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June 2010 - Dec 2013

Minimizing breast cancer risk

May 2010

Time to move beyond salt ?

Salt hypothesis vs. reality

Is sodium bad?

April 2010

Salt studies: the latest score

From Dahl to INTERSALT

Salt hypothesis' story

March 2010

Salt war

Do bone drugs work?

Diabetes vs. drugs, 3:0?

February 2010

The MMR vaccine war: Wakefield vs. ?

Wakefield proceedings: an exception?

Who's afraid of a littl' 1998 study?
 

January 2010

Antibiotic children

Physical activity benefits late-life health

Healthier life for New Year's resolution

 

December 2009

Autism epidemic worsening: CDC report

Rosuvastatin indication broadened

High-protein diet effects

 

November 2009

Folic acid cancer risk

Folic acid studies: message in a bottle?

Sweet, short life on a sugary diet

 

October 2009

Smoking health hazards: no dose-response

C. difficile warning

Asthma risk and waist size in women

 

September 2009

Antioxidants' melanoma risk: 4-fold or none?

Murky waters of vitamin D status

Is vitamin D deficiency hurting you?

 

August 2009

Pill-crushing children

New gut test for children and adults

Unhealthy habits - whistling past the graveyard?

 

July 2009

Asthma solution - between two opposites that don't attract

Light wave therapy - how does it actually work?

Hodgkin's lymphoma in children: better alternatives

 

June 2009

Hodgkin's, kids, and the abuse of power

Efficacy and safety of the conventional treatment for Hodgkin's:
behind the hype

Long-term mortality and morbidity after conventional treatments for pediatric Hodgkin's

 

May 2009

Late health effects of the toxicity of the conventional treatment for Hodgkin's

Daniel's true 5-year chances with the conventional treatment for Hodgkin's

Daniel Hauser Hodgkin's case: child protection or medical oppression?

April 2009

Protection from EMF: you're on your own

EMF pollution battle: same old...

EMF health threat and the politics of status quo
 

March 2009

Electromagnetic danger? No such thing, in our view...

EMF safety standards: are they safe?

Power-frequency field exposure
 

February 2009

Electricity and health

Electromagnetic spectrum: health connection

Is power pollution making you sick?

January 2009

Pneumococcal vaccine for adults useless?

DHA in brain development study - why not boys?

HRT shrinks brains

NEWS ARCHIVE
2009
2008
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February 2009

Electromagnetic spectrum: health connection

EMF&Health - }EMF spectrum - Electricity 2 - Official view 2 - Politics 2 - Protection

Radio-waves, microwaves, extremely low frequencies including 50/60Hz standard electricity waves, AM, FM, light, X-rays - they all belong to the form of energy that we generally call radiation. More specifically, electromagnetic radiation. It comes in the wide range of frequencies, called electromagnetic spectrum.

This form of energy is created at the atomic level, as electrons release energy while switching from higher- to lower-energy orbits, or while freeing themselves from atomic bonds. This movement of electrons results from the need to maintain energy balance within the atom under the input of some form of external energy.

 Energy released by electrons propagates just like a wave sent along loose cord. A complete cycle, starting from the neutral point, through the top and bottom swing (i.e. amplitude) and back to the neutral level, makes a single wave oscillation. Number of oscillations per second is the frequency, and the length between these two points is the wavelength of electromagnetic wave.

Since this energy moves at a constant speed - the speed of light - the product of wavelength and frequency equals the distance traveled by light in a second.

The unit of energy released by electrons is called photon; it is proportional to the frequency, making higher-frequency fields as much more intense for given flux density (i.e. number of photons).

Thus, the radiated energy is defined by its frequency (of oscillation) or its wavelength. Since this energy comprises two distinctive forms, namely electric and magnetic force, the unit form of radiated energy is called electromagnetic wave, and its spatial expansion is electromagnetic field.

All forms of man-made electromagnetic radiation - electrical fields, radio waves, TV, radars, cell phones, security (screening), medical/diagnostic - are created by manipulating atoms into releasing electromagnetic radiation. As such, it is a part of electromagnetic spectrum, which encompasses the entire range of electromagnetic radiation, from its lowest to its highest frequencies. The EM spectrum is,  somewhat arbitrarily, divided into a number of sub-ranges.

