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Background and Objectives

Public exposure to electromagnetic fields in the radio frequency spectrum has increased dramatically in the last two decades. While research has mainly focused on the exposure and health risk evaluations of cellular networks and mobile phones, studies on the effects on human health of the pervasive and prolonged EMF exposure due to the exponential growth of wireless network device usage in homes, offices and schools are lacking.

 

The project aims to satisfy the following objectives:

The communication systems considered will mainly focus on systems for data communication, with special attention to the lower range systems that are foreseen to be employed everywhere indoors, e.g., the IEEE 802.11, IEEE 802.15 and IEEE 802.16 families (WiFi, WPAN and BAN are examples). The exposure characteristics will be compared to mobile systems for well-known telephony as well as for data, including GSM, UMTS and its extensions, 4G LTE, DECT systems, Bluetooth, etc. The systems will be grouped according to the exposure characteristics, e.g., power levels, bandwidth, duty cycle, modulation, spectrum of the power, frequency and so forth (for example, Ultra Wide band (UWB) systems, RFID systems, etc.).

 

 

Work Packages

WP1: Review of exposure assessment and dosimetry of wireless networks (Leader: Department of Physics, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki)

The objective of this WP is to conduct a comprehensive review of the literature on exposure assessment, as well as experimental dosimetric evaluations of present and emerging wireless network devices. A further aim is therefore the identification of knowledge gaps in the available data about human exposure and in the methods/techniques used to assess it.

 

WP2: Review of communication systems, signals, and power modulations (Leader: Department of Electronic Systems, University Aalborg)

The objective of the WP is to review exposure aspects of present and evolving wireless communication systems, both from a device and system point of view. The analysis will also provide information about the possible communication modes for the various systems (modulation types, power classes, duty cycles etc.) of the devices as well as the power envelope of the systems as function of traffic.

 

WP3: Development of instruments and calibration techniques (Leader: SPEAG)

Electromagnetic fields emitted from devices using the signals studied in WP2 can presently only be measured with large uncertainties due to receiver response to the modulated signal. This work-package will significantly lower these uncertainties by employing novel calibration and compensation techniques for known signal waveforms. Additionally, it is planned to develop field probes with an extended linear dynamic range enabling measurements with low uncertainty also for non-deterministic signals.

 

WP4: Incident field evaluations for whole-body exposure (Leader: IBBT)

The objective is to collect data of incident electromagnetic fields for sources causing whole-body exposure in typical situations. The collection will be done for all sources of the considered frequency range and for all selected scenarios. In order to overcome the shortcomings of exposimeter or similar measurement techniques, we aim to develop exposure estimation models based on indoor propagation, location of transmitters and physical dimensions of the room, including the absorption coefficient of the walls. These estimation models shall be such that they can also be applied by non-engineers.

 

WP5: Dosimetry for worst-case partial body and local exposure (Leader: IT’IS)

Data of incident field and SAR will be collected for sources that cause worst-case as well as typical exposure of a sub-region of the body. This will be done for all sources of the considered frequency range that operate in the close environment of the body and for all selected typical positions with respect to the body.

 

WP6 – Organ specific dosimetry (Leader: Department of Physics, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki)

The objective of this work package is to translate the external incident exposure situations (incident fields and SAR in phantoms), as determined in work packages WP4 and WP5, into field distributions induced in the human body. Since whole-body averaged absorption values only have relevance for thermal effects (the exposure from most wireless network devices is far below thresholds for tissue heating), the evaluation of the tissue or organ specific exposure is the only relevant metric for the development of an exposure matrix that can be used for risk assessment. As the induced fields strongly depend on the anatomy and the posture of the exposed person, a set of numerical models with appropriately articulated limbs will be selected to determine the exposure.

 

WP7 – Genotoxicity screening in vivo & in vitro (Leader: Department of Biomedicine, University of Basel)

WP7 is designed to provide reliable tools for the assessment of potential impacts of wireless EMF (wEMF) exposure produced by signals defined in WP2 on DNA integrity and, thus, human health. The objective is to establish standardized biological models and experimental procedures for a sensitive and quantitative measurement of putative cellular responses to wEMFs. The experimental approaches will focus on in vitro and ex vivo analyses of cells for the endpoints genotoxicity and genomic instability. They will base on standard genotoxicity tests and combine these with novel, more specific cytogenetic methodology to achieve cutting edge sensitivity. The WP will examine four relevant wEMF signals (defined in WP1, 2 and 6) and a continuous wave situation to address the biological impact of real-life exposure scenarios.

 

WP8 – Development of exposure systems and QA (Leader: IT’IS)

The objective of this WP is the development, manufacture and installation of exposure systems for WP7. All systems shall be capable of running various amplitude modulations schemes (RF), including those defined in WP2, and shall be remotely monitored regarding the quality of the exposure. Furthermore, the systems shall enable blind protocols.

 

WP9 – Dissemination to standards (Leader: IT’IS)

The objective of WP9 is the direct dissemination of the results of WP2, WP3, WP4, WP5 and WP6 to the relevant standard committees. This has the advantage that the findings will be evaluated as soon as possible by academic, industrial and governmental experts and adapted at the earliest feasible time.

