Medicine: Are Americans Being Zapped?

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Whether humans are similarly affected is debatable. In his popular and alarming book, The Zapping of America, Paul Brodeur said that Soviet scientists found during studies in the 1950s that workers exposed to microwave radiation were complaining of headaches, eye pain, weariness, memory loss, and a host of other ailments. As a result, while bombarding the U.S. embassy with higher levels, the Soviets set a microwave limit for their own people of no more than ten microwatts per sq. cm, a thousand times less than the U.S. standard.

Yet many American researchers remain unconvinced that there is any real danger. Only recently a study by the National Academy of Sciences found that naval radar operators died no younger than their peers in other jobs. The Environmental Protection Agency points out that 98% of the U.S. population is exposed to less than one microwatt of microwave radiation at any one time. Says State Department Biologist Herbert Pollack: "The 'zapping of America' is just a sensationalist charge." Perhaps so, but in an era of microwaves, their use obviously requires continued research and education.

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