BBC-The electromagnetic spectrum

The electromagnetic spectrum activity

Infrared, x-rays, visible light... where do they all fit in the electromagnetic spectrum? Find out in this activity.


What is electromagnetic energy?

Electromagnetic energy consists of waves of electric and magnetic energy radiating through space, and travelling at the speed of light. The area where these waves are found is called an electromagnetic field. The main source of electromagnetic energy is the sun, but man-made sources account for large amounts of the electromagnetic radiation in our day-to-day environment. Items such as hairdryers, electrical ovens, fluorescent lights, microwave ovens, stereos, wireless phones and computers produce electromagnetic fields of varying intensities.

2.  How is electromagnetic energy measured?

Electromagnetic energy is measured in units of wavelength and frequency. The wavelength is the distance that a wave travels in one cycle and is measured in metres. The frequency is measured by the number of cycles per second and the unit of measurement is the Hertz (Hz). One cycle per second equals one Hertz. One kilohertz (kHz) is 1,000 Hz; one megahertz (MHz) is one million Hz; one gigahertz is one billion Hz. The frequency of a wave is inversely related to its length - at 50 Hz the wavelengths are 6,000 Km, and at 100 MHz they are 3 metres. Electromagnetic fields are arranged according to their frequencies in an orderly fashion in what is known as the electromagnetic spectrum.

3.  What is radiofrequency radiation?

Radiofrequency (RF) fields are part of the electromagnetic (EM) spectrum. The EM spectrum is divided into ionizing and non-ionizing bands based on how the wave interacts with biological tissue.

The non-ionizing portion, usually in the frequency range up to 300 GHz, doesn't affect biological tissue and includes the extremely low frequency (ELF) band, radio waves and microwaves in the radiofrequency communication band, and infrared and visible light. The RF part of the spectrum is usually defined as being between 30 kHz and 300 GHz. RF radiation is mainly used in telecommunications. Mobile phones employ frequencies in the range of 800 MHz to 2GHz. Other uses of RF energy include microwave ovens and medical treatments.

The ionizing portion of the EM spectrum (made up of ultraviolet light, gamma rays and X-rays that have very short wavelengths, very high frequencies, and very high intensities) does affect biological tissue. Mobile phones do not operate in this spectrum. For more on this, see "Primer".

More questions and answers


The Parliamentary Assembly, Council of Europe

Doc. 12608 . 6 May 2011

The potential dangers of electromagnetic fields and their effect on the environment

Committee on the Environment, Agriculture and Local and Regional Affairs

Rapporteur: Mr Jean HUSS, Luxembourg, Socialist Group


Challenge of Exotic Weapons / Foriegn Affairs / Canada

Enquiries Service
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
125 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, ON, Canada
K1A 0G2

1-800-267-8376 (toll-free in Canada)
613-944-4000 (in the National Capital Region and outside Canada)
613-944-9136 (TTY)

Gerry Duffett
Toronto / Ontario / Canada


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  • As charged in a complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Albany, the essence of the defendants’ scheme was the creation of a mobile, remotely operated, radiation-emitting device capable of killing targeted individuals silently with lethal doses of X-ray radiation. The defendants plotted to use this device against unwitting victims who would not immediately be aware that they had absorbed lethal doses of radiation, the harmful effects of which would only appear days after the exposure. This was an undercover investigation and, unbeknownst to the defendants, the device that the defendants designed and intended to use was rendered inoperable at all times and posed no danger to the public."

  • BBC-The electromagnetic spectrum

    The electromagnetic spectrum activity

    Infrared, x-rays, visible light... where do they all fit in the electromagnetic spectrum? Find out in this activity.

  • RF Dryers – Finding Hazards in the Workplace

    When Radio Frequency (RF) safety is mentioned, it is often in the context of cell phones and cell towers. However, a multitude of RF systems exist in industry, medicine, and laboratories that require an understanding and evaluation of potential radiation hazards. The workplace is subject to OSHA standards including Section 5 under the General Duty Clause which states in part employers are required to provide employees employment and a place of employment which is free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees. However, few safety plans take into account the potential of radio waves from RF generators. Many facility managers and safety directors are not even aware of machines in their workplaces that could pose risks.

    One of the more ubiquitous industrial radio frequency machines is the RF dryer. Often imbedded in process systems, these machines can operate at very high power levels and pose serious personnel risks. This essay seeks to introduce managers to these risks and their management.

    The invention of the microwave oven in 1946 started the use of RF generators in the food processing industry. Today, RF generators are utilized widely in manufacturing processes including the drying or heating of ceramic materials used for automobile components as well as sealing bags and curing foods. Other applications include the drying of textile yarns, fabrics, and garments as well as post-baking and moisture control of food products.

