Due to the nature of the topic of Electric, Electromagnetic, and Wireless Pollution, a lot of technichal terminology is used in the articles, reports and papers that you will read. Although most authors include an initial, fully written term with the abbreviations following, some don't and so we have supplied this glossary for your reference.

Definitions   N - Z       Abbreviations

Absorption ~ In radio wave propagation, attenuation of a radio wave due to dissipation of its energy, i.e., conversion of its energy into another form, such as heat.

Athermal effect ~ Any effect of electromagnetic energy on a body that is not a heat related effect.

Blood–brain barrier ~ A functional concept developed to explain why many substances that are transported by blood readily enter other tissues but do not enter the brain; the "barrier" functions as if it were a continuous membrane lining the vasculature of the brain. These brain capillary endothelial cells form a nearly continuous barrier to entry of substances into the brain from the vasculature.

Conductance ~ The reciprocal of resistance. Expressed in siemens (S).

Conductivity ~ A property of materials that determines the magnitude of the electric current density when an electric field is impressed on the material.

Continuous wave ~ A wave whose successive oscillations are identical under steadystate conditions.

Current density ~ A vector of which the integral over a given surface is equal to the current flowing through the surface; the mean density in a linear conductor is equal to the current divided by the cross-sectional area of the conductor. Expressed in ampere per square metre (A m2.)

Depth of penetration ~ For a plane wave electromagnetic field (EMF), incident on the boundary of a good conductor, depth of penetration of the wave is the depth at which the field strength of the wave has been reduced to 1/e, or to approximately 37% of its original value.

Dielectric properties ~ the properties of materials conductivity and permeability.

Dosimetry ~ Measurement, or determination by calculation, of internal electric field strength or induced current density, of the specific energy absorption, or specific energy absorption rate distribution, in humans or animals exposed to electromagnetic fields.

Electric field strength. ~ The force (E) on a stationary unit positive charge at a point in an electric field; measured in volt per metre (V m1)

Electrosensitivity (Electrohypersensitivity) ~ A working definition of EHS from Bergqvist et al. (1997) is “a phenomenon where individuals experience adverse health effects while using or being in the vicinity of devices emanating electric, magnetic or electromagnetic fields (EMFs)”.

Electromagnetic energy ~ The energy stored in an electromagnetic field. Expressed in joule (J).

Electric field strength (E) ~ The magnitude of a field vector at a point that represents the force (F) on a charge (q). E is defined as E = F/q and is expressed in units of Volt per meter (V/m)

Electromagnetic field ~ Electromagnetic phenomena expressed in vector functions of space and time.

Exposure ~ Exposure occurs wherever a person is subjected to electric, magnetic or electromagnetic fields or contact currents other than those originating from physiological processes in the body.

Extra low frequency (ELF) ~ Extra low frequency fields include, in this document, electromagnetic fields from 1 to 300 Hz. Alternately, ELF- Extremely low frequency where the European convention is extremely low frequncy, US is extra-low frequency.

Frequency modulation (FM) ~ Frequency Modulation is a type of modulation representing information as variations in the frequency of a carrier wave. FM is often used at VHF frequencies (30 to 300 MHz) for broadcasting music and speech.

Far field ~ The region where the distance from a radiating antenna exceeds the wavelength of the radiated EMF; in the far-field, field components (E and H) and the direction of propagation are mutually perpendicular, and the shape of the field pattern is independent of the distance from the source at which it is taken.

Frequency ~ The number of sinusoidal cycles completed by electromagnetic waves in 1 second; usually expressed in hertz (Hz).

Impedance, wave ~ The ratio of the complex number (vector) representing the transverse electric field at a point to that representing the transverse magnetic field at that point. Expressed in ohm (S).

Magnetic flux density (B) ~ The magnitude of a field vector at a point that results in a force (F) on a charge (q) moving with the velocity (v). The force F is defined by F = q*(v x B) and is expressed in units of Tesla (T).

Magnetic field strength (H) ~ The magnitude of a field vector that is equal to the agnetic flux density (B) divided by the permeability (µ) of the medium. H is defined as = B/µ and is expressed in units of Ampere per metre (A/m).

