Biological Effects of Electromagnetic Radiation

(Radiowaves and Microwaves)

Eurasian Communist Countries

Privately reported in 1976 by the Defense Intelligence Agency

Later Unclassified


This document is a partial transcript of the document DST-1810S-04-76 privately reported in 1976 by the Defense Intelligence Agency. Two complementary copies of the document in PDF format (with different parts covered/uncovered) has been used as the source for the transcription (see section "Sources" below).

ABSTRACT  (Taken from the page 31)

This study was undertaken to provide a review and evaluation of the current Eurasian Communist country state-of-the-art [1975] in the area of the effects of radiowaves and microwaves. It generally covers the 1968-1975 period. The major topics include discussions of the effects on humans and animals. The study provides information on the general trends of research with special attention to possible military applications. where appropriate, information on safety standards and research personalities and facilities is provided.


Both of the followings sources correspond to the same document DST-1810S-04-76 from the Defense Intelligence Agency. The difference is that distinct parts are covered or uncovered in each PDF file (for example, Source 1 lacks important content in Page 26 and Source 2 lacks the pages 21-22 and 29-34).

Source 1 (at (PDF, approx. 2MBytes) (local copy at
Source 2 (at (PDF, approx. 12MBytes)

NOTES on the Transcription

* The page numbers (for example, [---PAGE 2---]) refer to the written number at the foot of each page in the source PDF files.
* The letters (U) and (C) at the beginning of most of the paragraphs are from the original and they appear to be abbreviations for "Unclassified" and "Classified" (later on, the entire document was unclassified).
* The strikethrough on the (C) letters comes from the Source 2 (in the Source 1, the corresponding (C) are covered with blank).
* The highlighting in bold is from The M+G+R Foundation.

Jump to Table of Contents

Below this line, all the text is a partial transcript of the original document.





[---PAGE ii---]

Mr. Ronald L. Adams
Dr. R. A. Williams


DIA TASK PT-1810-02-75

March 1976
Information Cut-off Data
10 October 1975

Supersession Notice
This document supersedes ST-CS-01-74-74, dated March 1974

This is a Department of Defense Intelligence Document prepared by the US Army medical Intelligence and Information Agency and approved by the Directorate for Scientific ant Technical Intelligence of the Defense Agency.

[---PAGE iii---]


(C) The purpose of this review is to provide information necessary to assess human vulnerability, protection materials, and methods applicable to military operations. The study provides an insight on the current research capabilities of these countries. Information on trends is presented when feasible and supportable.

(C) The study discusses the biological effects of electromagnetic radiation in the radio- and microwave ranges (up through 300,000 megahertz). It is not within the realm of this study to provide detailed descriptions of every laboratory experiment. Such data have been purposely omitted in favor of an analytical approach. An attempt has been made to identify the principal areas of research and to discuss the significance of experimental results.

(C) The information reported in this study has been drawn from scientific, medical, and military journals, intelligence reports, magazines, news items, books, and other publications. The information cut-off date for this study was 1 October 1975.

(U) Constructive criticism, comments or suggested changes are encouraged, and should be forwarded to the Defense Intelligence Agency (ATTN: DT-1A), Washington, DC 20301

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[---PAGE v---]


[Top of the Document]





PART 1 - Blood
PART 2 - Cardiovascular System
PART 3 - Cells
PART 4 - Central Nervous System
PART 5 - Digestive System
PART 6 - Glands
PART 7 - Metabolism
PART 8 - Reproduction
PART 9 - Visual Systems
PART 10 - Internal Sound Reception






Data Handling

Distribution List

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(U) The thermal effects of electromagnetic radiation have been reasonably well established through experimental investigation. The nonthermal effects, however, remain a controversial issue between scientist in the West and in the Eurasian Communist countries. The difficulties encountered in conclusively demonstrating the nonthermal effects of electromagnetic exposure are likely responsible for differences in exposure standards; some standards are based largely on the demonstrable thermal effects, while others allow for possible nonthermal effects at subthermal intensities.

