A new research study delving into electromagnetic frequency (EMF) exposure guidelines for children are too confusing for parents in all too many cases. The review, conducted by Dr. Mary Redmayne from Monash University’s Department of Epidemiology and Preventative Medicine, discovered that the kinds of guidance and advice offered by guidelines in 34 countries around the world varied, making it difficult for parents that want to protect their children from any of the possible negative effects of excessive EMF exposure from acting effectively.
EMF Exposure Issues
EMFs are ubiquitous in the modern world, as mobile devices and even a residential home’s electric wiring all emit electromagnetic radiation on a constant basis. Over-exposure to EMFs has been linked to issues like persistent headaches, loss of concentration, depression, and anxiety; these effects can be heightened among those that have increased sensitivity such as children. Some scientific studies have even sought to link exposure to EMFs to the development of brain tumors in habitual mobile phone users.
Dr. Redmayne says that EMFs could present complex issues with those that develop physical imbalances. The damage might be minimal at first, but unless the human body is in a relatively low-EMF environment for occasional periods of time to heal the initial damage done due to EM overexposure, the damage could easily become cumulative.
There are ways to minimize EMF exposure, Dr. Redmayne says, especially at night. Mobile devices can be switched off or placed in Airplane Mode, she says, and Wi-Fi-enabled routers can be turned off overnight at well to minimize exposure to children and other electrosensitives during sleep, providing opportunities for the body to heal itself to some degree from prolonged exposure to electromagnetic radiation. Several countries, including Switzerland, Israel, India, Germany, Finland, and Denmark make such recommendations.
However, too many of these countries only take into account the short-term effects of EMF exposure. Instances of chronic exposure to electromagnetic fields go largely unaddressed says Dr. Redmayne, and with younger generations adopting mobile devices at an early age they could be exposed to enough low-level EMF over a long enough period of time to jeopardize their health.
Too Many Variables
Dr. Redmayne’s review found that the 34 countries she examined varied widely when it came to guidelines. In countries such as Australia the focus is on research dealing exclusively with electrical burns, shocks, and damage from overheating devices and doesn’t speak to long-term EMF exposure. While the country’s Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency has made suggestions to limit the exposure of children to these devices, with a lack of scientific research on how children are affected by chronic low-level or long-term exposure there are no concrete rules.
Meanwhile, there are some organizations such as the European Environment Agency that have made recommendations for children to reduce their exposure to mobile phones when making voice calls. Alternative suggestions include sending text messages, using a traditional landline, or using the device’s speaker phone or a headset to provide extra space between the handset and the child’s ear. Additionally, countries like Russia, Germany, Israel, and France have advised schools in the country to not use Wi-Fi in their classrooms but rely on wired Internet solutions instead.
It’s this wide, varied range of policies that can lead to confusion for parents and staff for schools and other educational facilities, remarked Dr. Redmayne, especially in light of the desire to provide the best protection for their children and students. The best approaches seem to be to keep mobile devices out of the child’s bedroom and to shut down Wi-Fi while the child sleeps.