Magnetic permeability ~ The scalar or vector quantity which, when multiplied by the magnetic field strength, yields magnetic flux density; expressed in henry per metre (Hm!1). Note: For isotropic media, magnetic permeability is a scalar; for anisotropic media, t is a tensor quantity.

Melatonin ~ A hormone produced in the brain by the pineal gland. It is a potent anti-oxidant that protects against oxidative damage from free radicals that can cause DNA damage.

Microwaves ~ electromagnetic waves with wavelengths of approximately 30 cm (1 GHz) to 1 mm (300 GHz).

Milligauss (mG) ~ A measure of ELF intensity and is abbreviated mG. This is used to describe electromagnetic fields from appliances, power lines, interior electrical wiring.

Milliwatt (mW) ~ A unit of power equal to 10 -3

Microwatt (uW) ~ A unit of power equal to 10 –6

Microwatts per centimeter squared (µW/cm2) ~ Radiofrequency radiation in terms of power density is measured in microwatts per centimeter squared and abbreviated (µW/cm2). It is used when talking about emissions from wireless facilities, and when describing ambient RF in the environment. The amount of allowable RF near a cell tower is 1000 µW/cm2 for some cell phone frequencies, for example.

Nanowatt (nW) ~ A unit of power equal to 10 -9 Watt.

Non – thermal effects (or athermal effects) ~ An effect which can only be explained in terms of mechanisms other than increased molecular motion (i.e. heating), or occurs at absorbed power levels so low, that a thermal mechanism seems unlikely, or displays so unexpected a dependence upon some experimental variable that it is difficult to see how heating could be the cause.

Near field ~ The region where the distance from a radiating antenna is less than the wavelength of the radiated EMF. Note: The magnetic field strength (multiplied by the impedance of space) and the electric field strength are unequal and, at distances less than one-tenth of a wavelength from an antenna, vary inversely as the square or cube of the distance if the antenna is small compared with this distance. Near field exposures are unreliable for estimation of exposures by calculation. The can zero out or be additive and nearly infinite, thus creating problems for exposure assessment.

Non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation (NIER) ~ Includes all radiations and fields of the electromagnetic spectrum that do not normally have sufficient energy to produce ionization in matter; characterized by energy per photon less than about 12 eV, wavelengths greater than 100 nm, and frequencies lower than 3 x 1015Hz.

Occupational exposure ~ All exposure to EMF experienced by individuals in the course of performing their work. Safety limits are five times higher for allowable occupational exposures than for general public exposures in the US.

Permeability (µ) ~ A property of materials that indicates how much polarisation occurs when an electric field is applied.

Permittivity ~ A constant defining the influence of an isotropic medium on the forces of attraction or repulsion between electrified bodies, and expressed in farad per metre (F m1); relative permittivity is the permittivity of a material or medium divided by the permittivity of vacuum.

Power Density ~ The power as measured in free space (ambient) as opposed to measured by SAR or specific absorption rate (within tissues or the body). The unit of measurement can be watts per square meter, milliwatts per square meter or microwatts per centimeter squared. Radiofrequency (RF). Any frequency at which electromagnetic radiation is useful for telecommunications, or broadcasting for radio and television. Frequency range is usually defined as 300 Hz (300 hertz) to 300 GHz (300 gigahertz).

Radiofrequency (RF) ~ The frequencies between 100 kHz and 300 GHz of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Reasonance ~ The change in amplitude occurring as the frequency of the wave approaches or coincides with a natural frequency of the medium; whole body absorption of electromagnetic waves presents its highest value, i.e., the reasonance. for frequencies (in MHz or megahertz) corresponding to approximately 114/L where L is the height of the individual in meters. Reasonance can also be applicable to organs, tissues, or other body parts.

Specific Absorption Rate (SAR is measured in watts per kilogram or W/Kg) ~ SAR stands for specific absorption rate. It is a calculation of how much RF energy is absorbed into the body, for example when a cell phone or cordless phone is pressed to the head. SAR is expressed in watts per kilogram of tissue (W/Kg). The amount of allowable energy into 1 gram of brain tissue from a cell phone is 1.6 W/Kg in the US. For whole body exposure, the exposure is 0.8 W/Kg averaged over 30 minutes for the general public. International standards in most countries are similar, but not exactly the same.

