Electromagnetic radiation is a form of energy that is all around us and takes many forms, such as radio waves, microwaves, X-rays and gamma rays. Sunlight is also a form of Electromagnetic (EM) energy, but visible light is only a small portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, which contains a broad range of electromagnetic wavelengths and frequencies.
The EM range is known as the electromagnetic spectrum. The EM spectrum is depicted in the below figure starting from low frequency radio waves to high frequency gamma rays.
Effects of EMF exposure
Electromagnetic fields (EMF) are emitted by many natural and man-made sources that play important roles in daily life. Lifetime exposure to EMF is becoming the subject of significant scientific investigation since it has the potential to cause crucial changes and deleterious effects in biological systems.
Several studies have reported that exposure to EMF results in oxidative stress in many tissues of the body and is known to increase the free radical concentration. Oxidative stress is an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in your body. Free radicals are oxygen-containing molecules with an uneven number of electrons. The uneven number allows them to easily react with other molecules. Free radicals can cause large chain chemical reactions in your body because they react so easily with other molecules. These reactions are called oxidation. They can be either beneficial or harmful.
Antioxidants are molecules that can donate an electron to a free radical without making themselves unstable. This causes the free radical to stabilize and become less reactive. Oxidation is a normal and necessary process that takes place in your body. When functioning properly, free radicals can help fight off pathogens. When there are more free radicals present than can be kept in balance by antioxidants, the free radicals can start doing damage to fatty tissue, DNA, and proteins in your body.
With the advancement in technology, the usage of devices creating low- and medium-frequency electromagnetic fields (EMFs) has increased at workplace and at home as well. Exposure to EMF affects neural system, circadian rhythms, body weight, biochemical parameters of the blood, hormones, the immune system, the tissue repair system etc. The modifications caused by EMF to cells and molecules depend on the length of the exposure, penetration, and the healing ability of the tissue.
EMF Radiation In Everyday Life
Electromagnetic Frequency Radiation is basically unavoidable in our everyday life. From our smart phones and tablets, to X-rays at the doctor, to the smart devices at home, even the radiation from your vehicle, it is absolutely everywhere. I’ll give a brief summary of the source of the radiation, why you should care, how to reduce it.
Cell Phone / Tablet / E-Reader Radiation
Cell phones have become a necessity to everyone starting from young kids to adults. This is likely to be their biggest source of EMF radiation exposure. Whether you knew it or not, your cell phone emits radiation constantly (even when you aren’t using it) as it stays connected to local cell towers, updates your phone apps, and receives calls and texts. When you’re on a phone call, with the phone against your head, is when you’re exposed to the highest levels of EMF radiation.
You can measure this radiation for yourself if you have an EMF meter. You may notice that when you are measuring the RF radiation from your phone, the reading on EMF meter spikes. In many countries, regulatory agencies like the FCC try to limit the amount of radiation that phones can emit by setting guidelines for exposure called specific absorption rates (SAR).
So while buying a phone/tablet it is a good practice to check the SAR rating of the phone. When you’re on a phone call, try to use speakerphone as much as possible or try to use a Wireless or Airtube headphones in hands-free mode. Also try to get a quality EMF protection cell phone case for your phone. When internet is not used, better to switch to airplane mode to cut down radiation. Also maintaining distance from the phone or tablet device is important when not in use. In case of E-Readers always check whether there is blue light filtering technology built into the device and enable it before using.
Laptops pose some unique dangers because of the amount of radiation they emit in such close proximity to your body. Laptops emit a fairly large amount of magnetic radiation from the LCD display as well as from the motherboard an other components. Assuming they are connected to WiFi or have Bluetooth enabled, they also emit a large amount of RF radiation.
Here again, EMF meter is the best way to measure radiation exposure. Nowadays, EM checker apps on mobile devices are being used to check the radiation exposure levels and the readings are almost similar to that ones on EMF meters. You can see from the readings, that if you get enough distance from your laptop, your radiation exposure falls off dramatically. So, it would be safe to keep the head at least a foot or two away from laptop at all times, but the rest of our body like hands used for typing can be hard.
