Wednesday, January 29, 2020

“Electro-Pollution” – RADHAZ – Hazards of Electromagnetic Radiation (EMR) to Human Beings and Living Organisms


“Electro-Pollution” (Electromagnetic Pollution) 

Reference Literature Survey 
Three Book Reviews

Hazards of Electromagnetic Radiation (EMR) to Human Beings and Living Organisms 

I have been invited to deliver a lecture on Electro-Magnetic Interference and Electro-Magnetic Compatibility abbreviated as EMI/EMC. 

I have decided to speak on the topic of Electromagnetic Pollution (or Electro-Pollution) with specific focus on RADHAZ and Bioelectromagnetics.

This gives me a chance to brush up my rusty knowledge and let me begin by going through a few book reviews I had written earlier when I used to regularly teach this subject at the Post Graduate Level and conduct specialized training on EMI / EMC during my faculty days at IAT (later called DIAT Deemed University and MILIT) located in the hills of Girinagar near Pune.

So, Dear Reader, in case you are interested in this topic of Electromagnetic Pollution and its manifestations, do read on: 

Books Reviewed: 

1. Biological Effects of Microwaves by S Baranski and P Czerski 

2. Biological Effects of Electromagnetic Radiation by John M Osepchuk (Ed) 

3. EMC for Product Designers by Tim Williams


Biological Effects of Microwaves by S Baranski and P Czerski
(A seminal reference book on Bioelectromagnetics and Electropollution Effects on Human Beings and Living Organisms)

Book Details 

Title: Biological Effects of Microwaves
Authors: S Baranski and P Czerski
Published by: Dowden, Hutchinson and Ross, Inc., StroudsburgPennsylvaniaU.S.A. (1976)
Pages: 234
ISBN: 0-87933-145-3

Book Review by Vikram Karve
Electromagnetic Radiations emanating from various communication systems and devices like Radio and TV broadcasting antennas, satellite communication, cell phone and mobile phone transmitters and transmission towers, microwave ovens and electrical and electronic appliances have now become an unavoidable area of our life. 

Today, especially in modern urban life, we are surrounded by electromagnetic radiation.

Microwaves constitute a significant part of electromagnetic radiations and contribute to “electro-pollution” as research indicates that microwaves affect living organisms. 

The book ‘Biological Effects of Microwaves’ by S. Baranski and P. Czerski presents the detailed research work done in this field and is one of the earliest books on the subject.  

It will prove helpful for the biologists, physicians, physicists as well as budding and practicing electronic and electrical engineers.

The content of the book is organized in seven chapters.

Chapter number one is the ‘introduction’ with the subject. 

At the beginning of this chapter the authors make our concepts clear about the important terms like microwave radiation, ionizing radiation, non ionizing radiation and radio-protection

Before dealing with the microwaves we must know about the electromagnetic radiation spectrum.

There are figures, illustrations and tables describing the electromagnetic radiation spectrum, the wavelengths (cm), energy (eV) of different waves like radio-frequencies  microwaves, visible light, UltraViolet Rays, X rays and Gamma rays and explaining some examples of typical uses of equipment generating radio-frequency and microwave radiation.

This chapter explains the uses of different ranges of frequencies, their respective applications, their occupational exposure and some examples of potential exposure (i.e. general population hazards). 

This chapter also explains the theory and working of various microwave transmitter valves such as magnetron, klystron – Reflex Klystron and multi-cavity Klystron and Travelling Wave Tube  (TWT) briefly with their schematic representations.

The second chapter is about the ‘Physical Characteristics of Microwaves’. 

This chapter is designed in such a fashion that the reader who wants to enter in this field but have forgotten some of the basic concepts of physics related to the microwaves. 

This chapter is important and helpful to grasp the further concepts. 

It includes the basic phenomenon of formation of electromagnetic wave, set of parameters that characterize the electromagnetic waves such as frequency, velocity, wavelength, Electric and magnetic field vectors, relation between the two and the characteristic impedance. 

Coaxial transmission line, coaxial cable and wave guide are also explained to understand how the waves are propagated.

After getting introduced with the microwaves and going through their physical characteristics, in the third chapter we study the interaction of microwaves with the living systems. 

