If you look around your home, you’ll probably see a lot of electronic devices. As you might already know, these devices emit electromagnetic radiation of differing frequencies. Being exposed to electromagnetic fields (EMF) for extended periods of time is considered harmful to our health.
We would like to take a closer look at some of the sources of radiation where you live. This might come as a surprise to you but it’s not only laptops and smartphones that might be a problem.
Nowadays, our homes are more plugged in than ever before, smart devices, television sets can be connected to the Internet via WiFi and some TV remote controls use a Bluetooth connection. The technology that surrounds us emits more radiation than we are aware of so it’s recommended that we use electronic devices sparingly.
A woman in a bohemian style office with plants
Cordless baby monitors
Baby monitors help us to take care of infants, they’re useful. They enable parents to hear their baby breathing or crying. We’re able to tell when they’ve woken up from their nap, even if we’re in another room, the problem is, most people don’t really know how baby monitors work.
Some parents are concerned by the impact baby monitors could have on their child’s health because infant intercom devices consist of a transmitter and a receiver (or two transceivers) that constantly emit high-frequency radiation, most of the time they’re wireless.
Baby monitors are located indoors and when placed within shorter distances between one another, their radiation is more powerful. In 2002, the World Health Organization (WHO) stated that RF exposure “may be more hazardous for the fetus and child due to their greater susceptibility, prudent avoidance is one approach to keeping children’s exposure as low as possible”.
Based on this statement, it isn’t a good idea to put an electronic device emitting radiation next to or even near the head of a toddler, as most parents do with baby monitors.
Scientific research has proven that children exposed to radiation from a young age might be more likely to become hyperactive in the future as their nervous systems are still developing and should be protected. It’s advised that you remain aware of the possible harm certain devices can do.
If you need to use these electronic devices, here are some tips:
Do not attach them to the baby’s body as this is too dangerous (radiation is absorbed by the skin). You should keep them at a reasonable distance from the crib. Some baby monitors have a voice communication option but it’s best not to use it. While you’re talking on this device, radiation emissions are increased because it works on a higher power and children are more vulnerable.
An image of and adult hand holding the hand of a new born baby
You might be astonished by the sheer number of home appliances which can be controlled by your smartphone. This kind of technology is becoming more and more popular in a lot of homes. On the one hand, it is convenient as it makes things faster but on the other hand, it means you might find yourself bathing in the radiation emitted by WiFi and Bluetooth systems.
We can purchase smart fridges with large displays showing the products you need to buy or what’s inside the fridge without opening the door. They even help you make an order at the nearest grocery shop. There are robotic bartenders who can make you a drink of your choice via the use of a mobile application.
Of course, some coffee makers now work that way too. You can turn things on and off with your smartphone whilst you lie in bed and the fresh coffee will wait for you in the kitchen. There are smart bulbs and smart glasses helping you control the amount of light in each room. All of them are working via a wireless connection.
A home kitchen
When you put it all together, you get quite an impressive radiation level, you’ve not only exposed yourself but your family too. Consider going back to making coffee and shopping manually.
Do you really need all of these appliances? You should remember that some things are more important, like your family or friends. Our health can be influenced negatively by unintentionally adding more technology to our living conditions. Something convenient could easily turn out to be an additional risk factor, even if it only occurs years after extended exposed.
Smart home technology
Smart homes are a form of modern technology which can help you manage your household better. You won’t have to think about whether or not you have turned off lights or locked the doors. With these systems in place, you can control your house via your smartphone or tablet, regardless of your location at any particular moment.
In theory, it sounds like a great idea and an improvement to everyday life but is it safe? As you might have guessed, these systems work by using Bluetooth and WiFi technology so it increases the level of radiation in your home. You probably already have laptops, cordless phones, and WiFi routers at your place, these devices constantly emit radiation whilst switched on. Do you really need to expose yourself and your family to even more?
Electromagnetic fields (EMF) emitted from smart home technology are considered to be of a lower frequency. However, the amount of time we are exposed to them would be longer than usual as this technology works in the background, all day and all night.
