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Assessing human exposure to electromagnetic radiation of base stations

Development of scientifically sound and technically feasible procedures to assess human exposure to electromagnetic radiation next to mobile communications base stations to fulfil the requirements of european directives.

Background of the project: Public concern about the potential adverse health effects of human exposure to the electromagnetic radiation from base stations has grown over recent years. The problem is further intensified by the expansion of networks, with the installation of more base stations. The number of the latter may increase significantly in the future, in order to implement the latest developments in mobile communications (e.g. UMTS and TETRA). However, a key issue which remains unresolved is the harmonisation of measurement procedures for assessing RF exposure and testing the compliance of installed base stations with the guidelines that restrict human exposure to electromagnetic radiation. Such an optimised method is urgently needed to fulfil the requirements of the R&TTE directive of 1999. It is necessary for companies and other institutions performing exposure evaluations of the public exposed in the area of base stations. The outcome of the project will also be used to help the development of RF monitoring systems, in particular for the statistical uncertainty assessment. The objectives of the proposed project are to: * Provide scientific support to international EMF exposure measurement standards. This will lead to the harmonisation of radiation monitoring activities at European level. * Develop and validate, in a small-scale inter-laboratory study, a protocol for performing real-life measurement campaigns of exposure from base stations in European countries. * Investigation of the correlation between heterogeneous electromagnetic fields and induced SAR in the human body. The project will include work in the following areas: * Collection and comparative evaluation of existing and emerging standards and procedures for assessing electromagnetic radiation from base stations. * Application of numerical simulation or calculation methods to support measurement. * Validation and inter-comparison of software tools for predicting exposure. * Evaluation of the electromagnetic environment (what type of electromagnetic fields might be found, methods to check the environment, investigate the impact of the weather and materials of buildings, multi-source exposure). * Averaging of field values (averaging over on area or volume representing the human body and /or averaging over an area in respect of reproducibility of results; the most appropriate averaging scheme will be the endpoint of the investigations). * Search for maximum (aspects of reproducibility of field maximum versus the reproducibility of averaged field levels will be covered, different measurement methods to determine the localisation of the maximum will be compared, the necessary area of investigation will be determined). * Field homogeneity (the impact of the homogeneity on the uncertainty budget will be determined). * Field variation versus time. * Repeatability and reproducibility of results (uncertainty considerations). * Selection of measurement positions (pre-scans, simulations, request). * Development and determination of different measurement techniques for different technologies (GSM, UMTS, TETRA). * Selection of appropriate measurement equipment. * Inter-laboratory validation of the developed assessment protocol. * Strategy to estimate the real life RF exposure. * Evaluation of the correlation between measured heterogeneous fields and the induced SAR in the human body. Project Work plan: The project is divided in seven work packages (WP). Start month, end month, total person months and the responsible project partner for each work package are also listed. The project will take 42 months. WP1 to WP3 will start in parallel at the beginning of the project. WP1 will take 6 months, WP2 12 months and WP3 14 months. Based on the results of WP3, WP4 will start 13 months after the start of the project and will take 3 months. After having finalised WP1 to WP4, WP5 and WP6 will start in parallel 17 months after the project start. The final report will be ready 24 months after the start of the project. A detailed description of the content of each work package can be found in the work package descriptions, including the detailed work contribution of each partner to the respective work package. The following table gives an overview of the participating partners, their respective country and the reference number of each partner used in the work package list and the work package descriptions: Partner - Country - Ref. Nr.: SEIBERSDORF RESEARCH (ARCS) - AT - 1; GHENT UNIVERSITY (INTEC) - BE - 2; ARISTOTLE UNIVERSITY THESSALONIKI (RCL) - GR - 3; FRANCE TELECOM (FT R&D) - FR - 4; CHALMERS UNIVERSITY (Chalmers) - SE - 5a; AF INDUSTRI & SYSTEM (AF) - SE - 5b; ITIS - CH - 6a; SPEAG (MAXWAVE) - CH - 6b; BAKOM - CH - 6c. Work package list: Nr. WP1 Title: Evaluation of existing standards and procedures for assessing