Uses and Dangers of the Electromagnetic Spectrum

Why do we need all these different kinds of light?

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What are the Uses of the Electromagnetic Spectrum?

The EM spectrum is very useful to us and its variety can be utilised for lots of different purposes. Infrared radiation is useful for cooking and heating and can be seen in toasters that use this form to cook bread. The radiation which comes from heaters also is in the form of infrared. Microwaves and radio waves are regularly used for long-distance communications via satellites and mobile phones. As we are all familiar with, x-rays can be used to look inside our bodies at our bones and assess us for injuries. Gamma rays can also be used in cancer treatments and the treatment is known as radiotherapy.

What are the Dangers Associated with the Electromagnetic Spectrum?

Although all waves transfer energy, different frequencies of electromagnetic radiation pose varying dangers. Microwaves, for example, could lead to the internal heating of cells in our bodies if we were to be exposed. Heating our cells could cause DNA damage and damage to the internal structures of cells as well as affect the efficiency of enzymes. Higher frequency waves are potentially more dangerous since they transfer more energy. We can see this effect during summer when we are exposed to strong sunlight we can get burned from the ultraviolet light. Sun-creams block UV light and provide protection. Sunburn is usually a relatively mild injury, but over long periods, exposure to ultraviolet light can cause DNA damage which can lead to skin cancer. 

If you would like to find out more about the electromagnetic spectrum why not take our other EM radiation quiz.

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