(U) The Eurasian Communist countries are actively involved in evaluation of the biological significance of radiowaves and microwaves. Most of the research being conducted involves animals or in vitro evaluations, but active programs of a retrospective nature designed to elucidate the effects on humans are also being conducted. The major systems, systems components, or processes currently under study include the blood the cardiovascular system, cells, the central nervous system, the digestive system, the glandular system, metabolic effects, and the reproductive and the visual systems. Other aspects of exposure are also being studied, but the limited number of reports uncovered makes assessment of the importance placed upon this research impossible. These lesser reported research areas include nonthermal effects, immunological studies, and use of radiowaves for functional control of organ systems.

(C) No unusual devices or measures for protection from radiowave exposure were noted, but a continued stress upon personnel protection in occupational situations was apparent. Here, protective goggles and clothing are recommended when working in regions of microwave radiation. Although some differences in standards remain between the various Communist countries and between military and civilian standards, the Communist standards remain much more stringent than those of the West. An exception to this may be Poland where a recent relaxation of their standards has occurred. This is the first significant shift of an East European country away from the standard first set by the USSR in 1958.

(C) If the more advanced nations of the West are strict in the enforcement of stringent exposure standards, there could be unfavorable effects on industrial output and military functions. The Eurasian Communist countries could, on the other hand, give lip service to strict standards, but allow their military to operate without restriction and thereby gain the advantage in electronic warfare techniques and the development of antipersonnel applications.

[---PAGE viii---]

The potential for the development of a member of antipersonnel applications is suggested by the research published in the USSR, East Europe, and the West. Sounds and possibly even words which appear to be originating intracranially can be induced by signal modulation at very low average-power densities.

Combinations of frequencies and other signal characteristics to produce other neurological effects may be feasible in several years. The possibility of inducing metabolic diseases is also suggested. Animal experiments reported in the open literature have demonstrated the use of low-level microwave signals to produce death by heart seizure or by neurological pathologies resulting from breaching of the blood-brain barrier.

(U) As may be expected, the bulk of the research being done in this area is in the USSR. However, a notable volume is also being produced by Poland, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Rumania, and Hungary.

(C) Western scientists who have followed the Soviet research efforts on the biological effects of microwaves have expressed a variety of reactions ranging from disbelief to passive acceptance. The overall impact of current Soviet work is not overly significant, at least on their civilian sector. One possible exception may be their studies of the central nervous system where some interesting work is being done. Elsewhere, most of their work tends to be outdated, some of their experiments cannot be duplicated, and others are of doubtful credibility. No real new developments or fresh approaches have been identified. Nevertheless, a large volume of material continues to be published on the effects of radiowaves and microwaves on biological systems, indicating a fairly high degree of interest and a genuine desire to pursue these investigations. No significant research and development has been identified that could be related to work in this field in the People's Republic of China, North Korea, and North Vietnam.

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(U) The effects of radiowaves and microwaves on biological systems have traditionally been separated into two basic classifications, (1) thermal effects, and (2) nonthermal effects. The thermal effects are widely recognized and the mechanism of action reasonably well understood. Nonthermal effects, however, are controversial since the mechanisms involved are not clearly understood. Soviet and East European scientist believe that biological side-effects occur at power densities that are too low to produce obvious thermal effects. Such effects have been questioned in the West because experimental evidence, obtained largely in US laboratories, does not corroborate occurrence of nonthermal side-effects.

(U) Divergences in opinion between Bloc and Western researchers concerning the effects of microwave radiation are the result of nonstandarized research protocols and materials. [...]

(U) It is now generally agreed that biological systems irradiated with electromagnetic waves in the radiowave and microwave frequency ranges (one kilohertz to more than 105 megahertz) absorb varying amounts of energy depending on the irradiation frequencies and the physical properties of the system. Typically, however, 40-50 percent of the incident energy is absorbed by the biological system and the remainder reflected. In reality, only the shorter wavelengths represent any appreciable hazard as a result of thermal heating. Radiation fields in the microwave range vary in wavelength from about one meter to very short wavelengths on the order of a millimeter. The depth of penetration of the waves is also variable and again depends on the frequency, wave polarization, and the physical properties of the system (i.e., dielectric and geometric), but typical penetrations are on the order of 1/10 of the wavelength. Therefore, very short waves are absorbed primarily by the skin, while long wavelengths penetrate to much greater depths.