Laptop Radiation Shields block all the EMF radiation from going straight down to your legs, lap, or belly, but they also block the heat as well. Switching off WiFi when not using it would also bring down the radiation exposure. Finally the best things you can do to protect yourself are to limit use, get distance, and get shielding.
Although it is called WiFi radiation, it is just radio frequency (2.4G Hz, 5G Hz bands) which is a type of EMF radiation. The WiFi from your home router that keeps all your devices connected is incredibly helpful but is also quite dangerous in large doses. WiFi exposures are becoming more and more common and with many of our exposures being without our consent, as a result there is much concern about possible Wi-Fi health effects. One of the most common problems with WiFi is it’s impact on our sleep among others.
The Wi-Fi radiation can easily be measured with an EMF meter, and is perfectly capable of penetrating the walls of your home or office, and can travel great distances. Many countries are already making laws to help protect people, from too much EMF radiation exposure by banning Wi-Fi at some specific places.
For most homes, your WiFi either comes from your own router, or it comes from the modem or USB dongle that your internet company provided. Turning off or disabling this WiFi can really go a long way in reducing your radiation exposure. Going wired is another option to reduce the radiation. Use ethernet cables to hardwire your devices to your router and save WiFi only when you badly need it. Using a router guard would also be a good option to bring down the radiation exposure.
Bluetooth is basically WiFi designed for individual devices to communicate with each other and share data, rather than to connect you to the internet. Bluetooth is dangerous because like regular WiFi, it transmits using RF Radiation. Even the World Health Organization classified it as a “possible carcinogenic”. Bluetooth operates using the exact same frequency of RF Radiation, 2.45 GHz, as your microwave oven does to cook your food but with less power.
Cell phones have to report the SAR or Specific Absorption Rate. However, bluetooth devices do not have to report the SAR, so we have no way, other than the Class(3-Low to 1-High Radiation) and Version of the device, to guess as to it’s comparable EMF radiation levels. EMF meter can be used to test the radiation levels emitted by Bluetooth devices.
By far the safest way to protect yourself from the radiation emitted by your Bluetooth Headset is to use an Air Tube Headset with a “noise cancelling” Ferrite Bead attached to it to protect yourself completely. Also avoid using the bluetooth wireless mouse and keyboard and instead use the wired ones to stay safe.
Other Common Radiation Sources & Precaution
The other sources of EMF radiation in everyday life that we are exposed to can be from Smart TVs, LED bulbs, dirty electricity from CFL light-bulbs and other electronic devices at home, Smart Watches/Fitness Trackers, modern day cars, Cell Towers, Power Transmission Lines etc. With new technologies like the 5G broadband, IoT & AI , the number of devices is expected to increase resulting in radiation exposure of common people too.
As our exposure to EMF radiation is unavoidable, the only way we can stay safe is to lower the exposure by being conscious of the presence of EMF radiation and adjusting our behavior and choices accordingly. Some of the measures one can take is as follows;
- EMF meter is a must have as you can check the presence of radiation anytime.
- Maintaining safe distance from the devices or equipment emitting high levels of radiation.
- Changing the device settings appropriately like setting the airplane mode in cell phones/tablets, turning off the blue light in e-readers, turning off the bluetooth and wifi in other devices when not in use goes a long way in reducing the exposure.
- Going for wired devices instead of the wireless ones.
- Having anti-oxidant rich foods like dark chocolate, berries, beans etc., to neutralize the effects of free radicals.
- Stay updated on the latest EMF shielding devices or fabrics to be better equipped.
- Walking barefoot. When bare feet connects with the earth, free electrons from the earth transfer through the skin. Because these electrons are very powerful antioxidants, they help to counteract the negative effects of inflammation. Studies have shown that even meditation can help to bring down the oxidative stress.
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