Biologists and physicians studied the interaction of microwaves with the living systems and they came to the result which had three phenomena like penetration of microwaves into a biological target and their propagation within it, secondly the primary interaction of microwaves with living matter and the secondary effects induced by the primary interaction. 

The three layered semi-infinite slab model of a biological target (which is made up of skin, fat and muscle) illuminated by simple wave front is explained and may be used for solving various problems relative to the medical use of shortwave and microwave diathermy. 

In the later subsections primary and secondary effects of microwave interaction are studied. 

There are illustrations of the primary and secondary effects of microwaves on different levels of organizations ranging from molecular level to highly organized living systems.

The fourth and the most praiseworthy chapter of this book is titled ‘Biological effects of Microwaves (Experimental Data)’. 

It presents the collection data found in literature on experimental facts and observations on biological effects of microwaves. 

Various results of experiments done on different animals like mice, dog, rats, guinea pigs and cat are illustrated. 

Effects of microwaves on nervous system, cardiovascular effects, effects on endocrine and metabolic effects, effects on genital system, foetal development, chromosomal effects, possible genetic effects and cellular effects, effects on internal organs like abdominal cavity, chest and digestive track, effects on blood and the blood forming system, cataractogenesis are presented with experimental details. 

In the last section of the chapter some comments on experimental studies on the interaction of microwaves with living systems are done which are very useful while doing such experiments.

Chapter Five is about the ‘health status of personnel occupationally exposed to microwaves and the symptoms of microwave overexposure’. 

In this chapter the outcome experiments and conclusions of literature survey of various authors are given. At the end of the chapter the main points which are the outcome of all the survey of the literature are collected.

Microwaves are the boon for the mankind and improve our quality of  life in so many ways and it is prudent to be aware of the hazards and adopt safety standards to protect ourselves as well as the environment form the adverse effects of microwaves. 

Chapter Six is about the ‘Safe exposure limits and prevention of health hazards’ with analysis on the safe exposure limits of microwaves. 

The basic principles which may be used while determining the safe exposure limits are elucidated. 

At the end of the chapter suggestions for prevention of health hazards are given which are very much important while dealing with the microwaves.

The seventh and last chapter of the book summarizes the work presented in the previous chapters and the important developments in the field till the writing of this book. 

The authors suggest integrated coordinated interdisciplinary efforts of biologists, physicians, physicists and electronic engineers. 

The authors have done extensive literature survey for this book and cite more than 600 references which may prove helpful for the reader for further studies in this subject. 

This book was published 43 years ago in 1976. 

Though not a recent publication, this book is a seminal work and an important book of reference literature in the area of Bioelectromagnetics and will prove useful for those who are doing research in this field.


Biological Effects of Electromagnetic Radiation by John M Osepchuk (Ed)

Details of the Reference Book/Journal


Book Review 

This book is a collection of scientific and technical research papers of the IEEE, collected by efforts of Committee of Man and Radiation (COMAR) and is very useful for the study of Biological Effects of Electromagnetic Radiation. 

The book helps to understand the bottom-line results and also some of the reports which have greatly influenced this field of research and its practical relevance. 

(The Editor of this volume, John M Osepchuk was a consulting scientist at Raytheon Company Lexington, Massachusetts from 1950.  He received B.A. and M.A. degrees in Engineering Science and Applied Physics and a Ph.D. in Applied Physics, all from Harvard University)

The papers are presented in seven separate parts with associated references. 

The book also focuses about measures like Specific Absorption Rates (SAR), exposure on people, susceptibility standards for electronic devices to be implanted into people and beneficial medical applications of Electromagnetic Radiations. 

Some research papers also show the tests and experiments done on different animals (mammals) to demonstrate the hazards effects, and uses of electromagnetic radiations.

The book comprises of seven parts. 

Every part is compiled by various editors to cover the broad aspects of the topic by collecting different technical papers. 

A brief review on various topics is covered on subsequent paragraphs.

The first part deals with relationship between the properties of the exposure fields and the absorbed energy (rate of energy absorption) or fields in the exposed tissues. HP Schwan and GM Piersol brought out with their review to evaluate the biophysical mechanisms by which electromagnetic radiation is absorbed in tissue, and its medical applications. 