(U) The degree of heating appears to be a function of the water content of the tissue and probably results from oscillations of water molecules or dipoles. [...]

[---PAGE 2---]

(U) Many techniques and indices have been employed to study the effects of irradiation on biological systems. These include:

Body weight.
Biochemical studies.
Cardiovascular studies.
CNS effects (including conditioned and unconditioned reflexes).
Electrophysiological measurements.
Fertility and mutation studies.
Histology and pathology studies.
Metabolic studies.

While these and other experimental studies have been conducted on animal and cellular models, knowledge regarding human exposure has been almost exclusively obtained retrospectively. [...]

(U) As can be seen from the above, quantitation of the biological responses to electromagnetic exposure is a very complex problem because of the wide frequency spectrum [...]

(U) With these complicating factors in mind, the evaluation contained in this report was undertaken. [...]

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(U) Effects of electromagnetic irradiation on the blood include biochemical variation, effects on erythrocytes, changes in coagulation, and alterations in the blood forming system. [...]

(U) Long-term ultrahigh frequency (UHF) exposure in rats reportedly reduced the iron and copper content in both the blood and muscle with a concomitant increase in iron content in the liver. Similar exposure in chicks caused an increase in total proteins and globulins, but decreased the albumin in the plasma. [...]

(U) One study involved the observation of several thousand persons working in microwave-irradiated workshops, as well as animal experiments. In the human subjects, three kinds of damage were found:

(1) Lymphocytosis and monocytosis.
(2) Granulocytopenia, monocytosis, and eosinophilia frequently accompanied by absolute lymphocytosis.
(3) Moderate neutrophilia.

The degree of changes in the blood could be correlated with exposure and/or duration of working period. This determination was based on the relative changes as a function of period of employment, which was felt to indicate a cumulative effect of microwaves in the human body. The type and intensity of the exposure was not documented.

[---PAGE 4---]

(U) Blood coagulation indices of dogs subjected to high intensity super-high frequency fields were studied at intervals of ten minutes to thirty days after irradiation. [...] The protective reaction was, however, of short duration; the irradiation-induced prolongation of coagulation time reappeared and the animals' clotting times did not return to normal until at least fifteen days after exposure. [...]

(U) The action of microwaves on human erythrocyte permeability to potassium and sodium ions was also investigated. The mechanism of action appears to be an inhibition of active transport and an altered diffusion through the pores in the membrane. The latter may be caused by the influence of UHF energy on the membrane itself or on the hydrated sodium cation and potassium cation. The microwaves either change the membrane structure thereby increasing the passive sodium cation and potassium cation diffusion and reducing the concentration gradient, or somehow block the mechanism of active ion transport.

(U) The question of stability of microwave-induced changes in blood components was addressed in chronic and acute tests using dogs and rabbits. [...]

[---PAGE 5---]

(U) The primary concern of the present study was with electromagnetic field effects, but numerous reports regarding the effects of constant magnetic fields on the blood system were noted during the review. As with electromagnetic effects, effects on coagulation, biochemical properties, and formed elements were observed.

(U) To summarize the effects of electromagnetic radiation exposure on the blood, the following general changes emerge although conflicting reports are also present:

(1) General decrease in hemoglobin content.
(2) Generally reduced coagulation times.
(3) Decrease in leucocyte count.

These findings are based largely on animal experimentation. [...]

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(U) Heavy emphasis has been placed on investigations involving electromagnetic radiation on the cardiovascular system. Effects on hemodynamics include blood pressure variations and cardiac arrhythmias. Also included are reports of a slowdown of intraventricular and intra-atrial conduction, diffuse cardiac muscular changes, and ventricular extrasystole. As with other effects, animal studies are frequently reported and human reports are typically retrospective in nature. Many of the variations noted on the cardiovascular system result from central nervous system effects.

