Monday, August 26, 2002

Electromagnetic Radiation Standards are Outdated

A recent article in the IEEE Spectrum outlines how out of date EM radiation standards truly are. The current ANSI/IEEE standards for EM radiation (e.g. from cell or cordless phones, microwave ovens, radars, MRI machines, or any modern device for that matter) are based on the assumption that if nonionizing radiation (i.e. as opposed to ionizing, "bad", radiation like x-rays) affects living cells and tissue, it must do so by heating the tissue in question. This assumption apparently is false; there is some evidence that there is some damaging effects from the scattering of the waves, not just the absorption of the waves. The second problem with current standards is that they are based on whole-body dose calculations. The reality of many devices, such as mobile phones, is that often only a small volume of tissue receives most of the dose. While a device may contribute acceptable levels of whole-body dose, locally the standard dose is often exceeded by several orders of magnitude.

Hmm... Perhaps it's time for new standards... It's just a thought, though.

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