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Yes, I know, but surely the wrinkle of higher harmonics
is pertinent to ANY effect of radiation which kicks in
above a threshold frequency.
 			Ch


On Tue, 31 May 2011, Michael Balter wrote:

> Briefly, and I hope one of our professional geneticists on the list will
> weigh in on this, the notion that cancer is caused only by the breaking of
> DNA covalent bonds is about a generation out of date. A cancer cell is one
> whose regulatory machinery has been altered, and there are many ways this
> can happen, subtle and not so subtle, including epigenetic effects etc etc.
>
> MB
>
> On Tue, May 31, 2011 at 2:18 PM, Chandler Davis <[log in to unmask]>wrote:
>
>> Will some physical scientist help me clarify the question
>> of whether microwave radiation COULD cause cancer?  Robert
>> L. Park, to whom I am grateful for much enlightenment on
>> many matters, tirelessly reiterates that the only known
>> way for electromagnetic radiation to cause cancer is by
>> breaking a bond in DNA, and this requires a photon of
>> much higher frequency than microwaves have.  This seems
>> to me to be relevant but incomplete, for reasons I will
>> give, but Park didn't reply to my query on the point
>> (probably misidentifying me as a microwave-alarmist), so
>> I'm looking for help from others.
>>        What we must talk about is a high-amplitude wave
>> at a frequency too low to break organic bonds, by a factor
>> of a few million.  Right?  Park says it doesn't matter how
>> high the amplitude is: strengthening the microwave signal
>> is (in his metaphor) just increasing the number of rocks
>> you try to throw across the Potomac, this doesn't get any
>> of them across the river because EACH ROCK has too low an
>> energy.  I object that this isn't the whole story, because
>> a periodic wave is not exactly sinusoidal, the sine wave at
>> its fundamental frequency comes accompanied by harmonics at
>> multiples thereof.  In quantum terms, that means that the
>> electromagnetic signal consists of photons at the energy
>> belonging to the fundamental frequency, accompanied by a
>> cloud of photons at multiples of that energy.  Now (as I
>> have explained to many undergraduate classes) the higher
>> the harmonic the lower the amplitude: for the n-th
>> harmonic, the amplitude goes down like 1/n, meaning that
>> the power goes down like 1/n^2.  By the time n is around
>> a million, this factor is around a trillion.  But not zero.
>> (True, a very smooth wave has weaker higher harmonics.)
>> In order to be sure a very very strong microwave signal
>> could not break a chemical bond, I would have to know
>> quantitatively HOW strong.
>>        Maybe somebody here will tell me the numbers on
>> this, I haven't looked them up.  It seems evident even
>> without having the numbers that putting a mobile phone to
>> my ear will not endanger me.  Thus I am as mystified as
>> Park by the new, more credible study pointing to some
>> correlation with cancer.  But it also seems to me that
>> further discussion of the matter ought to include the
>> little wrinkle of HIGHER HARMONICS.
>>                        Chandler
>>
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