I wonder what "ionizing" means

“There is controversy surrounding the health effects of electromagnetic signals such as wi-fi on humans - although the low-level non-ionising kind used by telecommunications devices is scientifically said not to cause significant harm.”
‘Pregnancy wi-fi’ causes controversy

“[T]he low-level non-ionising kind used by telecommunications devices is scientifically said not to cause significant harm.”
I wonder if being low-level and being non-ionizing are causally related.
Can you suppose “low-level and ionizing” electromagnetic signals?
The expression “when I was young and foolish” occurred to me. Was I foolish because I was young?

What is Ionizing Radiation?

I found the above article, but I must admit that this issue is far beyond my calibre. Should I stop enjoying learning foreign languages and start studying physics instead?

Chemist here. I don’t know your knowledge on chemistry/physics or English, so pardon me if I may sound condescending. I’ll try to explain this.

Electromagnetic radiation occurs in every thing. The energy of the beam of radiation is proportional to the frequency of the wave (number of oscillations per second). If you want to look further, look up Maxwell Planck. Think of the beam of radiation like a rope that you shake back and fourth.

The higher the frequency of the wave, the higher the energy. This means, the very high frequency of very deadly waves (Gamma Rays to X-Rays) have lots of energy. This energy is enough to knock electrons out of their natural orbits. When you knock electrons out of molecules and atoms, they create ions and become positively charged (when you lose electrons [which are negatively charged] the net charge is positive) hence, becoming ‘ionized’.

An example of ionization can be making table salt. NaCl. If you add Sodium and Chlorine together, they BOTH become ionized. Sodium loses an electron, while chlorine gains one and become NaCl or Na+ and Cl-.

Basically, electrons become excited and they reach a high energy state (an analogy for this is a caffeine rush; you become quite energized, but eventually, you’ll crash back to your original level) and some electrons get knocked away if there’s enough energy.

We see this in every day life. If I shine a flashlight on metal, the metal becomes shiny. The shininess is from excited electrons because the light from the flashlight is a type of electromagnetic radiation. However, the energy from the flashlight isn’t enough to become ‘ionizing’.

As far as Wi-Fi being dangerous. I don’t know yet. It’s difficult to say because I don’t know what the FREQUENCY wi-fi waves operate at (remember, energy of the wave is equal to the frequency of the wave).

The scientist in me is skeptical. It’s easy to take buzz words and blow them out of context to make them look bad. For example, look at nut cases like Food Babe.

I hope this helps. It’s great to find a science article up my realm of understanding. If you have any more questions, please ask!

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