Occupational exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields

Stam R. Occupational exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields. Ind Health. 2021 Nov 16. doi: 10.2486/indhealth.2021-0129. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34789598.


High exposures to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF EMF) are possible in workplaces involving sources used for broadcasting, telecommunication, security and identification, remote sensing and the heating and drying of goods. A systematic literature review of occupational RF EMF exposure measurements could help to clarify where more attention to occupational safety may be needed. This review identifies specific sources of occupational RF EMF exposure and compares the published maximum exposures to occupational exposure limits. A systematic search for peer-reviewed publications was conducted via PubMed and Scopus. Relevant grey literature was collected via web searches. For each publication, the highest measured electric field strength, magnetic flux density or power density was extracted. Maximum exposures exceeding the limits were reported for dielectric heating, scanners for security and radiofrequency identification, plasma devices and broadcasting and telecommunication transmitters. Occupational exposure exceeding the limits was rare for microwave heating and radar applications. Some publications concerned cases studies of occupational accidents followed by a medical investigation of thermal health effects. These were found for broadcasting antennas, radar installations and a microwave oven and often involved maintenance personnel. New sources of occupational exposure such as those in fifth generation telecommunication systems or energy transition will require further assessment.


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