The next paper reveals the effects of temperature distribution over tissues when exposed to different kinds of radiation sources. EL Hunt, RD Phillips, DM Fleming, RD Castro have demonstrated a dosimetry system which measures the heat generated by “carcass” (dead and burnt body of an animal) thereby measuring electromagnetic wave exposure. 

The next paper states the heating patterns of cranial (skull) structure in microwave pattern. There are several problems associated with the electromagnetic wave propagation effects in living organisms. The low frequencies also now known for harmful effects due to long time exposure such as behavioral changes, burns, cataracts, etc in animal tissues. 

Further going ahead, the next paper by Habib Massoudi, Carl H Durney, and Curtis C Johnson shows the calculations of the power absorbed by an ellipsoidal model of man are given for six different orientations of the ellipsoid with respect to the incident plane wave field vectors. The results show that the induced fields and the absorbed power in the ellipsoid are strong functions of frequency, size, and orientation with respect to the incident field vectors. However, the syndicates of this paper have determined a formula that is an approximate numerical method of curve fitting to find the average specific absorption rate (SAR) over a broad frequency range. Now that we know that mammals are largely affected by microwaves, there was a requirement of measurement of these exposures, the paper by Ronald R Bowman suggests a thermistor probe and a very high resistance plastic leads to measure the RF frequency exposure. 

The last paper of this part by Om P Gandhi states electromagnetic dose for different parts of man and animals at various incident frequencies with the change in orientations of body. A typical sketch of human body is shown to illustrate the distribution of power deposition for an average specific absorption rate.

The second part brings about the various approaches on the biophysical interactions of the RF fields. 

The first paper by W Ross Adey illustrates that the nervous exhibits a rhythmic electrical activities, a set of electrical signals when we do different daily activity, even in different moods. The Electroencephalogram (EEG) measures such kind of electrical signals. Thus, brain cells also sense field potentials, which bring changes in the behavior. 

The next paper by SA Moskalenko, MF Miglei, PI Khaoshi, EP Pokatilov and ES Kiselyova states that a biological system is considered as a macroscopic model consisting of separate units which oscillate with different frequencies due to the interaction among themselves and form a set of electric dipole oscillators. There is an individual finite group of modes among these units they are called active phonons. Now if the energy is supplied to these phonons, change in frequency is observed, this is probably responsible for growth control of tissues or enzyme activities and even leads cancer. 

In next paper, Robert H Cole has presented a progressing report paper on mathematical interpretation of dielectric theory for the changes in DNA solution. The DNA structure is also represented by Watson Crick Helix. 

The subsequent paper show that change in energy of the biomolecules leads to the change in the enzyme activities and the analogy of the biophysical and biochemical processes in neuroscience with the electrochemical reactions.

The third part focuses on the thorough study of effects of the Radio Fields on the central nervous system and behavior. In the first paper by Chung Kwang Chou and Arthur William Guy, they have tried to find out the part of skull which determines the RF frequency, whether it is affected by the polarization of electric field, and the change in auditory response by using guinea pigs and cats and thus finding the analogy in the human body. The next paper brings about the threshold of the sensitization to microwaves in rats. The paper by James C Lin, Arthur W Guy and Lynn R Caldwell shows the operant responses of the rat carcasses (Skull) at various radiation strengths. The subsequent papers bring out the changes in behavior, dosimetry and stimuli in auditory responses on exposure to microwave.

The fourth part deals with the study on effects of microwave exposure which leads to temperature rise and causing pathology changes in animal body. 

The first paper shows the experiments on rats, rabbits and dogs on exposure to microwave thermal effects followed by cooling and the effects on eyes and testis thus, concluding the effects of the same on human body. 

The subsequent papers show the study of effects on endocrine, thyroid, pituitary changes due to exposure of microwaves of different energy and different exposure duration. The occurrence of vasodilation responses at various temperatures on exposure to microwaves is of significant emphasis in skin areas. The thermoregulatory responses on exposure to microwave post infrared exposure produce no changes in behavior. The immunity towards microwave exposure of 2450 MHz radiation for various duration are achieved by the body by lymphoid cells. Effects of microwave exposure on rabbits eye at frequencies of 2.45 to 10 GHz leads to opacity (cataract). 

