We may not realize it, but we are living alongside invisible electromagnetic fields (EMF). In fact, it has been around ever since, thanks to the natural EMFs naturally emitted by the sun and the earth. When humans started to invent things which led to technological breakthroughs that we enjoy nowadays, we are more exposed to high levels of EMF.However, EMF exposure is a subject of debates in terms of safety and its possible impact on our health. So, how exactly EMF affect our health?

What is EMF?

Electrical towers and grids of power lines against a sky at sunset
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An article provided on WellnessMama.com, EMFs are invisible energy “comprised of an electronic and a magnetic field perpendicular to each other, which travel together in an invisible waveform.”

It usually occurs near an electric current, when atoms absorb another form of energy such as heat or another EMF, or when the sun creates energy, the same article added.

Likewise, it is also present in radio waves, Wi-Fi signals, microwave and infrared radiation, and UV lights, all of which are man-made.

Types of Radiation

Long lines of tiny speckles on light in a high-ceiling interior
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EMFs are categorized into two, as per National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences: non-ionizing and ionizing.Non-ionizing or low-frequency EMF radiation is considered as harmless “due to its lack of potency”. Common sources of this type of radiation include microwave ovens, computers, Wi-Fi, cell phones, blue tooth devices, power lines, and MRI. On the other hand, ionizing or high-frequency EMF radiation can cause cellular or DNA damage when exposed in a long period of time. This type of radiation is present in UV rays, X-Rays, and gamma rays.

Common Sources of Radiation

Health Effects of EMF
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As mentioned earlier, EMFs are produced naturally and by man-made devices. One perfect example of naturally-occurring EMF is the earth’s magnetic field. The rest are artificial or man-made EMFs, aside from the above-mentioned sources, including:

  • Radio and television signals
  • Radars
  • Satellite stations
  • Cordless telephones
  • Cell phone base stations/antenna towers
  • Digital electric and gas meters / “smart meters”

Impact on Health

Health Effects of EMF
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Generally speaking, too much exposure to EMFs can create health problems. For one, too much exposure to the sun, a naturally-occurring EMF, can lead to sunburn or skin cancer in worse cases. Pregnant (or suspected to be pregnant) women are prohibited to have X-Rays due to the potential danger it can bring to the unborn baby.

On the contrary, non-ionizing EMFs can be dangerous to our health, too. According to the same online article on Wellness Mama, EMFs emitted by home appliances, gadgets, and power lines “may be inconspicuous at first, but they may become noticeable over time rather than immediately.”

Aside from that, our bodies is considered “a sophisticated electromagnetic system” which is why doctors use a defibrillator, a medical machine that produces an electric shock to revive a dead heart. However, it is said that our own electromagnetic signals are weaker compared to man-made EMF devices.
Apparently, when we are exposed to excessive man-made EMFs, “it can interfere with the electromagnetic systems inside our bodies” that “can worsen inflammatory problems.”

Symptoms of too Much EMF Exposure

A dejected looking woman sat in a dark bedroom with her hand on her head, with horizontal strips of light shining on her from a blind, Bloomington
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Too much exposure to EMF, whether natural or man-made, can lead to the following symptoms:

Ways to Reduce EMF Exposure

Health Effects of EMF
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Now that you already know the health risk of high-level exposure to EMFs, the first thing that may come to mind is to avoid the above culprits. In reality, we cannot avoid them altogether. However, there are ways to reduce exposure to EMF.

We should avoid living near strong sources of EMF radiation, such as power lines and radio stations. The use of Wi-Fi, computers and other appliances at home, should be limited, as much as possible. After all, most of them emit EMFs. More importantly, avoid using such technologies near your body unless necessary. For example, you can use earphones instead of putting your phone directly to your ear during calls. Also, we can counter the effects of EMF exposure by being near moving water, using a Himalayan salt lamp or a negative ion generator. It may be surprising, but eating an antioxidant-rich diet can actually help relieve oxidative stress due to EMF exposure.

EMFs have been around since the dawn of man. While there is indeed health risks associated with prolonged EMF exposure, the best thing we can do to minimize its effects on our health is the proper use of technology. After all, we all benefit from technological advances, but should not be at the expense of our health.

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