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June 3, 1988

Sublethal Exposure to Microwave Radar

Author Affiliations

Scarsdale, NY

Scarsdale, NY

JAMA. 1988;259(21):3129-3130. doi:10.1001/jama.1988.03720210019017

To the Editor.  —Drs Castillo and Quencer1 are to be commended for their letter in the Jan 15 issue of JAMA. It details an interesting case report of a radiation injury following a single brief exposure to radar. What is not fully appreciated by our profession is that repeated irradiations at subclinical levels can produce pathology that appears only after delay.Bowers and Frey2 reported how the general population is being exposed to an ever-increasing amount of spurious, nonionizing radiation from at least two different sources. The first relates to communitywide broadcast radiation from station transmitters such as radars and earth-satellite telecommunication networks, where achievable power output has doubled with every passing decade. The second relates to nearby personal-use devices such as faulty microwave ovens and video display terminals, which have increased in number exponentially during each decade.Unlike the rare case of Drs Castillo and Quencer, the