5 Myths of Radiation
Posted October 10, 2022 by Anusha ‐ 4 min read
The topic of electromagnetic radiation, including its impact on human health and the environment is surrounded by a lot of misunderstanding. It is easy to believe in pseudoscientific rumours when there is no way, or will to, check the information.
Myth 1: There is no safe dose of radiation
Radiation occurs everywhere in our everyday lives, so it would be impossible to be negatively affected by small doses of it.
There are different types of radiation and it is emitted from both natural and manmade sources.
Our electronic devices are constantly emitting radiation and we are also exposed to EMF from cell phone masts and WiFi routers which are everywhere (especially if you live in a big city).
At some point, you might’ve had or you might need to get an x-ray.
It’s not necessary to worry about the risks involved because receiving small doses of radiation from time to time won’t kill you, or make you ill.
However, long-term exposure may have some impact on your health which is why the people regularly performing x-rays (radiologists or x-ray technologists) protect themselves by staying out of the room.
Low levels of radiation won’t influence you immediately but they can increase your risk of getting ill when you are exposed for a long time, e.g. using a mobile phone by pressing it against your ear, for a few hours a day, for a few years.
Myth 2: Microwaved food is radioactive
This is a common myth caused by a lack of knowledge about radiation.
Some people think that microwaves can make food radioactive because they’ve mixed up radioactivity and electromagnetic waves.
Microwave radiation is a form of electromagnetic radiation with wavelengths ranging from one meter to one millimetre, with frequencies between 300 MHz (100 cm) and 300 GHz (0.1 cm).
The microwaves go through the food to oscillate its molecules and warm your meal.
Radioactivity is the process by which an unstable atomic nucleus loses energy by emitting radiation, so as you can see it is a different matter.
Microwaves are quite similar to the radiation emitted by our mobile phones.
Myth 3: It is better to use a mobile phone in a vehicle because the car will shield you from the radiation
Most cars have metal roofs and there is a lot of tinted glass, so they can act as a Faraday cage.
Radiation is trapped inside of a car via The Faraday Effect (if you don’t have windows opened or a properly mounted car antenna).
The RF radiation is concentrated so the microwaves penetrate the human body at higher EM intensities, it doesn’t escape through the metal body of a vehicle.
Bare in mind that mobile radiation frequencies are high enough for electromagnetic waves to penetrate the glass anyway.
Myth 4: If cell phone towers are far away, you are less exposed to radiation while using a phone
Living close to cell phone towers or masts is considered unsafe because they emit RF radiation all of the time and it is impossible to turn them off, so people living in the vicinity are constantly exposed.
If cell phone towers are far away they still can affect you but in a different way.
Just because we can’t see something working, doesn’t mean it isn’t.
Your exposure to radiation depends both on the distance from the cell phone tower and the strength of the phone signal.
While a network’s signal is low, a mobile phone automatically sends and receives more powerful signals so that it can reach the closest cell tower.
If it is further away, mobile phone users are more exposed to radiation from their device.
Myth 5: Nobody cares about the health effects of RF radiation, it is all junk science
There are a lot of completed and ongoing scientific studies on the impact of mobile radiation on health.
In 2011, when mobile phone radiation was classified as a possible carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer part of the World Health Organization (WHO), they suggested that the low levels of radiation from mobile phones could have cancer-causing effects.
Independent scientists from the WHO based their opinion on the results of studies on cancer in both humans and animals, as well as other relevant data.
We often reference this data as it is verifiable evidence for the adverse health effects of mobile phone usage.
You can learn more about the research here.
This decision was made due to the fact that the evidence is already sufficient enough to state that radiation may have an impact on human health.
There were a few major studies which showed similar results.
RF frequency may affect human health and increase the risk of developing cancer, especially brain tumours.
Long-term effects were also researched.