(U) Several reports concerning human cardiovascular effects from super-high frequency exposure were reviewed. Functional changes were noted, including a slight increase in the asynchronous contraction phase, a tension period, as well as other data indicative of moderate dystrophic changes of the myocardium accompanied by a disruption of its contractive capacity.

(U) Comparison of a group of engineers and administrative officials who were exposed to microwaves for a period of years and an unexposed control group revealed a significant higher incidence of coronary disease, hypertension, and disturbances of lipid metabolism among the exposed individuals. Hereditary predisposition to heart disease was approximately the same in both groups, but overt disorders developed much more frequently in the previously exposed group. It was concluded that microwaves may act as a nonspecific factor which, under certain conditions, interferes with adaptation to unfavorable influences. Exposures may, therefore, promote an earlier onset of cardiovascular disease in susceptible individuals.

[---PAGE 6---]

(U) Hemodynamic indices for thirty men in the 25-40 year age range who had been exposed to UHF exposures for from two to ten years were studied. These men showed a tendency to bradycardia, moderate decrease in the stroke and minute volumes, and a slowing of the rate of blood ejection from the left ventricle. [...]

(U) Morphological changes in experimental mice exposed to short and ultra-short wavelengths were observed. Two series of experiments were conducted using 14.9 MHz and 69.7 MHz waves. In the first series, twelve animals were subjected to single lethal doses of the electromagnetic radiation. Very pronounced vascular dystrophic changes were found throughout the organism. In the second series, 37 mice were given daily 60-minute exposures to nonthermal intensities for five months. Morphological studies of these animals showed slight vascular disorders and compensatory proliferative processes in the internal organs as well as dystrophic changes in brain cells.

(U) In a group of patients suffering from "radio wave disease", cerebral hemodynamic changes were observed. These included reduced intensity of the pulse blood volume and an increase in tonicity of the intra- and extra-cranial vessels. The changes did not, however, appear to be functional in nature.

(C) Personnel exposed to microwave radiation below thermal levels experience more neurological, cardiovascular, and hemodynamic disturbances than do their unexposed counterparts. Some of the cardiac and circulatory effects attributed to exposure include bradycardia, hypotension, and changes in EKG indices (sinus arrhythmia, extrasystole changes in intra-ventricular and intra-atrial conduction, diminished amplitude of EKG deflections, etc.).

(U) The cardiovascular effects have always been of primary interest, therefore, it is likely that research in this area will continue. [...]

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(U) Histological techniques have been used extensively for evaluating the effects of electromagnetic radiation on cellular systems. [...]

(U) The most popular cells for study appear to be those of rat or mouse liver. [...]

(U) The liver cells of rats exposed for three hours to a 1.625 MHz field showed damage to the protein synthesizing structures. [...] The mitochondria became swollen and underwent lysis. Some giant mitochondria also appeared. [...]

(U) Phagocytic function has reportedly been increased by exposure to an electromagnetic radiation field and induction of colicin synthesis has been observed in E. coli irradiated with nonthermal intensity.

(U) In many cases, electromagnetic radiation effects occur at the cellular level, therefore tissue culture techniques provide a well controlled and accurate method for study of those effects. Ultrahigh frequency exposure of cultures of rat fibroblasts, monkey kidney cells, and human embryo fibroblasts led to degeneration of the culture in four to six days. The earliest regeneration occurred in primary cell cultures. [...]

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(U) Research on the effects of radiowaves and microwaves on the central nervous system of humans was relatively widespread. [...]

(U) Subjects exposed to microwave radiation exhibited a variety of neurasthenic disorders against a background of angiodystonia (abnormal changes in tonicity of the blood vessels). The most common subjective complaints were headache, fatigue, perspiring, dizziness, menstrual disorders, irritability, agitation, tension, drowsiness, sleeplessness, depression, anxiety, forgetfulness, and lack of concentration.

(U) Various neurological disorders were investigated by studying the vestibular and visual analyzer functions in persons exposed to radio waves of varying types for various periods. [...] Conversely, thirty-seven persons occupationally exposed to a superhigh frequency microwave field (10 microW/cm2) over periods of two to eight years, were studied; symptoms of asthenic and autonomic vascular disturbances, endocrine shifts, and abnormal EEG's were observed in half of the patients. Their reflexes in responser to light and sound were weak, distorted, or nonexistent and their skin galvanic reaction to flashing light was abnormally intense and prolonged. [...]