exposure from base stations Resp. Part. Nr.: 5a PersMonth: 4.6 Start Month: 1 End Month: 30 Nr. WP2 Title: Validation and inter-comparison of software tools for predicting exposure Resp. Part. Nr.: 2 PersMonth: 19 Start Month: 1 End Month: 38 Nr. WP3 Title: Investigation of spatial and temporal electromagnetic field distribution Resp. Part. Nr.: 1 PersMonth: 28 Start Month: 1 End Month: 42 Nr. WP4 Title: Repeatability and reproducibility of results Resp. Part. Nr.: 3 PersMonth: 8.5 Start Month: 13 End Month: 30 Nr. WP5 Title: Development and determination of different measurement techniques for different mobile communication technologies Resp. Part. Nr.: 4 PersMonth: 27.25 Start Month: 17 End Month: 30 Nr. WP6 Title: Development of strategies to estimate real life exposure Resp. Part. Nr.: 1 PersMonth: 10.75 Start Month: 17 End Month: 230 Nr. WP7 Title: Correlation of strongly inhomogeneous field distributions and induced localised and body-averaged SAR values Resp. Part. Nr.: 6a PersMonth: 38.5 Start Month: 24 End Month: 42 Total PersMonth: 142.6. Description of the work packages: WP1: OBJECTIVES The objectives of this work package are * To collect information on existing and emerging measurement standards and other related documents (e.g. protocols and reports on methods for assessment of field strengths generated by base stations in E.U. countries and other countries worldwide in areas where the general public has access) and evaluate the assessment methods described within these documents. * To analyse requirements on assessment methods, i.e. measurement and simulation in health related documents such as regulations, laws, guidelines, decrees, standards or other relevant documents at international or national level and to perform comparative evaluations. DESCRIPTION OF WORK Existing methods will be analysed according to: * Scope of the existing documents. * Frequency range, uncertainty, near field-far field, type of exposure, source, type of exposure limits used as basis for measurement methods, exposure areas. * Broadband versus frequency selective measurement techniques. * Technology (e.g. GSM, UMTS). DELIVERABLE Report on existing measurement methods including analyses of existing methodologies. WP2: OBJECTIVES The objectives of this work package are * Validation and inter-comparison of software tools for exposure prediction in the environment of base stations. DESCRIPTION OF WORK Application of simulation or calculation methods to support measurement methods. Selected software tools dedicated to describing the exposure conditions in the environment of base stations will be evaluated by different partners in an inter-comparison study. The implemented tools are dedicated to supporting measurement methods. DELIVERABLES The deliverables of this work package will include: * Report on the evaluation of existing simulation tools. * Guidance for selecting and handling software tools suitable for exposure assessment in the vicinity of base stations. WP3: OBJECTIVES The objectives of this work package are * To investigate spatial electromagnetic field distributions in the vicinity of base stations. * To design and develop a test room where complex field scenarios can be created. * To develop a minimal-disturbing measurement robot for high-resolution 3-D field mapping. * To analyse field distributions to derive the most appropriate averaging schemes. * To define procedures to determine the maximum exposure values in areas accessible to the general public. * To determine measurement positions in accordance with the requirements of the needs of the respective measurement campaign. * To investigate the field variations versus time. DESCRIPTION OF WORK The following areas will be investigated * Averaging of field values (averaging over on area or volume representing the human body and /or averaging over an area in respect of reproducibility of results (in preliminary investigations it was shown that averaged values can be reproduced better than values obtained at localised positions)); the most appropriate averaging scheme will be the endpoint of the investigations. * Search for maximum (aspects of reproducibility of field maximum versus the reproducibility of averaged field levels will be covered, different measurement methods to determine the localisation of the maximum will be compared, the necessary area of investigation has to be determined). * Field homogeneity (the impact of the homogeneity on the uncertainty budget will be determined). * Field variation versus time (stability of BCCHs, handling of variations of TCHs, influence of moving scatterer). * Development of different methods for different types of evaluations (spot measurements versus evaluation the complete environment next to base stations, near field versus far field evaluation). * Outdoor versus indoor evaluations. DELIVERABLES The deliverables of this work package will include * Report on averaging procedures, selection of measurement positions and post-processing methods. WP4: OBJECTIVES The objectives of this work package are * To evaluate the repeatability and reproducibility of results. DESCRIPTION OF WORK The following items