Static electric field ~ Static fields produced by fixed potential differences.

Static magnetic fields ~ Static fields established by permanent magnets and by steady currents.

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µT ~ microtesla
µW ~ microwatt
AC ~ Alternating current
AM ~ Amplitude modulation
B ~ Magnetic flux density
BBB ~ Blood Brain Barrier
CENELEC ~ European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization
CI ~ Confidence Interval
CNS ~ Central Nervous System
CW ~ Continuous wave
DC ~ Direct current
DECT ~ Digital Enhanced Cordless Telephone
DMBA ~ 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene
DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid) ~ a nucleic acid molecule that contains the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all living things
EEG ~ Electroencephalogram
EHS ~ Electromagnetic hypersensitivity
ELF ~ Extra low frequency (also ELF-EMF)
EMF ~ Electromagnetic field. When discussing electric, magnetic, electromagnetic fields, and Radiofrequency Radiation, EMF is used as a blanket term.
FM ~ Frequency Modulation
GSM ~ Global System for Mobile Communication
H ~ Magnetic field strength
HSP ~ Heat-shock proteins (stress proteins)
IARC ~ International Agency for Research on Cancer
ICNIRP ~ International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation. It is a body of independent scientific experts consisting of a main Commission of 14 members, 4 Scientific Standing Committees covering Epidemiology, Biology, Dosimetry and Optical Radiation and a number of consulting experts. This expertise is brought to bear on addressing the important issues of possible adverse effects on human health of exposure to nonionising radiation.
IL ~ Interleukin
kg ~ Kilogram
kHz ~ Kilohertz
kV ~ Kilovolt
MF ~ Magnetic Field (sometimes MF-ELF)
MHz ~ Megahertz
ms ~ Milliseconds
mT ~ Millitesla
mG ~ Milligauss
mW ~ Milliwatt
nT ~ Nanotesla
nW ~ Nanowatt
NRPB ~ National Radiation Protection Board (HPA)
OR ~ Odds Ratio (measure of increased risk of disease)
REFLEX ~ European Research Program for Radiofrequency Hazards
RFIAWG ~ Radiofrequency Interagency Working Group (US) composed of members from federal agencies with some interest in radiofrequency radiation issues. This Working Group was made up of representatives from the US government’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), the Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA), the National Telecommunication and Information Administration, and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
RF ~ Radiofrequency Radiation (also written as RFR or RF-EMF)
SCENIHR ~ Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks
UMTS ~ Universal Mobile Telephony System UNEP United Nations Environmental
VDT ~ Video display terminal (VDU – for computers, videos, TV, that use cathode ray tubes)
WHO (World Health Organization) ~ The directing and coordinating authority for health within the United Nations system. It is responsible for providing leadership on global health matters, shaping the health research agenda, setting norms and standards, articulating evidence-based policy options, providing technical support to countries and monitoring and assessing health trends.
WI-FI ~ Stands for wireless fidelity. WI-FI systems create zones of wireless RF that allow access to wireless internet for computers, internet phone access and other wireless services. Access points that provide WI-FI to access Land Area Networks (LANs) can be installed on streets (for city-wide coverage) or indoors in buildings, Restaurants, hotels, coffee shops, airports, malls and other commercial enterprises are widely installing WIFI. The range of typical WI-FI systems is about 300 feet.
WI-MAX ~ Stands for “Wireless interoperability for Microwave Access” and is a telecommunications technology aimed at providing wireless data over long distances. Like WI-FI, WI-MAX systems are designed to provide wireless access but over much broader geographic areas, with some systems transmitting signal up to 10 miles. Higher levels of RF are produced at the wireless transmission facilities than for WI-FI.s
WLAN ~ Wireless Local Area Network (wireless internet coverage usually up to 300’ provided by access points that create elevated radiofrequency radiation for that service zone.
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(excerpted from The Bioinitiative Report)