As humans we have been immersed in a soup of radiation all around us for our entire existence. This radiation comes from natural sources like the sun in the sky, to the radon gassing up from the ground, to the smoke from the earliest fires, and even the potassium inside an ordinary banana and our very bones. In our existence we have become able to cope with this sort of radiation though but problems arise now though from exposure gained through exposure to new and never before encountered frequencies that are being generated by our more and more technologically advanced lifestyle. While many studies have been done, none have been able to conclusively state that exposure to these frequencies at varies energy levels is biologically safe. Whether the result is damage to DNA through highly energetic ionizing radiation or simply through thermal heating leading to a shift in protein synthesis, the new sources of radiation that are all around us are having a meaningful and visible impact on our wellbeing.
Radiation spans the spectrum of frequencies from the extremely low frequency, such as the 60Hz radiation emitted from every single power line in our homes, places of work, and environments, to high frequency ionizing radiation such as x-rays and gamma rays. Our planet itself does not have a meaningful and strong source of production for any of the various frequencies that we are bombarded with. Space itself is filled with massive amounts of electromagnetic radiation spanning the whole range of possible frequencies, but it’s unable to reach us due to our atmosphere. Earth’s atmosphere acts as an almost perfect shield against low frequency, mid frequency, and ultra-high frequency radiation, letting through mostly visible light, with some ultraviolet and infrared, while almost completely blocking space microwave, radio wave, and x-ray radiation. Thus our bodies have not evolved to cope with the overwhelming amount of microwave and radio wave radiation we’re now exposed to. To keep the hard numbers in perspective, the amount of radiation that your body is exposed to from all the various sources for the entire year averages out to 4.75 pW/cm^2, that’s 4.75 x 10^-12 Watts. This includes things such as radon gas exposure, potassium in bananas, natural uranium deposits, and the miniscule amount of the various frequencies the atmosphere does not block. There is also a separate meaningful amount of UV radiation that we’re exposed to. Going outside on a bright sunny summer day will expose you to about 2 uW/cm^2, 2 x 10^-6 Watts, of UV radiation. As you can see, aside from direct exposure to the UV of sunlight, the human body is exposed to very little on average in terms of radiation.
When comparing manmade sources of radiation, it’s important to keep in mind that distance is very important to considering exposure. Someone 100x closer to a source will be exposed to 10,000x as much radiation. All figures here will be referenced in W/cm^2 (distance from source) to adequately allow a comparison between different sources. Another important consideration is time. A person can be exposed to extremely high intensity sources of radiation for extremely brief times and be fine, for example a lightning strike produces a spectrum of very intense radiation lasting only milliseconds though, but it’s the cumulative dosage received from common every day sources that accumulate true damage.
Nowadays almost half of the radiation a person is exposed to on average during their lifetime will be manmade, if not more depending on their physical proximity to various technologies. The bulk of that manmade exposure during a lifetime comes from medical devices, specifically x-rays. Common dental x-rays are now becoming factors in brain cancer, and full body CT scans, thought modestly safe, expose the person to thousands of times more radiation than a dental x-ray for example. A dental x-ray puts out about 10uW/cm^2 while a running CT scanner bombards a person with close to 30uW/cm^2. These are also the most intense radiation types, x-rays, which have been proven to cause DNA damage. While these numbers may be high, and exposure dangerous, a dental x-ray lasts mere seconds, and CT scan only a few minutes during a lifetime, while cell phones and WIFI signals bombard us day and night.
Radar installations a common fixture of the environment, providing aviation guidance and weather data, but they put out massive amounts of energy to do so. An airport radar operates at 2.5 MHz and puts out 25kW, 3 pW/cm^2 (1 mile), while a weather radar operates at 10 MHz and can put out as much as 750kW, 1.5 pW/cm^2 (4 miles) . Also in this long distance category are radio towers operating at around 100Mhz, using up to 100kW, producing 35 fW/cm^2 (7 miles). The closer you live, the more intense the radiation, but thankfully even though they produce hundreds of thousands of watts of power, most people aren’t extremely close to them. We do live around and carry devices that operate in these frequencies though.
Telecommunications has driven the close body placement of many highly emissive devices. A CB radio works at 27 MHz, putting out around 4W, 35 uW/cm^2 (5 ft). A walkie talkie, operating at 500 MHz, puts out 2 W, right against the side of a person, radiating, 3 mW/cm^2 (5cm). Cell phones operate at around 1.9 GHz, producing between 0.1W to 0.6W usually directly against a person’s skull, 15 mW/cm^2 (2cm). Then we have the most ubiquitous frequency space, the 2.4GHz systems, which include bluetooth, 100mw, .2 mW/cm^2 (2cm), WIFI laptops, 200mw, .1mW/cm^2 (10 cm),WIFI routers, 500mw, 4 nW/cm^2 (10 ft) , and microwave oven leakage, 1W, 9 uW/cm^2 (1 ft) . All of these continuous daily cumulative exposures to something the human body has never been evolutionarily acclimated to.
Another important consideration is the format of the signals and radiation that the human body is exposed to. The background radiation that every single person is exposed to is very chaotic in nature, in terms of the intensity of the radiation and how often someone is exposed to it, and it is spread across a vast majority of the spectrum. The radiation patterns of various wifi devices are much more consistent, in exposure and intensity and periodicity. While on the face this might not seem detrimental or significant, the rhythmic nature of radiation can’t be ignored even though it has been for the most part overlooked in the mainstream. Music can induce certain feelings in individuals, and even make us get up and dance, yet the same sounds applied randomly and chaotic sound like a disorganized mess having little effect on us, and ultra-low frequency sound, infrasonics, are used as cues to danger, and extended exposure can induce feelings of anxiety and panic. They’re being used in movie theaters to help set the mood during horror movies. This is in addition to strobe patterns that have an effect on individuals. Strobe lights at certain frequencies are known to induce ill effects in individuals, such as seizures, but have negative health impacts on even seemingly healthy individuals. There have been recent reports that people living near large wind farms are experiencing noticeable health effects due to the low infrasonics produced by the turbine blades as well as frequent light and dark pattern strobe across the landscape as the blades turn. These seemingly innocuous physical events only have a negative effect on people during prolonged, low intensity, periodic exposure, exactly the same type of exposure an individual would have to wifi signals that they would be around constantly.
The above data is plotted on this logarithmic chart. Each single digit increase corresponds to 10x increase in strength. Thus going from the background radiation, which is around 4.8 x 10^-12 to cell phone radiation, at 1.5 x 10^-2, means the cell phone radiation level is almost 10,000,000,000x as powerful as the background radiation.
To calculate the watts/cm^2 from a given power source, to use a baseline for how much radiation a person is exposed to cross-sectionally I used the standard surface area of a sphere of a given radius: 4 x pi x r^2 and various Tx power sources.
Tx Power for Radar, Radio, CB, Cell Phone, Bluetooth, Wifi Router/Laptop, and leaking microwave oven: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DBm
Tx Power for Dental X-Ray & CT Scan & Background Radiation:
UV Radiation & Conversion of X-ray/Background Radition into watts/cm^2 from SV/year:
Research Commissioned by Aviontics.
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