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Biohazards of terahertz radiation

Keywords:

V.I. Fedorov – Dr. Sc. (Biol.), Professor, Head of Biophysical Laboratory, Institute of Laser Physics of Siberian branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Novosibirsk). E-mail: vif41@mail.ru


The article is an expanded version of the report made by the author at the 6th International Symposium “Modern Problems of Laser Physics” (MPLP'2013, Novosibirsk, 25-31 August 2013). In the introduction sphere of terahertz radiation application in various fields of human activity is outlined. The author notes that this use is associated with exposure to people as objects of influence, as well as operators. The author cites the review articles, which note that the non-thermal low intensity terahertz radiation influences various biological objects (molecules, cells, organisms), and that these effects are a dual nature, both positive and negative. The possible mechanisms of terahertz radiation influence on cellular level, of which the change in conformation of membrane proteins, changing electric charge of cell membrane, and microheating and microevaporation of biological object, induction of resonance oscillations of cell membrane, organelles, and cytoskeleton. The various experimentally obtained negative aspects of low intensity non-thermal terahertz radiation influence on cells is described. There are impaired permeability and decreased resistance of cell membrane, organelle destruction, genetic instability, impaired functional status of cells and intercellular relationships, the fall in cell viability. The results of experiments conducted at organismal level, which showes the negative effects of terahertz radiation are considered. There are adverse mutagenic effects and phenotypic polymorphism, inhibition of cell growth, violation of the sex ratio, sterility, stress reaction and an emergence of anxiety. It is concluded that under certain conditions terahertz radiation can be hazardous to biological systems. The question about the need for a more intensive study of the issue.
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