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Background: This study examines the use of a simple thermoregulatory model for the human body exposed to extended (45 minute) exposures to radiofrequency/microwave (RF/MW) energy at different frequencies (100, 450, 2450 MHz) and under different environmental conditions. The exposure levels were comparable to or above present limits for human exposure to RF energy.
Methods: We adapted a compartmental model for the human thermoregulatory system developed by Hardy and Stolwijk, adding power to the torso skin, fat, and muscle compartments to simulate exposure to RF energy. The model uses values for parameters for "standard man" that were originally determined by Hardy and Stolwijk, with no additional adjustment. The model predicts changes in core and skin temperatures, sweat rate, and changes in skin blood flow as a result of RF energy exposure.
Results: The model yielded remarkably good quantitative agreement between predicted and measured changes in skin and core temperatures, and qualitative agreement between predicted and measured changes in skin blood flow. The model considerably underpredicted the measured sweat rates.
Conclusions: The model, with previously determined parameter values, was successful in predicting major aspects of human thermoregulatory response to RF energy exposure over a wide frequency range, and at different environmental temperatures. The model was most successful in predicting changes in skin temperature, and it provides insights into the mechanisms by which the heat added to body by RF energy is dissipated to the environment. Several factors are discussed that may have contributed to the failure to account properly for sweat rate. Some features of the data, in particular heating of the legs and ankles during exposure at 100 MHz, would require a more complex model than that considered here.
Date Posted: 10 March 2005
This document has been peer reviewed.