Industry, engineering, telecommunications, medicine, research, education and the home, now use a large number of processes and devices which emit non-ionizing radiation. It is known that the ultraviolet radiation generated from man-made sources can be more intense than that occurring naturally, for example in sunlight. The eye is more sensitive to ultraviolet radiation than is the skin and has a built in safety mechanism by reacting to strong sunlight with contraction of the iris and shutting of the eyelids. This reaction mechanism, however, is not fast enough to protect against very bright flashes, nor will it protect against radiation that is not accompanied by visible light. Thus it is necessary for workers in certain fields (arc welding, for example) to utilize protective devices, such as shields and filters. The resultant possible adverse effects of general population exposure are not yet fully understood, and adequate measures are lacking to inform the public about possible risks.
Non-ionizing radiation includes the high-frequency radiations used in communications and broadcasting; the microwave radiations used in radar, television transmissions, and industrial applications; the infrared radiation used in heat-lamps, and the visible light used in some lasers; ultraviolet lamps, and medical diathermy equipment. Excessive radiation may cause damage to the eyes and skin, and in sufficient dosage, to the internal organs.
There is no good evidence linking cancers to power lines and equipment operating at less than 100,000 Hz. Some workers involved in activities such as welding or working with television transmitters and electrically-powered furnaces could be at risk.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
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