Electromagnetic radiation (EMR) is a form of energy that is all around us. EMR takes many forms such, as radio waves, microwaves, X-rays, gamma rays, ultraviolet, visible light and infrared light. It is a form of non-ionizing radiation which we encounter from electrical and communications equipment that excites matter but structurally doesn’t change it. Despite the whole invisibility thing, different biological effects have been observed for different types of non-ionizing radiation.
There is no evidence to prove that this technology is completely safe or without risks. Many countries including France, Russia, Israel, India, Italy, China, Poland, Bulgaria and Switzerland, have exposure standards to radiofrequency electromagnetic energy (used in wireless technologies including mobile phones and Wi-Fi) that are one hundred times lower than what is permitted in Australia and the US.1
According to the Council of Europe, “Waiting for high levels of scientific proof before acting on electromagnetic fields can lead to very high health and economic costs as was the case with asbestos, leaded petrol and tobacco.”2
Some sources of electromagnetic radiation include:
- Computers, printers, scanners, game-boys, & televisions (as I sit in front of my computer, television and printer, all WiFi enabled, freaking out)
- All Wireless technology found in our homes, schools, businesses, cafes & homes
- Electric blankets & Heated water beds
- Clock radios and wrist watches with glow-in-the-dark numbers
- Electronic pest devices
- Baby monitors
- Appliances & building wiring
- High voltage transmission & power lines
- Inverters from solar panels
- Mobile phone towers
- Smart meters & the meter box
This technology uses a pulsed microwave radiation like mobile phones, except it does so on a continual basis. There is growing concern amongst parents, teachers and scientists about its impact on children to the extent that many schools in the UK, France, Austria and Israel are removing them altogether.1
According to Nicole Bijlsma,3 a building biologist and author of the best seller – Healthy Home Healthy Family, “Questions about the safety of electromagnetic fields in our homes were first raised by Wertheimer and Leeper in 1979 who associated the incidence of childhood leukaemia with exposure to high voltage transmission lines. Since then there have been a flood of studies on the adverse health effects associated with electromagnetic field exposure typically found in the built environment.
Because of the weight of this evidence, the International Agency for Research on Cancer4 classified extra low frequency magnetic fields and radiofrequency electromagnetic fields used in Wi-Fi and telecommunications as Group 2B carcinogen. Had they deemed this technology to be safe and without risks to human health, they would have classified them as Group 4 not a carcinogen, but this was not the case.
Consequently, countries like China, Switzerland, Italy and Russia have set exposure standards well below that recommended by the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection.
Occasional exposure to high electromagnetic fields is not likely to pose a health risk to most people. Exposure to high electric and/or magnetic fields over a long period (such as when sleeping) are when problems are likely to arise.4
- headaches, sleep disturbances and dizziness
- brain fog: poor memory, poor concentration, learning disorders
- heart problems: chest tightness, increased heart rate (tachycardia) and irregular beats (arrhythmias)
- muscle aches and pains, muscle weakness, and other fibromyalgia symptoms
- skin rash, burning sensations, itch, redness
Studies have also looked at links between EMR and:
- Brain tumours
- Thyroid effects
- Neurodegenerative diseases
- Heart problems
- Reproductive problems.5
Bijlsma continues, “Studies on the impact of mobile phones and wireless technology on children bring up ethical and moral dilemmas that few in the scientific community are willing to pursue.”
In addition, apart from the threat of litigation, governments are reluctant to acknowledge adverse health effects because they have completely embraced the technology, in some states making it mandatory for all new school buildings. It is perhaps worth noting that many medical doctors used to advise stressed out patients to smoke, in order to assist relaxation, before being fully cognisant of the side effects. Our governments also budget on the millions of dollars in tax revenue from the communications industry, and they recognise the high consumer demand for technology.
Likewise, the telecommunications industry needs to ensure dividends for its shareholders. We are exposing millions of children to this technology both in our schools and homes every day, and yet there is very little data regarding the effect of this exposure. This was recently acknowledged by the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Authority, who in February stated ‘due to the lack of scientific evidence on mobile and cordless phone use by children, we recommend that parents encourage their children to limit their exposure.”2
What Can We Do To Protect Our Children From These Dangers?
Our families are certainly not immune to the demands of our “plugged in” world, however there is a way to strike a balance. In the Well Fed Kids App, we go through A 6 Step Process for Screenoholic Families, with strategies and solutions to help your family get over screen addiction ☺. Sometimes we all lose our way or our children stretch the boundaries, and we must circle back to the ground rules and mark our scent again.
Make sure you also see our related blogs below.
(Bach. Chiropractic, Bach. App Clinical Science
Registered internationally, no longer practicing as a chiropractor in Australia.)
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• Powerwatch, 2013. Schools without Wi-Fi. (Online). Available: https://www.powerwatch.org.uk/ rf/schools_without_wifi.asp
• France, EHS Refuge Zone “How it works”. (Online). Available: https://www.next-up.org/ Newsoftheworld/EHS_Refuge_Zone.php
• Countries that recognise Electrical Hypersensitivity as a functional disability include Sweden, Canada, France, Spain and the United States.
• German Parliament, 2007. Letter from the German Federal Ministries for the Environment Nature Protection and Reactor Safety. (Online). Available: https://www.icems.eu/docs/deutscher_ bundestag.pdf
Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly 6 May 2011. The potential dangers of electromagnetic fields and their effect on the environment report, Doc. 12608 (Online). Available: https://assembly.coe.int/main.asp?Link=/documents/workingdocs/doc11/edoc12608.htm
Nicole Bijlsma. Wireless Technology – A Danger We Can’t Live Without. ACNEM Journal. Vol 32(1). pp17-20
World Health Organisation, IARC Monographs of the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans, 2002, Non-Ionizing Radiation, Part 1: Static and Extremely Low-Frequency (ELF) Electric and Magnetic Fields. Vol. 80, IARC Press. (Online). Available: https://monographs.iarc.fr/ ENG/Monographs/vol80/volume80.pdf
Philips, A and Philips, J, n.d, Radiofrequency EMFs and health risks. (Online). Available: www.powerwatch.org.uk/library/index.asp
Nicole Bijlsma. Electromagnetic fields – we live in a sea of radiation. https://www.buildingbiology.com.au/index.php/Biology/Electromagnetic-Fields.html
Douglas A. Gentile Æ J. Ronald Gentile. J. ‘Violent Video Games as Exemplary Teachers: A Conceptual Analysis’, Youth Adolescence 3 July 2007
DuRant RH, Rich M, Emans SJ, Rome ES, Allred E, Woods ER. ‘Violence and weapon carrying in music videos: a content analysis’, Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1997;151:443–448
Cantor J. ”Mommy, I’m Scared”: How TV and Movies Frighten Children and What We Can Do to Protect Them. New York, NY: Harcourt Brace; 1998
Cantor J, Nathanson AI. ‘Children’s fright reactions to television news’, J Commun. 1996;46:139–152