The spread of radio frequency identification (RFID) devices in ubiquitous applications without their simultaneous exposure assessment could give rise to public concerns about their potential adverse health effects. Among the various RFID system categories, the ultra high frequency (UHF) RFID systems have recently started to be widely used in many applications. This study addresses a computational exposure assessment of the electromagnetic radiation generated by a realistic UHF RFID reader, quantifying the exposure levels in different exposure scenarios and subjects (two adults, four children, and two anatomical models of women 7 and 9 months pregnant). The results of the computations are presented in terms of the whole-body and peak spatial specific absorption rate (SAR) averaged over 10 g of tissue to allow comparison with the basic restrictions of the exposure guidelines. The SAR levels in the adults and children were below 0.02 and 0.8 W/kg in whole-body SAR and maximum peak SAR levels, respectively, for all tested positions of the antenna. On the contrary, exposure of pregnant women and fetuses resulted in maximum peak SAR10 g values close to the values suggested by the guidelines (2 W/kg) in some of the exposure scenarios with the antenna positioned in front of the abdomen and with a 100% duty cycle and 1 W radiated power. Bioelectromagnetics. 34:443–452. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.