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Technology Evolution

These studies include assessment of exposure from new wireless technologies and services and research with human volunteers examining physiological and cognitive endpoints.

Australia: 2G and 3G Human Neurophysiology Study

The Australian Centre for Radiofrequency Bioeffects Research (ACRBR) and Swinburne University of Technology (Melbourne, Australia) investigated possible effects of GSM and 3G signals on EEG (brain waves) or cognitive performance of groups of 13-15 year olds; 20-45 year olds and >55 year old. The subject testing is now complete and papers have been published describing the findings.

Denmark: Exposures from New Wireless Systems

The GSMA commissioned Aalborg University to produce reports on the evolution of mobile technologies. These reports examined the frequencies, power levels and modulation of 3G/WCDMA signals and found that for most 3G users, handsets operate well below their maximum level except near cell edges. The 2007 report updated the information for 3G/WCDMA and was expanded to include GPRS, HSPA, WLAN and WiMAX. HSPA simulations showed that the cell size was more important than the data rate for the device output power but most devices still operate well below their maximum.

Europe: Assessment of Public Exposures from Wireless Networks

The GSMA and WiMAX Forum commissioned IBBT (Belgium) to conduct measurements in Belgium, the Netherlands and Sweden of environmental levels of radio signals from wireless networks (GSM, 3G/UMTS, HSPA, LTE, WiMAX) and other radio services (FM, DVB-T/H, DAB, analogue TV, etc). Measurements were made at a representative sample of locations covering urban/rural/industrial and indoor/outdoor for periods from 30 minutes and up to 1 week. The study is complete and published.

France: Exposures from 3G Phones and Mobile Data Services

France Telecom Orange Labs conducted a two-part study for the GSMA. First, it  measured the transmitted power of a 3G mobile phone during real use conditions such as indoor/outdoor or urban/rural and also assessing the effect of factors such as network parameters and data rate. In the second study the exposure of adults and children during voice calls, texting and sending an MMS was assessed for 900, 1800 and 2100 MHz services. This work is now complete and published.

Global: Assessment of exposure trends in published surveys of mobile networks

Many countries have published the results of measurement surveys that assessed the exposure from mobile network antennas. A 23 country comparative analysis of this data revealed that irrespective of country, the year and cellular technology, exposures to radio signals at ground level were only a small fraction of the relevant human exposure standards. Importantly, there has been no significant increase in exposure levels since the widespread introduction of 3G mobile services. A follow-up paper that analysed almost 260,000 measurement points from surveys in seven African countries found that mean levels in these African countries are similar to the reported levels for countries of Asia, Europe and North America using similar mobile technologies.

Associated Publications

Exposure aspects of new and evolving wireless systems – Report for the GSM Association, Andersen, et al, Center for Personkommunikation Aalborg University Denmark, August 2007.

Power variations of wireless communication systems, Andersen et al., Bioelectromagnetics, 31(4): 302-310, May 2012.

Effects of 2G and 3G mobile phones on human alpha rhythms: Resting EEG in adolescents, young adults, and the elderly, Croft et al., Bioelectromagnetics, 31(6): 434-444, May 2010.

Exposure induced by WCDMA mobiles phones in operating networks, Gati et al., IEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications, 8(12):5723-5727, December 2009.

Analysis of Power Absorbed by Children’s Head as a Result of New Usages of Mobile Phone, Hadjem et al., IEEE Transactions on Electromagnetic Compatibility, 52(4):812 – 819 November 2010.

Assessment of general public exposure to LTE and RF sources present in an urban environment,  Joseph et al., Bioelectromagnetics, 31(7):576-579, October 2010.

Assessment of RF Exposures from Emerging Wireless Communication Technologies in Different Environments,  Joseph et al., Health Physics, 102(2):161-172, February 2012.

In situ LTE exposure of the general public: Characterization and extrapolation, Joseph et al., Bioelectromagnetics, 33(6):466–475, September 2012.

National Surveys of Radiofrequency Field Strengths from Radio Base Stations in Africa, Joyner et al., Radiation Protection Dosimetry, Published online: September 17, 2013.

Effects of 2G and 3G mobile phones on performance and electrophysiology in adolescents, young adults and older adults, Leung et al., Clinical Neurophysiology, 122(11):2203-2216, November 2011.

Comparative international analysis of radiofrequency exposure surveys of mobile communication radio base stations, Rowley et al., Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology, 22(3):304–315, May/June 2012.

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