Biological Effects of Radiofrequency

Radiation: An Overview
  • Stephen F. Cleary


The purpose of this chapter is to provide a biological perspective for radiofrequency radiation safety standards. Rather than a detailed consideration of specific safety standards now in effect, or proposed safety standards, general problems involved in integrating available bioeffects data into practical and effective safety standards are discussed. The reader will find other aspects of standard setting and enforcement discussed elsewhere in this volume. Engineering problems related to RF-field coupling to the human body and the measurement and characterization of incident and internally induced RF fields, as well as cost-benefit considerations, unquestionably play a significant role in the development of standards. The approach taken here, of focussing primarily on the biological basis of RF standards, should not be construed as an attempt at diminishing the significance or inadequacy of these other aspects of standard setting. However, in the final analysis the most important aspect of a safety standard must be its adequacy in preventing adverse health effects in occupationally or environmentally exposed humans. This cannot be assured in the absence of an adequate understanding of the biological effects of RF radiation. Unfortunately, in spite of well over two decades of research, the adequacy of our knowledge of RF bioeffects is questionable. The remainder of this chapter is devoted to a discussion of some inadequacies in the RF bioeffects data base and how and why they evolved.


Microwave Radiation Pulse Electric Field Safety Standard Cation Permeability Radio Frequency Radiation 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen F. Cleary
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Physiology, Medical College of VirginiaVirginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmondUSA

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