Thursday, March 17, 2011

Non-Ionizing Radiation

Matthew Eddington

Radiation today has become so mainstream that many do not even realize that there are several different classifications. Non-ionizing radiation is perhaps that most widely used today due to its exceptionally useful nature. Whether you realize it or not, this form of radiation can be found in virtually every home and office around the country. Microwave radiation, infrared radiation, and radio waves are probably the best known forms of non-ionizing radiation that are commonly used today, and can be found in tasks such as telecommunications, heating food, and broadcasting. Most professionals classify non-ionizing radiation into two sources: natural (from sunlight or lightning discharges) and man-made (scientific, medical, and household items).

Simply put, non-ionizing radiation refers (obviously) to any type of electromagnetic radiation that does not have enough energy to ionize molecules. Rather, the molecules only go through the excitation phase, where the radiation is sufficient enough only to increase the motion of the molecule. Ionization refers to the process by which a molecule is converted into an ion by adding or removing electrons.

The sources of non-ionizing radiation (NIR) originate and can be divided into two main areas: optical radiations and electromagnetic fields. Optical radiation is usually found around sources of visible light, characterized by high energy UV radiation and low energy IR radiation. Common sources of UV radiation are the sun, sun lamps, UV lasers, sterilization lamps, and discharge lamps, while sources of IR radiation come from extremely hot processes such and steel and glassmaking. Electromagnetic fields are most commonly seen in the form of microwaves, and can be found in telecommunications, mobile phones, the microwave in your home, and television sets. One of the most important uses of this form used medically is the common diagnostic use of MRI machines.

One of the greatest concerns that arise from discussions of radiation is the biological effects of exposure to the different forms. Since non-ionizing radiation does not ionize but rather only excites atoms, the greatest 'risk' associated with this form is often only a raised temperature of exposed items, since excess energy is often given off as heat. This same principle is used in microwaves to heat up food, and is the greatest example of how biological items are sensitive to heat. However, the amount of radiation that it would take to cause adverse health effects is so large it hasn't ever become a great issue. In fact in many business safety manuals the dangers from non-ionizing radiation falls into the 'acceptable' range.

The most important thing to do in any situation involving radiation is to exercise caution and follow the proper protocols. Through radiation gauges and other forms of radiation detection any risks associated with non-ionizing radiation can be eliminated or severely negated. Professional advice is crucial in any situation involving radiation, so be sure to seek it if you have any questions or concerns.

Many websites provide additional information on the topic of radiation exposure and safety. One such site worth visiting is

Matthew Eddington independently author's articles for, Inc. ( for search engine marketing. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those solely of the author, and not of any other person, company, or organization. No guarantee or warranty, express or implied, is made regarding the accuracy, fitness, or use of the content herein.

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