EMFs, EMRs, and other scary stuff
You may not have known this but every day you are holding a high-powered microwave transmitter (cellphone) directly against the side of your head. If you feel like this is making you smarter or promoting the growth of superpowers – don’t. Cell phones generate electromagnetic fields (EMF) and emit electromagnetic radiation (EMR) which may be bad for your health (OMG).
WARNING, WARNING, WARNING
But wait, before we begin… a Geek Slop warning: Please, read this article in its entirety. Do not make any rash decisions until this article has been read thoroughly, thought about, and then read again. We repeat, do not throw your cellphone across the room and do not attempt to use your little brother or sister as a shield against potentially harmful radiation coming from your electronic device. Let’s discuss this calmly and rationally while we answer this basic question – is your cellphone, tablet, or computer screen melting your brain?
Do we know if EMFs are bad for our health?
The emission of all this scary sounding space waves stuff is a common feature of all electronics and we’ve got some bad news for you – scientists aren’t really sure, yet, if it’s bad or not (or how bad it is). Right now, scientists are arguing over who’s right and who’s wrong while we patiently wait for answers. If the suspense is killing you, well, welcome to the world of corporate science. A professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison called the entire mess the “great experiment”:
“Researchers know almost nothing about the impact of touchscreen technology on young children. Our society is running a large-scale experiment with real children in the real world, and we won’t know the impact, if any, for many years to come.”
Sorry kids – now get back in your cages!
What we do know about the dangers of EMF radiation
What we do know is that electrical forces and magnetic forces can hurt your DNA (the genetic fiber of your being), likely by altering your DNA and cells causing them to do things they weren’t supposed to do. And when DNA gets damaged, stuff like cancer kicks in.
How do scientists know EMF may be bad for you? Scientists have studied large groups of people who use smartphones, live near electrical power lines, or work around cellphone towers. They count the people and do some magic math to see how these different variables have affected their health later (er, yeah, after they’ve already gotten sick and died from it). From this they’ve found many interesting facts. For instance, a person who regularly uses a cell phone for at least 10 years has almost 3-times the risk of developing a cancer tumor on the side of their head that they hold the phone to. Another study found that people who live near cell phone transmission towers have a cancer rate three times higher than people who live in the middle of nowhere. That’s quite a bit of evidence pointing out the hazards of cellphones and other electronic devices.
Do we need to move into caves?
Geek Slop’s not trying to scare anybody (actually, we are) and understands that we can’t all go back to living in caves (yay caves!) but one thing all the scientists DO agree on is that it’s not a bad idea to limit exposure – where possible. So what are we to do? Take some commonsense precautions. For instance, keep your computer or tablet screen at a bit of a distance away from you. It’s a known fact that exposure to electromagnetic fields multiplies exponentially (a lot) the closer you are to the device. Check this table out which shows EMF measurements (in Milligauss – mG) for some everyday items at two different distances – 6 inches and 24 inches (2 feet).
|Device||Max EMF – 6 inches||Max EMF – 24 inches|
|Electric blanket||39||Uh, Ok…|
You can see from the table above that distance makes quite a bit of difference in the amount of EMFs you are exposed to. So use a wireless headset when talking on the phone or better yet, lay it on the table and use its speakerphone feature. If you’re not using your phone, take it out of your pocket and lay it on the table. And above all, as with everything else, slow down – moderation in the use of your electronic devices is your best bet.
For the parents we must point out the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations for kids. If your kid is under 2 – no screens, period. For older kids, two hours a day, max, is the official recommendation.