A very significant study paper by Charles I Barron and Albert A Baraff shows how microwave exposures of radar effects heart, kidneys, liver, gastrointestinal and hemoarrhagic changes in respiratory system in animals and human body. 

Another paper by Charlotte Silverman reviews a study on Tri-services personnel occupationally exposed to radars causing nervous and behavioral effects, congenital anomalies, cancer etc. 

The last paper of this part by SM Michaelson shows the study of hazards associated with the development, association, operation and maintenance of radars and other radio-frequency emitting equipment on various body organs, tissues, and enzyme system on various power levels.

The fifth part reflects exposure, emission, susceptibility and medicine in diathermy, hyperthermia and diagnostic techniques on microwaves. 

The first paper illustrates the effect of deep tissue heating, and its applications. 

The next paper by JG Short and PF Turner states application of hyperthermic treatments as a choice of treatments or combination of other treatments on tumors based on their locations. 

The subsequent papers emphasize more on application of microwave radiations as a method of imaging techniques of kidneys, thermography as a means of detecting breast cancer by change in temperature of body tissues emitting thermal radiations, microwave applications in measuring neurochemical parameters, use of microwaves in thawing (upbringing to unfrozen state).

The sixth part is published with the articles covering on safety standards, the history and present state of potential hazards and microwave safety standards. The subsequent papers also put an emphasis on Biological effects and Dosimetric data for development of radio frequency safety. The data based on various RF emissions through equipment and places is also covered in the article.

The seventh part of the book covers the hazards of cardiac pacemakers due to electromagnetic interference and emission of radio frequency radiation. Other articles cover electromagnetic interference of pacemakers in dental environment by using pulse generator of various manufacturing companies.

This volume clearly brings out with various case studies, experiments, applications and illustrations on the Biological effects of Electromagnetic Radiations. 

The facts and figures help the reader to understand the functions of various systems designed and published in the articles in a simple way. 

However, the reader needs to have the requisite proficiency in electrical engineering and electromagnetic theory, mathematics, science and instrumentation and be conversant with relevant terminologies in order to better understand the effects of microwave and EM radiations on human beings and animals. 

Though published 36 years ago, this volume is a useful milestone reference book for those who want to delve into this fascination area of study. 


EMC for Product Designers by Tim Williams

Book Review by VIKRAM KARVE

A Comprehensive Reference Book for Information Technology, Computer Science, Electronic, Communication and Electrical Engineering Professionals


Title: EMC for Product Designers
Author: Tim Williams
Elsevier [Fourth Edition, 2007] 498 pages
ISBN – 13: 978-0-75-068170-4
ISBN – 10: 0-750-68170-5


Most of us consider a number of factors, exoteric and esoteric, while designing or selecting our homes and in the configuration of the numerous modern technological devices and domestic appliances, most of them electrical and electronic, especially in location of various rooms and in deciding where to place these appliances.

Sometime ago I saw a programme on TV where a Vastu Shastra expert was advising viewers not only regarding the various aspects of designing and building living environments that are in harmony with the physical and metaphysical forces but also specifying optimal locations and layouts for various electrical and electronic appliances and devices in both residential homes and workplaces.

I listened with intriguing interest as he gave precise directions and specified exact locations for positioning of Televisions, Computers, Communication Devices, Microwave Ovens, Music systems and other appliances, and fascinated by the congruence between principles and aspects of Vastu and Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) and wondered whether the expert in reality was actually an EMC Design Engineer in addition to being a Vastu Shastra Specialist.

When you design or select or configure your house or office I am sure you consider various aesthetic, architectural, financial, utilitarian, geographical, interior and exterior design and other practical aspects, maybe even incorporate the principles of Vastu Shastra and Feng Shui etc.

But do you give even a fleeting consideration to Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC)...?

