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Electromagnetic Radiation in Human Life Essay Example

Electromagnetic Radiation: Is it dangerous to humans?

The electrical energy is one of the most significant discoveries of mankind, without which civilization in its present form would not exist. This kind of energy is widely used by people all over the world, but it can hardly be called completely safe. The electromagnetic field (electromagnetic radiation) always occurs when the free electrons start moving in a conductor, which is why the transmission of electrical energy is accompanied by intense electromagnetic radiation.

Electromagnetic radiation utilization is a problem that can be referred to one of the most urgent problems on the planet Earth due to its threat to the human life. Today, every scientist who studies the effects of electromagnetic radiation on the human body has no doubt that the problem is no less dangerous factor on the global scale than the pollution of air, water, etc. In addition, the situation with electromagnetic radiation seems to be far more catastrophic than with other hazards.

Over the past 20 years, such useful technical innovations of the world as mobile phones, computers and laptops, microwave ovens, washing machines, etc. have become irreplaceable attributes of people’s everyday activity. These electronic aids can be found in each apartment, and sometimes, the number of electronic devices in a home can be impressive. However, even now, few people know that absolutely any device that consumes electricity in space creates an electromagnetic field (EMF). Some EMF are safe (for example, light bulbs or iron), but some have very strong influence on the human body. Electromagnetic radiation affects people not only at home but also at work, in public transport, shops, places of public resort, etc. Everywhere, there are devices, which produce electromagnetic radiation that affects human body. This research intends to provide the detailed information about the effects of electromagnetic radiation.

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The negative impact of electromagnetic fields on humans and on certain components of ecosystems is directly proportional to the power of the field and the radiation time. Negative effects of the electromagnetic field generated by power lines are present even at field strength of 1 kV/m.

According to environmentalists and hygienists, nowadays, all ranges of electromagnetic radiation affect the human health and have long-term consequences. The impact of electromagnetic fields on humans due to their high prevalence is more dangerous than radiation. Electric fields surround a person all the time due to the radiation from the electrical wiring, lighting tools, household appliances, power lines, etc. Energy from electromagnetic radiation in industry and everyday life is constantly increasing due to the rapid expansion of sources of electromagnetic fields, as well as increase in their capacity. A person cannot physically feel the electromagnetic field surrounding him or her, but it causes a decrease in his/her adaptive reserves, reduced immunity, efficiency; under its influence, the risk of catching diseases increases. Electromagnetic radiation is especially dangerous for children, adolescents, pregnant women and people with poor health.

Sources of Electromagnetic Radiation

The electromagnetic radiation comes both from nature and human artificial inventions. The natural sources of electromagnetic radiation are constant electric and permanent magnetic fields of the Earth, electrical phenomena in the atmosphere (thunderstorms, lightning), the radio emission of the sun and stars, and cosmic radiation.

Artificial sources of electromagnetic field can be divided into electromagnetic radiation sources of high and low radiation level. It should be noted that the level of radiation depends on the power of the radiation source: the higher the power, the higher the level of radiation. Near the source of the radiation, the level is as high as possible; with increasing distance from the source of radiation, its level decreases.

Sources of high levels of EMR:

  • overhead power lines;
  • electric transport: trams, trolley buses, subway trains, etc;
  • transformer substations (TP);
  • elevators;
  • TV stations;
  • broadcasting stations;
  • base stations of mobile radio communication, primarily cellular.
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Sources of relatively low level of EMR:

  • personal computers and video display terminals;
  • slot machines;
  • children’s game consoles;
  • household appliances: refrigerators, washing machines, microwave ovens, air conditioners, hair dryers, televisions, electric kettles, irons, etc;
  • cellular, satellite and mobile phones, personal radios;
  • a cable line;
  • a medical diagnostic, therapeutic and surgical equipment;
  • buildings’ electrical system.

