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NCJ Number
Date Published
210 pages
Using a literature survey and a study of the power densities to which Ohio State Highway Patrol officers are exposed in operating radar and communication devices, this study draws conclusions about the safety of radar and communication devices used by the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
The literature review found that considerable research has been performed on the potential health hazards of low- level nonionizing radiation with dichotomous results. Other findings are that nonionizing radiation at intensity levels high enough to cause thermal increase in human tissue is not safe. The tests on the Ohio radar and communication devices were conducted on December 13, 1990. Engineers used the Narda Model 8611 Radiation Probe measuring device. The radar unit currently being used by the Ohio State Highway Patrol is the MPH K-55. Readings were taken with the unit facing directly forward, rearward, and at a 45-degree angle. These tests accurately reproduce actual field operations. During the MPH K-55 testing, readings were taken for each of four passenger positions in the car. In every case, the signals were too weak for the probe to register. Thus, the radar units currently used by the patrol are well within the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards. Regarding the communications equipment, on several occasions when the 100-watt transmitters were used the rear seat passengers were exposed to short-term power densities well beyond the ANSI standards during transmission. Additionally, excessive readings were registered when the probe was placed within inches of the antenna broadcasting. The ANSI standards require exposure to be measured over six continuous minutes. When measurements were averaged over the required 6 minutes, the overall levels fell within or close to the ANSI standard. Appended selected studies from the literature review.