Welcome to episode 496 of The Whole View! This week, Dr. Sarah and Stacy look at the science of radiation in physics to determine whether or not we need to be careful around microwaves, EMFs, and 5G radiation.
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- Dr. Sarah did her B.Sc. in honors physics, and her Ph.D. is in medical biophysics. So, this is the perfect background to talk about how electromagnetism (physics) affects our health (biology).
- The root of conspiracies and myths around electromagnetic fields, from microwaves to 5G, stems from the difference between technical terms and colloquial terms, like theory and hypothesis. Even more from fear and misunderstanding of the word “radiation.”
- In physics, radiation more generally refers to a form of energy that travels and spreads out as it goes. Light is an example of electromagnetic radiation. Longer wavelength equals lower frequency and lower energy, and shorter wavelength means higher frequency and higher energy.
- Radiation can be either ionizing (carrying enough energy to liberate electrons, thus ionizing the atoms those electrons were orbiting) or non-ionizing (not having enough energy to release electrons). All longer wavelengths–ultraviolet, visible light, infra-red, microwaves, and radio-waves– are non-ionizing because they don’t have enough energy to bump that electron out of orbit around an atom.
- Ionizing radiation can break molecular bonds, which can damage our DNA, cells, and tissues. They include X-rays and gamma rays, while non-ionizing EMFs have UV, visible, infrared, microwave, radiofrequency, and various electronics.
- It’s well established that ionizing electromagnetic fields/radiation can cause damage to tissue and DNA. Ionizing radiation can displace atomic electrons and facilitate a chain reaction of electron ejection. The effects of the early, rapid biochemical processes manifest in later cellular damage stages.
- EMFs we’re exposed to (environmental radiation), from power lines, radio waves, microwave ovens, and 5G don’t use these higher frequencies, shorter wavelengths, and higher energies! They are non-ionizing radiation. Extensive research on exposure to RF EMFs used in mobile telephones and cancer has been undertaken.
- Cellphones are a way lower power than microwaves, so microwaves heat food, but cellphones are below the heating threshold even if they use the same wavelengths. Microwaving preserves nutrients better than many other cooking methods, and fewer toxic products are produced during microwaving than other cooking methods.
- There is no known biophysical mechanism of harm, nor does the combined weight of epidemiological data support this conjecture. Also, this is both regulated and monitored.
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Recommended Reading & Listening
- 423: The Scientific Method
- 301: Sunscreen, Sun Exposure & Sunburns
- 296: Should I Be Concerned About EMFs?
- low-frequency (ELF) radiation
Sources & References
- Effects of Ionizing Radiation on Biological Molecules—Mechanisms of Damage and Emerging Methods of Detection
- Electromagnetic Fields: 7. Extremely low frequency fields like those from power lines and household appliances
- Wireless Local Area Network – WLAN
- The 13-country INTERPHONE study
- Danish cohort study
- Long-term studies of radar workers do not show a hint of increased cancer incidence,
- Electromagnetic Spectrum – Introduction
- Mobile Phones
- Radiofrequency (RF) Radiation
- Don’t Fall Prey to Scaremongering about 5G – Scientific American Blog Network
- 5G Wireless Communication and Health Effects—A Pragmatic Review Based on Available Studies Regarding 6 to 100 GHz
- 5G Technology: Why Should We Expect a shift from RF-Induced Brain Cancers to Skin Cancers?
- Towards 5G communication systems: Are there health implications?
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