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Should we be concerned about electromagnetic pollution?

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We hear more and more about electromagnetic pollution, but we are not always clear about what it means or how it can affect us; Today we are going to end this problem once and for all.

Broadly understanding what the electromagnetic pollution It is not complicated since it refers to high levels of electromagnetic radiation in a certain area. The term contamination is the one that confuses a little since, unlike the contamination produced by spills or by CO2 emissions, electromagnetic contamination does not usually have direct harmful effects nor does it affect the planet's ecosystems, as greenhouse gases do, for example.

In this sense, one must think of electromagnetic pollution in the same way as one thinks of light pollution (which is technically a type of electromagnetic pollution, but better not get into trouble) since it does not have devastating effects or directly affect our survival long term, but I do know that it results in a lower quality of life in certain aspects, as we will see below.

Electromagnetic radiation is not bad, nor good

One of the myths More widespread in our society is the fact that electromagnetic radiation is bad, which is like saying that eating is bad. It is true that there are toxic or carcinogenic products, but we need to eat in order to continue living; the same thing happens with radiation. So harmful are the radioactive emissions of elements such as Uranium or Plutonium, as necessary is the radiation that the Sun emits for our life, and both emissions they fall into the category of electromagnetic radiation.

However the term electromagnetic pollution It is somewhat more specific and normally refers to the electromagnetic waves that are used to establish the remote communications to which we have become so accustomed and which go from the radio to the Internet through any other wireless communication system.

These waves all have similar characteristics and are found within the category of non-ionizing radiation. This means that when one of these waves meets a atom, its energy is too low to affect its structure.

The only measurable effect this radiation has is to increase the temperature of the atom or object subjected to radiation, which is the process that occurs inside our microwaves. It is logical to think that being Wi-Fi waves, 3G, radio microwave-like, we're turning Earth into a giant microwave spice, sounds dangerous, right?

The dangers of electromagnetic pollution

The reality, however, is that radio waves, Wi-Fi, 3G do not present any kind of danger to any organism. To begin with, the energy carried by these waves is more than 1000 times less than that which exists in a microwave and, moreover, is distributed over a much larger space. And here we enter very dangerous territory, due to the number of people who believe that there is a relationship between the use of wireless communications and health problems such as cancer, and even due to numerous studies that claim to find a relationship between the two.

The reality is that for every study that claims to find a relationship between electromagnetic pollution and cancer (in many cases using the least doubtful method), there are several studies that deny this relationship with data and arguments.

Also, No mechanism by which this type of non-ionizing radiation can affect any organism has been discovered or postulated., beyond the thermal effects of which we have spoken before; and even these mechanisms have been studied in detail, proving that they are not significant to affect the functioning of any atom or organism.

To shed some light on ideas about the health hazards of electromagnetic pollution (spoiler: none) I recommend you watch the video on these lines. However, there is a problem related to electromagnetic contamination that we have not mentioned: Interferences.

Currently we use such a large number of waves of similar frequencies to communicate that in many cases they interfere with each other and make communication difficult. But don't fear, the problem is as easy to solve as using different frequencies, within non-ionizing ones, like the 5GHz bands that we are starting to see now in Wi-Fi signals.