Non-Ionising Radiation

Exposure to non-ionising radiation has become almost unavoidable. Electric devices produce extremely low frequency magnetic fields (ELF-MF) while radio-frequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) are used for wireless communication. Both types of non-ionising radiation are suspected of affecting human health. Using epidemiological methods, including personal measurements, Swiss TPH experts are investigating a variety of potential health effects ranging from tumours to sleep disorders. The possible biological pathways of non-ionising radiation are being elucidated by the help of bioinformatics.


We are constantly surrounded by mobile phones, for quick calls, checking our email, watching movies, reading the news. Being connected has many advantages, but these technologies also increase our exposure to mobile phone radiation. The SPUTNIC study aims to investigate possible correlations between mobile phone radiation and human health.

For this purpose, the individual radiation exposure of the study participants is determined with the help of a smartphone app and possible effects on memory, concentration, logical thinking and sleep quality are investigated using several fun, game-like cognitive tests and a fitness-measuring device. The findings can help to assess if further restrictions on exposure to mobile phone radiation should be applied and which group of persons may be mostly affected.

Electromagnetic Fields Exposure in Switzerland

People are exposed to numerous EMF sources in their daily lives, which emit different frequencies and intensities over time. The use of electricity is associated with extremely low frequency (ELF) magnetic and electric fields. Communication devices emit radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF). The SwissNIS study aims to assess ELF and RF-EMF exposure outdoors, in public transport, in indoor public spaces and in private spaces in Switzerland annually between 2021 and 2025 to support public risk communication, risk management and future research into potential health risks. Read more

Trains are assessed in terms of electromagnetic field exposure.

Measuring Exposure Levels Across Europe

Swiss TPH researchers lead an international study aiming at testing a novel "radiofrequency exposure meter" that achieves considerably higher sensitivity levels than the already existing personal exposure assessment methods. The new body-worn device allows for radiofrequency measurement and comparison of micro-environments like trains, shopping centres or town centres across five different European countries. The results allow quantifying radiofrequency exposure contributions from these settings, and evaluating the impact of policies related to electromagnetic field exposure of the population in various countries. Read more about the project.

Assessment of Health Effects of Exposure to Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields

Expert Group on Non-Ionising Radiation

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Birks L.E et al. Radiofrequency electromagnetic fields from mobile communication: description of modeled dose in brain regions and the body in European children and adolescents. Environ Res. 2021;193:110505. DOI: 10.1016/j.envres.2020.110505

Bosch-Capblanch X et al. The effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields exposure on human self-reported symptoms: a protocol for a systematic review of human experimental studies. Environ Int. 2021;158:106953. DOI: 10.1016/j.envint.2021.106953

Cabré-Riera A et al. Association between estimated whole-brain radiofrequency electromagnetic fields dose and cognitive function in preadolescents and adolescents. Int J Hyg Environ Health. 2021;231:113659. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijheh.2020.113659

Lagorio S et al. The effect of exposure to radiofrequency fields on cancer risk in the general and working population: a protocol for a systematic review of human observational studies. Environ Int. 2021;157:106828. DOI: 10.1016/j.envint.2021.106828

Laurier D, Röösli M. Ionizing radiation and radiofrequency electromagnetic fields: further clarification of particular risks. In: Wild C.P,Weiderpass E,Stewart B.W, eds. World cancer report: cancer research for cancer prevention, 84-91. Lyon: International Agency for Research on Cancer, 2020

Hauri D.D. Ionizing and non-ionizing radiation and the risk of childhood cancer: illustrated with domestic radon and radio frequency electromagnetic field exposure. Basel: Univ. Basel, 2013. PhD Thesis, University of Basel, Faculty of Science DOI: 10.5451/unibas-006225219

Röösli M, Hug K. Gesundheitsrisiko der Mobilfunktionstrahlung. Schweiz Ärzteztg. 2004;85(3):121-126