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Health aspects of radio-frequency radiation accidents. Part I: Assessment of health after a radio-frequency radiation accident.

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  • 1Human Resources Department of Telecom Australia, Melbourne, Victoria.


The health aspects of an accident involving nine men exposed to 4.1 GHz radio-frequency radiation (RFR) is described. Two were exposed to levels of 4.6 mW/cm2 for up to 90 minutes, which exceeds the current Australian standard of 1 mW/cm2, while the other seven were exposed to lower levels. For staff in the high-exposure group, the dose rate was calculated for the whole body, skin, eyes, and pituitary. Comprehensive medical examinations were performed on all staff, including follow-up ophthalmological examinations over a period of nine months. Various abnormalities were found in all staff but, with the possible exception of hair loss, there was no consistent gradient of effect in the occurrence of abnormality between the groups. Various problems in conducting the investigation are discussed. It was concluded that the exposure had not resulted in harmful effects.

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