Electromagnetic radiation is as old as the universe, with light as its most familiar form. Today’s technological advancements have dramatically increased the presence of electromagnetic fields to the point that they many fear they may be damaging. Read on to find out what these electromagnetic fields are, how they are measured and why they can be damaging.
What Are Electromagnetic Fields
An electromagnetic field is also called EM field or EMF. It is one of the basic forces of nature. It is a physical field that is produced by electrically charged objects. An EMF is a combination of an electric and a magnetic field. Electric fields result from stationary charges while magnetic fields result from currents or moving charges.
An Electro Magnetic Field or EMF has an effect on the behaviour of charged objects that are in the field. It also expands indefinitely throughout space. Electromagnetic fields can be from natural or human made sources. EMFs are present in the environment, but can not be seen by the human eye. They are produced naturally by the build-up of electrical charges especially those that are associated with thunderstorms. Human-made sources of electromagnetic fields include using X-rays. The electricity from a power outlet has been identified to cause low frequency EMFS. On the other hand, radio waves used in transmitting information such as television antennas and mobile phone stations have been identified to cause high frequency EMFs or Radio Frequencies.
How to Measure Electromagnetic Fields
Electromagnetic fields are measured using certain probes or sensors, like EMF meters. These devices are like antennas. EMF measurements are now becoming more important in different sectors because of the perceived negative effects of radiation exposure to humans.
There are two main kinds of electromagnetic field measurements. The first kind of measurements is called broadband measurements. This kind of EMF measurement is done with the use of broadband probe. It is a device that can sense any signal on a wide range of frequencies. The second kind of measurements is called frequency selective measurements. Here, a measurement system with a field antenna and a frequency selective receiver is used to measure frequency range in a selected area. It is easier to measure magnetic fields than electrical fields because the person conducting the measurement may affect the electrical field.
Why Electromagnetic Fields can be Damaging
Humans are definitely not new to electromagnetic field exposure. In fact, there are very small electrical currents in the body even without being exposed to external EMFs. These are results of chemical reactions that are part of normal body functions. Example of these body activities are digestion, brain activities and even heart activities.
Everyone is now exposed to different levels of external EMFs. People are exposed at home and even at work because of the inevitable use of electricity in running appliances, equipment, as well as in broadcasting and telecommunications. These levels of exposure will keep on increasing as technology advances. To date, the levels of exposure to EMF's are considered much lower than the level of exposure that can produce bad effects on human health such as high frequency or radio frequency devices. The health impairment from these type of EMF"s can be on the exposed person or his or her children.
Studies are already being done about the possible adverse effects of EMF exposure to humans. Different studies are being done on the radio frequencies of EMFs from power sources and mobile phones. A major problem encountered by the researchers is that the effects can be cumulative. The levels of exposure build up over time and a lot of waiting time is needed before they can make any conclusion. There is still no strong link that can be made between low-level exposures to EMFs and health hazards. But, efforts from the different sectors should be enough to make people more aware and more concerned about this matter.
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