Following table shows the electromagnetic spectrum, with some of the main sources of electromagnetic pollution.

ELECTROMAGNETIC SPECTRUM
TYPE FREQUENCY
(Hz)
WAVELENGTH ENERGY SOURCES
(partial list)
N
o
n

i
o
n
i
z
i
g

 

I
o
n
i
z
i
g

Radio
(RF)
LF

MF

HF
3-300,000

300,000-3million

3million-300billion
100,000-1km

1km-100m

100m-1mm
0.00126-126neV

0.126-0.0126μeV

0.0000126-1.26meV
electricity
ultrasound
electronic
devices
broadcasts
radar
body
screening
Infrared (IR) 300 bill.-430 trill. 1-0.0007mm 1.26-1800meV fiber
telecom
remotes
sunshine
Visual 430-750 trillion 0.0007-0.0004mm 1.8-3.1eV sunshine
lighting
Ultraviolet (UV) 750 trill.-300qdrl. 0.4-0.001μm 3.1eV-1.2keV sunshine
tanning
X-rays 300qdrl.-50qntl. 1-0.006nm 1.2-200keV medical
diagnostic
(X-ray, CAT)
baggage
screening
Gamma-rays over 50 quintillion under 0.006nm over 200keV PET
imaging

Hz=Hertz=1 cycle per second; 1,000Hz=1kHz (kilohertz, 103Hz),
1million Hz=1MHz (megahertz, 10
6Hz), 1billion Hz=1GHz (gigahertz, 109Hz),
1trillion Hz=1THz (terahertz, 10
12Hz); 1quadrilion .Hz=1PHz (petahertz, 1015Hz),
1quintillion .Hz=1EHz (exahertz, 10
18Hz); quintillion=1,000 quadrillions=1 million trillions
LF
=low (radio) frequencies, MF=medium frequencies, HF=high frequencies
1mm=1,000μ
m (micrometer, micron)=1 million nm (nanometer)
1eV (electronVolt)=0.001keV=1,000meV=1 million μeV = 1 billion neV

Specific division of the electromagnetic spectrum vary from one source to another. For instance, the World Health Organization (WHO) limits "radio-frequency" to 10MHz-300GHz range, with 10MHz-300Hz frequencies being called "intermediate", and those below 300Hz "extremely low frequencies" (ELF). Microwave range, form 300MHz to 300GHz (1m to 1mm wavelength range) is often presented as an independent range. Some sources present the lower portion of infrared, from 300GHz to 10THz (terahertz, 1,000MHz) as a separate range - terahertz - and so on.

The most accurate division of electromagnetic spectrum, used by the industry, divides it into 20 sub-ranges within the 3Hz-300EHz span, starting at 3Hz frequency, with every next sub-range starting at ten times higher frequency that the previous.

                                                                                  visual
                                                                                    

ELF

SLF

VF

VLF

LF

MF

HF

VHF

UHF

SHF

EHF

FIR

MIR

NIR

NUV

MUV

EUV

SX

HX

Y

3
to
30
Hz

30
to
300
 

.3
to
3
kHz

3
to
30
 

30
to
300
 

.3
to
3
MHz

3
to
30
 

30
to
300
 

.3
to
3
GHz

3
to
30
 

30
to
300
 

.3
to
3
THz

3
to
30
 

30
to
300
 

.3
to
3
PHz

3
to
30
 

30
to
300
 

.3
to
3
EHz

3
to
30
 

30
to
300
 

100
to
10
Mm

10
to
1
 

1
to
.1
 

100
to
10
km

10
to
1
 

1
to
.1
 

100
to
10
m

10
to
1
 

1
to
.1
 

100
to
10
mm

10
to
1
 

1
to
.1
 

100
to
10
μm

10
to
1
 

1
to
.1
 

100
to
10
nm

10
to
1
 

1
to
0.1
 

100
to
10
pm

10
to
1
 

ELF-extremely low frequencies, SLF-super low, VF-voice, LF-low, MF-medium, HF-high, VHF-very high, UHF- ultra high, SHF-super high, EHF-extremely high, FIR, NIR, MIR - far, mid and near infrared, NUV, MUV, EUV - near, mid  and extreme ultraviolet, SX-soft X-ray, HX-hard X-ray, Y- gamma rays; THz=terahertz, PHz=petahertz, EHz=exahertz, Mm=megameter, μm=micrometer, nm=nanometer, pm=picometer

The most general division within the electromagnetic spectrum is based on the radiation energy level. High energy radiation - in excess of 10eV - can strip electrons from atoms, and break molecules and molecular bonds. Since this produces charged particles - ions - it is called ionizing radiation. Most of ultraviolet (UV), as well as X-rays and Gamma-rays are ionizing radiation.

