In the fast world that we live in, we simply cannot do without electricity. Electronic devices are the chief means of communication. Electricity is all around us, in more ways than you can possibly think of. It makes our lives easier, safer, more fun and most of us never think about it. However, is there such a thing as too much electricity? Electronic devices emit an electromagnetic field, which is suspected to be “possibly carcinogenic” by WHO. Can electronic devices hurt us?
Electricity is the movement of an electric charge. Different parts of the electromagnetic spectrum correspond to different types of radiation, and many of them are perfectly harmless. Electromagnetic radiation has always been omnipresent. The biggest portion of the radiation affecting us comes from the sun. Radiation with very short wavelengths, like UV light, x-rays and gamma rays are strong enough to rip electrons out of their atoms which can cause burns and genetic damage.
This sort of radiation is called ionizing radiation and is dangerous to humans as it can cause damage to our cells and genes. Non-ionizing radiation, however, does not carry enough energy to completely remove an electron from an atom or molecule. Instead of producing charged ions when passing through matter, non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation has sufficient energy only for excitation. Electronic devices such as cell phones emit radiofrequency radiations (radio waves), a form of non-ionizing radiation, from their antennas. Parts of the body nearest to the antenna can absorb this energy. However, the question is whether this is actually dangerous to us.
A lot of people claim to be sensitive to the radiation coming from electronic appliances and cellphones. People suffering from electromagnetic radiation “exposure” report symptoms like headaches, nausea, skin reactions, burning eyes or exhaustion. However what we “think” causes a certain symptom, may not be the reason for it at all. The connection could not be explained and no direct causal link was confirmed.
As for the electromagnetic radiation from electronic devices being “possibly carcinogenic”, well, what that actually means is that there are some hints that it might cause cancer but it hasn’t been proven yet. On the whole, there was no consistent evidence in human studies that electromagnetic radiation below exposure value limits causes health problems.
However, using cellphones and other electronic devices a little less could benefit us not only in terms of lesser health hazards and electricity consumption but in higher standards of living. What is not proven today, could be proven tomorrow. And as we all know, “prevention is better than cure”.