The highest levels of exposure, including exposure to 5G, were found in Paris.

A study conducted in France in the framework of Project GOLIAT has shown that exposure to radio frequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) generated by wireless technologies is well below the maximum levels set by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). The study, published in the journal IEEE Access, focused on downlink RF-EMF emissions, i.e. electromagnetic radiation emitted by base stations or antennas that send signals to smartphones and other mobile devices.

The study, led by researchers from SwissTPH, Ghent University, and Télécom Paris, aimed to assess RF-EMF exposure in different rural and urban contexts. To do so, they selected a large city (Paris), a smaller city (Massy), and three rural villages (Gif-sur-Yvette, Bures-sur-Yvette and Igny) to conduct the measurements. In turn, in each of them, areas or micro-environments with different characteristics were delimited, such as the city centre, residential areas, business areas, train stations, shopping centres or within public transport.

To measure individual RF-EMF exposure, personal exposimeters were used which, inserted inside a backpack, allowed the research technicians to walk around the different micro-environments selected, capturing the levels detected in each of them. The purpose of the study was to measure emissions from cellular base stations and not those emitted by personal devices, so a scenario was simulated in which users’ phones were in flight mode.

“Our results show clearly that the maximum average RF-EMF downlink exposure levels in all the micro-environments we assessed are well below the ICNIRP limits for all the frequencies,” says Wassim Ben Chikha, researcher at Télécom Paris and first author of the study.

In general, exposure was higher in areas with a higher concentration of antennas and population. Consequently, the micro-environments with the highest RF-EMF levels were found in Paris, while exposure in the small city (Massy) was higher than in the three villages (Igny, Bures-sur-Yvette and Gif-Sur-Yvette), where levels were similar. It should be added, however, that there were exceptions, for example some areas of Paris had similar levels to those of Massy’s.

“This is the first study of its kind within Project GOLIAT, but it won’t be the last,” says Joe Wiart, researcher at Télécom Paris and last author of the study. “We have collected similar measurements in nine other European countries and more measurements are planned in an Asian country, in order to analyse whether there are geographical differences,” he adds.



B. Chikha et al., “Assessment of Radio Frequency Electromagnetic Field Exposure Induced by Base Stations in Several Micro-Environments in France,” in IEEE Access, vol. 12, pp. 21610-21620, 2024, doi: 10.1109/ACCESS.2024.3363914.