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The 1900s and 2000s saw some of the most accelerated scientific and technological growth with the rise of the more advanced and powerful communication devices. Over the years, there have been myriads of opinions and research on the health impacts and biological effects of electromagnetic radiation from these devices.
The wireless revolution of the 1990s saw the paradigm shift from wired to wireless communication. When Steve Jobs introduced the first Wifi-enabled laptop at MacWorld in New York City on July 21, 1999, the use of WiFi and other similar tools got popularized for household and business use.
This amazing technology has made life easier and further improved civilization. However, the health and environmental consequences of the electromagnetic radiation emitted from these devices cannot be overlooked. The awareness of the harmful effect of these radiations is still poor as education is currently low; this is why organizations such as the Environmental Health Trust have made it a mission to educate the public.
Six Things Experts Say About EMF
The Environmental Health Trust is a scientific think tank and has been on the frontline in EMF research, testing, and education in the United States. With hundreds of Scientists working together for a common goal of safeguarding human health and the environment, the organization has some of the most brilliant and experienced minds.
Some of them are Devra Lee Davis, Ph.D. MPH, a Nobel peace prize winner in 2007, Ronald L Melnick, Ph.D., Anthony B. Miller MD, FRCP, FRCP(C), FFPH, FACE, and hundreds more scientists. Here, we compiled a list of some important Expert opinions about EMF radiation in the United States.
Cell Phone Radiation Damages Sperm
According to recent research, radiofrequency radiation from cell phones has been associated with sperm decline in quality. In this research, which involved over 40,000 men from different countries, a whopping 52.4% had a decline in sperm quality. The decline in sperm quality has been a controversial issue for a long time. There have been limitations in studies and important questions yet to be answered.
However, exposure to different environmental radiations from plastics, WiFi radiation, chemicals, and cell phones are likely to be the reason for this decrease. In fact, in a 2020 study, it was found that men who used their phones more in the evening had a significant decrease in sperm concentration, and their sperm lacked motility.
A major reason for this, according to scientists, is radiofrequency radiation from cell phones. It is believed that these emissions can induce oxidative stress, and an increased level of free radicals can, in turn, damage testicular cells and lead to reduced sperm count, infertility, damaged sperm DNA, and altered sperm cell structure, among many others.
Non-ionizing Radiations are Harmful to Women’s Reproductive Health
The non-ionizing radiation from electromagnetic fields has been associated with impairing female fertility. In fact, continued exposure to this non-ionizing radiation can increase the chances of pregnant women having birth defects.
Non-ionizing radiations have also been found to cause an increase in the level of free radicals in the uterus and ovary, thereby leading to retarded cell growth and DNA disruptions. The sources of this type of EMF radiation are everywhere around us, including WiFi devices, telecommunication, and Bluetooth devices. It might seem almost impossible to avoid this emission completely.
Hence, although there is still a need for more research, you should try to keep your distance as much as possible from any of the sources, especially if you are pregnant.
EMF Radiation and Cancer
The effects of EMF radiation and cancer have been a major subject of discussion in the scientific community for a very long time. In 2011, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified mobile phone RF-EMFs as group 2B, a potential human carcinogen.
There are many types of cancer, but most of the research has focused on leukemia and brain tumor, especially in children. It is known that non-ionizing radiation emissions above the permissible can trigger several adverse biological effects in the body.
However, a couple of studies confirmed that there is an increased risk of leukemia among children exposed to 0.4 μT or higher levels of EMF. Also, in another study, it was found that there is an increased risk of glioma, a form of brain cancer, in subjects exposed to the extremely low-frequency electromagnetic field.
In one of the animal studies carried out on this subject matter, it was found that one of the animals showed an increased risk of tumors that grow in the thyroid cells, called C-cells.
Another study in 2020 puts it simply “excessive smartphone use significantly increased the risk of breast cancer, particularly for participants with smartphone addiction, a close distance between the breasts and smartphone, and the habit of smartphone use before bedtime.”
Going by all these comprehensive studies, the possibility of EMF radiation precipitating different forms of cancer is plausible. As such, excessive use of cell phones, especially in close proximity should be avoided.
EMF Radiation Testing
In simple terms, EMF testing measures the level of electromagnetic radiation a user is exposed to. This testing covers all types of EMF radiations, including static, extremely low frequency, and radio frequency fields.
This testing assesses the exposure to EMF radiation levels and advises compliance with regulatory requirements to improve product safety and maintain users’ safety. Considering the increased level of technological devices, all of which emit different levels of electromagnetic radiation, and the growing concern about the adverse biological effects, it is imperative EMF testing is encouraged and done across all sectors.
According to the Federal Communications Commission, the permissible limit is 1.6 watts per kilogram (W/kg). Exposure to higher levels of EMF radiation can significantly put you at risk of health anomalies.
Children are at Higher Risk
Children are actually more sensitive to EMF radiation than adults due to:
- Smaller size: As children are smaller, the amount of radiation required to disrupt the balance of their fragile bodies is less (higher sensitivity)
- Development: Since children are still developing, they are more at risk because their biological systems are not strong enough, and high levels of EMFs can actually cause permanent changes to their biological systems
- Thinner skull: An adult’s skull is around 2mm thick, and on average, a child’s skull is 0.5-1mm thick. This means that EMF radiation has less to penetrate through and can get in at a quicker pace, eventually causing more damage.
Children are also heavily exposed to EMF at schools. This increased risk can mean that they are more susceptible to the long term effects of EMFs as previously discussed. Between this, and the fact that children today use more types of devices and for longer durations than children 20 years ago, the impact of EMF exposure is a greater risk for our younger generations.
Experts Believe There Should be Stricter Regulations
The United States federal government, through the Environmental Protection Agency, provides regulations and standards to protect the American people from the harmful effects of radiation. These regulations are in different sections, and they regulate radiation exposure both at home and workplace.
There is the Cell Phone Right to Know Act which basically researches to assess the harmful effects of exposure to electromagnetic fields of varying sources on human health. However, some of these regulatory standards are outdated and might need to be updated, and Experts believe there is a need for stricter regulations and laws.
Conclusively, EMF radiation can induce adverse biological effects that can greatly impair one’s health. Hence, according to experts, ensure you protect yourself from sources of EMF radiation as much as possible.