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Journal of Environmental and Public Health
Volume 2015, Article ID 198272, 9 pages
Research Article

Exposure Perception as a Key Indicator of Risk Perception and Acceptance of Sources of Radio Frequency Electromagnetic Fields

1Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, 10178 Berlin, Germany
2School of Social Sciences, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, NSW 2522, Australia
3Institute for Communication Systems Research, University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey GU2 7XH, UK

Received 31 March 2015; Revised 5 June 2015; Accepted 14 June 2015

Academic Editor: Pam R. Factor-Litvak

Copyright © 2015 Frederik Freudenstein et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The presented survey was conducted in six European countries as an online study. A total of 2454 subjects participated. Two main research questions were investigated: firstly, how does the cognitive, moral, and affective framing of radio frequency electromagnetic field (RF EMF) exposure perception influence RF EMF risk perception? Secondly, can the deployment of mobile phone base stations have greater acceptance with RF EMF exposure reduction? The findings with respect to the first question clearly indicated that the cognitive framed exposure perception is the main determinant of RF EMF risk perception. The concomitant sensitivity to exposure strength offers an opportunity to improve the acceptance of base stations by exposure reduction. A linear regression analysis supported this assumption: in a fictional test situation, exposure reduction improved the acceptance of base stations, operationalized as the requested distance of the base station from one’s own home. Furthermore, subjects with high RF EMF risk perception were most sensitive to exposure reduction. On average, a 70% exposure reduction reduced the requested distance from about 2000 meters to 1000 meters. The consequences for risk communication are discussed.