Mechanism of Biological Action of Electromagnetic Fields

The effect mechanism of electromagnetic radiation on living organisms is still not completely decoded. There are several hypotheses to explain the biological effects of electromagnetic fields. They amount to the indexing currents in tissues and the direct effects of the field at the cellular level, primarily with its effect on membrane structure. It is assumed that under the influence of the electromagnetic field, the rate of diffusion across biological membranes, the orientation and confirmation of biological macromolecules, and the state of the electronic structure of free radicals may undergo changes. Apparently, the biological mechanisms of the electromagnetic field are generally nonspecific and are associated with changes in the activity of regulatory systems.

Living organisms are complex heterogeneous systems, in which biocolloids and physicochemical reactions have the leading role. Based on continuous years of research, scientists have shown that the rate of reactions in colloidal systems is dependent on solar activity and location relative to the geomagnetic poles. The main reason for this is the change of water structure under the influence of electromagnetic field, which is a common component of the reactions in living and non-living objects.

The Influence of Electromagnetic Radiation on the Human Body

Effects of Electromagnetic Fields on the Cell

Primarily, the target for the initiation of any adaptive effect is membrane plasma and intracellular organelles and various intracellular components. It is known that cell membranes have greater sensitivity to a wide variety of chemical and physical agents including radiation. Morphological and functional abnormalities of membranes are found almost immediately after radiation even at very low doses. Change in the ionic composition can initiate cell proliferative processes.

It is assumed that these changes at the cellular level are developed for the following reasons. The electromagnetic field acts on the charged particles and currents, whereby the energy field at the level of the cell is converted into other forms of energy. Atoms and molecules polarize in an electrical field; the polar molecules are aligned in the direction of propagation of the magnetic field. Ions arise after the influence of electromagnetic field in the electrolytes, which are the liquid components of tissue. The alternating electric field causes heating of tissues of living organisms both by variable dielectric polarization (tendons, cartilage, and bone) and due to the appearance of conduction currents. Thermal effect is a consequence of the absorption of electromagnetic energy. The higher field intensity and exposure time, the more noticeable these effects are. The sensitivity to overheating is determined by the structure of organs. The most heat-sensitive organs are brain, kidneys, pancreas and bladder.

Effects of Electromagnetic Fields on the Nervous System

The first experimental study on the effect of electromagnetic fields on the nervous system has been conducted in the USSR. The monographs of Professor Kholodov published the results of his many years of research on the effects of electromagnetic and magnetic fields on the central nervous system. He proved the existence of a direct action of the electromagnetic field on the brain, membranes of neurons, memory, and conditioned reflex activity. Experiments demonstrated the possibility of the effect of weak electromagnetic fields on the processes of synthesis in nerve cells. The professor obtained distinct changes of cortical neurons impulsion resulting in failure of the transmitted information into more complex structures of the brain.

Influence of Electromagnetic Radiation on the Immune System

Today, there is incontestable evidence showing that under the influence of the electromagnetic field, immune processes are violated. It is established that under the influence of the electromagnetic field, the nature of infection changes, there are disturbances of protein metabolism, a decrease in albumin and increase in gamma globulin levels. Also, the electromagnetic field may act as an allergen or trigger factor causing severe reactions in patients with allergy when exposed to the electromagnetic field (Safespace. n.d.).

Effect of Electromagnetic Field on the Reproductive System

Under the influence of electromagnetic radiation spermatogenesis function is reduced, menstrual cycle changes, embryonic development slows down: there are congenital malformations in newborns and decreased lactation in nursing mothers.

General Influence of the Electromagnetic Radiation On the Living Organisms

Weak electromagnetic field with intensity less than the threshold of the thermal effect also affects the living tissue. Studies on the biological impact of the cell phone, computer unit and other electronic media held in a number of the US research centers showed that the harm of electronic device is made both in working and powered off state.

The results of studies assessing the impact of cell phones, computers and other modern radio electronic facilities on various organisms in both states were disappointing and showed a very negative impact on biological objects, which manifested in the following:

  • Reduction in motor activity and survival of microorganisms;
  • An increase in mortality of microorganisms;
  • The deterioration of tissue regeneration;
  • Violation of embryonic and larval development;
  • Reduction of the biochemical reactions, metabolism disorders and energy in all vital systems of the body.

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The US researchers have established the following:

The fetus in the majority of women working on the computer during pregnancy develops abnormally, and the likelihood of miscarriage is close to 80%.

