Just a few decades ago, many of us scoffed at the idea of sci-fi movies brushing it as nothing more than a child’s fantasy. Now, we live in a digital age where boundaries between the real and virtual world are blurring – quickly.
Perhaps, the best example of a “mixed-world” is our children making friends on the Internet while playing multiplayer games on PS4. Instead of spending time with their schoolmates, our kids relate stories of their interaction and team-building activities with friends that they haven’t even met.
While the debate on social skills is definitely on, families are getting concerned about the health risks associated with the digital world. Radiation from smartphones, Wi-Fi, and other wireless devices has crafted a web of unseen electromagnetic waves that are everywhere.
For an average person, it doesn’t matter where they go. There is no escape from it.
Accordingly, this article is written to answer your most burning question: are wireless devices dangerous for your family?
The following is an overview of what you will find here:
- What are electromagnetic waves, EMF?
- How dangerous are wireless devices?
- What’s the most dangerous wireless device?
- Can you escape from EMF?
What are electromagnetic waves?
In simple words, electromagnetic waves are electronically charged particles that can move, but these particles are not visible to us. These particles move in a wave and they can carry electric current from one place to another.
From the perspective of this definition, it should be easier to understand how your remote control passes on current to your TV and how you can easily connect to the Internet using a Wi-Fi router.
In fact, EMF is the sole reason you can communicate with your friends around the world without connecting your phone to any sort of cable. Electromagnetic waves are all around us, but we are unable to see them.
How dangerous are wireless devices?
Wireless devices use EMF to transmit signals and these gadgets are everywhere. It is estimated that there will be nearly 20 billion connected devices by the end of 2020, which is a significant increase compared to 8.4 billion devices in 2017.
There is no ending to the phenomenon as the expansion of the wireless spectrum is estimated to grow at the rate of 3% per year. In fact, there are 4.7 million developers around the world who can develop wireless devices.
If things keep on expanding at this rate, we will be surrounded by an even more elaborate web of radiation. Irrespective of where you move, the radiation will be with you in the form of wireless phones, transmitting stations, and antenna towers. Therefore, it makes sense to understand the health effect of waves produced by these wireless devices.
Health Impact of Wireless Radiation
In response to the growing public concern, the World Health Organisation established a project in 1996 to study the impact of radiation on humans. Instead of focusing on every type of electromagnetic wave, researchers were more concerned regarding the impact of wireless transmissions in the range of 0 – 300 GHz. This range represents most of the wireless devices in the public domain.
Initial studies conducted by WHO reveal that there is no specific danger to public health when exposed to wireless devices. Various other studies on the topic are also inconclusive, which means that none of these researches are able to conclude that wireless devices around us can impact our health to an extent where we should think about not exposing ourselves to these devices.
Interestingly, the debate of the health effects have taken a turn as various individuals call the study a ploy to encourage the public to continue using these devices because “the wireless phenomenon” has become an intrinsic part of our lives. In countries such as France, the government has banned wireless devices on nursery premises.
This renewed concern over health effects is due to the impact of long-term exposure to wireless devices. The inconclusive results didn’t stop WHO to recommend that long-term exposure or intense exposure to EMF can be as adverse as exposure to electromagnetic weaponry such as laser and microwave.
Since the jury is still out on what constitutes long-term exposure and how the overall impact of EMF radiation can influence human health, experts have asked the public to take precautionary measures.
Impact on Children
Despite mixed views, scientists are very cautious of the impact of such wireless waves on children. It is believed that the skull of a child continues to develop until the age of 15, which is yet another reason to keep children away from using mobile phones as much as possible.
As a result of a thin skull, experts suggest that a child is 10 times more vulnerable to radiation when using a mobile phone compared to an adult. As a result, they advise using EMF radiation-free air tube headphones and similar gadgets that can reduce any negative impact on health.
Countries such as France, Switzerland, Italy, Russia, China and a lot of other developed economies have restricted EMF exposure to children or set limits that are often 100 to 10,000 times less than the limit in the United States.
One of the prominent reasons for these restrictions is the classification of wireless radiation as Group – 2B, which means that such radiation can cause cancer. Since research is inconclusive, authorities in these countries are taking no chances.
Laws in France require manufacturers to provide children protective gear for mobile phone use. In addition, advertisements of cell phones accompany warnings that recommend hands-free kits to protect a child’s head from the direct impact of radiation.
Similarly, every citizen has access to information about wireless radiation levels from a particular cell phone or wireless tower. In fact, cell antenna maps are continuously evaluated for increased safety.
What’s the most dangerous device?
While recent research indicates that your family may not be in immediate danger of radiation exposure, researchers are unable to find answers regarding long-term exposures.
The debate on long-term exposure will continue in the near future because scientists will need to gather substantial data to conduct meaningful research. Since a range of different wireless spectrums have just started contributing to the wireless phenomenon, it can take many years before we have a definite answer to the long-term exposure.
To understand why experts continue recommending precautionary measures, let’s talk about long-term exposure to EMF.
People often argue if radiation from their Wi-Fi router is dangerous or the use of cell phone. It depends on the amount of exposure to these devices in the long-run. For instance, a typical mobile phone emits radiation between 21 dBm and 33 dBm, which is almost equal to the radiation levels near the Wi-Fi router, which range from 15 dBm to 27 dBm.
From these numbers, it seems that Wi-Fi is a very dangerous device that can harm all of us because we are consistently exposed to it throughout the day.
In reality, the exposure also depends on the distance between the user and the device. As such, we should only show concern if Wi-Fi device is only inches away from us. If it’s a certain distance away, it will take us one year to receive the same dose of radiation that we receive when making a 20-minute cell phone call.
Any radiation that is close to our body requires precaution. We need to be cautious because we let our toddlers use our smartphones so we can get some quiet while shopping for groceries. When they grow up we buy them wireless headphones to listen to music and watch videos. New gaming stations also support wireless capabilities to enhance the experience, which is an added exposure to the child who is using the wireless headphone to interact with the device.
Children often use these for hours, which is a cause of concern as they are bound to receive higher level of radiation during the process. If scientific studies are taken seriously, anyone younger than 15 is at risk because of their skull structure is still in the development stage.
Until we are able to get exhaustive data and definite results, using caution is the only way forward. France and other countries have taken significant steps to ensure that the public, specifically children, are not over-exposed.
What you should do
Let’s be realistic in accepting that we can’t escape from the technology because it’s everywhere. We must also not panic because none of the landmark research studies have concluded that the wireless spectrum around us is a sign of danger.
On the other hand, we also know that experts are adamant that we should use caution when using wireless technology.
Simple steps such as keeping Wi-Fi router at a distance; using protective gear such as radiation-free air tube headsets; and discouraging child from using a mobile phone until later years is a definite solution to the wireless dilemma.
As a responsible family member, it’s our duty to educate others of the potential drawbacks of radiation. We should also focus on buying gadgets that offer radiation-free technology, which will help maintain our health in the long-run. In a nutshell, we should take appropriate precautionary measures to decrease exposure to radiation.