(U) Long-term experiments conducted on rabbits demonstrated that irradiation with intermittent or continuous low intensity microwave fields elicits qualitatively and quantitatively different changes in the EEG. [...]

[---PAGE 9---]

(C) Exposure of rabbits to low levels of microwave radiation resulted in alteration of brain electrical activity, but caused no detectable macroscopic or microscopic histological changes. [...]

(U) Study of the rabbit visual cortex after a one minute exposure of the head to 40 microW/cm2 at a wavelength of 12.5 cm revealed changes in the frequency of the background activity of 52 percent of visual cortical neurons. [...]

(U) Histological examination of the cerebral cortex cells from rats exposed to UHF at 5 to 15 microW/cm2 revealed the onset of sclerosis and the formation of vacuoles in some of the cells.

(U) Some excellent studies using biopotential recordings were performed to the determine the effect of microwaves on the kinetics of nerve impulse conduction. [...]

[---PAGE 10---]

(U) These experiments indicate that microwaves may have a specific effect of a nonthermal nature on EC [excitation conduction] and BA [biopotential amplitude], causing sharp and reversible changes in these functional parameters of nerve impulses. [...]

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(U) A number of alterations in the function of the gastrointestinal system were observed. [...] These included dyspeptic disorders, edema of the gums, bleeding gums, alteration of the gastric acidity, and a reduction of the tonus and evacuator functions of the stomach.

(U) Numerous animal studies have been conducted on the motor function of the gastrointestinal tract and the secretory function of the stomach. [...]

[---PAGE 11---]

(U) The effects of high frequency radiowaves on the content of nucleic acids in the digestive organs of rabbits were studied. [...]

(U) The effects of microwaves (2307 MHz) on radiophosphorus resorption in the stomach, duodenum, ileum, and colon were studied in rabbits. [...]

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(U) Investigations of the effects of radiowaves and microwaves on the glandular system have been concentrated mainly on the adrenal, pituitary, and the thyroid. [...]

(U) The functional status of the adrenal cortex in shipboard specialists subjected to the effects of a UHF field was reviewed.

[---PAGE 12---]

(U) A quantitative assay of the gonadotropic hormones and growth hormones in the pituitary body of rats exposed to microwave radiation indicated that for a certain time after exposure, blocking or inactivation of gonadotropin-releasing agents occurs in the hypothalamus. Both neural-hormonal and pituitary gonadotropic hypofunctional effects resulted from whole-body microwave irradiation.

(U) The general conclusion that can be drawn from various (both animal and human) studies of the anterior pituitary and adrenal cortex is that exposure to radiowaves and microwaves of thermal intensities results in suppression of the hormone producing functions but exposure to nonthermal intensities tends to enhance production.

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(U) Electromagnetic radiation exposure has been found to produce disturbances in carbohydrate energy and nitrogen metabolism in the brain, liver, and muscles. It appears that under electromagnetic exposure, macroergic compounds become deficient due to disjunction of the oxidative phosphorylation processes and deranged metabolism of carbohydrates. With respect to nitrogen processes in the absence of correspondingly more vigorous processes for its elimination.

(U) Exposure of rats to various intensities of electromagnetic fields with a frequency of 48 KHz produced an increase of lactic and pyruvic acids and a decreases in glycogen content in brain tissue. [...]

(U) The role of metabolic disturbances of the heart in development of functional and structural changes under the influence of low frequency impulse electromagnetic fields was studied. [...]

[---PAGE 13---]

(U) While these animal studies indicated an upset of some metabolic pathways, the degree of functional impairment was relatively small and probably not a significant factor. [...]

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(U) The effects of electromagnetic radiation on reproductive systems have been the subject of numerous animal studies. [...]

