EMF stands for Electromagnetic Field and different names like Electromagnetic Force, Electromagnetic Waves, and Electromagnetic Radiation are associated with it.
Some studies have shown that excessive exposure to these radiations can lead to various health problems but some studies say otherwise. So do you need EMF protection? This article is about how EMF can be a health hazard.
What’s an EMF?
Electromagnetic Field is an invisible region that develops around a device through which an electric current is flowing. The electromagnetic field has energy associated with it and that energy can travel in the form of waves called radiation.
Each radiation type has its own particular wavelength (radio waves has large wavelength and gamma rays has short wavelength). The human eye can only see a small spectrum of these wavelengths called visible light.
Small wavelength / high-frequency EMFs
EMFs that have a small wavelength, the inverse of which is high frequency, are high energy waves that include x-rays, alpha rays, and gamma rays. This class of EMFs is useful for some particular purposes like maxing x-rays of broken bones, but on the other hand, these radiations are extremely dangerous to any kind of life on earth.
Are High-Frequency EMFs a Health Hazard?
High frequency EMFs can easily pass through your skin and muscles. Some are strong enough to penetrate into or through human bones. The most dangerous of them can damage your DNA or human cell directly resulting in some very serious health hazard or painful death.
Large wavelength / low frequency EMFs
EMFs that have large wavelengths are low energy wavelengths and they include radio waves, microwaves, visible light, infrared radiation, and many more. All of these waves types are very useful and are developed to facilitate human life. These waves do not have the energy to penetrate through the skin or muscle in a manner that can be a health hazard.
Are Low-Frequency EMFs a Health Hazard?
The low frequency and intensity of these waves make them save most life on earth but some of these have an intensity that can be dangerous to the human body like microwaves are strong enough to increase the temperature of an object, so they can cause other damages too.
So which type of EMF is more dangerous?
When considering how EMFs work and are classified, high-frequency EMFs seem to be much more dangerous and are a health hazard as compared to low-frequency EMFs.
In reality, this consideration is very true. If you are exposed to high-frequency radiation like gamma rays, chances of your staying alive are very low.
Opposite of this, getting exposed to low-frequency EMFs will never affect you in the manner high frequency does. When exposed, low-frequency EMFs can have small to zero effectiveness over time.
EMFs and Our daily life
If you consider the chances of being exposed to a particular class of EMFs, then the discussion changes significantly because the chances of getting exposed to high-frequency radiation are very small.
Opposite of this, chances of getting exposed to low-frequency EMFs are very high. We have surrounded by hundreds of low-frequency sources. So chances of getting exposed to a large amount of EMFs for an extended period, which can seriously affect your health, are very high.
What are common sources of low-frequency EMFs?
Any electrical device that has electricity passing through it has EMF around it. Higher the value of current higher will be the strength of EMF. Some of the most common sources of low-frequency EMFs are as follow
- Electric Hairdryer, Shaver’s and Blankets
- Television and Radio signals
- Radar, MRI, and Industrial Equipment’s
- Microwave Oven
- Cell Phone and Cell Phone Base Stations
- Computer, Laptops and Wireless station
What are possible associations between EMF and Health Issues?
Until today here is no defined mechanism through which a relation of EMFs and health problems like blood cancer, brain cancer, bones cancer, and tumor, or any other permanent problems can be explained.
Some studies show increased probity of developing a certain type of health issues, hormone changes, and infertility in children and men respectively.
Do EMFs affect children?
Several epidemiologic studies concluded that there is some association between EMF exposure and risk of cancer and brain tumor in children. A study has shown that parents, who live near a high voltage power line, increase the risk of generating brain tumors and blood cancer in their children .
EMFs can increase the risk of developing tumors and cancer but they do not directly cause them and till today no mechanism has been defined for this.
EMFs do directly cause abnormality and changes in certain hormone levels like blood antioxidant markers. A decrease in blood antioxidant marker can lead to problems headache, fatigue, cognitive impairment, and decreased learning ability .
