFID sensors (tags) attached to marked objects), in order to test the hypothesis that they have an insignificant environmental influence. Simulations of SAR in adult male and female models in seven exposure scenarios (gun near the head, arm, chest, hip/thigh of the operator searching for tags, or near to the chest and arm of the scanned person or a bystander). The results showed EMF exposure compliant with SAR limits for general public exposure (ICNIRP/European Recommendation 1999/519/EC) at emissions up to 1 W (reading range 3.5–11 m, depending on tag sensitivity). In the worst-case scenario, guns with a reading range exceeding 5 m (>2 W emission) may cause an SAR exceeding the general public limits in the palm of the user and the torso of the user, a bystander, or a scanned person; occupational exposure limits may be exceeded when emission >5 W. Users of electronic medical implants and pregnant women should be treated as individuals at particular risk in close proximity to guns, even at emissions of 1 W. Only UHF RFID guns emitting below 1 W may be considered as environmentally insignificant EMF sources.

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