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Neurobehav Toxicol. 1980 Spring;2(1):49-58.

Behavioral effects of microwaves.


Microwaves can produce sensations of warmth and sound in humans. In other species, they also can serve as cues, they may be avoided, and they can disrupt ongoing behavior. These actions appear to be due to heat produced by energy absorption. The rate of absorption depends on the microwave parameters and the electrical and geometric properties of the subject. We, therefore, cannot predict the human response to microwaves based on data from other animals without appropriate scaling considerations. At low levels of exposure, microwaves can produce changes in behavior without large, or even measureable, changes in body temperature. Thermoregulatory behavior may respond to those low levels of heat, and thereby affect other behavior occurring concurrently. There are no data that demonstrate that behavioral effects of microwaves depend on any mechanism other than reactions to heat. Our interpretation of whether a reported behavioral effect indicates that microwaves may be hazardous depends on our having a complete description of the experiment and on our criteria of behavioral toxicity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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