The U.S. military continues to investigate what might happen if you were zapped by one of its microwave weapons. Active denial technology, as the military calls it, uses 94 GHz millimeter waves (MMW) to induce pain by heating the skin. The Marine Corps says it’s like touching “an ordinary light bulb that has been left on for a while” —in fact, it’s just a “harmless energy beam,” according to the marines. Not everyone agrees.
When the microwave gun was officially uncloaked in 2001, Ross Adey, a leading researcher who has had a number of clashes with the U.S. Air Force over the years, told UPI that such claims were a “bunch of crap” (see MWN, M/A01, p.1).
In its latest published study, which appears in the February issue of Health Physics, USAF’s Patrick Mason and coworkers at Brooks Air Force Base in San Antonio continue to maintain that there is nothing to worry about: “In the few instances in which humans would be exposed to relatively high levels of MMW (i.e., 175 mW/cm, it is clear that the skin blood flow response would provide adequate thermal protection, as it efficiently removed heat from the skin before thermal damage could occur.”
Mason is also leading an effort to see whether Leif Salford and Bertil Persson’s experiments on the effects of microwaves on the blood-brain barrier can be replicated.