The main concerns of the electromagnetic spectrum that are common knowledge are concerning microwaves from mobile phone masts. Many people claim that they do damage to people near the masts, however the modern world may not be able to function without the communication link provided by mobile phones. Radio Waves Properties: – Highest wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum, generated by all electrical goods, generated when an electron changes its spin on a molecule.
Uses: – Transferring information without wires, radar, navigation, interstellar probes (radio waves that exert small magnetic forces like a ‘tractor beam’ have been proposed as a form of propulsion. ) Dangers: – There are no direct dangers involved with radio waves but information can be intercepted. Protection: – None needed Microwaves
Properties: – Can pass through solid objects, heat up substances as they create changing magnetic fields, some molecules that have a negative and a positive charge (water) try to align with these fields and are heated in the process. Uses: – Medical uses (killing tissue), communications, microwave ovens. Dangers: – Can ‘cook your brain’, especially dangerous to pregnant women as they affect the growth of the foetus. Protection: – Never use a damaged microwave; try to keep all microwaves inside the oven.
Infrared Properties: – A large misconception (thought to be ‘heat’ however IR rays only create heat when they are absorbed by a substance’), everything above absolute zero gives off infrared waves. Uses: – Medical uses (heating under the skin), burglar alarms, drying paint, dentistry (setting enamel substitute), night vision, remote controls, heating, communication between computers. Dangers: – Can harm people and computers, carcinogenic. Protection:- Sunglasses and sun cream.