CUT YOUR RADAR SOME SLACK. IF THERE’S ANY RADIATION TO FEAR ON YOUR BOAT, IT WILL COME FROM WHERE YOU LEAST EXPECT IT.
Furuno USA. “But it’s not the same kind of energy. Nuclear radiation is associated with change in the biological structure of a cell.”
Kunz is not a scientist but he has it right, at least according to the World Health Organization’s website. “Human exposure to [electromagnetic fields] emitted by radar systems is limited by international standards and protective measures, which were adopted on the basis of the currently available scientific evidence,” the site reads, in part. “To date, researchers have not found evidence that multiple exposures to [radio frequency (RF)] fields below threshold levels cause any adverse health effects. No accumulation of damage occurs to tissues from repeated low-level RF exposure. At present, there is no substantive evidence that adverse health effects, including cancer, can occur in people exposed to RF levels at or below the limits set by international standards. However, more research is needed to fill certain gaps in knowledge.”
“Whether it’s a cell phone next to your head or a radar, they’re both forms of electromagnetic radiation that is nonionizing,” Kunz says. “It’s not like an X-ray or Gamma rays or anything like that. It has the ability to vibrate a molecule but not knock a proton or an electron out of its orbital shell. So, it’s just generally weaker.”
That vibrating molecule may not threaten to turn you into the Incredible Hulk (remember Gamma rays from the comic book?). But it does have an effect. “Uninformed boaters often equate a marine radar with a microwave oven, and their body as a frozen bean burrito,” says Jim McGowan, marketing manager for the Americas for Raymarine. “It’s true that both systems use microwave energy, and generate that energy using a device called a magnetron. For comparison purposes, most microwave ovens range in power output from 0.8 kilowatt (800 watts) to 1 kilowatt. The burrito analogy doesn’t hold up though because of a fundamental difference in the way a microwave oven works versus a marine radar. In order to heat your burrito, from the inside out no less, a microwave uses continuous-wave microwave energy. That means its magnetron is on and hammering away with 1 kilowatt of energy for its entire cook cycle. The microwave energy actually excites the molecules in the food, causing them to move faster and generate heat. This is what warms the food. The longer the
The safety provided by radar systems outweighs the risks.