Research has shown that electromagnetic radiation can pose various health risks, such as an increased risk of cancer, miscarriage?and depression. And we?re surrounded by electromagnetic radiation on a daily basis.
Electromagnetic radiation refers to energy produced from a source, such as light from the sun, microwaves from an oven, or your cell phone?s signal.
You?re likely exposed to some form of electromagnetic radiation almost constantly, but you can still do a lot to protect yourself from any potentially negative effects. Let?s take a closer look at this issue.
WHAT IS ELECTROMAGNETIC RADIATION?
Electromagnetic radiation is a type of energy that travels and spreads out as it moves. It?s composed of a stream of particles called photons that move in wave-like patterns at the speed of light. Each photon has a certain amount of energy, but no physical mass.
The photons of radio waves are fairly low-energy and move in long wavelengths, which puts them at the low end of the electromagnetic spectrum. As you move up the spectrum, microwaves have more energy, then visible and ultraviolet light from the sun, and x-rays and gamma rays have the highest amounts of energy.
Electromagnetic radiation is classified into two different types:
Ionizing radiation ? includes mid- to high-frequency types of radiation, such as ultraviolet radiation, x-rays and gamma rays. Ionizing radiation has enough energy that it can remove electrons from atoms and molecules of air, water and living tissue as it passes through them.
Non-ionizing radiation ? includes low- to mid-frequency types of radiation, such as radio waves, microwaves and cell phone signals. These are not able to remove electrons from atoms or molecules, but they are strong enough to heat up substances and are proven to have a biological effect on human cells.
HOW CAN ELECTROMAGNETIC RADIATION HARM YOUR HEALTH?
It?s well-established that prolonged exposure to ionizing electromagnetic radiation can cause cellular changes that can lead to health risks such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, radiation sickness and genetic damage.
Because non-ionizing radiation is weaker than ionizing radiation, its effects tend to take place over longer periods. But it can still be just as damaging after many years of exposure.
A large volume of research over the past three decades has linked non-ionizing radiation to an increased risk of developing certain cancers, Alzheimer?s disease, immune system dysfunction and free radical damage to DNA.
Even the World Health Organization has stated that technology that emits low-level electromagnetic fields (EMFs), such as cell phones, ?is too recent to rule out possible long-term effects?.
In their publication Establishing a Dialogue on Risks from Electromagnetic Fields, the WHO goes on to say that, ?Given the widespread use of technology, the degree of scientific uncertainly, and the levels of public apprehension, rigorous scientific studies [of EMFs] and clear communication with the public are needed.?
WAYS TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM ELECTROMAGNETIC RADIATION
1. Keep Your Distance
Electromagnetic radiation is strongest at its source. For example, cell phones, microwave ovens, baby monitors, smart meters and Wi-Fi modems all actively create and emit electromagnetic radiation. So, the farther away you are from these active sources, the less radiation you?ll receive.
Try some of these suggestions for keeping your electronic devices at a distance:
Hold your cell phone or cordless phone away from your head when talking. Most cell phone manuals state that you should keep your phone at least 15 millimeters (5/8 inch) away from your head when using it. Also, use speakerphone or text when you can.
Avoid putting your laptop on your lap. Try to use a secondary keyboard and mouse to give yourself some distance.
Keep your modem away from your living spaces. When possible, have your modem installed in the least-travelled corner of your home.
Stand back from your microwave when it?s operating. Some microwaves can leak a small amount of radiation when they?re on, so it?s best to give them some space until your food is done.
2. Get Wired
Wireless signals provide a constant source of electromagnetic radiation, so try using wired devices as much as possible. Yes, using wires is annoying. But if you?re on your devices for many hours a day, it will significantly cut down your exposure to electromagnetic fields.
Try using a wired headset when talking on your cell phone, using an ethernet cable for your computer, or wired headphones for your MP3 player.
3. Watch Your Time
More time spent around electronic equipment will mean more exposure to electromagnetic radiation. Working around electronics is hard to avoid, but consider some unplugged activities in your free time.
Instead of watching a video on your computer or television, try going for a walk or getting together with friends instead. Chances are you?ll have more fun than watching that video anyway.
Even when you?re not using many electronic devices, they?re still producing electromagnetic radiation. Wi-Fi modems emit signals continuously, and even computers will still have a weak electromagnetic field around them when they?re in ?sleep? mode.
Get in the habit of turning your modem off at night when possible. Also try having as many of your electronic devices on power bars that you can switch off when they?re not in use. This will also help you conserve energy and save money on your power bills.
5. Remove Electronics from Your Bedroom
You spend a lot of time in your bedroom, so keeping it as clear as possible from electronics will greatly reduce your exposure. Electromagnetic radiation is also shown to disrupt melatonin and sleep, which makes it especially important to keep it out of your sleeping space.
Remove any unnecessary wireless devices, unplug any screens for the night and above all, don?t take your cell phone to bed with you.
6. Stay Healthy
It?s known that electromagnetic radiation causes oxidative stress on your cells and increases free radical concentrations in your body. Under normal circumstances, your body should be able to repair this damage.
But, if your health is compromised, your body won?t be able to deal with the effects of prolonged electromagnetic radiation exposure. Over time, this oxidative stress can take a toll on your health.
Maintaining your health and eating a diet rich in antioxidants and nutrients will support your body and naturally protect against any potential damage from electromagnetic radiation. Try including these antioxidant rich foods in your diet or spending more time in nature to naturally boost your health.
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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.
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How Can You Protect Yourself from Electromagnetic Radiation?