(U) The fertility of female white mice was also investigated. The animals, irradiated as above, were mated during proestrus or early estrus with nonirradiated males. Conception in fifty-eight control animals was 94 percent, but only 75 percent in irradiated animals. Long-term nonthermal microwave irradiation of male mice evoked diffuse changes in the testes. Subsequent mating of the animals resulted in reduction in the size of litters.

(U) Microwave radiation at 10 and 50 mW/cm2 intensity was administered for twenty and fifteen minutes respectively at various stages of the twenty day gestation periods. The progeny showed reduced viability, poor development, and anomalies. Changes in rate of postnatal development and disturbances of higher nervous systems activity were also observed.

(U) Female white mice were irradiated twice daily for one hour with 10 cm waves of low intensity (10 mW/cm2) up to the eighteenth day of pregnancy. There were stillbirths, a significant number of weak newborn, and a general retardation of boy weight gain and growth. Other researchers found similar effects in litters from females which had been exposed twice daily for one hour to a 10 cm wavelength at an intensity of 10 mW/cm2) for five months prior to mating.

[---PAGE 14---]

(U) Genetic effects of electromagnetic radiation were observed in other studies. [...]

(U) Although researchers noted a certain degree of specificity in the pathological changes induced by microwave irradiation of mice, [...]

(U) Both sexes of the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, were exposed to study the effects of radiation-induced mutation. [...]

(U) A strain of Staphylococus aureus, known to be resistant to penicillin, was exposed to an electromagnetic field. A mutant was found to be sensitive to penicillin, probably due to a change in lipid content.

(U) In summary, a large amount of research has been done on the reproductive effects of EMR. However, effects on human reproduction, especially on male fertility, have not been demonstrated.

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(U) The role of microwaves in cataract formation and visual damage has been studied extensively in the past and is reasonably well understood. [...]

(U) In another study, thirty-five workers regularly exposed to microwave fields and having pronounced congenital lenticular cataracts were examined over a one to three year period; [...]

[---PAGE 15---]

(U) Combined wavelengths over the range of the millimetric spectrum were used in an animal study involving nine rabbits exposed for 35-70 minutes. [...]

(U) The Soviets have reported the occurrence of "acute attacks" (sic) of glaucoma (1304) cases which were correlated with geomagnetic disturbances. [...]

(U) Although a growing body of evidence suggest that the microwave power density required to produce cataracts is incompatible with life, the Soviets will continue to investigate the visual effects of EMR but their effort will be reduced from its previous level.

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(U) Perception of modulated microwave signals which seem to be originating intracranially as characteristic sounds is a phenomenon which was first reported in the US open literature more than thirteen years ago. To produce sounds, peak power densities of up to 80 mW/cm2 may be required, but the average power density usually is 5 microW/cm2. The Soviets have studied this phenomenon in order to determine the underlying physiological mechanism(s) and to define the optimum irradiation parameters needed to evoke the response. They found that when the fundamental frequency of the electromagnetic stimulus was raised from 2050 to 2500 MHz, the reaction threshold rose significantly, but at a frequency of 3000 MHz there was no reaction in the auditory centers. The average intensity of electromagnetic radiation required to evoke the response was less than 10 mW/cm2; it was concluded that the fundamental signal frequency rather than the amount of energy constituted the primary stimulus and that the observed phenomenon was sensory in nature.

(U) The Soviets will continue to investigate the nature of internal sound perception. Their research will include studies on perceptual distortion and other psychophysiological effects. The results of these investigations could have military applications if the Soviets develop methods for disrupting or disturbing human behaviour.

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(U) Most of the reported biological effects from radiowaves and microwaves result from exposure to the higher frequency ranges. [...]

(U) Clinical studies were done on thirty subjects, aged 25 to 40 years, exposed to industrial ultrahigh frequency centimeter waves at power densities of 10 to 500 mW/cm2 for periods of time ranging from 4 to 13 years. [...]

[---PAGE 18---]

(U) A second study was done on two groups of workers occupationally exposed in the radio industry. [...]

(U) A lack of standards for measuring power levels represents a problem which probably accounts for conflicting reports regarding the effects of a given frequency and intensity. [...]

(U) Only a few studies involving electromagnetic interaction with the immunological system have been reported. [...]