will be analysed in a report * Reproducibility of results (the final report will include an uncertainty budget of the developed measurement method). * Uncertainty analysis (calibration, reproducibility, etc.). DELIVERABLES The deliverables of this work package will include * Report on the uncertainty analysis of the proposed measurement methods. * Requirements on measurement procedures needed to optimise uncertainty budgets. WP5: OBJECTIVES Based on the knowledge acquired within WP 1 to 4, adequate methods will be summarised and, if necessary, adapted. If no adequate methods are found, new methods will be developed. The method(s) should satisfy scientific requirements and should also be practicable in terms of time and costs. The objectives of this work package are * To develop or optimise adequate measurement technologies for different mobile communication technologies, e.g. UMTS, GSM, etc. * To define selection criteria for the appropriate measurement equipment. * To find, adapt or develop different methods for different types of evaluations (spot measurements versus evaluation of worst case scenarios, near field versus far field evaluation). * To develop ways to select measurement positions (pre-scans, simulations, requests of concerned people, scientific purposes, etc.). * To develop measurement guidelines (influence of the engineer on the field distribution, handling of the equipment, etc.). DESCRIPTION OF WORK Based on the knowledge acquired within WP1 to WP4, existing methods will be optimised or new methods will be developed. The aim of this work is to establish a method that satisfies scientific requirements and that practicable in terms of time and costs. Development work will be focused on * Development of different methods for different types of evaluations (spot measurements versus evaluation the complete environment next to base stations, near field versus far field evaluation). * Selection of measurement positions (pre-scans, simulations, request, etc.). * Development and determination of different measurement techniques for different technologies (GSM, UMTS). * Development of measurement guidelines (influence of engineer on field distribution, selection and handling of equipment). * Combined exposure due to mobile sources and fixed installations, local and global exposure. * Selection of measurement equipment. DELIVERABLES The deliverables of this work package will include * Report on requirements, uncertainty analysis and 'best practice' on measurement methods for different emerging technologies, e.g. UMTS, GSM. WP6: OBJECTIVES The objectives of this work package are * To investigate the impact of ambient conditions (e.g. weather, humidity, snow on the ground). * To determine laws of field distribution according to different exposure scenarios. * To define strategies to estimate real life exposure, evaluated within inter-laboratory studies. DESCRIPTION OF WORK * Evaluation of the electromagnetic environment (what type of electromagnetic fields might be found, methods to check the environment). * Influence of variation in the environment (movement of objects, weather, persons, changes in the ground (snow, water)). * Different measurement methods for different types of locations (main beam, fading, near field - far field). DELIVERABLES The deliverables of this work package will include * Report with 'best practices' for assessing exposure of different scenarios, including relevant descriptors, e.g. Line of Sight, Indoor - Outdoor, Area description (urban, rural, etc.). WP7: OBJECTIVES The objectives of this work package are: * Investigation of the compliance of the derived limits with the basic limits for whole-body and spatial peak SAR values. * To find a suitable spatial averaging method of incident fields in non-uniform exposure situations (scattered or near-field of antennas), which still guarantees compliance with basic restrictions under worst-case considerations. DESCRIPTION OF WORK * Systematic simulations of body induced SR distributions in the human phantom through different exposure scenarios (changing frequency, polarisation, posture of the phantom, dependency of anatomy). * Comparative evaluation of plane wave exposure and strongly inhomogeneous exposure. * Investigation of correlation of maximum field values, spatial area or volume averaged incident field distribution with whole-body SAR and spatial peak SR values. * Evaluation of a reliable method for compliance testing in non-uniform incident field distributions with respect to the basic limits of ICNIRP and IEEE. * Verification of the derived method. DELIVERABLES The deliverables of this work package will include: * Report with description of the compliance of the derived limits with the basic limits of SAR. * Description of a suitable spatial averaging method of non-uniform fields for comparison with basic restrictions. Keywords: standardisation, exposure, base-stations.
Acronym: 
BASEXPO
Project ID: 
3 093
Start date: 
01-10-2003
Project Duration: 
42months
Project costs: 
1 410 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Radiation Protection
Market Area: 

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