Why is UV radiation more harmful than infrared?

$c=\lambda v$

Eva_Wetzel_3K
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Sep 21, 2016 2:56 pm

Why is UV radiation more harmful than infrared?

When I was younger, my sister warned me not to peer through the microwave window while food was cooking because of radiation that might be leaking out through the door. Since then, I've learned that microwaves are not likely to hurt me. This is confirmed in Chapter 1 which shows that microwaves are long-wavelength light while UV and x-rays are short-wavelength light.

Following this thought, Chapter 1 asks us to consider why UV radiation is more harmful than infrared radiation. Why is this the case, and more importantly, how does it tie in to what we've learned in the chapter? My guess is because UV radiation is more powerful, but what I don't know is how that ends up causing harmful DNA damage.

Alex Dib 4H
Posts: 34
Joined: Wed Sep 21, 2016 2:57 pm

Re: Why is UV radiation more harmful than infrared?

Hey Eva,
It has to do with wavelength, as well as energy. As we know, the shorter the wavelength, the higher the energy, but what I THINK is going on with our bodies is that the smaller the wave, the easier that wave can penetrate and affect the cells and DNA that make up our bodies. When you look at the EM spectrum, UV waves are quite a bit smaller in wavelength than infrared, and x-rays/gamma rays are even smaller. Therefore, UV waves are probably causing more harm than infrared waves, and x-rays/gamma rays are probably doing even more damage.

Hope this helps, and sorry if I'm wrong lol