 

WP10 – Risk governance: Integrating assessment, perception and communication (Leader: DIALOGIK)

The main objective of WP10 is to provide a synthesis of all the relevant risk data collected on WP1-8 and to integrate these insights into a risk governance model. The model includes the traditional risk assessments as well as data from risk perception studies (concern assessment) and other non-health related concerns. These three pools of structured information are then prepared for inclusion into a risk evaluation based on a systematic trade-off analysis between risks and benefits. (Health related) risks and (social, technical) benefits will be assessed, defined and prioritised by the collected data from WP 1-8 as well as by the data produced within this WP and its participative formats Group-Delphi, focus groups and expert workshop. On the base of the risk governance model and the various data collected, WP10 aims to develop a Policy Guide containing concrete recommendations of risk-assessment, risk-management and risk-communication depending on regional and cultural context.

 

WP11 – Project management (Leader: IT’IS)

This WP is especially designed to organize the project as a whole and accomplish all administrative tasks. The objectives are to create the organizational prerequisites for successfully carrying out the SEAWIND project in accordance with the terms and conditions of the Grant Agreement.

 

 

List of Deliverables

Nr.

Name

Expected Date

D11.1a

Minutes of the General Assembly (kick-off meeting)

M01

D11.2

Establishing a project website and project leaflet

M03

D11.3a

Dissemination plan

M03

D11.4

Information sheets and consent forms approved by institutional review board (IRB)

M03

D1.1

Literature review of exposure assessment and
dosimetry of wireless networks

M06

D4.1

Description of locations for frequency-selective and personal exposimeter measurements

M06

D2.1

Report on exposure signals characterized to give basis for WP3 requirements (duty cycle, bandwidth etc.)

M06

 

In vitro exposure system xXc1950 adopted including dosimetry

M07

D2.1

Report on exposure signals characterized to give basis for WP3 requirements (duty cycle, bandwidth etc.)

M10

D4.2

Description of the simulation cases

M12

D3.1

Requirements on probe systems that are suited for exposure assessments of wireless network devices

M12

D6.1

Report with anatomical models in all necessary postures and validated source models

M12

D11.1b

Minutes of General Assembly (1st annual meeting)

M12

D11.3b

Dissemination plan update

M12

D11.6a

Status of exploitable results

M12

D11.7a

Status report on access rights and IPR issues

M12

D5.1

Description of worst-case set-up for each source

M12

D8.2

sXcli2450 system developed including dosimetry

M13

D2.2

Report on communication systems and the signal characteristics relevant for exposure assessment

M12

D11.5

Permit for the animal experiments from the local authority in Germany

M13

D2.3

Selection of six generic power envelopes to be used in WP7 and WP8

M15

D4.3

Statistical data set of incident exposure measurements for different scenario’s and different sources that produce a far-field exposure

M18

D11.8a

Submission of scientific progress and financial reports to EU

M19

D7.4

Report on real-time ROS measurements

M19

D10.3

Report on the results of the focus groups

M19

D3.2

Recommended probe calibration procedures for type approval of wireless network devices

M24

D6.2

Preliminary evaluation of exposure as a function of posture and technology

M24

D4.4

Comparison of measured and simulated electromagnetic fields

M24

D5.2

SAR measurement set-ups

M24

D5.3

SAR exposure matrix

M24

D11.1c

Minutes of General Assembly (2nd annual meeting)

M24

D11.3c

Dissemination update plan

M24

D11.6b

Status of exploitable results

M24

D11.7b

Status report on access rights and IPR issues

M24

D7.3

Report on SCE and chromosomal aberration tests in repair proficient and deficient fibroblasts

M28

D10.1

Report on risk profiles for selected technologies

M28

D8.3

sXv2450 system including dosimetry

M30

D7.5

Report on SSB repair foci formation under wEMF exposure

M30

D10.2

Report on the results of the Group Delphi process

M31

D7.2

Report of the comet assays in DNA SSB repair proficient and deficient human fibroblasts

M31

D4.5

Statistical SAR data set derived from the statistical incident field set for sources that produce a far-field exposure combined with the results of WP6

M33

D7.1

Report of the MN studies

M35

D7.6

Report on XRCC1 localization dynamics under wEMF exposure

M36

D1.2

Update on literature review

M36

D8.4

Report on quality control

M36

D6.3

Report/Publication on the cumulative exposure including assessment of uncertainty and variability

M36

D11.1d

Minutes of General Assembly (3rd annual meeting)

M36

D10.3

Report on the results of the focus groups

M36

D10.4

Report on decision support tools for risk evaluation

M36

D10.5

Report on installation and usage guidelines

M36

D11.3d

Final plan for the use and dissemination foreground

M36

D11.6c

Status of exploitable results

M36

D11.7c

Status report on access rights and IPR issues

M36

D9.1

Report on the dissemination to standards

M36

D11.8c

Submission of final activity report and financial reports to EU

M36

D11.9

Report on awareness and wider social implications

M36