During the 1950s clinics were established in Moscow, Leningrad, and other cities in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe to study and treat thousands of workers suffering from a new occupational disease—a disease which was also reported in the United States but which was neither studied nor treated there. The new disease was named radio wave sickness. These patients manufactured, inspected, repaired or operated microwave equipment. Some worked at radar facilities, others for radio or TV stations, or telephone companies. Still others operated radio frequency heaters and sealers being used in an expanding number of industries using technology developed during World War II.
These workers were exposed to microwave radiation only during working hours. And they were exposed to levels of radiation that were less than what the general public is exposed to now for hours per day, or even all the time, from their cell phones and other wireless devices.
The patients at these clinics suffered from headaches, fatigue, weakness, sleep disturbance, irritability, dizziness, memory difficulty, sexual dysfunction, skin rash, hair loss, decreased appetite, indigestion, and occasionally sensitivity to sunlight. Some had heart palpitations, stabbing pains in the region of the heart, and shortness of breath after exertion. Many developed emotional instability, anxiety or depression, and a few had mania or paranoia.