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Monitoring Electromagnetic Radiation Emissions in Buildings and Developing Strategies for Improved Indoor Environmental Quality

Weldu, Yemane W.1; Mannan, Mehzabeen1; Al-Ghamdi, Sami G.1,2

doi: 10.1097/HP.0000000000001112
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Electronic devices have become ubiquitous in daily life, but they emit electromagnetic radiation, which may have negative health impacts at excessive levels. Little is known regarding the impact of radiation emissions on building occupants or strategies for reducing its intensity. This study applied a novel approach using system analysis to quantify radiation exposure in building spaces, examine building material responses to radiation propagation, and investigate risks to human health in the country of Qatar. Radiation intensity levels varied based on the location and type of building space. Different types of construction materials showed varied responses to electromagnetic field wave propagation. Drywall exhibited the best blocking effect, whereas glass and lumber walls exhibited poor blocking effects. The field strengths quantified in this study are less than the corresponding reference values specified by some jurisdictions, but they are still significantly higher than the safety levels defined in many other countries, which could result in significant health risks. The key strategies for improving indoor environmental quality include the use of shielding materials, spatial design, reduction of exposure time, increased exposure distance, and complete avoidance of exposure in sensitive areas.

1Division of Sustainable Development, College of Science and Engineering, Hamad Bin Khalifa University

2ORCID ID 0000-0002-7416-5153.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

For correspondence contact Sami G. Al-Ghamdi, Sustainable Built Environment Research and Education Lab (SBE-HBKU), A009-B LAS Building, Education City, 34110 Doha, Qatar, or email at salghamdi@hbku.edu.qa.

Supplemental digital content is available in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the Journal’s website www.health-physics.com.

Online date: July 8, 2019

© 2019 by the Health Physics Society