According to the WHO, the "precautionary principle" is "a risk management policy applied in circumstances with a high degree of scientific uncertainty, reflecting the need to take action for a potentially serious risk without awaiting the results of scientific research." Other less stringent recommended approaches are prudent avoidance principle and as low as reasonably practicable. Although all of these are problematic in application, due to the widespread use and economic importance of wireless telecommunication systems in modern civilization, there is an increased popularity of such measures in the general public, though also evidence that such approaches may increase concern.[35] They involve recommendations such as the minimization of cellphone usage, the limitation of use by at-risk population (such as children), the adoption of cellphones and microcells with as low as reasonably practicable levels of radiation, the wider use of hands-free and earphone technologies such as Bluetooth headsets, the adoption of maximal standards of exposure, RF field intensity and distance of base stations antennas from human habitations, and so forth.[citation needed] Overall, public information remains a challenge as various health consequences are evoked in the literature and by the media, putting populations under chronic exposure to potentially worrying information.[36]
Then there is non-ionizing radiation, which encompasses the vast majority of light we are exposed to: visible light from lightbulbs, infrared light from an oven and from people, gigahertz light from our wifi, megahertz light to/from our cell phones, and radio waves hitting our car radio. They are not harmful in small doses because one photon does not have enough energy to ionize atoms and/or break apart molecules. In very large doses, non-ionizing radiation can be harmful. For example, a visible light laser with sufficient power (at least several hundred times more than a legal laser pointer) which is concentrated in a small enough spot will burn your skin and do worse things to your eye if it gets in there. And those of us who are old enough, remember the gerbil-in-a-microwave flash animations which went viral 17 years ago [1] as a humorous (but not exactly factual) representation of what would happen if you microwaved a live rodent.
Radiofrequency radiation is a form of electromagnetic radiation. Electromagnetic radiation can be categorized into two types: ionizing (e.g., x-rays, radon, and cosmic rays) and non-ionizing (e.g., radiofrequency and extremely low frequency, or power frequency). Electromagnetic radiation is defined according to its wavelength and frequency, which is the number of cycles of a wave that pass a reference point per second. Electromagnetic frequencies are described in units called hertz (Hz).
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