The rapid development of the global system for mobile communication services and the consequent increased electromagnetic field (EMF) exposure to the human body have generated debate on the potential danger with respect to human health. The many research studies focused on this subject have, however, not provided any certain evidence about harmful consequences due to mobile communication systems. On the other hand, there are still views suggesting such exposure might affect the human body in different ways. To reduce such effects to a minimum, the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) has declared boundary values for the energy released by the base stations, which are the main source of the electromagnetic fields. These values are accepted by many countries in various parts of the world. The aim of this study was to create EMF intensity maps for the area covered by Istanbul Technical University (ITU) and find areas of potential risk with regard to health considering the current situation and future trends. In this study, the field intensities of electromagnetic signals issued at the frequencies of 900 and 1800 MHz were measured in V/m at 29 pre-specified survey points using a spectrum analyzer (Spectran HF-6065). Geographic information systems and spatial interpolation techniques were used to produce EMF intensity maps. Three different spatial interpolation methods, minimum mean square error, Radial Basis and Empirical Bayesian Kriging, were compared. The results were geographically analyzed and the measurements expressed as heat maps covering the study area. Using these maps, the values measured were compared with the EMF intensity standards issued by ICNIRP. The results showed that the exposure levels to the EMF intensities were all within the ICNIRP limits at the ITU study area. However, since the EMF intensity level with respect to human health is not known, it is not possible to confirm if these levels are safe or not.
Electromagnetic field intensity; EMF Health effects; Geostatistical interpolations; Spatial modelling; Base stations; Turkey.