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The thermal effects of a cellular phone electromagnetic (EM) field on the human head were studied by computer simulation. A structural heterogeneous realistic model of the human head was used. EM analysis was performed via the finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) method (Taflove, A. and Hagness, S.C., "Computational Electrodynamics: the finite difference time-domain method", Artech House, 2000). Specific absorption rate (SAR) was evaluated and further thermal effects were investigated using the bioheat (BH) equation (Bernardi, P. and Pisa, S., IEEE Trans. Microwave Theory Tech., vol.48, p.1118-26, 1998); the temperature field distribution and temperature rise were investigated for different frequencies, powers and exposure times. The results show that exposure time and environmental temperature must be two of the characteristic quantities in a safety standard.