More and more reports are released about microwave radiation, wifi and electronic devices, in relation to their effect on nature, the human body and health. Since people are showing an increasing general discomfort while using electronic devices, scientists have finally shown interest in researching the negative effects of these devices on everyday life.
Radiofrequency (RF) radiation
Radiation is the emission (sending out) of energy from any source. X-rays are an example of radiation, but so is the light that comes from the sun and the heat that is constantly coming off our bodies. When talking about radiation and cancer, many people think of specific kinds of radiation such as x-rays or the radiation made by nuclear reactors. But there are other types of radiation that act differently. Radiation exists across a spectrum from very high-energy (high-frequency) radiation to very low-energy (low-frequency) radiation. This is sometimes referred to as the electromagnetic spectrum. Examples of high-energy radiation include x-rays and gamma rays. They, as well as some higher energy UV radiation, are called ionizing radiation, which means they have enough energy to remove an electron from (ionize) an atom or molecule. This can damage the DNA inside of cells, which can result in cancer. Radiofrequency (RF) radiation, which includes radio waves and microwaves, is at the low-energy end of the electromagnetic spectrum. It is a type of non-ionizing radiation. Non-ionizing radiation has enough energy to move atoms in a molecule around or cause them to vibrate, but not enough to ionize (remove charged particles such as electrons).
People can be exposed to RF radiation from both natural and man-made sources.
Natural sources include:
- Outer space and the sun
- The sky – including lightning strikes
- The earth itself – most radiation from the earth is infrared, but a tiny fraction is RF
Man-made RF radiation is used for many different things, such as
- Broadcasting radio and television signals
- Transmitting signals from cordless telephones, cell phones and cell phone towers, satellite phones, and 2-way radios
- WiFi and Bluetooth
- Cooking food (in a microwave oven)
- Heating body tissues to destroy them in medical procedures
- “Welding” pieces of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) using certain machines
- Millimeter wave scanners (a type of full body scanner used for security screening)
Some people can have significant RF exposure as part of their jobs. This includes PVC welders, people who maintain antenna towers that broadcast communication signals, and people who use or maintain radar equipment.
Most people are exposed to much lower levels of man-made RF radiation every day due to the presence of RF signals all around us. They come from radio and television broadcasts, WiFi and Bluetooth, cell phones (and cell phone towers), and other sources.
The most convenient appliance – microwave ovens seem to be an absolute necessity in today’s fast-paced world. They are currently present in at least 90% of homes in America thanks to their ability to cook and reheat foods or beverages in a simple, rapid way. The majority of people use this kitchen appliance without question and often think microwaves just a simple alternative to conventional ovens. But think twice before using your microwave, as it could be one of the worst things you do for your own food.
In short, microwave ovens are kitchen appliances which are used to cook or reheat food by emitting microwaves. Microwaves are a form of electromagnetic radiation and are on the low energy end of the energy spectrum, second to radio waves. The waves are generated by something called a magnetron – something found within every microwave oven.
Magnetrons produce an electromagnetic field with a microwave frequency of approximately 2,450 megaHertz (MGz), which is the equivalent to 2.4 gigaHertz (GHz). Microwaves produced within the microwave oven cause dialectric heating – they bounce around the inside of the oven and are absorbed by whatever is placed in the oven.
In a microwave oven, alternating current forces atoms reverse polarity at a startlingly high rate. This creates such violent friction that the water inside the food molecules begin to vibrate and heat up.
Microwaves break chemical and molecular bonds, and can literally rip atoms apart, disrupting the basic biochemical structures of life. It’s no wonder foods cooked in such a way become so harmful to consume.Government and industry studies suggest they pose no threat, but a growing body of knowledge now contradicts those claims.
The Swiss scientist Hans Hertel, was the first to study microwave dangers, specifically, how cooking degrades and depletes food of nutrients—an effect that shows up in study participants’ blood samples. Hans Hertel states:
“There are no atoms, molecules or cells of any organic system able to withstand such a violent, destructive power for any extended period of time, not even in the low energy range of milliwatts… This is how microwave cooking heat is generated – friction from this violence in water molecules. Structures of molecules are torn apart, molecules are forcefully deformed (called structural isomerism) and thus become impaired in quality.”
Full body security scanners
In many airports in the United States, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) uses full body scanners to screen passengers. The scanners currently used by the TSA use millimeter wave imaging. These scanners send out a small amount of millimeter wave radiation (a type of RF radiation) toward the person in the scanner. The RF radiation passes through clothing and bounces off the person’s skin as well as any objects under the clothes. The radiation is sensed by receivers that create images of the person.
Millimeter wave scanners do not use x-rays (or any other kind of high-energy radiation) and the amount of RF radiation used is very low. According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), these scanners have no known health effects. However, TSA often allows people to be screened in a different way if they object to screening with these scanners.
Cell phones and cell phone towers
Cell phones and cell phone towers use RF radiation to transmit and receive signals. Some concerns have been raised that these signals might increase the risk of cancer, and research in this area continues.
Cell phones work by sending signals to (and receiving them from) nearby cell towers (base stations) using RF waves. This is a form of electromagnetic energy that falls between FM radio waves and microwaves. Like FM radio waves, microwaves, visible light, and heat, RF waves are a form of non-ionizing radiation. They don’t have enough energy to cause cancer by directly damaging the DNA inside cells.
