What is Electromagnetic Radiation and How Does it Affect You?

Human beings are exposed to millions of kinds of good and bad radiation. However, the only thing you can do is try to reduce them by following the advice in this article.
What is Electromagnetic Radiation and How Does it Affect You?
Maricela Jiménez López

Written and verified by the doctor Maricela Jiménez López.

Last update: 11 June, 2022

Most radiation studies have focused on ionizing radiation. However, they’ve overlooked non-ionizing radiation in processes like electromagnetic radiation.

Electromagnetic radiation is the process of giving off energy. This means either sending waves or particles through space.

To make a distinction between these two types of radiation, you need to keep their frequency in mind. The greater the frequency, the greater their energy. Waves are vibrations that move through vacuums at the speed of light. They’re essentially outside of the human visual range.

There are kinds of radiation that aren’t harmful to living things. These are called non-ionizing radiation. They aren’t dangerous because they don’t break atomic bonds and molecules stay together, forming electromagnetic waves.

Generally, we are exposed to AM and FM radio waves, microwaves, infrared radiation, and ultra-violet radiation.

On the extreme opposite end of the spectrum, we find ionizing radiation. These break up atoms and ionize the atoms in your cells and cause irreversible damage to people or even death.

These radiations come from unstable atoms in radioactive substances, uranium, for instance.

The Type of Radiation

There are esentially three kinds of radiation: alpha, beta, and gamma.

  1. Alpha (α): this radiation barely penetrates and can go through a sheet of paper. This is especially harmful because it means that once it gets in somewhere, it will contaminate any food or drink in the area. By just touching or eating these foods, the radiation breaks up molecules.
  2. Beta (β): This kind penetrates more than alpha radiation, and can go through a layer of aluminum. However, it’s much less harmful.
  3. Gamma (γ): This kind of radiation penetrates very deeply and they come from a nuclear source. Thus, they need thick shields like concrete to keep them from passing.

The Harmful Effects of Radiation

Electromagnetic radiation

Electromagnetic radiation causes biological changes in human beings. However, these changes aren’t necessarily harmful.

For instance, when you hear music, dance, or read a book, there is a biological change that doesn’t affect your body. This has the ability to compensate for the effect of the radiation.

However, when your body is exposed to electromagnetic waves and the biological effect exceeds the normal range, it affects your health.

Actually, one of many scientific reports focuses on the effect of electromagnetic waves on the human endocrine system and associated diseases.

There have been cases of:

  • Breast cancer, leukemia, and tumors
  • Sclerosis
  • Memory loss
  • Brain cancer
  • Cardiopulmonary diseases: tachycardia and high blood pressure
  • A reduction of red blood cells.

At the same time, you can suffer from other, less serious diseases. These include:

  • Vision problems: cataracts and vision loss
  • Developmental problems in children
  • Hypertension
  • Fatigue
  • Neurological diseases: mental confusion, irritability
  • Joint pain
  • Reproductive problems: changes to your menstrual cycle, miscarriages, infertility
  • Dermatitis

How do you reduce electromagnetic radiation?

How do you reduce electromagnetic radiation?

Large companies don’t acknowledge that home electronics, telephones, and computers affect your health. However, studies have shown that the consequences take 10 or 20 years to appear.

It’s practically impossible to avoid exposure to electromagnetic waves. However, you can reduce your exposure by following some advice:

  • Turn off and unplug devices that you aren’t using.
  • You should charge your phone, then unplug it. If you need to plug it in, keep the plug far away from your body.
  • If you use a heater or ventilator, put it at least a three feet away from your bed.
  • Don’t use electric blankets.
  • For you desk lamps, it’s important that you use incandescent light bulbs.
  • When you heat something up in the oven or microwave, stay away from the appliance until your food is done cooking.
  • Keep your distance from your television. It generates electromagnetic waves.
  • Turn off your Bluetooth devices if you don’t need to use them.
  • Avoid closed places with air conditioning.
  • Don’t put your washer and dryer close to your living room. The radiation could go through the wall.

The people who are most likely to suffer from the effects of radiation are children, pregnant women, and older adults.

  • Reduce your cell phone usage, especially for children under 14 years old.
Reduce your cell phone usage, especially for children under 14 years old.

In summary, human beings are exposed to millions of kinds of good and bad radiation. However, the only thing you can do is try to reduce them by following the advice in this article.

Even though you don’t see the problem, it’s possible that the consequences will affect your life in a few years.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Acuña-Castroviejo D. Informe científico sobre el efecto de los campos electromagnéticos en el sistema endocrino humano y patologías asociadas. Granada, 2006.
  • Bellieni, C. V., Tei, M., Iacoponi, F., Tataranno, M. L., Negro, S., Proietti, F., … Buonocore, G. (2012). Is newborn melatonin production influenced by magnetic fields produced by incubators? Early Human Development. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.earlhumdev.2012.02.015
  • Consales, C., Merla, C., Marino, C., & Benassi, B. (2012). Electromagnetic fields, oxidative stress, and neurodegeneration. International Journal of Cell Biology. https://doi.org/10.1155/2012/683897
  • Baliatsas, C., Van Kamp, I., Lebret, E., & Rubin, G. J. (2012). Idiopathic environmental intolerance attributed to electromagnetic fields (IEI-EMF): A systematic review of identifying criteria. BMC Public Health. https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2458-12-643
  • Yakymenko, I., & Sidorik, E. (2010). Risks of carcinogenesis from electromagnetic radiation of mobile telephony devices. Experimental Oncology. https://doi.org/45/835 [pii]
  • Patricia, B., Ray, K., Kheifets, L., Christopher, P., Mike, R., Sahl, J., … Swerdlow, A. (2009). Exposure to high frequency electromagnetic fields, biological effects and health consequences (100 kHz-300 GHz). Health Physics. https://doi.org/10.1097/HP.0b013e3181f06c86

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.