1] Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Basel, Switzerland  University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland.
When moving around, mobile phones in stand-by mode periodically send data about their positions. The aim of this paper is to evaluate how personal radiofrequency electromagnetic field (RF-EMF) measurements are affected by such location updates. Exposure from a mobile phone handset (uplink) was measured during commuting by using a randomized cross-over study with three different scenarios: disabled mobile phone (reference), an activated dual-band phone and a quad-band phone. In the reference scenario, uplink exposure was highest during train rides (1.19 mW/m(2)) and lowest during car rides in rural areas (0.001 mW/m(2)). In public transports, the impact of one's own mobile phone on personal RF-EMF measurements was not observable because of high background uplink radiation from other people's mobile phone. In a car, uplink exposure with an activated phone was orders of magnitude higher compared with the reference scenario. This study demonstrates that personal RF-EMF exposure is affected by one's own mobile phone in stand-by mode because of its regular location update. Further dosimetric studies should quantify the contribution of location updates to the total RF-EMF exposure in order to clarify whether the duration of mobile phone use, the most common exposure surrogate in the epidemiological RF-EMF research, is actually an adequate exposure proxy.Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology advance online publication, 24 October 2012; doi:10.1038/jes.2012.97.