The term electrosmog (e-smog), which is mostly used in jargon, is a neologism made up of the word components “electronic” and “smog”. Smog is pollution of the air caused by emissions. In the case of electrosmog, however, the contamination is not caused by soot, dust or other air pollutants. But, considering the definition according to Duden, by:
“electromagnetic radiation emitted by high-voltage power lines, television, radar, and microwaves, as well as by household electrical appliances.”Duden.de
Consequently, electrosmog describes the exposure of humans and the environment to artificially generated electric, magnetic and electromagnetic fields (EMF). In contrast, natural electromagnetic fields, for example from the sun’s rays or the earth’s magnetic field, are not referred to as electrosmog. Neither do electromagnetic waves released by heat radiation (infrared radiation) or radioactivity.
What is an electromagnetic spectrum?
EM radiations behave differently, depending on the property of wavelength/frequency. The electromagnetic waves with higher energy or frequency are shorter, while waves with lower energy and frequency are longer. Based on these properties, we can arrange the different types of electromagnetic waves in a so-called electromagnetic spectrum.
What are the types of electromagnetic radiation?
We can divide certain frequency ranges into different types of radiation. That is, from the longest to the shortest wavelengths, or from the lowest to the highest frequencies. We can also look at the amount of energy they each transfer:
Ionizing radiation contains a large amount of energy and is capable of removing electrons from their respective orbit (orbit around the atomic nucleus) – and even splitting atoms. Higher frequency waves such as X-rays and gamma rays have this ionizing effect.
Low frequency waves such as radio waves do not exhibit the ionizing radiation effect and are therefore referred to as “non-ionizing radiation”.