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Int Marit Health. 2013;64(4):177-82.

Accidental exposure to electromagnetic fields from the radar of a naval ship: a descriptive study.

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  • 1Department of Global Public Health and Primary Care, University of Bergen, Norway; Department of Occupational Medicine, Haukeland University Hospital, Norway.


Part of a crew on a Norwegian naval ship was exposed to the radar waves for approximately 7 min from an American destroyer during an incident at sea in August 2012. Information about the exposure was not given by the navy. This is a description of what happened with the crew on board after this event. 14 persons had been on the ship bridge or outside on the deck during the exposure and the rest of the crew had been inside the ship. 27 persons were examined at a hospital 6-8 months after the event, as they had developeda large number of symptoms from different organ systems. They were very worried about all types of possible adverse health effects due to the incident. All were examined by an occupational physician and anophthalmologist, by an interview, clinical examinations and blood tests at the hospital. The interview of the personnel revealed that they had not experienced any major heating during the episode. Their symptoms developed days or weeks after the radar exposure. They had no objective signs of adverse health effects at the examination related to the incident. Long-term health effect from the exposure is highly unlikely. The development of different symptoms after the incident was probably due to the fear of possible health consequences. Better routines for such incidents at sea should be developed to avoid this type of anxiety.

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