The term electromagnetic smog refers to all artificially generated (anthropogenic) electromagnetic fields in the environment and the resulting permanent exposure of people and the environment to them. Electromagnetic smog is classified as non-ionizing radiation. This means that the electromagnetic waves unlike ionizing radiation such as radioactivity, do not produce the energy required to remove electrons from atoms or molecules. Non-ionizing radiation is sub-divided as low-frequency and high-frequency electromagnetic fields.
High-frequency radiation fields created by cellular and cordless phones, cellular phone towers, Wi-Fi, and microwaves are the most damaging. But low frequency electromagnetic smog can also be harmful when we are exposed to it consistently. Due to the exponential increase in the use of wireless personal communication devices (e.g., mobile or cordless phones and Wi-Fi or Bluetooth-enabled devices) and the infrastructure facilitating them, levels of exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation have increased from extremely low natural levels by about 1018 times. Levels are now exponentially surging even more as technologies like 5G add millions of additional radiofrequency transmitters around us.
Security solutions for private households and businesses also contribute to an increase in electromagnetic smog. Networked and remotely controllable devices and installations are designed to provide more security and efficient energy use and consequently improve the quality of homes and life in general. However, this technological convenience leads to further exposure to electromagnetic radiation. The trend of increased exposure to electromagnetic smog is even rising in cars as well. In addition to radiation from Bluetooth, GPS, seat heating and the mobile data of smartphones, the future use of electric cars will further increase passenger exposure because of the electric engine and its battery.
Cordless phones and smartphones have long become part of everyday life. Many children and teenagers use smartphones, tablets and laptops all day, and the latest devices are at the top of their wish lists. In order to ensure seamless accessibility, more and more mobile phone towers are being built and 5G is spreading. Mobile phones, antennae of mobile towers, Wi-Fi, cordless phones, tabs and other such wireless equipment work on frequencies ranging from 700 Megahertz (MHz) to 2.8 Gigahertz (GHz) and the proposed new arrival of 5G is supposed to work on a frequency of 30 GHz to 300 GHz. All these very high frequencies cause multiple resonances at a cellular level, causing disturbance in cell-to-cell communication. This radiation is silent and invisible, but cells are adversely affected by it.
According to recent estimates, more than 7 billion cellphones and smartphones are currently in use worldwide, and the numbers and cell towers continue to increase. In addition, there are Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and ultrawideband. Never have so many people (especially children) been exposed to radiofrequency radiation, at such intensities with such proximity to the head. Most modern cellular systems operate in a pulsating mode in which the data is accumulated and transmitted in short pulses. Such modulated radiofrequency radiation at low average power has been reported to have detrimental effects on the central nervous system. Because of the widespread use of wireless technology, even a small risk increase would have serious public health consequences.
Humans have an electromagnetic field with a power of approximately one hundred millivolts. Since we live in an artificially created field significantly higher than this, over time our bodies become irritated and distressed and constantly compensate for the effects of this greater electromagnetic field. In order to compensate, our bodies lose energy (electrons) constantly. The strength of our body current is described as emitting four Pico Amps. In contrast, the current surging through mobile/cellular and cordless phones is 0.2 Amps. This is fifty billion times stronger. If you consider that the human body performs one-quadrillion electrical connections every second, it becomes clear how much can go wrong.
Electromagnetic radiation can interfere with numerous cellular regulatory mechanisms, as cells and the fluids around them are composed of water. It has been widely claimed that radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation, being non-ionizing radiation, does not possess enough photon energy to cause DNA damage. This has now been proven false experimentally. Radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation causes DNA damage apparently through oxidative stress, like near-UV radiation, which was also long thought to be harmless. Additionally, evidence of its effects on the CNS, including altered neurodevelopment and increased risk of some neurodegenerative diseases, is a major concern considering the steady increase in their incidence. Evidence exists for an association between neurodevelopmental or behavioral disorders in children and exposure to wireless devices, and experimental evidence shows that prenatal exposure could cause structural and functional changes in the brain associated with ADHD-like behavior.
Damage goes well beyond humans, as there is growing evidence of harmful effects to both plant and animal life. For example, the reported global reduction in bees and other insects is plausibly linked to the increased radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation in the environment. Honeybees are among the species that use magnetoreception, which is sensitive to anthropogenic electromagnetic fields, for navigation.
Studies have shown exposure to electromagnetic smog can have a fundamental impact on biological processes in our body with the following effects:
Damage to reproductive health,
Damage to proteins and cellular membranes,
Increased oxidative stress,
DNA damage and alterations in gene expression in some human cell types,
Alteration of the blood-brain barrier system,
Altered electrical brain activity and cognition,
Increased behavioral problems in children, and
Risks of some cancers.
The government has established maximum exposure limits, which they say, must not be exceeded. Many scientists believe these limits are unrealistically high and sacrifice our safety in order to cater to corporate, industrial and political interests. At a time when environmental health scientists undertake global issues such as climate change and chemical toxicants in public health, there is also an urgent need to address electromagnetic smog. Much has already been shown with an evidence-based approach to the risk assessment and regulation of anthropogenic electromagnetic fields.