The RF waves from cell phones come from the antenna, which is part of the body of a hand-held phone. The waves are strongest at the antenna and lose energy quickly as they travel away from the phone. The phone is typically held against the side of the head when in use. The closer the antenna is to the head, the greater a person’s expected exposure to RF energy. The body tissues closest to the phone absorb more energy than tissues farther away.
Many factors can affect the amount of RF energy to which a person is exposed, including:
- The amount of time the person is on the phone.
- Whether or not the person is using the speaker mode on the phone or a hands-free device. Using one of these allows the phone to be held away from the head.
- The distance and path to the nearest cell phone tower. Cell phones adjust their power to use the minimum amount for a good signal. Being farther away from the tower requires more energy to get a good signal, as does being inside a building.
- The amount of cell phone traffic in the area at the time. Higher traffic may require more energy to get a good signal.
- The model of phone being used. Different phones give off different amounts of energy.
Because cell phones usually are held near the head when being used, the main concern has been whether they might cause or contribute to tumors in this area, including:
- Malignant (cancerous) brain tumors such as gliomas
- Non-cancerous tumors of the brain such as meningiomas
- Non-cancerous tumors of the nerve connecting the brain to the ear (vestibular schwannomas, also known as acoustic neuromas)
- Non-cancerous tumors of the salivary glands
Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
Have you ever felt more awake after using Wi-Fi or even struggled to sleep through the night? Reports of these phenomena have been frequent and even prompted a study in 2007 that evaluated low-frequency modulation from cell phones and its impact on sleep. Participants were exposed to the electromagnetic signals from real phones or no signal from fake phones. Those exposed to the electromagnetic radiation had a significantly more difficult time falling asleep and changes in brainwave patterns were observed.
It’s been suggested that sleeping near a phone, in a home with Wi-Fi, or in an apartment building with many Wi-Fi signals can create chronic sleep problems as the constant bombardment of Wi-Fi pollution interferes with falling asleep and sleep patterns. For many, sleep deprivation is just the start for larger problems. The development of depression and hypertension have also been linked to inadequate sleep.
Exposure to non-thermal radio frequency radiation from Wi-Fi and cellular phones can disrupt normal cellular development, especially fetal development. A 2004 animal study linked exposure to delayed kidney development. These findings were supported by a 2009 Austrian study. In fact, the disruption of protein synthesis is so severe that authors specifically noted, “this cell property is especially pronounced in growing tissues, that is, in children and youth. Consequently, these population groups would be more susceptible than average to the described effects.” In short, bathing the developmentally young in Wi-Fi increases their risk of developmental issues.
When a group of Danish ninth graders experienced difficulty concentrating after sleeping with their cell phones by their head, they performed an experiment to test the effect of wireless Wi-Fi routers on garden cress. One set of plants was grown in a room free of wireless radiation; the other group grew next to two routers that released the same amount of radiation as a cell phone. The results? The plants nearest the radiation didn’t grow.
Just as the Danish high schoolers noticed problems with concentration, scientists have begun to look at the impact of 4G radiation on brain function. Using MRI technology, research performed just last year found that persons exposed to 4G radiation had several areas of reduced brain activity.
A group of 30 healthy volunteers, 15 men and 15 women, were given a simple memory test. First, the entire group was tested without any exposure to Wi-Fi radiation — no problem. Then, they were exposed to 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi from a wireless access point for about 45 minutes. During that portion of the testing, brain activity was measured and the women had a noticeable change in brain activity and energy levels.
It also neutralizes sperm, because we’ve known for a long time that the heat generated by laptops kills sperm. Well, now it turns out that heat isn’t the only threat to a man’s virility. Research has found exposure to Wi-Fi frequencies reduce sperm movement and cause DNA fragmentation. Both human and animal testing has confirmed that exposure negatively affects sperm.
And, it’s not just sperm. The results of an animal study suggest that some wireless frequencies may prevent egg implantation. During the study, mice exposed 2 hours a day for 45 days had significantly increased oxidative stress levels. The cellular damage and impact on DNA structure from exposure suggest a strong possibility of abnormal pregnancy or failure of the egg to implant.
The Karolinska Institute in Sweden released a warning in 2011, stating:
- “Pregnant women are cautioned to avoid using wireless devices themselves and distance themselves from other users,”
- “Current US [and Canada]…standards for radio frequency and microwave radiation from wireless technology are entirely inadequate,” and
- “Safety standards also ignore the developing fetus…”
If you think your heart races when surrounded by wireless networks or 3G or LTE cell phones, it may not be in your head. A study involving 69 subjects reported that many of them experienced a real physical response to electromagnetic frequencies. Exactly what was the physical response? Increased heart rate — similar to the heart rate of an individual under stress.
It may be linked to cancer. However, this is extremely controversial but we can’t ignore that plenty of animal models indicate that exposure to electromagnetic radiation increases the risk of tumor development. While human studies are rare, reports and case studies abound. One such case involves a young 21-year-old woman who developed breast cancer. What makes this case unique was that her family did not have a predisposition to breast cancer… and she developed the tumor right on the spot she carried her cell phone in her bra.
Although mainstream outlets may ignore the proven dangers, especially in the US and Canada, researchers have identified several methods that can offer a level of defense. First off, reduced melatonin seems to correspond with exposure. Thus, increasing melatonin through supplementation may help offset some of the effects. In animal tests, L-Carnitine provides antioxidant support for nutrients negatively affected by 2.4 GHz radiation.
All this presented evidence is at least cause for further investigation. We shouldn’t just believe the positive reports on whatever electronic device that is presented to us, but we should inform ourselves much better before accepting any of these devices in our lives.
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