Microwave Journal

Then: Symposium On The Biological Effects And Health Implications Of Microwave Radiation

A Revival Of The Microwave-Biology Field?

December 1, 2008

In the ten years preceding the last Tri-Service Symposium (1960) on the “Biological Effects of Micro-waves,” a considerable community of researchers participated in the study of interaction of microwaves with biological systems, particularly animals and man. Military standards were confirmed at 10 mw/cm2 maximum permissible exposure levels based on the conclusion that all significant effects were thermal in nature.

There has been little activity in this field until this year. If the recent symposium held in Richmond, VA on Sept. 17-19 is any indicator, however, there is a revival of interest despite little new knowledge.

This conference was sponsored by the Bureau of Radiological Health (BRH of the Department of HEW) and the Medical College of Virginia partly with the aim of providing new information for BRH in its new safety standards work in the field of microwaves.

The registered attendance at the Symposium is described in Table I. Most of the researchers and authors were those who were active in the Tri-Service Symposia. The new element in this field is the large and dominant interest played by HEW-related groups following the granting of authority to HEW for setting radiation-safety standards over a broad spectrum of electronic products.

After hearing papers for two days on “biological effects” a panel was asked the third day if it was premature to consider lowering the US-accepted 10 mw/cw2 standard. The majority of experts on the panel and in the audience responded that it was premature for reasons of adequacy of present standards or lack of new knowledge. The minority of supported immediate reduction of the standard based their arguments on the possibility of subtle non-thermal effects as reported by the Soviets.

In fact most of this group were relatively new in non-ionizing radiation and evidently feel from long experience in the ionizing radiation field that a reluctant acknowledgement of the correctness of Soviet standards is sure to com. These, in brief...


Symposium On The Biological Effects And Health Implications Of Microwave Radiation
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