These days, we are all used to a variety of modern-day conveniences, such as cellphones, the internet, computers, microwaves, and smart TVs. It’s hard to imagine living day to day without some of these technological devices that we depend upon so heavily to do our work, school assignments, and even gaming. However, few people realize the possible health risks associated with all of the technology that makes up our modern world.
At the turn of the 20th century, when electric power lines and indoor lighting took the world by storm, scientists realized that these power lines were emitting EMF (electromagnetic frequency) radiation. As the years went on with more advances in science and technology, we learned that X-rays and medical imaging procedures like MRIs generated EMFs. But EMFs are not just made by humans, these energy waves exist naturally in the world. The sun is a prime example; its rays give off natural EMF radiation in the form of visible light and heat.
With so much of the world’s population using electricity, computers, and cellphones, there has been rising public concern about overexposure to EMF radiation, and its possible health effects, and its symptoms of EMF exposure. While most researchers do not believe EMFs are inherently dangerous, there are still some scientists who question the effects of exposure.
Before we discuss the signs and symptoms of EMF exposure, we will look at the different types of these energy waves.
Are There Different Kinds of EMF Exposure?
There are two types of EMF radiation exposure, and these are caused by non-ionizing radiation (low-level radiation), and high-level radiation (ionizing radiation). The intensity of EMF exposure is linked to how close an individual is to the object creating the radiation, as well as if the devices are shielded with EMF protective products.
Ionizing radiation is emitted in the form of ultraviolet rays from the sun, as well as X-rays from medical imaging machines.
What are the Symptoms of EMF Exposure?
Some research suggests that EMFs can affect the body’s central nervous system, possibly causing damage to neural cells and function. So many of the symptoms of EMF exposure are linked to brain and sensory function. Symptoms include, but are not limited to:
- Insomnia and sleep disturbances
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and GI symptoms
- Changes in brain activity
- Painful or itchy skin
- Anxiety and irritability
- Inability to concentrate
Although symptoms of EMF exposure have not been thoroughly researched, scientists are unsure at this point as to the extent of these symptoms, and how they are potentially triggered by EMFs. Hopefully, future research in the years to come will offer some insight into the effects on human health.
Many individuals who show some of the symptoms listed above are considered to suffer from EHS (electromagnetic hypersensitivity). People with EHS can show different symptoms depending on the individual, and for some, these can be debilitating. Although there are no clear diagnostic criteria for EHS in the medical field as of yet, symptoms are often of a neurological nature, and in severe cases, can impair day-to-day function.
One study showed a geographical variability across Europe regarding the prevalence of EHS and reported symptoms. This study showed that the incidence of EHS is higher in Scandinavia and Germany than in Britain or France and that EMF-related symptoms (the majority of which included skin disorders) were more prevalent in Scandinavian countries. The study could not determine why the incidence was higher in certain Scandinavian countries, or if those subjects were more frequently exposed to EMFs than those subjects in the other countries.
Another study revealed that several individuals reported various symptoms concerning EMF exposure. Some individuals who reported mild symptoms chose to minimize their exposure by taking precautions. Others who had more severe symptoms, and changed their lifestyle and work habits completely to reduce exposure and symptoms.
Individuals who suspect that they suffer from EHS are recommended to take steps to reduce EMF proximity and exposure.
Is Exposure to EMFs Harmful?
Although there is not a large volume of research out there, according to an IARC (the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer) report, EMFs may be linked to cancer in humans, however, the research is scant and no positive correlations have been found in other studies.
Many epidemiologic studies have looked at possible associations between exposure to non-ionizing EMFs and risks of cancer in children. Most of the research has focused on brain tumors and leukemia, the two most common cancers in children. These and other studies have examined associations of diagnosed children living near power lines, in the home, and the exposure of parents to high levels of magnetic fields at work. However, no consistent evidence for an association between any source of non-ionizing EMF and cancer has yet been found.
We know that cellphones emit EMFs, and cellphone use has risen significantly in the past 30 years, and researchers concerned about human health and cellphone use are conducting a longitudinal study comparing cancer cases in cellphone users and nonusers over the last 20 years. Hopefully, this and other ongoing studies will be able to shed light on the possible harmful effects of EMF radiation.
How do I Protect Myself from EMF Exposure and Reduce my Symptoms?
Although research is ongoing, currently, EMFs are unlikely to cause any adverse health effects, however, prevention is the best medicine. If you are worried about EMF exposure and experience some of the symptoms listed above when you are near devices that emit EMFs, you can take several precautions.
For example, if you are worried about X-ray exposure at the dentist or doctor, notify your practitioner that you would like to keep your exposure to a minimum. You could also limit your proximity to your cell phone or computer. If you’re not using your cellphone, put it in another room when you’re not using it, or keep your computer or laptop in a designated area of your home to limit your exposure. Use a speaker on your Bluetooth or cellphone instead of using earbuds, and while you’re sleeping, or put your cellphone in another room.
Although EMFs occur naturally in the world, we know that we are constantly exposed to human-made EMFs while using day-to-day technology. Current research on EMF symptoms and health-related issues is still in its infancy, but some studies have shown possible connections between low-level EMF exposure and certain health problems. Exposure to high-level EMFs, such as X-rays, is known to cause neurological problems by interfering with nervous system function, but the majority of individuals are not exposed to high-frequency EMFs.
One of the first steps for you to take is to use one of the best EMF detectors and see if radiation is affecting your day-to-day life. We recommend the TriField EMF Meter Model TF2, as it is the only meter that detects EMF at various frequencies, and identifies EMF coming from WiFi routers and cordless phones.
If you suffer from EHS or symptoms of EMF exposure, consider taking the precautions mentioned above to limit your exposure and protect yourself.