Radiation exists as waves of energy travelling through space and matter, and is classified by frequency.
As our sun radiates its light and heat through space, the Earth absorbs some as do our bodies. We know that getting some sun on our skin is essential for our health and the acquisition of vitamin D. But if we get to much sun, we get sunburn and sometimes skin cancers.
But there are many more forms of radiation, some of which some are more immediately fatal. Exposure to radiation emitted by uranium and nuclear fission causes many health problems, especially cancers.
Today we live in a soup of radiation which permeates out environment and exists in many forms. Listed here from the most dangerous to what is considered least harmful.
As we live in an invisible virtual soup of many kinds of radiation it seems highly probable that some of it has an adverse effect on our health and our lives, but like so many things that provide convenience and growth for our civilization, the usefulness out weighs the risk and the millions who die every year from cancers and radiation poisoning are at the present time simply acceptable losses. Perhaps in time as we evolve, our bodies will become more resistant to toxic radiation but we have no way of knowing and we may not have enough time as human fertility continues to decline and our long term existence as a species is in doubt.
Nuclear accidents as at Chernobyl, Fukushima and Long Island. Radiation from Fukushima is currently spreading over the north Pacicic Ocean and it has the potential to cause more serious problems.
High exposure can cause instant death. low exposure causes cancers and birth deformaties.
In countries attacked by the US military, inhabitants and visitors are at high risk due to the US use of depleted uranium weapons. High exposure to concentrations of radioactive matter can cause instant death, low exposure causes cancers and birth deformaties.
Nuclear testing sites like Muraroa where the life expectancy on the inhabitants is only 50 years. High exposure to concentrations of radioactive matter can cause instant death. low exposure causes cancers and birth deformaties.
- Gamma rays
A form of ionizing radiation, gamma rays cause serious damage when absorbed by living tissue and are therefore a health hazard. Gamma rays are used for food irradiation to sterilize and kill any living organisms that may be residing in the food. They also destroy the life force of the food and as in grains and other seed containing foods, also kills the seed so that it cannot germinate and grow.
A form of ionizing radiation, x-rays are used in medical scanners and limited exposure for a few seconds over a lifetime is thought to be fairly harmless. But while this is an excellent diagnostic tool in medicine and dentistry, there are some who have developed cancers following x-rays being taken.
- UV and our sun
While we cannot live or see our environment without our sun which gives off many forms of radiation, it is the ultra violet which gives us a nice tan but excess exposure burns which can burn our skin causing skin cancer or melanoma.
- Infra red
Used domestically as heat in cooking and heating infra red is also widely used in science, telecommunications and by the military. Exposure to small amounts of low level infra red is not harmful.
Used domestically in our microwave ovens for cooking, they are also used extensively in long distance communications. Wireless local area networks such as Bluetooth also use microwaves. To be safe, keep a metres away from a working microwave oven.
- Mobile phones and cordless phones.
Mobile phones use electromagnetic radiation in the microwave range, but the jury is still out as to how dangerous mobile phones are to human health. While there is direct evidence that some cell phone users actually develop brain tumors near to the side of the head they most often use cell phones, researchers downplay this point.
Australian research conducted in 2009 subjected in vitro samples of human spermatozoa to radio-frequency radiation at 1.8 GHz and specific absorption rates (SAR) of 0.4 to 27.5 W/kg showed a correlation between increasing SAR and decreased motility and vitality in sperm, increased oxidative stress and 8-Oxo-2'-deoxyguanosine markers, stimulating DNA base adduct formation and increased DNA fragmentation.
Despite the growing awareness of risk of using mobile phones, the it seems world cannot move on without them and the increase in brain cancers and infertility will be written off as acceptable losses.
To be safe, keep the device at least six inches or 20 centimetres from your body at all times. Carrying a phone in your pocket may be as harmful as talking on it.
Radio waves are a type of electromagnetic radiation with wavelengths in the electromagnetic spectrum longer than infrared light. Like all other electromagnetic waves, they travel at the speed of light. Around the world there must be many hundreds of thousands of radio stations broadcasting and these waves permeate our atmosphere. While they are thought to be harmless researchers like Dr. Robert O. Becker M.D., Director of Orthopedic Surgery at the Veterans Hospital, Syracuse, New York, and author of the book, "The Body Electric," say that "Electromagnetic radiation pollution is a bigger threat to the planet than global warming."
- Electrical lines and appliances.
Thought to be harmless by the authorities, there are many reports from around the world that people living near transmission lines experience and increased cancer risk. Some home owners are so concerned that they will turn off power supplies to the rooms they sleep in overnight.
The Body Electric, Electromagnetism and the Foundation of Life. By Robert O. Becker & Gary Selden.
Available from: Fishpond or Amazon
Mobile phone radiation and health
Mobile phones and cancer risk – Interphone study review
The 2010 Interphone study