Radio frequency chaff: the effects of its use in training on the environment.

Source: PubMed

Chaff is a radiofrequency countermeasure released by military aircraft, ships, and vehicles to confuse enemy radar. Chaff consists of aluminum-coated glass fibers ranging in lengths from 0.8 to 0.75 cm and is released in packets of 0.5 to 100 million fibers. The Department of Defense has determined that use of chaff in training is required for maintaining proficiency in the use of this countermeasure. At least 500 tons of chaff is released annually during training within selected military operating areas in the United States. Concerns have been raised about impact on the environment and its potential toxicity to humans, livestock, and wildlife. Many of these concerns have been addressed or are being researched by the Department of Defense and other agencies, but much of the data are unpublished. Herein, the authors summarize the issues and review scientific data for the impact of chaff use on humans, animals, and the environment.

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