Statistical analysis of personal radiofrequency electromagnetic field measurements with nondetects

Röösli, M. and Frei, P. and Mohler, E. and Braun-Fahrländer, C. and Bürgi, A. and Fröhlich, J. and Neubauer, G. and Theis, G. and Egger, M.. (2008) Statistical analysis of personal radiofrequency electromagnetic field measurements with nondetects. Bioelectromagnetics, Vol. 29. pp. 471-478.

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Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/dok/A6006071

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Exposimeters are increasingly applied in bioelectromagnetic research to determine personal radiofrequency electromagnetic field (RF-EMF) exposure. The main advantages of exposimeter measurements are their convenient handling for study participants and the large amount of personal exposure data, which can be obtained for several RF-EMF sources. However, the large proportion of measurements below the detection limit is a challenge for data analysis. With the robust ROS (regression on order statistics) method, summary statistics can be calculated by fitting an assumed distribution to the observed data. We used a preliminary sample of 109 weekly exposimeter measurements from the QUALIFEX study to compare summary statistics computed by robust ROS with a naïve approach, where values below the detection limit were replaced by the value of the detection limit. For the total RF-EMF exposure, differences between the naïve approach and the robust ROS were moderate for the 90th percentile and the arithmetic mean. However, exposure contributions from minor RF-EMF sources were considerably overestimated with the naïve approach. This results in an underestimation of the exposure range in the population, which may bias the evaluation of potential exposure-response associations. We conclude from our analyses that summary statistics of exposimeter data calculated by robust ROS are more reliable and more informative than estimates based on a naïve approach. Nevertheless, estimates of source-specific medians or even lower percentiles depend on the assumed data distribution and should be considered with caution.
Faculties and Departments:03 Faculty of Medicine > Departement Public Health > Sozial- und Präventivmedizin
UniBasel Contributors:Braun-Fahrländer, Charlotte
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:11 Oct 2012 15:32
Deposited On:11 Oct 2012 15:29

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