Radiation is always around us and it is nearly impossible to escape exposure from it unless you surround yourself in a Faraday cage at all times. However not all pervasive radiation is manmade; we are surrounded by natural radiation from around the earth and radiation from space. Our bodies have adapted to this radiation over time. Nevertheless, the biggest threat to our health is manmade radiation, which must be regulated and observed at all times by government agencies.
In the United States, the governing regulatory body, the FDA carries out an electronic product radiation control program mandated by the Electronic Product Radiation Control provisions of the Food Drug and Cosmetic Act (1). The FDA has a designated department, Center of for Devices and Radiological Health, which tests electronic products and ensures that radiation emissions do not pose hazards to the public. One example of an emission standard is the one posed on television sets. The federal standard for television receivers is that they mustn't emit x-radiation over 0.5 milliroentgen per hour (mR/hr). Any television receivers that are found not to be in compliance with this standard are destroyed if not exported in ninety days (2).
But why were these standards put in place? Scientists have not found any identified specific health effects in humans from exposure to low levels of radiation over extended periods of time. However it is thought that there is not a minimum level of x radiation where it won’t negatively affect peoples’ health. With this in mind, the United States decided to put the standard as having the lowest amount of radiation emission as possible in electronic products (2).
There are many different types of manmade radiation. Human society has created many sources of radiation. First, the ionizing electromagnetic radiation from television receivers, accelerators, and X- ray machines from industrial, medical, research, and educational fields has influenced many of our lives. Second, particulate radiation and ionizing electromagnetic radiation from electron microscopes and neutron generators is non-negligible. Third, ultraviolet from biochemical and medical analyzers, tanning and therapeutic lamps, sanitizing and sterilizing devices, black light sources, and welding equipment is always a problem. The process of ionization can alter molecules within the human cells and may cause eventual harm like cancer. Intense and excessive exposures to ionizing radiation may lead to skin or tissue damage. Moreover, visible white light devices transmit radiation. And infrared lights and microwaves from alarm systems, diathermy units, and dryers, ovens, and heaters are inescapable (2). Modulated microwave radiation causes periodic alteration of the neurophysiologic parameters and parametric excitation of brain bioelectric oscillations (3). In addition, sonics and ultrasonics from sound amplification equipment and cleaners are a big part of manmade radiation.
Electronics play an essential part in our daily life. People living in the 21st century cannot run a day without them, so is the radiation. Although the government regulates radiation emitting electronic products, the purpose of them being made is driven by human nature and needs. Humans tend to create a problem in order to solve another problem. Looking forward and developing new strategies and technologies seem to be the only way out.