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Electromagnetic Radiation

The Electromagnetic Radiation Spectrum

Electromagnetic radiation describes the broad spectrum of photon radiation,  which includes visible light, but extends far beyond what we can see.  Given the fact that the speed of light (or any electromagnetic radiation) is considered to be constant at 186,000 miles per second, this means that there is a correlation between frequency and wavelength. The chart below show how the shorter the wavelength, the greater the frequency and the more energy is carried in the electromagnetic radiation. For a better understanding of the electromagnetic radiation spectrum, interested readers may refer to the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

U.S. Electromagnetic Radiation Frequency Allocation Chart

Electromagnetic Radiation Frequency Range Assignments

The chart to the shows the electromagnetic radiation frequency ranges assigned for use in telecommunication, radio astronomy and other technologies. Click the image to see the original chart full size.

Electromagnetic Radiation Health Concerns

With the proliferation of electronic devices (first analog and later digital devices such as computers and cell phones), there has been a growing concern with the health consequences of exposure to electromagnetic radiation. The industry standards are at odds with public health concerns, and rely on quantifying particular sets of consequences (such as microwave heating or induced current) while disregarding other sets of consequences (such as sleep disorders attributable to magnetic flux).

BioInitiative Report 2012: A Rationale for Biologically-based Exposure Standards for Low-Intensity Electromagnetic Radiation

BioInitiative Report 2012: A Rationale for Biologically-based Exposure Standards for Low-Intensity Electromagnetic RadiationDue to lack of industry response to health concerns, a group of citizens got together and complied a comprehensive report entitled, BioInitiative Report 2012: A Rationale for Biologically-based Exposure Standards for Low-Intensity Electromagnetic Radiation. This report details specific health consequences and risk factors for exposure to electromagnetic radiation. A summary of the points covered follows:

One of the first points they cover with regard to electromagnetic radiation is:

Main Reasons for Disagreement among Experts

  1. Scientists and public health policy experts use very different definitions of the standard of evidence used to judge the science, so they come to different conclusions about what to do. Scientists do have a role, but it is not exclusive and other opinions matter.
  2. We are all talking about essentially the same scientific studies, but use a different way of measuring when “enough is enough” or “proof exists”.
  3. Some experts keep saying that all studies have to be consistent (turn out the same way every time) before they are comfortable saying an effect exists.
  4. Some experts think that it is enough to look only at short-term, acute effects.
  5. Other experts say that it is imperative we have studies over longer time (showing the effects of chronic exposures) since that is what kind of world we live in.
  6. Some experts say that everyone, including the very young, the elderly, pregnant women, and people with illnesses have to be considered – others say only the average person (or in the case of RF, a six-foot tall man) matter.
  7. There is no unexposed population, making it harder to see increased risk of diseases.
  8. The lack of consensus about a single biological mechanism of action.
  9. The strength of human epidemiological studies reporting risks from ELF and RF exposures, but animal studies don’t show a strong toxic effect.
  10. Vested interests have a substantial influence on the health debate.

Electromagnetic Radiation Warning SymbolThey then move on to:

  • Statement Of The Problem
  • The Existing Public Exposure Standards
  • Evidence For Inadequacy Of The Standards
  • Evidence For Effects On Gene And Protein Expression (Transcriptomic And Proteomic Research)
  • Evidence For Genotoxic Effects – RFR And ELF DNA Damage
  • Evidence For Stress Response (Stress Proteins)
  • Evidence For Effects On Immune Function
  • Evidence For Effects On Neurology And Behavior
  • Evidence For Brain Tumors And Acoustic Neuromas
  • Evidence For Childhood Cancers (Leukemia)
  • Evidence For Effects On Melatonin: Alzheimer’s Disease And Breast Cancer
  • Evidence For Breast Cancer Promotion
  • Evidence For Disruption By The Modulating Signal
  • Evidence Based On EMF Medical Therapeutics

Health Consequences of Electromagnetic Radiation

People’s concerns about electromagnetic radiation often extend only to reports of brain cancer from cell phones. Upon reading the BioInitiative 2012 report, it becomes clear that electromagnetic radiation causes quite few problems including: genetic damage, increased stress, immune dysfunction, changes in behavior, brain tumors, childhood leukemia, Alzheimer’s disease, breast cancer and other health problems. We will discuss ways to mitigate exposure to electromagnetic radiation in a follow-up article.