Socio-economic analysis, EMF exposure metrics, and reduction targets

Objectives

The main objective of this work package was to design a human EI combining the exposure induced by access points or base stations and the exposure induced by personal wireless devices. This new metric should characterize the real exposure of a population to a wireless network with the purpose of designing network architectures and developing innovative radio technologies that would reduce the real human exposure induced by wireless systems.
Since risk perception is a key issue, the objective of this work package was also to analyse people’s exposure beliefs, risk perceptions and attitudes towards acceptance of exposures in order to take into account these aspects in the EI and in the planned communication efforts. Furthermore, the last objective was to conduct a broad societal dialogue about the future exposure patterns, the minimization objectives as well as acceptability of future exposure patterns. 

 


Methodology

The main objective of this work package was to design a human EI combining the exposure induced by access points or base stations and the exposure induced by personal wireless devices. This new metric should characterize the real exposure of a population to a wireless network with the purpose of designing network architectures and developing innovative radio technologies that would reduce the real human exposure induced by wireless systems.
Since risk perception is a key issue, the objective of this work package was also to analyse people’s exposure beliefs, risk perceptions and attitudes towards acceptance of exposures in order to take into account these aspects in the EI and in the planned communication efforts. Furthermore, the last objective was to conduct a broad societal dialogue about the future exposure patterns, the minimization objectives as well as acceptability of future exposure patterns. 
An analysis of existing radio-frequency EMF exposure metrics was performed in order to develop a new exposure metric that would combine both downlink and uplink exposures and that would characterize the average EMF exposure of a population to a wireless network as a whole. We selected human models (adults, children, pregnant women, etc.) and postures to be used to assess the exposure and, using numerical and statistical tools, reference exposure values to base stations/access points and to wireless devices in various configurations and usage scenarios were assessed in terms of Specific Absorption Rate (SAR).
Two risk and exposure perception surveys were also conducted in a few countries in order to analyse the daily and the cognitive link between risk perception and exposure perception of radio frequency electromagnetic fields and with the purpose of testing the social acceptance of the developed index of exposure.


Main Results

The project LEXNET aims at filling the gap between two separate ways of dealing with exposure by proposing a new exposure metric named EI. The EI is assessing the average exposure of a population induced by both personal devices and base stations (or access points). The concept is to average this global exposure over space by assessing the EI in a given area and average it over time by considering a given time frame.
The first survey focused on the perceived sources of daily radio-frequency EMF exposure of the respondents as well as on the risk perception and health concerns. The second survey addressed the comprehensiveness and acceptability of the new exposure metric by the general public as well as how people are considering strategies proposed in the framework of the LEXNET project to define and minimize the population’s exposure to electromagnetic fields. These two surveys have shown that the perceived exposure strength is the most important predictor of RF EMF risk perception. They have also shown an overestimation of the far field exposure to base stations that leads to an amplified risk perception. The most important result was the good acceptance and understanding of the EI concepts by the respondents.


Technical impact

SocA new radio-frequency EMF exposure metric was developed and all the network, exposure and wireless devices usage data needed to effectively integrate the EI were assessed.


Social impact

The support and comprehensiveness of LEXNET project aims allowed the conclusion that the core concepts can be communicated to the public.