    Most of the RF generators used in drying processes are of a size comparable with a high power radio station. The generator output is connected to two electrode plates which creates an electric field inside the process or drying chamber. The material to be heated is conveyed between the electrodes, where an alternating energy field causes molecules in the material to continuously reorient similar to bar magnets moving to face opposite poles in a magnetic field. Friction resulting from this molecular movement causes the material to rapidly heat throughout its entire mass. An RF dryer offers the advantages of reduced processing times, consistent quality, and simplified process control.

    Learn how RF dryers present OSHA workplace safety risks

    RF Generators used in the drying of ceramic materials in manufacturing

    Typically an RF dryer which is one type of generator used in manufacturing processes operates at one of the following frequencies: 13.56 MHz, 27.12 MHz, 40.68 MHz and 2450 MHz. The output power from each of these generators can be high ranging from 5 to 150 kW. As a perspective, a typical AM radio station operates at 5 kW while and FM station radiated power is 100 kW.

    A comprehensive measurement survey by a competent engineer of all areas surrounding RF dryers utilized in a manufacturing process requires the use of a calibrated radiation meter and isotropic probe as well as knowledge of the behavior of electromagnetic fields including radiated power density for various objects and surfaces. LBA Group, Inc. studies and reports on a variety of industrial RF applications including RF dryers, cranes and smart meter production facilities. More information can be found at

    LBA CTO Chris Horne, PE auditing an industrial generator for hot spots

    LBA CTO Chris Horne, PE auditing an industrial generator for hot spots

    Measurements should be performed around all faces of the RF dryer including the waveguide between transmitter and process chamber as well in the areas where factory employees work. Measurements should be taken as a percent of maximum permissible exposure (MPE) for the general population standard because manufacturing employees are not fully aware nor can they control RF exposure.  For FCC purposes, the general population standard applies to human exposure to RF fields when the general public is exposed or in which persons who are exposed as a consequence of their employment may not be made fully aware of the potential for exposure or cannot exercise control over their exposure. Therefore, members of the general public always fall under this category when exposure is not employment-related.

    Although not likely to be applicable to a manufacturing environment, The FCC also have exposure limits for occupational(controlled) environments where human exposure to RF fields are for persons exposed as a consequence of their employment and have been made fully aware of the potential for exposure and can exercise control over their exposure.

    For a typical manufacturing environment with RF dryers, the general population standard applies where an MPE limit of 0.98 milliwatt per square centimeter (mW/cm2) is used for 13.56 MHz emissions, 0.24 mW/cm2 for the 27.12 MHz emission, 0.2 mW/cm2 for the 40.68 MHz emissions and 1 mW/cm2for the 2450 MHz emissions as prescribed in FCC OET Bulletin-65.

    Some of the RF dryers used in manufacturing process can have “leaky” doors where RF radiation can escape through the door seals. Manufacturers of this equipment should be aware of the potential RF hazards and the need for adequate shielding designed into the equipment. Care must be taken to ensure no RF energy from these dryers leak. The initial approach to any RF dryer should be a cautious one where measurements are made at a relatively large distance then moving closer to the equipment while monitoring the radiation meter. Both electric and magnetic fields are a concern in RF dryers that operate in the HF band.

    In a recent RF survey by LBA engineers, a large manufacturing facility that supplies automobile materials, containing various RF dryers was found to be in compliance with FCC MPE levels. However, one RF dryer contained a “leaky door” and excessive power density readings were observed 3 to 6 inches from its surface. The power density levels exceeded MPE limits close to the door seal then decreased rapidly and

    met MPE limits at 12 inches from the surface. Damaged finger stock in the door seals can leak RF energy and persons who may accidently stand against or near the door could be exposed to excessive RF energy. Touching the door seal with exposed skin where the leak exists can be an RF shock or burn hazard.

    Rear view of RF Dryer showing access doors

    Rear view of RF Dryer showing access doors

    A coordinated test and RF measurements of the generator and its leaky door were performed and planned in accordance with the manufacturing process schedule. However, if the leaky door could not have been immediately corrected, the appropriate RF signage should be installed, and workers alerted to the confined “hot spot”.

    There are many RF processes in manufacturing, including heat sealers, RF welders, plasma systems, and many more. The hazards associated with these may not be immediately obvious. To assist safety managers, LBA offers a range of RF safety planning and program services, including site audits, industrial hazard evaluations, safety training courses, and radio frequency safety plan development.

