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Biological effects that result from heating of tissue by RF (radio frequency) energy are often referred to as “thermal” effects.

It has been known for many years that exposure to very high levels of RF radiation can be harmful due to the ability of RF energy to heat biological tissue rapidly.

This is the principle by which microwave ovens cook food. Tissue damage in humans could occur during exposure to high RF levels because of the body’s inability to cope with or dissipate the excessive heat that could be generated.

Two areas of the body, the eyes and the testes, are particularly vulnerable to RF heating because of the relative lack of available blood flow to dissipate the excessive heat load. At relatively low levels of exposure to RF radiation, that is, levels lower than those that would produce significant heating, the evidence for harmful biological effects is ambiguous and unproven.

Such effects have sometimes been referred to as “nonthermal” effects. It is generally agreed that further research is needed to determine the effects and their possible relevance, if any, to human health.

Of course, human-made RF radiation is used for many different things, including:

Utility workers could be exposed to radiofrequency radiation every day and not even be aware of it. With today’s telecommunications explosion, even utility poles are housing cellular systems such as antennas and distributed antenna systems.

And yet, the rapid growth rate of RF technology does not change the fact that we are still obligated to follow the laws and comply with OSHA and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requirements, especially when dealing with RF radiation exposure limits.

Not surprisingly, training is the best route to both RF safety and rule compliance. Anyone who enters a telecom tower site, or who works around antennas located on or near utility poles and building rooftops, must have received training that meets the requirements of OSHA 29 CFR 1910.268(c), and they must also be properly protected from any RF radiation emitted from antennas.

Appropriate RF safety training like the type offered by Tonex teaches workers to recognize RF radiation hazards and control their exposure.

Want to know more? Tonex offers RF Safety Training, a 2-day course for anyone who may encounter RF fields or RF exposure, and is required training for employees and sub-contractors in the telecommunications industry.

For more information, questions, comments, contact us.

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