EMFs emitted by mobile phones, tablets, or laptop sets are not strong enough to cause direct damage. These sources where used are very close to operator-sensitive organs like the brain. So, extensive use of these sources can start a slow process of change in hormones in the body resulting in serious health problems .
The EMFs effect of Electric line workers
Only one study has shown significant statistical results (no experimental research) that exposure to low-frequency EMFs can develop breast cancer in women .
Several studies done in the 1980s to 1990s show that there’s a significant increase in chances of developing brain tumors, blood cancer, and male breast cancer in males, those working in high electric stations. These studies never define a mechanism but show the risk or tendency of having a serious health issue based on statistical .
Several recent studies and comprehensive work done by U.S. Navy have shown that there is no relationship between exposure to low-frequency EMFs (like MEFs of radar) and the development of tumors and cancer .
EMF exposure has reportedly effect the Antioxidant defense systems of the human body. This system is responsible for reducing the negative effect of oxidants and EMFs affecting its working inducing hormonal changes in the body.
Studies have clearly shown that EMFs caused by cell phones and other daily used devices are strong enough to produce oxidative stress in different tissues of the body by affecting the Antioxidant defense system. This is not a permanent or life-threatening problem that can be reversed or controlled by the use of oxidants (medicines) .
EMFs affecting Fertility in Men
A comprehensive study was done as per the criteria of the World Health Organization to check the direct effect of cell phone radiation on human sperm cell quality. The quality of sperm was measured by its ability to carry DNA effectively and its life span. Results show that direct exposure of cell phone radiation to sperm results in a dramatic decrease in its quality as compared to a healthy sperm sample .
Another study was done to check sperm mobility when subjected to a Wi-Fi signal and radiation from cell phones and laptops. Study shows that a sperm sample that was exposed to the Wi-Fi signal and radiations from a laptop or cell phone has far less mobility as compared to a sample that was never exposed to the radiation.
Other than mobility the radiation also affects the sperm’s ability to carry DNA material for fertilization and early death of sperm in a sample .
Do you need EMF protection?
Yes, you do need EMF protection but you don’t need to panic. EMFs do cause changes in hormones, reduce antioxidant level, affect the children’s ability to learn, produce fatigue, and seriously affect fertility in men both quantitatively and qualitatively. All these problems are neither permanent nor they are life-threatening until they are continuous for an extended period. So if you have any EMF related problem, you do need to take EMF protection and the best protection is care. Just put the source/device away and don’t use them extensively. In the end, as per the information and study, EMFs don’t cause tumors and cancer.
1. Ahlbom A, Green A, Kheifets L, et al. Epidemiology of health effects of radiofrequency exposure. Environmental Health Perspectives 2004; 112(17):1741–1754. https://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/doi/10.1289/ehp.7306
2. Kliukiene J, Tynes T, Andersen A. Residential and occupational exposures to 50-Hz magnetic fields and breast cancer in women: A population-based study. American Journal of Epidemiology 2004; 159(9):852-861. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15105178/
3. Kıvrak, E.G., Yurt, K.K., Kaplan, A.A., Alkan, I. and Altun, G., 2017. Effects of electromagnetic fields exposure on the antioxidant defense system. Journal of microscopy and ultrastructure, 5(4), pp.167-176. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2213879X17300731
4. Hassanzadeh‐Taheri, M., Khalili, M.A., Hosseininejad Mohebati, A., Zardast, M., Hosseini, M., Palmerini, M.G. and Doostabadi, M.R., 2021. The detrimental effect of cell phone radiation on sperm biological characteristics in normozoospermic. Andrologia, p.e14257. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34628682/
5. Gorpinchenko, I., Nikitin, O., Banyra, O., and Shulyak, A., 2014. The influence of direct mobile phone radiation on sperm quality. Central European Journal of urology, 67(1), p.65. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4074720/