Human Exposures to Radiofrequency Radiation (RFR): A Review of RFR Accidents,
SCHOOL OF AEROSPACE MEDICINE BROOKS AFB TX
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Occupational safety and health is given a high priority in the U.S. Air Force. Program responsibilities are carefully defined in a series of USAF directives, and procedures to control exposure to RFR are documented in Air Force Occupational Safety and Health AFOSH Standard 161-9. This standard tells how to prevent harmful exposures to RFR and what actions are required when an accident happens andor when a suspected overexposure has occurred. By the authority of this standard, personnel are trained and assigned responsibilities to maintain a high level of safety in all Air Force RFR operations. The Air Force operates a large number of RFR emitters, however, and accidental overexposures have occurred. In the past 10 years the Air Force has investigated more than 300 RFR accidents, of which 58 were confirmed overexposures. The medical data from accidental RFR exposures are incomplete in many respects due to lack of standardization of clinical examination, but these accident files can provide important anecdotal evidence concerning human exposure to RFR fields. Of the 296 cases of suscepted overexposures in the Air Force RFR accident repository, only 58 20 were confirmed to have exceeded the 10-mWsq cm 3600 mW.secsq cm in any 6-min period PEL. Of the 58 confirmed overexposures, 26 persons clearly felt a warming sensation as the first indication of the RFR exposure, 20 did not feel the RFR, and 12 cases were inconclusive.