What is electromagnetic radiation (EMR); the electromagnetic spectrum; electromagnetic fields (EMFs)?
(Excerpts and illustrations from Electromagnetic Fields: A Consumer’s Guide to the Issues and How to Protect Ourselves by B. Blake Levitt, Harcourt Brace, 1995. Used by permission of author.) *All links below will open in a new browser window. All documents on this page are PDF files. Electromagnetic radiation is the term used to describe electromagnetic energy radiating away from its source. It is expressed in wavelengths calculated along what is called the electromagnetic spectrum. There are many wavelength magnitudes along the spectrum, which includes everything from the earth’s own natural pulsations, to electric power, to visible light, to cosmic events. The electromagnetic spectrum is divided into ionizing and nonionizing radiation. Ionizing radiation consists of very short wavelengths (like X-rays), which have enough power to knock electrons off their nuclear orbits and therefore can cause permanent damage at the cellular level, such as cancer or genetic mutations. Nonionizing radiation consists of longer wavelengths with generally less power and is considered incapable of knocking electrons off their orbit around the nucleus. Energy is directly related to the inverse of wavelength. The longer the wave, the less energy it creates; the shorter the wave, the more energy it can create. Although less powerful, nonionizing radiation is capable of causing a host of biological effects, so it is far from harmless. The dividing line between ionizing and nonionizing radiation is around visible light. The problem is that visible light covers a wide portion of the spectrum. (Each color, for instance, is a different wavelength.) So no on can say precisely where one form of radiation leaves off and the other begins, but it is thought to be in the lower ultraviolet ranges, or possibly below. Electromagnetic field is the term used to describe electric and magnetic fields. In general, a field is defined as a space in which energy exists. Actually as field is a concept used to describe the influence of something on its surrounding area. Electric fields exist whenever electric charges are present, that is, whenever electricity or electrical equipment is in use. A magnetic field is produced whenever there is electrical current flowing in a conductor or wire. All magnetic fields run perpendicular to electrical current. In other words, while electric current runs in straight lines, magnetic fields surround the line in circular fashion. When the electricity is turned off, there is no magnetic field, although an electric field will still exist to some extent in any wire or conductor. All electromagnetic fields are expressed in wavelengths and move outward at the speed of light – approximately 186,00 miles per second. Both electric and magnetic fields decrease rapidly with distance from the source. Some common consumer products have complex electromagnetic fields. A television screen or the cathode-ray tube on a computer monitor, for instance, plugs into a wall outlet, thereby using electricity in the 50-60 Hz area, then utilizes a broad band of wavelengths that extend all the way up through the visible-light spectrum. At the top ends of the screen’s field, the ionizing band may well be crossed into. EMR Policy Institute FAQ -
"We have found that people who are very electrosensitive in the evening, do not sleep well in the night". Prof. dr. Norbert Leitgeb of the Technical University of Graz in Austria told it to a journalist of the Grazer Woche. "This could indicate, that mobile phone masts and other sources of radiofrequent radiation indeed have a negative influence on the well being of many persons." His saying refers just to the result of a pilotstudy, meant to verify the design of a larger investigation to come. Nevertheless the result is spectacular, Leitgeb confirms. Of nine testpersons the more electrosensitive appeared to sleep much better when protected from radiofrequent radiation. Leitgeb does not find this is proof yet. The upcoming research has to confirm the relationship between sleeping quality, electrosensitivity (50 Hz) and the load of radiofrequent radiation by GSM masts, DECT wireless telephones, WLAN wireless networks and other sources. The research will not take place in a laboratory, though at home with twenty people throughout Austria. Results are expected in the beginning of 2006. Causal relationship In an article in the magazine Bioelectromagnetics Leitgeb describes the existence of electrosensitivity. It is proven that some persons have a heightened sensitivity for electric, magnetic and electromagnetic fields. "Though there has not been established a causal relationship yet, the symptoms of some persons are thus severe, that they leave their homes and jobs and try to find release in an environment with less 'electromagnetic pollution'. These persons have a serious problem and need to get help. To find proof of a causal relationship is not just a scientific interest, but the problem also has a socio-economic aspect", says Leitgeb. UMTS mobile phone masts In The Netherlands there is a growing stir about the placement of UMTS mobile phone masts. Also the GSM mobile phone masts, DECT wireless telephones and WLAN wireless networks are suspect of causing 'radiofrequent radiation sickness'. A symptom is the heightened electrosensitivity to low frequency electric and magnetic fields (50 Hz), but the sickness also would have other symptoms like sleeping disturbances, palpitations of the heart, high blood pressure, tinglings, concentration and remembrance distortions, dizziness, burning skin, tinnitus, eye problems, lack of energy and many more. In The Netherlands a study by TNO confirmed the correlation of cognitive functional deviations and the radiation of GSM and UMTS. Moreover, the radiation of UMTS appeared to cause tinglings and dizziness. From: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/newssearch.php?newsid=23610 And: http://www.mast-victims.org/index.php?content=newsnrpbes sources: 1. Grazer Woche, 'Studie: Handymast stört Schlaf' by Dieter Demmelmair 2. Elektrosmognews of 18 Jan. 2005 3. IZGMF Meldungen 'Epros Schlafstudie zwischen Sensation und Dementi', 21 Jan. 2005 4. Answers by N. Leitgeb to questions by Frans van Velden, e-mail, 21 Jan. 2005 5. Electrosensibility and Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity, Bioelectromagnetics 24:387-394 (2003)
WASHINGTON-A study published in the June issue of the journal Neuroepidemilogy found an increased risk for acoustic neuroma-a type of benign brain tumor-associated with analog mobile phones. The research was conducted by Lennart Hardell of the Department of Oncology at Obrebro University in Sweden, in collaboration with Michael Carlberg and Kjell Hansson Mild. The researchers said the tumor risk was highest for the 15-year-plus latency period, but they cautioned that particular result is based on low numbers, and therefore, must be interpreted with caution. The risk of acoustic neuroma for digital cell-phone subscribers increased significantly only in the five- to 10-year latency period and the biological relevance of the finding is unclear, according to the study. The risk for another type of tumor-known as meningioma-in patients diagnosed between 2000 and 2003 was significantly increased only in the temporal area of the brain and only with increased latency for analog and digital phone use. Hardell was the plaintiff's star expert witness in an $800 million cell phone-brain cancer suit dismissed by a federal court in 2002. The judge ruled scientific evidence linking cell phones to cancer was not strong enough to warrant sending the case to trial. The Hardell-led research group, for their part, said a pattern is beginning to emerge. "This is the third case control study showing a link between significantly increased risk for acoustic neuroma and cellular telephone use," researchers stated. "Regarding meningioma, a somewhat increased risk was found, although the association was not as clear as for acoustic neuroma." Government health officials in the United States and in other countries say research to date does not show an association between cell phones and cancer, but they have called for continued research to address conflicting findings in the scientific literature. Meantime, a handful of health-related suits against wireless firms and industry trade groups are pending in federal and state courts.