What Is the Electromagnetic Spectrum?

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  • Electromagnetic radiation is all around us – but they’re not all the same! They have different wavelengths and differ in impact depending on how often/much we are exposed to it 
  • They can be put on a spectrum to distinguish and it’s vital to gain an understanding of the varying consequences is important to take the right precautions! 

We talk so much about EMR – but isn’t it everywhere? Are they all the same? Not really! 

Some background first – electric fields are created by differences in voltage – so the higher this voltage, the stronger the consequential field. And magnetic fields result from electric current flows – the higher this current, the stronger the magnetic field. An electric field can still be present without any current flowing. This can be split into natural and human-made sources of electromagnetic radiation/fields – which is why they’re inevitable and virtually impossible to avoid (just in case you thought you could boycott them!!) 

In terms of natural sources, EMFs are present everywhere in our environment but because they’re invisible to the eye, it can be hard to pick them out. For example, electric fields are created by the build-up of charges in the atmosphere linked with thunderstorms or radiation from the sun which also counts. Our bodies also emit electro-magnetic radiation. Fun fact: the earth’s magnetic field also creates a sort of a compass to align in the north-south direction which is used by birds & fish for navigation! Although radiation from the sun is primarily included in this category, light from lamps, flames, and infrared sources can also be considered as “natural”. 

Man-made EMFs are more harmful and stronger in impact and frequency – these are the ones emitted from electrical devices, Bluetooth devices, electric cars, and other EMF hotspots. Our exposure to this part of the spectrum has worsened over the years because of the way that technology has changed. There are 2 reasons why man-made sources of EMFs have the potential to permanently change our biological systems (i.e. through oxidative stress and permanent DNA change) and natural sources don’t. This spectrum is useful to distinguish between different sources of radiation:  

  1. The man-made EMFs yield extremely macroscopic field strengths, while that of the natural EMF is actually 0 at all frequencies 
  2. Man-made EMFs enter our body and are mostly absorbed while natural EMFs from the sun are not absorbed. The extra heat absorbed actually changes the way our cells are structured and this can affect our DNA. The spectrum here can be divided by the energy’s wavelength. The longer the wavelength, the lower the energy emitted. Starting with the longest: 
    1. Radiowaves
    2. Microwaves
    3. Infrared
    4. UV Waves
    5. Gamma Rays (highly dangerous) 
    6. Xrays (highly dangerous) 

Therefore man-made EMFs are harmful and more dangerous since they not only have the potential to damage our current biological processes, but also the potential to interfere with current biological processes. The natural EMFs however, don’t have any side effects because of the lack of strength/force and can actually be good for our health.  

So what type of man-made EMFs should you watch out for? This can be all the technology you use, the devices you use, and networks (4G, 5G) all are important and dangerous sources. It’s important to recognize where your source of radiation falls on the spectrum! As mentioned previously, the duration, your exposure, and your proximity are all factors that can determine the intensity of effects you face. 

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