[---PAGE 19---]

(U) Soviet investigators have conducted studies on the effects of microwave frequencies in combination with ionizing radiation, magnetic fields, drugs, and nonionizing electromagnetic radiation of other wavelengths. [...]

(U) In summary, this sections shows the rather broad front on which Soviet researchers are investigating the biological effects of EMR. [...]

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The Soviet interest in the nonthermal effects of microwave radiation is evident both from the standards established and the many low intensity irradiation experiments conducted by their researchers.

The results of the research have encouraged the Soviets to investigate methods for exploiting microwaves and radiowaves to produce controllable psychophysiological effects. [...]

Recently, US and other Western scientists have been quite concerned with the vast difference between the two standards. [...] However, two interesting possibilities presented below may partially explain the lack of agreement:

a. Soviet researchers are using bath exposure techniques. [...]

b. Much of the difference between US and Soviet thermal and nonthermal positions may exist because of a definition problem. [...]

[---PAGE 22---]

It has been reported that some European Communist countries have established two standards - one for the military and one for the civilian sector. Although the civilian standards are lower, some researchers feel that they are not low enough. Reports also indicate that a number of female workers in industry may have aborted as a result of exposure to microwave radiation ostensibly within the safety standards.

The extent to which microwaves and other nonionizing radiation causes chromosome aberrations is somewhat of a controversial subject as is the question of the reversibility of any possible injury. [...]

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(U) Safety precautions and standards have been established in both the US and USSR to protect not only persons who are occupationally exposed but also to protect the health of persons living or working near powerful generating or transmitting facilities. [...]

(C) Soviet research has produced guidelines which were used to establish a value of 10 microW/cm2 per working day as the maximum admissible value for microwave irradiation. [...] Exposures greater than 10 mW/cm2 are prohibited without approved safety equipment. [...]

[---PAGE 24---]

(U) Protective devices described for use in working near unacceptable intensity fields include protective (metal-coated) eye glasses and clothing and shielding of the source with special absorbers or sheet metal or wire mask shields. [...]

(U) In an animal study, it was reported that oral administration of caffeine in doses of 20 mg per kg lowered the duration of resistance against hyperthermia caused by microwave irradiation. [...]

(C) Should subsequent research result in adoption of the Soviet standard by other countries, industries whose practices are based on less stringent safety regulations could be required to make costly modifications in order to protect workers. Recognition of the .01 mW/cm2 standard could also limit the applications of new electronic technology by making the commercial exploitation of some products unattractive because of increased costs imposed by the need for additional safeguards.

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(U) A significant amount of research continues to be performed in the Eurasian Communist countries to establish the effects of radiowaves and microwaves on biological systems. [...]

(U) The types of responses reportedly exhibited by the various biological organs, processes, or functions are in line with what has been reported by Westerns investigators. [...]

(C) No Eurasian Communist research activity has been identified which can be clearly or directly related to any military offensive weapons program. However, Soviet scientists are fully aware of the biological effects of low-level microwave radiation which might have offensive weapons application. Their internal sound perception research has great potential for development into a system for disorienting or disrupting the behavior patterns of military or diplomatic personnel; it could be used equally well as an interrogation tool. The Soviets have also studied the psychophysiological and metabolic changes and the alterations of brain function resulting from exposure to mixed frequencies of electromagnetic radiation. One physiological effect which  has been demonstrated is heart seizure. This has been accomplished experimentally in frogs by synchronizing a pulsed ultrahigh frequency microwave signal of low average-power density with the depolarization of the myocardium and beaming the signal at the thoracic area. A frequency probably could be found which would provide sufficient penetration of the chest wall of humans to accomplish the same effect. Another possibility is alteration of the permeability of the blood-brain barrier. This could develop server neuropathological symptoms and either die or become seriously impaired neurologically.

