Examination of virtual phantoms with respect to their possible use in assessing compliance with the electromagnetic field exposure limits specified by Directive 2013/35/EU
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Central Institute for Labour Protection – National Research Institute, Warszawa, Poland (Laboratory of Electromagnetic Hazards)
Corresponding author
Patryk Zradziński   

Central Institute for Labour Protection – National Research Institute, Laboratory of Electromagnetic Hazards, Czerniakowska 16, 00-701 Warszawa, Poland
Int J Occup Med Environ Health 2015;28(5):781–792
According to Directive 2013/35/EU, any assessment of hazards associated with exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF) in the workplace needs an evaluation of quantities characterizing biophysical effects caused inside human bodies by exposure. Such quantities (induced electric field or specific energy absorption rate) may be evaluated by computer simulations in virtual models (phantoms), representing interaction between EMF and the worker’s body with respect to modelling the EMF source, the structure of the working environment and the human body. The paper describes the effects of the properties of various virtual phantoms used in recently published studies on various aspects of EMF exposure with respect to their possible involvement in assessing occupational electromagnetic hazards as required by Directive 2013/35/ EU. The parameters of phantoms have been discussed with reference to: dimensions, posture, spatial resolution and electric contact with the ground. Such parameters should be considered and specified, and perhaps also standardized, in order to ensure that the numerical simulations yield reliable results in a compliance analysis against exposure limits or in an exposure assessment for EMF-related epidemiological studies. The outcomes of the presented examination of virtual phantoms used in numerical simulations show that they can be effectively used in the assessment of compliance with the exposure limits specified by Directive 2013/35/EU, but various other factors should be also considered, e.g., the relationship between phantom posture and a realistic exposure situation (flexible phantoms use), limited resolution preventing reliable evaluation of physical estimators of exposure, or a non-realistic area of phantom surface in contact with the ground.