How Much Is Too Much?: A Guide to EMF Exposure Limits

Compiling the data from several energy agencies, 90% of the world’s population now has access to electricity, as of 2019. Most of us take our modern electronic conveniences such as microwaves, smartphones, and computers for granted without concern for the possible health risks.

Anything electrical generates an electromagnetic field (EMF). This fact and the fact that such fields are growing in intensity as more and more devices are added to everyday life, is making some scientists nervous that not enough is known about long term health effects of EMF.

What are the different types of EMF? What are the health risks, if any? And are there EMF exposure limits enforced by regulators? Keep reading for the answers to all these questions and more.

What Is EMF Exposure?

EMF stands for electric and magnetic field exposure. Although this term may seem scary, exposure to EMF is mostly a natural part of our daily lives and has been from the beginning of life. The light from the sun is a form of EMF but without it life as we know it couldn’t exist here on Earth.

An electric or magnetic field is a form of radiation or energy waves admitted from anything with an electric charge. In the case of radio and other broadcasting such as cellphones, these energy waves are transmitted intentionally for wireless communication.

EMFs exist across a spectrum, called the electromagnetic spectrum. Science categorizes types of EMFs according to their frequency. High-energy (high-frequency) EMFs include x-rays, gamma rays, and high-energy UV rays.

Going down the spectrum, we have EMFs of low to mid-frequency. These fields are created by appliances such as microwaves, washing machines, and cell phones. Further down the spectrum still, there are extremely low-frequency EMFs (ELF-EMFs) which include powerlines and small devices such as handheld electric shavers.

Health Risks of EMF Exposure

Before you start wearing a tin hat in hopes of protecting your brain from meltdown, you should know that most experts agree that the majority of EMFs (low-frequency) we are exposed to on a regular basis are perfectly harmless.

High-energy radiation such as x-rays and gamma rays are strong enough to rip electrons from atoms. This is called ionization and has long been known to be a serious health issue especially in case of long-term exposure. Ionizing radiation is linked to cell mutation and cancer in humans.

The same is true of UV light. We are exposed to UV light whenever the light from the sun hits us. Health risks are minimal as long as the exposure is under certain levels. In other words, if we don’t stay in direct sunlight too long.

Protection Against EMF Exposure

To protect the environment from EMF a shield is needed. The best emf shielding fabric is made from materials such as lead, copper, or silver. These materials effectively reflect block and absorb EMFs.

Clothing, drapes, and even building materials can be lined with such fabrics to protect the body from any possible health risk, known or unknown.

EMF Exposure Limits

In short, the EMF exposure limits of much of the electromagnetic spectrum are so high as to not be of concern. Yet, more research is needed to be sure there are no long-term health effects. For more informative articles circle back to the blog.

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