Imagine that you are sitting in your living room, you’re talking on your smartphone using a headset whilst you’re browsing social media, your laptop is connected to the Internet via WiFi, there are various webpages open and somewhere nearby you have a tablet, Netflix is on. You recieve notifications on your phone, one of your smart devices starts beeping, someone elses phone is ringing, your Bluetooth speaker starts playing music by accident and you realize, perhaps this is all a bit too much.
A photo focusing on a nightstand, cup and unmade bed
People exposed to radiation might have trouble falling asleep, keeping smartphones and tablets away from your bedroom could help.
With smart home technology, putting the electronic devices in another room won’t help because the system covers the whole of the house. It is not possible to turn it off for the night because it is supposed to be working all the time. Deactivated is not useful.
Other problems caused by being exposed to excessive radiation might be a lack of focus and tiredness. We’ve written about ways you can try to get a better night’s sleep here.
Tablets and e-readers
In almost every household there is at least one tablet. People are now used to checking the news on the Internet or on social media using these kinds of devices. In terms of emitting radiation, they are no different than laptops or smartphones. The main problem is that children use tablets to play games and it’s advised that very young children shouldn’t use any electronic devices at all.
Parents need to be more careful about letting children play with touchscreens. If you need to give your child a tablet for entertainment, check that it is on airplane mode with no WiFi connection and it is not plugged into a power source so as not to expose children to unnecessary radiation. In some countries, mobile phones targeted at children are prohibited (for example in France or in Belgium).
Young children shouldn’t get used to mobile technology too soon. In Taiwan, there is even a law which requires that parents control their children’s time spent on tablets or mobile phones. For children under the age of two, it is prohibited to use electronic devices at all. If this is not followed, parents are obliged to pay a fine. This is a unique law regulation; in other countries, authorities decided to educate parents on the matter. For example, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended limiting childhood screen time exposure to a minimum as it has an impact on their mental development.
A toddler boy playing on a tablet
E-readers emit low-frequency radiation and while they are popular mostly among adults, people need to be aware that these devices should be used with the same caution as smartphones. They usually have a lower SAR value than most popular mobile phones but the SAR value of an e-reader is almost as high as that of a tablet. It is not good to use these devices before bedtime because it can affect your sleep. It is better to switch them to offline mode and use the Internet connection only when necessary.
Microwave ovens are used in the kitchen when we have no time to cook and need to eat something quickly or to reheat a dinner. Moreover, a lot of people consider microwaved popcorn as one of the best snacks. Microwave ovens emit radio waves with frequencies ranging from around 300 million cycles per second (300 MHz) to 3 GHz. Although not dangerous unless damaged, it’s still a good idea not to stand in front of it whilst it’s working.
A design conscious person sitting on the floor with a bowl of popcorn
If you’re interested, you can find and read the opinions of professor Magda Havas online, she tested over a dozen of the most popular microwave brands and is quite knowledgable on this subject.
Man sitting on the sofa looking at his laptop
Smoke detectors, something everyone should have in their household, also emit radiation but in tiny amounts. They use a radioactive isotope, americium-241, to alert if there is smoke in the air. Americium-242 emits alpha particles and beta radiation so it is important to place a smoke detector in a place where it could eventually accumulate an isotope with no harm in landfills. This device has the lowest radiation level among all listed above so there is no need to worry.
Unless you break apart your smoke detector and inhale the radioactive source, you are safe. Do not remove your smoke detector.
If you are interested in the specific doses of radiation you get in your house, you can easily measure them using a home radiation detector. That way you’ll know in which areas of your home you are exposed to greater doses of radiation. Radiation detectors are not cheap but it is good to know about the radiation levels in your home, so it could be something to consider in future.
As you know, we are exposed to radiation on a daily basis: when you are on the streets, you are exposed to radiation from all of the WiFi routers, GSM towers and mobile phones. There is no need to increase the doses of radiation in your own home.
Don’t throw away all of the electronic devices in your household, just try to use them more consciously. Some devices such as routers are constantly working if you don’t remember to unplug them when not in use.
Try to consider how you can reduce radiation exposure in your household, it shouldn’t inconvenience you and it might help you feel better overall.
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