Non-Ionizing Radiation Term Paper

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Non-Ionizating Radiation

In recent years mobile telecommunication has developed to a large extent. It has been able to gain a place of importance in society. Encouraged on the basis of these developments the society on the whole is facing a humongous alteration. Now it is possible to access any individual in any part of the world where telecommunication has spread its roots. The latest technologies actually let us now to transfer huge amounts of data at a high speed, and allow us to have a voice conversation and the messaging service too, and it is not very far away when we would probably also be able to communicate through video and also have larger file data transfers. This makes it easier to make use of mobile videophones and also access the Internet through mobiles. Since mid-1980's the nationwide cellular service has been introduced in the United States and the number of people who made use of the wireless increased tremendously. An estimate states that in the year 2001, nearly 16 million Americans were subscribers. By 2001, now nearly one hundred and ten million individuals are subscribers in the United States and more opportunity for growth is expected. But at the same time there is also the growing concern that these mobile telephones and their antennas are harmful for health. It was stated in the year 2000, that there would be nearly 92 million individuals using cell phones, which meant that the number of users increased by a million nearly every year. (Frumkin; Jacobson; Gansler; Thun; 2001)

Though these technological advances and instruments have their advantage they also pose concern to several individuals. The most important concern is of whether the electromagnetic rays produced from these instruments would cause danger to the people using them. The most common discussion in this field is that technology is changing rapidly and that man cannot adapt to these changes as quickly as the changing technology. There fore it has become very essential to determine whether the human body can suit it self to these changes and to analyze and find out if there is any evidence to support this statement. The media has of lately been focusing the relationship between the mobile phones and brain cancer. Many network programs conducted their own tests and gave their reports stating that some mobile instruments emitted a lot more frequency radio Frequency (RF) in comparison to the level of emition that was permitted by the Federal Communications Commission Administration. (FCC). ( The FCC has made efforts since then to note that all the mobile phones used in the U.S. stayed within the limit of the RF energy. Again, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sees to it that these mobile phones do not affect the health of the individuals using them. These agencies also have the right to take action in case they feel if any company is overwriting the rules.

Where most concerns have been raised about electromagnetic waves or the EM and cancer with concentration on microwave (MW) or the radio frequency (RF) emission, there are other views, which states that it is the static magnetic fields that may ultimately cause cancer. Though there is not much theoretical or practical experiments conducted to prove this aspect, the exact truth cannot be really established as to the connection between static fields and human health hazards. The actual level of communication between the electromagnetic source and the biological material basically relies upon the frequency radiated by the source. X rays, the ultraviolet rays, visible light, MW/RF rays, the magnetic fields all have different levels of electromagnetic rays, but are all sources of electromagnetic energy. Their wavelength or frequency level can identify the difference in these sources. Most commonly electromagnetic spectrum is spoken of as waves of energy but this is not entirely correct as they are at times treated as particles, more than waves and this is actually true at a higher frequency. At these high frequency the UV and the X rays, have enough energy to break the chemical bonds. This breaking is called as ionization and it is this part of the electromagnetic spectrum that is called as ionizing.

The non-ionization of molecules has been always associated with the biological affects of X-rays. When the frequency is lower, such as that of visible light, the RF and the MW is very low to be able to disorder chemical bonds. This electromagnetic spectrum is called as non-ionizing. Since these non-ionizing electromagnetic energy cannot break chemical bonds there is no relation between these and the non-ionizing electromagnetic rays. But it is true that this non-ionizing electromagnetic energy can cause certain biological effects and the biological effects of these soft UV, visible and IR frequencies all rely on the photon energy that is emitted. But most of these consist of electronic excitation rather than ionization and most of these also do not occur at a frequency less than 3*10^11 Hz in terms of IR. These RF and MW radiations can cause heating in tissues in which they are in direct contact. It is the frequency of the source that determines the amount and the direction of the object being heated. The AM radio uses a frequency which is much below, 10^6 Hz, here the energy level is very low, and hence cannot cause any sort of damage to the human body or to animals. (Moulder and Foster, 1995)

Most studies relating to cancer and power lines deal with individuals who live near power lines or who work in electrical occupations. Some of these studies do show a very insignificant connection between their exposure to the power frequency magnetic fields and the actual cause for cancer. Many studies that were conducted recently go to prove that there is very irrelevant connection between the power lines and cancer. When scientists of the U.S. National Academy of Science conducted a review in 1996, they stated that 'there is no proof to state that there is any connection between the two aspects'. The review conducted by the U.S. National Institute of Health reached the conclusion that, 'there is no scientific evidence that suggest that there is any connection between these electromagnetic rays causing cancer'. Another review by the U.K National Radiation Protection Board, stated that ' by conducting experiments in laboratories we are not going to be successful in evaluating how these studies affect the human life and also there are evidences by human epidemiological studies conducted that the power lines do not in any way cause cancer'

The International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection after conducting a review stated that ' since there is no proof of any occurrence of the disease from the studies conducted on both animals and human beings, it can be said that there is no relation between the chronic diseases and the power frequency fields'. The study conducted on childhood leukemia in 1997-2000 goes to prove that there is no relationship between power lines and childhood leukemia. Contradicting this study a number of studies in 2000 stated that, that if these power lines were properly measured than there is a distinct relation between the children suffering from leukemia and the actual influence that power lines has caused. At the same time, another series of studies proved that even if animals were kept in a high power frequency atmosphere even for their entire lifetime, it did not lead to cancer. Therefore, many scientists feel that there is no connection between the power lines and its contribution to cancer. (

The frequency for various wireless communication systems is different. In the United States as such, there are two main frequency ranges, the 850 Mhz which most old mobile instruments used, and the 1900 Mhz the one sued by most new personal communication systems. Most European mobile phones use the GSM technology, which is different from the mobiles used in the U.S., and operate at a frequency of 900 Mhz and 1800 Mhz. Most other instruments also generate the same amount of frequency. The energy generated from these instruments is called non-ionizing because they are said to have photon energy to remove atoms from living tissues, which may cause a lot of serious biological problems. The main reason these biological effects transmit RF energy is because they get heated up soon. The instruments are always sent under a check and the in the United States and other Western countries there are standards as to the level of RF energy that can be emitted. As of now, these only lead to tissue heating and are of not much concern and if mobiles with low power are used should not pose to be a threat. To identify the exact reason for cancer and the level of exposure to an individual is very difficult to identify, as there is no single diagnosis for the disease.

It is very important that we learn to discriminate between the biological and physiological and health effects. The mobile phone base station are mostly countered to low…

Sources Used in Document:


Frumkin, Howard; Jacobson, Anne; Gansler, Ted; Thun, Michael J. (2001) Environmental Carcinogens - Cellular Phones and Risk of Brain Tumors, CA Cancer J. Clin; 51: 137-141

Rothman, KJ; Loughlin et al., JE (1996) Overall mortality of cellular telephone customers. Epidemiology 7:303-305.

Dreyer, NA; Loughlin, JE; Rothman; KJ (1999) Cause-specific mortality in cellular telephone users. JAMA 282:1814-1816

Hardell, L; N. sman et al., A: (1999) Use of cellular telephones and the risk of brain tumors: a case-control study. Int. J. Oncol. 15:113-116.

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