Brain cancer in electricians develops 13 times more likely than workers in other occupations (EM Watch, n.d.).
Signal from the mobile phone gets into the brain as deeply as 37.5 mm.

By the standards of the USA, power transmission line and cellular tower must be held at a distance of 1000 meters from the living area. However, according to the Global Healing Center, “Cellular Towers continue to be erected on office buildings’ sides, and tops” (Global Healing Center, n.d.). Countries in the European Union (EU) recommended to their Governments to restrict the use of mobile phones. Bangladesh government introduced criminal responsibility for parents who let their children use mobile phones. In England, the use of mobile phones for children up to 16 years is banned.

It is unlikely that someone does not know the fact that the mobile phone creates a high-frequency electromagnetic radiation. In addition, the effect is the same even when one does not use it because it reports the phone base station that it is in the network. However, even now, few people know that, despite the low emission power, some scientists consider a mobile phone as one of the most harmful inventions of the recent decades. Here are a few facts that prove the aforementioned.

For the last 15 years, the world held more than 100 major studies of mobile phone harm to human health. Although the link between electromagnetic radiation and some specific types of disease is not detected, no one doubts that the mobile phone is harmful to human health. That is why the WHO (World Health Organization) recommends children not to use mobile phones. However, as Mahin Fatima states, “A person using a mobile phone 30-40 cm away from their body – for example when text messaging, accessing the Internet, or using a “hands free” device – will therefore have a much lower exposure to radio-frequency fields than someone holding the handset against their head” (Fatima, n.d.).

Today, everyone has a computer or laptop, which is an irreplaceable device for those who study and work. Until recently, the official medicine believed that these devices are harmful to man due to the malfunctions of the musculoskeletal system, as well as internal organs and systems due to long time of sitting at the computer.

There is disruption of the visual system due to prolonged concentration of view on the monitor screen. However, in the past five years, scientists discovered that PC is also a source of electromagnetic radiation in a wide frequency range. In addition, this radiation interacts with the human body on a daily basis for several years, which may cause dysfunction in almost all systems including the immune, cardiovascular, nervous, etc. These facts help to look at the damage of the computer and to develop a series of recommendations for both children and adults.

The Use of Electromagnetic Fields in Medicine

The influence of the electromagnetic field cannot be characterized as totally negative as electromagnetic radiation is widely used in physical therapy for the treatment of many diseases: it can accelerate the healing of tissues and has anti-inflammatory effect. Ozdemir and Kargi say that “the effects of electromagnetic fields on different cell lines were studied in the last 30 years and no evidence on their direct or indirect DNA damage were detected. Maes (31) and Vijayalaxmi (32) exposed peripheral blood cells to 935 and 2450 MHz electromagnetic field and reported no DNA damage in cells after 2-hours periods” (Ozdemir & Kargi, 2011). How common household appliances affects people and how electromagnetic radiation is harmful to human health – these are the questions without certain answers, which is why it is reasonable to minimize the impact of electromagnetic radiation.

However, an entire branch of medicine, physiotherapy successfully uses electromagnetic radiation for the treatment of various diseases. Numerous large molecules in our body are polar, so the result of exposure to a non-permanent magnetic field activates the metabolism, enzymatic processes, and improves cell metabolism. This allows the use of magnetic therapy with edema and treatment of joints. Action of low electric power on the structure of the brain contributes to a deeper and more restful sleep. This electro-sleep is an important part of the treatment of hypertension, neurasthenia, sleepwalking and some vascular diseases. In acute inflammatory processes, doctors recommend UHF, which is a device that generates an electromagnetic field of ultrahigh frequency with short wavelength. Human body absorbs these waves and converts them into heat energy. As a result, the movement of blood and lymph is accelerating, tissue are released from fluid retention (usually in inflammation), and connective tissue are activated. The apparatus for UHF-therapy can also relieve spasms of smooth muscles of the stomach, intestines, gallbladder, accelerates the recovery of nerve tissue, reduces the sensitivity of the terminal nerve receptors. In other words, it contributes to pain relief, yet reduces the tone of capillaries and arterioles, lowers blood pressure and reduces heart rate.

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