Publication Details

Freudenstein, F., Correia, L. M., Oliveira, C., Sebastiao, D. & Wiedemann, P. M. (2015). Exposure knowledge and perception of wireless communication technologies. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 12 (11), 14177-14191.


The presented survey investigates risk and exposure perceptions of radio frequency electromagnetic fields (RF EMF) associated with base stations, mobile phones and other sources, the key issue being the interaction between both sets of perceptions. The study is based on a cross-sectional design, and conducted with an online sample of 838 citizens from Portugal. The results indicate that respondents' intuitive exposure perception differs from the actual exposure levels. Furthermore, exposure and risk perceptions are found to be highly correlated. Respondents' beliefs about exposure factors, which might influence possible health risks, is appropriate. A regression analysis between exposure characteristics, as predictor variables, and RF EMF risk perception, as the response variable, indicates that people seem to use simple heuristics to form their perceptions. What is bigger, more frequent and longer lasting is seen as riskier. Moreover, the quality of exposure knowledge is not an indicator for amplified EMF risk perception. These findings show that exposure perception is key to future risk communication.



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