Low-intensity radiation health effects (19/7/02)
Tramès per Klaus Rudolph (Citizens'
absorption by the matter in living tissue does indeed occur, and it is
certainly ONE mechanism by which damage occurs. For example, it
is the mechanism that gives rise to thermal health effects.
But energy absorption is NOT the ONLY mechanism by which radiation can
injure living tissue. Absorption of MOMENTUM will also occur, and
this is the phenomenon that gives rise to nonthermal health effects.
I made this statement in a platform presentation given at a special symposium
held in Long Beach, California, in conjunction with the June 1999 meeting
of the Bioelectromagnetics Society. My presentation seemed to fall
on deaf ears, which is why I expanded upon it considerably when I wrote
up this presentation for publication (as Chapter 4 in WIRELESS PHONES
AND HEALTH II: STATE OF THE SCIENCE, Kluwer Academic Publishers,
To date, electrical engineers have pretty thoroughly disregarded the phenomenon
of momentum absorption; they prefer to focus exclusively on energy absorption.
But as I interpret the evidence, momentum absorption is what is responsible
for the very low-intensity health effects that do occur, even though "energetic
considerations" indicate that there should be no hazard - which is
correct, because the observed low-intensity hazards are NOT produced by
energy absorption, but by momentum absorption!
In other words, the unexpected health problems at low radiation intensity
are occurring because all attention is being focussed on the ENERGY of
the radiation, so that the issue of MOMENTUM TRANSFER is being completely
That is my first point: that there are TWO phenomena that require
our attention, but only one - energy transfer - has received attention.
People who try to explain ALL health effects in terms of energy absorption
are going to come up with some pretty weird theories for the low-intensity
radiation health effects, because this is NOT explainable by conventional
physics in terms of an energetic effect: there ought to be no such
The other comment I'd like to make picks up on a point that Ron made,
though perhaps a bit obliquely. He made reference to the inadequacy
of "conventional radiation detection instruments" for measuring
what happens at low radiation intensity.
I had some first-hand experience of this within the past year. In
August & September, 2001, I was working with a dairy farmer in western
Wisconsin (USA) who had assembled evidence indicating that the operation
of wireless telephone base stations (which emit microwave radiation) within
a few miles of his farm was adversely affecting the health of his cows
and the amount of milk they gave, as well as his own health and his teen-aged
daughter's health. It also occasionally disrupted the operation of engines
in farm equipment (a tractor) and motor vehicles on the road.
I arranged for state occupational and environmental health authorities
to visit his farm to measure the microwave radiation intensity.
The instrument they used was designed to evaluate compliance with the
existing standard (~10 milliwatts/cm2) and it simply was not sensitive
enough to measure the very low microwave radiation intensity that was
present on his farm.
The state authorities visited all the transmitters in the area, using
GPS instruments to locate them, and later gave me a theoretical estimate
of the radiation intensity that could be expected; it was exceedingly
After searching for equipment capable of measuring such a low microwave
intensity in the field, I learned that the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency had developed such equipment for its biological effects of radiation
research program. But the U. S. Congress had "killed"
this research program in the mid-1990s; the equipment was mothballed,
and the man who had used it had gone to work for a different federal agency.
This winter, I tried hard to bring man and equipment together so that
measurements with this equipment could be made on this farm, but the high-level
employees in EPA were not interested (possibly because they felt that
Congress would disapprove). So it did not happen. What is needed
here in the USA is for this research program to be reactivated, although
I think perhaps it should be taken out of EPA and placed elsewhere. Anyway,
the USA has the equipment that is capable of making needed measurements,
and there is a government employee familiar with it who can use it skillfully,
but there is not a formal program at this time to carry out this kind
So Ron is quite correct that conventional radiation detection instruments
are utterly inadequate to measure what needs to be measured, in order
to address the low-intensity radiation hazard to health.
Marjorie Lundquist, Ph.D. (in physics), C.I.H.
P. O. Box 11831
Milwaukee, WI 53211-0831 USA
Message from Roy Beavers
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