Student Awards 2009: Sven Kuehn

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EMF Risk Assessment of Hands-free Kits used with Mobile Phones

Sven Kühn

My PhD research focused on the evaluation of human exposure to radio-frequency electromagnetic fields. The topics included the development of procedures, methods and instrumentation to support dosimetry in epidemiological studies, the development of procedures for compliance testing as well as the characterization of human exposure from various communication devices in general.

A recent study, presented at the 2009 Joint BEMS and EBEA meeting in Davos, aimed at the evaluation of hands-free kits used with mobile phones. The main objectives of the study were to evaluate the reduction or enhancement of human exposure when using mobile phones with hand-free kits and whether hands-free kits require compliance testing since ambiguous information existed in the literature.

In this study procedures for the testing of hands-free kits under worst-case and realistic usage conditions were developed and applied to a set of devices under test. From the results it can be concluded that hands-free kits reduce the exposure of the entire head compared to the mobile phone operated at the head, but there might be a very localized exposure enhancement in the ear. Specific compliance testing of hands-free kits is not necessary. Future research concerning hands-free kits as well as other body and head mounted devices is required in order to more accurately quantify the exposure of specific tissue and brain regions. This can then be applied to estimate the exposure of specific functional regions in epidemiological studies as well as to establish a more meaningful dosimetry for non-thermal biological effects.

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