WP 1: Characterization and evaluation of uses in the general population

Coordinator: IRAS

Collaborators: ISGlobal; Swiss TPH; UMRESTTE.


To characterize and evaluate the use of communication devices in the general population.

This part of the project is divided into two complementary lines of work:

  • Identification of the main types and contexts of uses:

In cooperation with WP2, this task aims to identify the major devices (e.g. mobile phone / tablet / computer) and types of use for which exposure needs to be quantified in WP 3 and 4.

This is being achieved through two different approaches:

  • A survey of a small number of heavy users of new technologies, recruited mainly among young people, to identify new uses and trends.
  • Discussions with stakeholders informed about the current and future trends in use of communication devices.
  • Development of a questionnaire and conduct of a population-based survey

Based on the results of WPs 2, 3 and 4, a questionnaire will be developed and tested to characterize and quantify the use of different devices as well as the different types (internet browsing, voice calls, downloading data, text messages and videos, etc.) and positions (near the head, held in front of the eyes, on a surface, etc.) of use.

This questionnaire will be used as in a population based survey conducted in four European countries (France, Spain, the Netherlands, and Switzerland). In each country, the survey will cover a random sample of 500 people.

An Android application recording amount and type of use (voice, data use) and position of the device (including proximity to the user's body) in real time, will also be used by consenting survey participants.

Exposure from use in different contexts is an important issue.  Analyses of the use in will be conducted as follows:

  • The French team, with special expertise in transport, will focus on use of devices in different modes of transport (train, car, bus, subway, bicycle, walking).
  • The Dutch team, with specific experience in occupational exposures, will focus on occupational use (office, industry, crafts).
  • The Spanish and Swiss teams will focus particularly on use in everyday life (leisure, home, school).

The information collected in this survey will allow, when combined with the exposure data provided by WPs 2-4, to create exposure matrices in WP5 and to characterise exposure in the general population. It will also allow a more accurate assessment of RF exposure in current and future epidemiological studies.