EMF / RF Exposure & Health

Exponent scientists and engineers provide advisory and consulting support to electric utilities, the telecommunications industry, the electronics industry, research organizations, and regulatory agencies. Our consultants are involved with research studies involving electric and magnetic fields (EMF) and radiofrequency (RF) exposures. Research regarding the potential human health effects of exposure to EMF and RF forms the scientific basis for exposure limits and provides a firm basis for the safe use of these technologies. Our projects address potential risks to human health by conducting exposure assessments, epidemiologic studies, and evaluations of data to establish human exposure limits to EMF/RF. We are studying all aspects of cell-phone safety, including RF exposure and the risks involved in cell-phone use while operating motor vehicles.

Exponent’s team draws on expertise in epidemiology, exposure assessment, medical science, ergonomics, risk assessment, and engineering to evaluate health and safety issues associated with the deployment of traditional as well as new and rapidly evolving technologies.

Consulting and Advisory Activities

As part of our consulting activities, we provide science-based advice regarding health issues related to EMF/RF exposure. We help our clients evaluate compliance with standards and regulations, develop and implement methods to train and inform employees, and communicate newly emerging scientific information. We prepare environmental reports and impact statements for high voltage transmission lines, electrical substations, power-generating plants, cellular telephone base stations, satellite communications systems, and RF devices.

Utility Power Plant and Transmission Line Siting

Exponent scientists have addressed health, exposure, and regulatory compliance issues relating to EMF for more than 100 utility projects across North America, Europe, and Asia. We have advised a number of state and local regulatory agencies on transmission line siting and have played a key role in addressing potential health and environmental effects of new overhead, underground, and submarine AC and high-voltage DC transmission (HVDC) transmission lines that interconnect wind farms, power generating plants, and areas with low power reliability. Exponent scientists frequently attend public meetings and hearings to answer the public’s questions about EMF.

Siting of Radiofrequency Facilities and Cell Telephone Antennas

Communities and local authorities request our assistance in understanding health issues related to RF facilities. Exponent scientists have provided site assessments for various facilities in the U.S. and explained the scientific basis and rationale for FCC exposure limits and ANSI and IEEE standards.

Health and Transportation

Concern about the health and environmental effects of motor vehicle and diesel train emissions has prompted new interest in the electrification of new and existing passenger railroad lines. Exponent has assessed potential impacts of electromagnetic fields generated by rail systems on human health, safety, ecology, and electronics for both conventional and high-speed magnetically levitated (MAGLEV) train systems.


The research database relating to health issues and EMF/RF is vast, complex, and rapidly growing. As a result of our active role in performing and evaluating research and developing science-based exposure limits, Exponent scientists have been called upon to provide scientific and technical analyses of EMF, RF, and related electrical and electronic issues that arise in the context of litigation. These cases have related to a variety of electrical and electronic devices, power sources and power facilities (including concerns about 'stray voltage') and sources of RF exposure.

Electromagnetic Interference

The increased use and distribution of medical and electronic devices in industrial, military, and office environments has prompted the need to address electromagnetic interference (EMI) and compatibility (EMC) issues. Scientists in Exponent’s Health practice, in collaboration with Exponent's Electrical practice, analyze EMI/EMC concerns for a diverse range of clients.

Related Publications

Lewis RC, Hauser R, Wang L, Kavet R, Meeker JD. Personal power-frequency magnetic field exposure in women recruited at an infertility clinic: Association with physical activity and temporal variability. Radiation Protection Dosimetry 2015 [Epub ahead of print].

Lewis RC, Evenson KR, Savitz DA, Meeker JD. Temporal variability of daily personal magnetic field exposure metrics in pregnant women. Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology 2015; 25(1):58–64.

Okokon E, Roivainen P, Kheifets L, Mezei G, Juutilainen J. Indoor transformer stations and ELF magnetic field exposure: use of transformer structural characteristics to improve exposure assessment. Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology 2014; 24(1):100–104.

Tell RA, Kavet R, Mezei G. Characterization of radiofrequency field emissions from smart meters. Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology 2013; 23 (5):549–553.

Alexander DD, Bailey WH, Perez V, Mitchell ME, Su S. Air ions and respiratory function outcomes: A comprehensive review. Journal of Negative Results in Biomedicine 2013; 12(1):14.

Perez V, Alexander DD, Bailey WH. Air ions and mood outcomes: A review and meta-analysis. BMC Psychiatry 2013; 13(1):29.

Tell RA, Sias GG, Vazquez A, Sahl J, Turman JP, Kavet RI, Mezei G. Radiofrequency fields associated with the Itron smart meter. Radiation Protection Dosimetry 2012; 151(1):17–29.

Roosli M, Jenni D, Kheifets L, Mezei G. Extremely low frequency magnetic field measurements in buildings with transformer stations in Switzerland. Science of the Total Environment 2011; 409(18):3364–3369.

Hareuveny R, Kandel S, Yitzhak NM, Kheifets L, Mezei G. Exposure to 50 Hz magnetic fields in apartment buildings with indoor transformer stations in Israel. Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology 2011; 21(4):365–371.