In today’s world with the increasing use of electrical, communication, electronic and information technologies we are under continual exposure to Electromagnetic Field (EMF), both inside and outside our homes, in our workplaces and even in the open wherever we go, radiating from radiating from electricity power lines, household wiring, microwave ovens, computers, monitors, televisions, communication devices, cellular phones, electrical, electronic and IT appliances.

“Electro-pollution” is an increasingly serious form of Environment Pollution and merits serious consideration, as much as, if not more than, other well-known forms of pollution.

Electro-pollution seems to be omnipresent. 

Apart from hazards to our health, Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) is detrimental to the proper functioning of most electrical, electronic, IT, ITES, ICT, communication and technology-based systems and may cause malfunctions and even potentially disastrous and fatal accidents.

The book being reviewed – EMC for Product Designers by Tim Williams – is one of the most comprehensive reference books I have read on the subject of the Design Management aspects of Electromagnetic Interference and Electromagnetic Compatibility [EMI / EMC].

The book comprises sixteen chapters arranged in three parts:

1. Legislation and Standards

2. Testing

3. Design

The author lucidly covers most micro and macro aspects of EMC Management in meticulous detail.

The logical sequence of topics, clear diagrams, tables and illustrations facilitate easy understanding of this complicated subject.

The Design Checklist, interesting Case Studies and useful mathematical formulae in the appendices and the extensive bibliography add value to this reference book.

Whilst the earlier chapters provide an excellent understanding of the EMC Standards and the basic theoretical principles of EMI / EMC, the “meat” of the book lies in the chapters on Systems EMC and EMC Management which encapsulate all relevant facets of EMC in a holistic manner.

I wish the author had included a detailed chapter on Electromagnetic Health Hazards and mitigation techniques. 

Electromagnetic Pollution (Electropollution) the most vital topic concerning all human beings seems to have not been accorded the due importance it deserves and I hope the author presents a more holistic and systemic view of EMC and includes a comprehensive chapter on pertinent aspects of Bio-electromagnetics, Thermal and Athermal EMR Hazards and their mitigation in the next edition.

I recommend this book – it is an excellent reference book for Electrical, Electronic, Telecommunication and IT Engineers and Managers, Designers, Students and practicing professionals in the field of EMI/EMC and a useful addition for all engineering and technical libraries. 

Three Book Reviews (EMI/EMC/RADHAZ) by VIKRAM KARVE 

Copyright © Vikram Karve
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How Technology affects Human Life – Technology Impact Analysis

Around 25-30 years ago  in the early 1990 I wrote a series of articles on TECHNOLOGY MANAGEMENT. 

Here is an abridged version of an article on the Ethical Aspects of Technology Management – How Technology affects Human Life – the pros and the cons of Technology...

An Essay


In our everyday lives, most of us use a number of words that we assume have a universal, agreed-upon, and accepted meaning for all people in all contexts.

Often, the more frequently the word is used, the more we take for granted that our usage is the only possible usage of the term.

One such popular word freely bandied about and very much in-vogue jargon now-a-days is technology.

Let us explore the meaning of the word “technology”.

The word “technology” comprises two parts – “technikos” & “ology”

The historical derivation of the term technology comes from the Greek word technikos, meaning “of art, skillful, practical”

The portion of the word ology indicates“knowledge of” or a “systematic treatment of.”

Thus, the literal verbatim derivation of the term technology is literally“knowledge of the skillful and practical”

However, this definition is too general in nature and we have to transcend this narrow view of technology since every technology starts from a human purpose, from the intention to satisfy some human need or behaviour.

Indeed, technology is the manipulation of nature for human purpose – yes, manipulation of nature, so let us use a slightly different definition of technology.

We will define technology as the knowledge of the manipulation of nature for human purposes.

This definition retains the notions of both knowledge and practicality (human purposes) but adds the new concept of manipulation of nature.

This implies that all practical or technical skills ultimately derive from alterations or manipulation of nature.

Technology depends on a base in the natural world (Science) but extends the natural world through the phenomenon of manipulation (Engineering).

Since we want to manipulate nature, the ability to predict what nature will do when manipulated is most useful, indeed imperative.


By our very definition, technology manipulates nature for human purposes.

Technology manipulates nature.

Man is a part of nature.

By manipulating nature, man manipulates himself.