There is no disagreement about ionizing radiation being capable of inflicting damage to life at exposure levels significantly below those causing even mildest direct sensory effects. Segment of the population exposed to this type of radiation is small - it mainly limits to occupational exposures and medical diagnostic field - but the harm it inflicts is far from negligible (see CAT scan cancer risk).

Non-ionizing radiation, ranging from the lowest outskirts of ultraviolet, through visual and infrared to radio frequencies, does not have the intensity needed to directly damage biological tissues but, if sufficiently strong at frequencies over 100kHz, can significantly raise body temperature (thermal effect, the primary acute effect at frequencies higher than 10MHz), or induce currents causing neurological effects at frequencies below 100kHz. Since the common exposure levels are much lower than those needed to cause these immediate effects, this ever present form of radiation created by man has been, for decades, assumed to be benign.

However, number of studies implicate that non-ionizing radiation does have the capability of causing disturbances at the cellular level,

resulting in either near instantaneous or delayed
adverse health effects in sensitive individuals.

It is uncertain how exactly and at what frequencies and intensities much lower levels of non-ionizing radiation than those needed to produce thermal or neurological effects can adversely affect health, but the evidence is both ample and very suggestive that it is taking place.

Visual electromagnetic frequencies are only a tiny window within electromagnetic spectrum, spanning 0.0003mm of the wavelength range, from 0.0004 to 0.0007mm (but with the range of frequencies greater than both, infrared and radio frequencies combined). Infrared wavelengths extend from 0.0007mm to 1mm; longer wavelengths belong to the radio frequency range, which has by far the widest span of wavelengths, ranging from 1mm to over 100,000km.

Due to many uses of radio waves, this range has a number of frequency sub-divisions. The high-frequency radio range, between (approximately) 300MHz and 300GHz (corresponding to 1m to 1mm wavelength, respectively), is generally known as microwave radiation. Among others, it incorporates HF (high-frequency, such as ultrasound), VHF (very high frequency), UHF (ultra-high frequencies) and SHF (super-high frequencies). These waves are used for anything from radio (FM, or "frequency modulated") and TV broadcasting to cell phones, radars and microwave ovens.

Part of the narrow mid-frequency radio range is used for AM ("amplitude modulated") radio broadcast.

Low-frequency radio waves, below 300kHz include audible sound (approximately 20Hz to 20kHz). Super low (below 300Hz) and extremely low frequencies (below 30Hz) is where most of standard electricity waves are emitted (regular electric power operates at the 50-60Hz frequency).

At the very bottom of electromagnetic frequencies is bioelectricity, ranging normally from about 1 to 100Hz. For instance, electromagnetic waves accompanying normal human brain activity range from below 1Hz (deep sleep) to 31Hz (highly alert).

Evidently, the variety of man-made electromagnetic fields share common nature with bioelectricity: the two are part of electromagnetic spectrum, merely different forms of what is generally called energy field. It is a scientific fact that energy fields do interfere; also, that human cells have the capability to detect extremely weak fields,

and react to them.

Hence, the question is not whether man-made electromagnetic fields, at any frequency or intensity level, affect functioning of the human body, but rather how.

The official medical and governmental stance is that there is no sufficient evidence proving that low-level EMF exposure causes adverse health effects. But growing segment of environmentally conscious population, as well as independent scientists and researchers think we have more than enough evidence to justify preventive protective action. Their call for action is increasingly difficult to ignore.

Who is right, and who is wrong?

We can only find out if we know the facts. Here they come. Before that, a few more words about the most widespread EMF pollutant - the standard electricity, and how it can affect health.

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