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What is electromagnetic pollution and how does it affect you?

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  • What is electromagnetic pollution and how does it affect you?
  • The consequences of being surrounded by technology has been studied.
  • Could constant exposure to radiation be harmful to your health?

Today it is very difficult to imagine our lives without all the electronic equipment that surrounds us. Cell phones, televisions, computers and all smart devices make our lives easier. But is there a downside? Electromagnetic pollution has been studied to understand the consequences of being surrounded by technology,

It must be remembered that carrying devices such as cell phones is a recent phenomenon. Not that long ago, dependence on these devices did not exist and it was not necessary for everyone to have one. That’s one of the reasons long-term effects are unknown, according to El Universal.

Electromagnetic waves are everywhere

electromagnetic pollution
Photo: Getty

Scientists have taken on the task of studying how we and our environment are being transformed in the digital age and that involves being aware that we are surrounded by electromagnetic waves. Let’s start by clarifying something important. As the Tecnológico de Monterrey points out in its Tec Review, electromagnetic waves have existed since the beginning of the universe and are everywhere.

For you to understand their constant presence, it is enough to say that our brain uses electromagnetic fields to communicate with our cells and generate the biochemical reactions we need to survive. But the electric and magnetic fields are varied and range from static to X-rays, to radio frequencies and infrared rays, as explained by the Secretaría del Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (Semarnat).

What devices generate electromagnetic pollution?

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We are not always aware that all our electronic devices generate radiation. Cell phones, microwave ovens, telephone and radio communication antennas, WiFi, among other equipment are generating electromagnetic pollution or electropollution.

As explained by the Tec de Monterrey, devices that require electrical wiring to function produce radiation. Which explains why the radio spectrum is increasing. According to Semarnat, constant and excessive exposure to radiation has generated various debates about the risks it could have on human health, for example, if high enough electromagnetic fields can alter DNA and increase the chances of developing diseases like cancer.

What hazards are we facing?

electromagnetic pollution
Photo: Shutterstock

However, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), the levels of exposure to radio frequencies from base stations and wireless networks are so low that temperature increases are insignificant and do not affect people’s health. To explain it better, cell phones emit low power radio frequencies and operate in a frequency range between 450 and 2700 MHz and have a peak power of 0.1 to 2 watts, which means that they are not harmful.

Even so, if you are afraid of the consequences of the constant use of smartphones, it is best to hold your phone between 30 and 40 centimeters from your body. You may opt to send text messages and use hands-free devices for calls. Dr. Arturo Ramírez Porras, from the Centro de Investigación en Ciencia e Ingeniería de Materiales (Cicima) of the University of Costa Rica, clarified that electronic devices with screens have advanced technologies that produce a type of light that is not harmful for users and are not capable of generating radiation that affects the skin or internal organs.

So what is the radiation that is harmful?

Photo: Shutterstock

We have already clarified that the electronic devices that we use daily are not harmful. This is because they are not capable of generating ionizing radiation, which does represent a danger to human health. Ionizing radiation, explains Arturo Ramírez, are ultraviolet rays, which are produced by powerful processes of electrical discharges (such as sparks, electric arcs or lightning) and cause burns.

Gamma rays occur in high-energy equipment, such as those used for cancer treatment or nuclear weapons and X-rays that can pass through the body. If you want to reduce your exposure to electromagnetic pollution, you can put your cell phone in airplane mode when you are not using it, especially at night. Do not overuse headphones and other wireless devices. Do not place washing machines, microwaves and other electronic devices near the rooms where you spend a lot of time and do not use the cell phone near babies and children.

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