Are Radio Waves Dangerous to Humans?


Quick Answer

A radio wave is a type of electromagnetic radiation that, with sufficient intensity and duration, can result in serious damage or death to a human. Thermal effects caused by radio waves on the human body are especially dangerous, as radio waves can quickly heat tissues to lethal levels.

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Full Answer

One way to consider the dangers of radio waves to the human body is to consider the operating principle of microwave ovens. Microwave ovens operate by using the thermal effects caused by radio waves to heat the water that is normally found in microwaveable food. The radio waves generate heat across the food by exciting the individual water molecules at a specific frequency. The warmth of the food can be controlled by limiting the frequency of the radio waves and the cooking time. If radio waves were to be directed at human tissue, the targeted area would heat up until the radio waves were no longer emitted.

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