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With the imminent rise in the progression of technology and the use of technological gadgets, we are exposed to varying degrees of EMF radiation. EMF has the potential to be present in our immediate surroundings and day-to-day electronics like televisions, computers, WiFi hotspots, and even the cellphones that are always glued to our bodies. However, for some of us, EMF exposure in airplanes and airports is a greater concern.
The presence of EMF radiation is infinite and almost inescapable as we are also exposed to them when we board aircraft and other airborne transportation devices.
How Does Air Travel Expose You to EMF Radiation?
While we are exposed to normal EMF radiation on the ground, the air also offers its fair share of a type of EMF radiation called Cosmic radiation. As its name suggests, cosmic radiation is emitted from space or the cosmos and is constantly being emitted into the earth’s surface.
Luckily, the Earth’s atmospheric makeup and magnetic shield offer some form of protection for us as it diverts most of the incoming radiation around the earth. However, we are not safe as a negligible amount of this radiation gets into the earth’s surface, to which we are exposed.
Exposure to cosmic radiation depends mainly on altitude, which means the higher the earth’s altitude, the higher the cosmic radiation one is exposed to. Hence, people living in countries like China, Chile, and certain states in the United States are more exposed to cosmic radiation because of their higher altitude range.
The average commercial aircraft operates between 31,000 and 38,000 feet or 5.9 to 7.2 miles since the atmosphere becomes thinner upon ascension, reducing air resistance and enabling a faster flight. Information provided by ICRA states that the range of average annual effective dose of cosmic radiation for aircraft crew is between the range of 1.2–7 mSv, calculated according to an average yearly effective dose of 600 hours in European countries and 900 hours in the USA.
This figure is way above the average exposure level of 0.33mSv, which is the normal exposure level of the average person provided by the Ionizing Radiation Exposure of the Population of the United States. The incessant exposure to cosmic radiation has, therefore, classified airline workers as radiation workers. This transport mechanism subjects you to increased levels of cosmic radiation as the plane ascends higher in the atmosphere, hence, the need for protection.
At the airport, you may be concerned about your exposure to some EMF radiation gadgets like the free WiFi and the nearby, linked mobile gadgets from other travelers. However, that is not the most dangerous exposure and should be the least of your concerns as they all release low levels of EMF radiation.
EMF, Airplanes, and the Faraday Cage Effect
EMF exposure can also occur from a variety of sources while inside an airliner. These come from various sources, including electrical wiring and sensors, computers, communications devices, jet engines, and static electricity. In addition, the effects of this radiofrequency radiation may be intensified by the metal fuselage of an airplane, which was originally built with non-carbon fiber-based composites that are conductive to EMF radiation.
Though the environment exposed us to EMF, exposure is way worse in an airplane due to a phenomenon called the Faraday Cage Effect. Since planes are huge chunks of machines with metal-mesh walls built to deflect lightning, this supposedly safe structure makes the plane a pseudo-Faraday Cage that traps all the EMF radiation, which intensifies the effects of the radiation influence.
Before entry or takeoff, we are subjected to numerous scanners as a handful of American airports directed by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employ body-scanning equipment.
This equipment uses millimeter-wave technology, which emits low-level radio waves and ionizing radiation. The Health Physics Society estimates that airport X-ray scanners emit 0.1 microsieverts of radiation per scan, and the average traveler is subjected to more than 100 scans in their entire travel history.
Ways To Limit Your Radiation Exposure In Airplane Flights
Eat an antioxidant-rich diet
Since EMF radiation can cause oxidative damage, antioxidants prevent the damage from being effective because they offer protection to these cells. Antioxidants are nutrients found in certain foods and supplements that come from pills. Fruits like broccoli, cranberry, mango, and brussel sprouts offer beneficial antioxidants that help the body balance inflammation and limit your susceptibility to DNA damage. Ensure you eat foods containing β-carotene before, during, and after your flight.
Pick your seat wisely
Although your sitting position on the plane has little effect on your EMF exposure, it is still wise to pick a strategic seat before taking a flight. Sitting by the window can help reduce EMF radiation concentration in the plane as it allows for the easy leak out and limits the Faraday Cage Effect.
However, windows make you more vulnerable to cosmic radiation, which makes you better off in the aisle. The seats at the aisle put you right in the middle of varying EMF radiations that are enclosed; hence, the rear region seems plausible.
Do not use WiFI, and turn off your mobile gadget.
Irrespective of how you need to connect to the airport’s free WiFi, do not connect to the WiFi. The only exception is if you need to send the final email that might save the world; else, a few hours off the internet will help your physical and mental health.
Also, ensure you utilize the airplane mode on your phone as the average cellular phone works constantly by searching and sending out signals to nearby satellites. Putting your mobile device in Airplane mode decreases the amount of EMF emitted.
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