Centre scientifique et technique du bâtiment (CSTB)
84, avenue Jean Jaurès
Nationwide surveys to assess electromagnetic fields (EMF) in schools, hospitals and senior citizens’ homes were carried out in mainland France between 2014 and 2019. We aimed to assess the exposure levels to EMF in buildings hosting vulnerable populations, to compare these measurements to regulatory limit values, and to identify the determinants of indoor levels.
Levels of EMF varied significantly in different types of educational facilities: they were lower in nursery and elementary schools, intermediate in middle schools and higher in high schools with medians of 0.16 V/m, 0.30 V/m and 0.41 V/m, respectively. They were similar in hospitals and residences for senior citizens, where the same median level of 0.31 V/m was observed. In all the buildings, the measured levels were below the French regulatory limit values. More sources of EMF were identified in buildings located in urban areas than in rural ones. Mobile phones were the main contributors to the measured levels. The determinants of the indoor levels of EMF were studied from the data describing the building and its outdoor environment. The presence of radio antennas seen from the building and the number of broadcasting facilities near the building were the main factors influencing the electromagnetic field levels in schools, healthcare facilities, and nursing homes.