What Are Electromagnetic Fields and How Do They Affect You?

What Are Electromagnetic Fields and How Do They Affect You?

Last update: 07 July, 2015

Electromagnetic radiation (EMR) is a type of energy with a combination of both electric and magnetic fields. Energy moves away from the source of the radiation through charged particles as they travel through space. Electromagnetic radiation (EMR) travels in the same way as a wave therefore it is sometimes referred to as “electro-magnetic waves”. When the electromagnetic waves (EMR) reach a human body the energy is transferred inside our bodies where it may cause harmful effects. This is why people are concerned about the effect of electromagnetic radiation (EMR) on the human body.

The wavelength of EMR is the distance between the peak of one wave and the peak of the next wave.  The frequency is the number of waves per unit in time and is measured in Hertz (Hz) which is the number of cycles per second. Electromagnetic fields are described as low, intermediate or high frequency. Do frequency and wavelength matter? Yes, they are important because the frequency of the wave controls what the effect on the human body will be.

Different types of electromagnetic radiation (EMR) have different wavelengths and frequencies. Electromagnetic waves in order of wavelength are called the electromagnetic spectrum, which is the range or spread of electromagnetic radiation. Radio waves have the longest wavelength (and lowest frequency), followed by microwaves, infrared, visible light, ultraviolet light, X-rays and gamma rays. Gamma rays have the shortest wavelength and highest frequency.


Electromagnetic radiation (EMR) is both natural and man-made. The earth has its own magnetic field. If it were not for the visible light and infrared radiation from the sun, life on earth would not be possible. Over the last 100 years, humans have increasingly used electromagnetic radiation (EMR) for a wide variety of applications and so humans are more exposed to EMR now than at any other point in our history.

Whenever we plug in an electric appliance, for example a hairdryer, an electric field is created in the area surrounding the hairdryer because particles in the air become charged. The higher the voltage, the stronger the field. There will be an electric field even if the appliance is not turned on!

When current is flowing to the hairdryer (i.e. when it is turned on) there will also be a magnetic field. The greater the current, the stronger the magnetic field. Once the hairdryer is unplugged the magnetic field disappears but it is still present in all the cables behind the walls.

All electrical appliances emit electromagnetic radiation! The list of electrical appliances within the home is endless. You may be surprised by the number of electrical items that we are exposed to in our everyday lives.

Mobile phones: EMR can penetrate 2cm into the adult brain but can penetrate even further in children. Roger Coghill (a specialist in bioelectromagnetics, who runs an independent laboratory in Gwent) studied mobile phone users and found that around 40% of people complained of headaches and then of feeling extremely tired. Their reaction times also started to fall off. His research has also showed that a seven-and-a-half hour exposure to a mobile phone on stand-by (turned on but not speaking) caused a degradation of the white blood cells (the cells that fight disease).

How does EMR affect our bodies?

When the EMR enters our bodies it can cause circulating currents which may stimulate nerves and musclesThere could be a slight heating effect on the body. Long term exposure could cause health effects. More recently scientists are investigating whether electromagnetic radiation (EMR) can:

What are the health effects that could be caused?


  • Headaches, brain tumour, changes to brain cells, hair loss, cataracts.


  • Anxiety, suicide, depression, loss of sex drive, tiredness.

Other parts of the body

  • Nausea, cancer, skin changes, muscle aches and pains, sperm abnormalities (infertility), high blood pressure, miscarriage.

 Protecting yourself


Besides trying to avoid being surrounded by excess electronic devices as much as possible or trying to use cable internet, especially in your room or the areas in your home where you spend a lot of time, there are some ways to get rid of this electromagnetic pollution everyday. You could put a sh eep’s wool blanket underneath your bed because it will act as an isolator.

  • Buy products that isolate electromagnetic waves.
  • Use copper to make natural isolators (clothing with copper threads, copper bracelets) because copper has protective properties for these waves.