[---PAGE 26---]

(C) A study published in 1972 by the US Army Mobility Equipment Research and Development Center, titled "Analysis of Microwaves for Barrier Warfare" examines the plausibility of using radio frequency energy in barrier-counterbarrier warfare. It discusses both anti-personnel and anti-materiel effects for lethal and nonlethal applications for meeting the barrier requirements for delay, immobilization, and increased target exposure. The report concluded that:

a. It is possible to field a truck-portable microwave barrier system that will completely immobilize personnel in the open with present-day technology and equipment.

b. There is a strong potential for a microwave system that would be capable of delaying or immobilizing personnel in vehicles.

c. With present technology no method could be identified for a microwave system to destroy the type of armored materiel common to tanks.

(C) The above study is recommended reading material for those consumers who have an interest in the application of microwave energy to weapons. A discussion of weapons is not within the scope of this study.

(C) The immediate danger from microwave barrier weapons is burns. The US Army Medical Research Laboratory at Fort Knox, Kentucky, has conducted tests on burns with microwaves. They have produced third-degree burns on human skin with 20W/cm2 in two seconds with frequencies of approximately 3 GHz. The study also points out that a microwave barrier can be set up with existing state-of-the-art technology and off-the-shelf hardware. Considering the Soviet expertise in the area of electromagnetic energy, which is probably very close to, if not on a par with that of the US, the possibility must be accepted that they too have investigated microwave energy for barrier warfare and that they are also concerned with the biological effects of this type of radiation. Close monitoring of their research efforts on burns and burn therapy may possibly reveal Soviet efforts to develop countermeasures against microwave barrier warfare.

(C) Even though radiowaves and microwaves can exert their influence over great distances, high intensities over large distances are not practical. Accordingly, the potential for an offensive military capability employing such waves is small and any resulting thermal biological effects have not been sufficiently documented. Nonthermal effects, however, could be initiated over relatively large distances and areas, but the effects are not well enough defined to support possible offensive military application of this energy. The possibility of regulation of body function through nonthermal interactions with the neurological system has been postulated by some USSR investigators. If this is proven possible, it might prove militarily important, but no solid experimental evidence to support such a hypothesis has been presented.

[---PAGE 27---]

(C) Soviet research on the biological effects of microwave radiation is committed to clarification of the correlation between biological effects and power densities. [...]

(C) A move to adopt stringent occupational and public health standards for microwave radiation is being led by Polish researchers. [...]

(C) The hazards of nonionizing electromagnetic radiation will be studied with greater attention to combined radiation effects, e.g., microwaves and soft X-rays, noise, changes in ambient temperatures, humidity, psychogenic stimuli, and other factors. [...]

[---PAGE 28---]

(C) Soviet electromagnetic radiation research will continue on a cautious level without straying very far from present approaches. [...]

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(U) Little information regarding the effects of relatively low frequency radiowaves was available. [...]

(U) A limited amount of information regarding the effects of environmental conditions on susceptibility to damage from radiowave exposure was reviewed. [...]

(U) The effects of relatively low level exposure to radiowaves (such as might be encountered by persons living in the vicinity of high powered radio stations) are not well documented. [...]

(U) No official safety standards have been identified for Albania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Yugoslavia, and the Asian Communist countries. [...]

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Trend Study, Group II, Biennially

Mr. Ronald L. Adams
Dr. R. A. Williams (Battlelle Columbus Laboratories)

US Army Medical Intelligence and Information Agency
Washington, DC 20314

DIA Task No. PT-1810-02-75

US Army Medical Intelligence and Information Agency
Washington, DC 20314

March 1976


Defense Intelligence Agency
Washington, DC 20301



Distribution limited to US Government agencies only; foreign information; March 1976. Other requests for this document must be referred to the Defense Intelligence Agency, Washington, DC 20301

Animal vulnerability, biological effects, electromagnetic radiation, human vulnerability, microwaves, radiowaves, research trend, safety standards, super high frequency radiation, therapeutic effects.

(U) This study was undertaken to provide a review and evaluation of the current Eurasian Communist country state-of-the-art in the area of the effects of radiowaves and microwaves. It generally covers the 1968-1975 period. The major topics include discussions of the effects on humans and animals. The study provides information on the general trends of research with special attention to possible military applications. where appropriate, information on safety standards and research personalities and facilities is provided.