One of the greatest things that have happened to our world is ‘Science.’ Through continued development and scientific research, humans have tackled and provided solutions to different health issues. In fact, the first step to proffering a solution to an ailment or disorder is detecting and understanding the condition itself.
In all its glory, science has been key to detecting and providing an elaborate theory on different disorders and diseases, thereby making the development of cures and treatments easier. And thanks to the different sophisticated technology that science has thrived on, even disorders believed to be incurable now have cures and even vaccines.
Although technology has played an essential role in developing science and scientific methods and even made life easier, its negative impact has also impaired the quality of life. This is so because most technological devices are different sources of electromagnetic fields. As such, they emit electromagnetic radiation that can cause damage to human health.
Given the ubiquitous nature of EMF-emitting devices and widespread application, it is of great importance to study their long-term effects more conclusively. The current gap in the long-term exposure study is majorly due to the lack of enough duration to study the long-term effect since EMF emitting device usage peaked some 20 to 30 years ago.
As we have established earlier, electromagnetic emissions are generated from different sources, including natural and electrical sources. The EMF emitted from electrical sources had increased exponentially over the past decade. A very common source of this emission is the radiofrequency zone. Radiofrequency zones include communications, radio, television broadcasting systems, indoor wireless, and cellular networks, among many others.
Frequent use of these devices can lead to longer exposure time which has been indicated to have health consequences in humans. For instance, the increase in mobile cellphone users has raised many concerns about the possible effects on the human system.
Now, let’s look at the current research on the long-term effect of EMF exposure and how it has been implicated in many diseases.
Current Study on Long term effect of RF-EMF Exposure
Electronic and technological advances are fundamental to human advancement. We have in our hands a technology that has greatly improved the quality of life and further advanced science. On the other hand, this same piece of technology has been implicated in many health and environmental consequences. Dr. Robert Becker, a two-time Nobel prize nominee, said, “I have no doubt in my mind that, at the present time, the greatest polluting element in the earth’s environment is the proliferation of electromagnetic fields (EMFs).”
The current study on the preventive measurements for EMF and radiation relies more on the “do’s and don’ts,” while many of them lack qualitative data to instruct users on the time limit of exposure. It is of uttermost important to have study that digs deeper into long term exposure especially now that we generations of people living all their lives being exposed.
Let’s take a quick look at what current science says about long-term EMF exposure.
Cytotoxic and Genotoxic Effects
One of the leading causes of carcinogenesis is DNA alteration. A change in DNA or micronuclei is widely accepted as an indication of genotoxicity in humans. In a study published by Ivancsits and co, they have identified that fibroblast and melanocytes from humans and granulosa cells from rats are major responders when exposed to intermittent/long-term EMF using the alkaline assay.
This means intermittent EMF radiation shows a biological effect on the human DNA, leading to more serious diseases such as cancer.
In a few more years to come, scientists will have more duration of time to determine the long-term effect of this radiation conclusively.
Effects on the Central Nervous System
Several pieces of research have implicated EMF exposure in the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease in humans, one of such is the implication of ELF-MFs to Alzheimer’s diseases in a textile factory. A review done by Ahlbom and coworkers found a relationship between amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and EMF exposure. This is because the ability of the neuronal cell to divide and repair damages has been impaired.
However, there is still a pressing need to study and probe the long-term effects of this radiation; since Emf emitting electronic devices have only peaked some 20 – 30 years ago, we might see more diseases linked to long-term exposure as time goes by, and study continues.
Radiofrequency Radiation and Cancer
Long-term exposure to RF-EMF has long been suspected of causing cancer. 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.
Previous studies have investigated the possibility of long-term exposure to RF-EMFs radiation from cellphones causing leukemia in children.
Further probe into the long-term exposure had linked childhood leukemia to exposure to radiofrequency radiation from cell phones.
Carcinogenesis is an extremely slow process, and mobile phones have not been in common use longer than 20 years. We will likely see a more conclusive study about long-term Emf exposure in the next few years as a researcher will have more duration to study the harmful effects of these radiations.