    LBA’s new OSHA RF Safety Awareness course is oriented to wireless industry workers. However, it is relevant to all trades and types of personnel that may encounter RF exposure in the workplace. Information on the RF safety training is at

    For assistance in RF safety matters, contact Bryan Dixon, Safety Services Director at 252-757-03279 or

  • New Paper: EMF effects on mouse brain proteome

    Press release:

    The research group of Professor Lukas Margaritis (Faculty of Biology, University of Athens and the Biomedical Research Foundation of the Academy of Athens), within the framework of the activities seeking for the truth underlining the possible effects of daily life electromagnetic fields, has performed this study as part of the Doctorate Dissertation of Adamantia F. Fragopoulou.

    Using ordinary working conditions of mobile phone and wireless DECT base and by applying state of the art proteome science approaches, they demonstrated that a large number of major brain proteins have been changed. Namely proteins that are responsible for the integrity of brain functions, in such critical regions like hippocampus, cerebellum and frontal lobe are below normal levels whereas an equally large number are found well above physiological levels. These “underexpressed” or “overexressed” proteins may play a role in the short term or long term effects reported as a consequence of mobile phone exposure, including memory deficits, headaches, sleep disorders, brain tumors. This study is the first large scale analysis of the mouse brain proteome to be published so far. The research team having recently been awarded a large “Thalis” grant is potentially aiming in elucidating the EMF effects from the molecular level up to the organism level, exploiting the most suitable model systems (mice, insects, nematodes, lizards, cell cultures, human skin).

    Published in Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine, Early Online: 1–25, 2012 Copyright Q Informa Healthcare USA, Inc.

    Brain proteome response following whole body exposure of mice to mobile phone or wireless DECT base radiation Adamantia F. Fragopoulou1, Athina Samara2, Marianna H. Antonelou1, Anta Xanthopoulou3, Aggeliki Papadopoulou3, Konstantinos Vougas3, Eugenia Koutsogiannopoulou2, Ema Anastasiadou2, Dimitrios J. Stravopodis1, George Th. Tsangaris3 & Lukas H. Margaritis1 1Department of Cell Biology and Biophysics, Athens University, Athens, Greece, 2Genetics and Gene Therapy Division, Center of Basic Research II, Biomedical Research Foundation of the Academy of Athens, Athens, Greece, and 3Proteomics Research Unit, Center of Basic Research II, Biomedical Research Foundation of the Academy of Athens, Athens, Greece


    The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of two sources of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) on the proteome of cerebellum, hippocampus, and frontal lobe in Balb/c mice following long-term whole body irradiation. Three equally divided groups of animals (6 animals/group) were used; the first group was exposed to a typical mobile phone, at a SAR level range of 0.17– 0.37 W/kg for 3 h daily for 8 months, the second group was exposed to a wireless DECT base (Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications/Telephone) at a SAR level range of 0.012– 0.028 W/kg for 8 h/day also for 8 months and the third group comprised the sham-exposed animals. Comparative proteomics analysis revealed that long-term irradiation from both EMF sources altered significantly (p , 0.05) the expression of 143 proteins in total (as low as 0.003 fold downregulation up to 114 fold overexpression). Several neural function related proteins (i.e., Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein (GFAP), Alpha-synuclein, Glia Maturation Factor beta (GMF), and apolipoprotein E (apoE)), heat shock proteins, and cytoskeletal proteins (i.e., Neurofilaments and tropomodulin) are included in this list as well as proteins of the brain metabolism (i.e., Aspartate aminotransferase, Glutamate dehydrogenase) to nearly all brain regions studied. Western blot analysis on selected proteins confirmed the proteomics data. The observed protein expression changes may be related to brain plasticity alterations, indicative of oxidative stress in the nervous system or involved in apoptosis and might potentially explain human health hazards reported so far, such as headaches, sleep disturbance, fatigue, memory deficits, and brain tumor long-term induction under similar exposure conditions.

  • Other technology being studied includes 'wireless electronic interceptors' that can be fired a greater distance than Tasers,"
    Police to test laser that 'blinds rioters' A shoulder-mounted laser that emits a blinding wall of light capable of  repelling rioters is to be trialled by police under preparations to  prevent a repeat of this summer's looting and arson. Telegraph (UK) By Matthew Holehouse 11:34AM GMT 11 Dec 2011



    21 OCTOBER 2011


  • EMF Journel
    BioInitiative Report (Very Important Document Describing RF, ELF to the Biological Living Being)


    BioInitiative Report (Search List)


    Electromagnetic stimulation in psychiatry

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