Thus, technology manipulates man, influences, even governs human behaviour, and in turn impinges on societal behaviour, traditions and culture.

Technology is an entity that intervenes in the life of human beings in multifarious ways, directly or indirectly, trying to alter behaviours.

Thus, Technology has an Ethical Dimension.

The very raison d’etre of technology is human purpose.

What is the fundamental purpose of human life?

Is it to increase standard of living?

Is it to improve quality of life?

Or is it to have greater satisfaction in life?

We can distill all these various aspects into a single holistic concept:


Thus, the cardinal aim of technology is to enhance the value of human life.


Let us define the value of human life as the balance or ratio between satisfaction or happiness and pain or suffering.


In the context of this definition, the ultimate purpose of technology is to enhance the value of human life, with a long-term perspective, by maximization of happiness and satisfaction and a concomitant reduction or minimization of pain and suffering (physical, mental and emotional).

As a generalization, people want a better life.

A better life may usually mean things like freedom from want, access to and possession of at least some of the “non-essentials”, comforts or luxuries, good health, a reasonable life expectancy, the absence of emotional stresssatisfying human relations (resulting from gratifying work experience and meaningful interpersonal relationships), intellectual stimulation, and personally rewarding leisure activities.


Human needs and values change through time as technology advances.

Man tends to accept the fruits of new technology more readily (satisfaction, pleasure, happiness, comfort). 

However  he is reluctant and slow to accept changes in his personal life.

Thus, social and cultural changes always lag behind technology causing a mismatch and disconnect which consequently leads to unhappiness, dissatisfaction, pain and suffering (emotional) and concomitant lowering of the value of human life.

A crude but practical way of classifying human values is to divide needs into those that are essentially physiological and those that are psychological.

Most new technologies cater to the physiological aspect by performing DangerousDirty, or Difficult jobs (the 3 D’s– thereby enhancing the value of human life.

As regards the psychological aspect  an example pertaining to Information Technology (IT) may be in order.

Information Technology (IT) caters to two unique categories of psychological needs of humans:
Cognitive Needs – which refer to the human need for information so as to be ready to act or make decisions that may be required, and

Affective Needs – which refer to the emotional requirements of human, such as their need to do challenging work, to know their work has value, to feel personally secure, and to be in control.

Undue emphasis on cognitive needs and consequent neglect of affective needs may cause emotional pain that counterbalances the gains from technology and this may be detrimental to the “value of human life” as a whole.


Effects and Consequences of Technology

In our haste to milk technology for immediate economic advantage, we often lose sight of the long-term consequences: the higher order and indirect effects, especially the delayed and unintended effects of technology.

The Sorenson multiple effect network methodology is a useful technique for an analyzing the impact and consequences of technology.

Let us introduce the term malefit to represent harmful effects and consequences of a technology in contrast with benefit as a useful output.

We may categorize the consequences of a technology (Effects versus Consequences) as:


(i) First Order Effects  Benefits
(ii) Second Order Effects  Direct Malefits
(iii) Third Order Effects  Indirect Malefits
(iv) Fourth Order Effects  Unintended Malefits
(v) Fifth Order Effects  Delayed Malefits

Such analyses definitely help in assessing the impact of various consequences of a technology on the value of human life in the long-term perspective in holistic manner.

Early identification of factors detrimental to the value of human life may prove useful in technology impact assessment to reduce mismatches and smoothen out incongruities.


We must not lose sight of our basic premise that the cardinal aim of technology is to increase the value of human life by maximizing happiness and minimizing suffering.
Ethical Technology Management comprises a harmonious blend of rational thinking and empathetic understanding wherein one studies, analyses and mitigates the conflicting interplay between human cognitive and affective processes.

It may be apt to conclude with a comment by RM Pirsig, who states that:

“The way to solve the conflict between human values and technological needs is not to run away from technology. That is impossible. The way to resolve the conflict is to break down the barriers of dualistic thought that prevent a real understanding of what technology is…not an exploitation of nature, but a fusion of nature and the human spirit into a new kind of creation that transcends both”.

Copyright © Vikram Karve 
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All Stories in this Blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the stories are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Copyright Notice:
No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.

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