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Common usage among regulatory agencies when talking about the health effects of electromagnetic radiation (EMR) exposure is to call an exposure to less than what the FCC claims to be harmful as "non-thermal."
In practice, there is no such a thing as "non-thermal" (at least until one gets down to the quantum mechanical scale). All EMR exposure generates, depending on properties of the material, some amount of heat, which in turn, again depending on properties of the material, some amount of temperature rise. "Non-thermal" is at best, clever propaganda that diverts us from the important details of how that temperature micropulsation affects our health.
It is worth looking at how that term was derived. It refers to the current radiation exposure limits that the FCC uses to determine radiation exposure safety. Given the mixed records from apparently many researchers and federal agencies being involved, it probably goes back to military research where the amount of radiation exposure to a healthy 185 pound soldier that caused a one degree Celsius flesh temperature rise. Anything less than that exposure was assumed harmless. That was without any in-depth scientific research and in outright denial of earlier research that was reporting problems at lower exposure levels. The term "non-thermal" was thus applied to any exposure that created less than a one degree temperature rise and became the basis for regulatory actions.
Current scientific research is showing that there are significant neural effects at exposure levels considerably less than the one degree temperature rise the FCC claims are "safe.". The term is "non-thermal" is a very serious misnomer that diverts attention from the fact that there is still thermal heating which appears to be causing so many of the reported problems. The correct terminology should be "low-thermal." Or, the term should be completely dropped from the regulatory literature.Return to the top of this page
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