Radio frequencies and electromagnetic fields have been topics bandied about among left wing public health advocates since the 60s and 70s.
Originally, high-voltage power lines and fluorescent light bulbs took the heat. When microwave ovens landed in households across America the issue rose up like a specter from the ashes again. Now everyone carries a cell phone and every wireless handset emits a certain level of radio frequencies (RFs). These levels are further classified for health purposes by SAR level, or Specific Absorption Rate.
There are two schools of thought: one that believes RFs have little effect on the environment and those that believe consumers are duped into a false sense of security. Dialogue on the issue is often heady and heated between the two opposing camps, leaving most consumers scratching their heads, unsure if they should consider themselves safe or run for cover.
Radio frequencies are simply another way to say radio waves. They are a natural consequence of wireless and electronic devices. Radio waves are most closely associated with broadcasting media, such as radio and television. Anything that has an antenna, built in or otherwise, emits RFs and this includes wireless handsets. Microwave ovens and x-ray machines also emit RFs.
The Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) is a number that indicates how the human body absorbs a measure of RFs. The entire topic is unpalatable at best—how your body sucks up radio waves leaves you imagining much more than just a rate, or a number; you likely want to know exactly how those potentially harmful electrical emissions zing along through your bloodstream, seep into tissues, and ultimately: Are they harmful to your DNA?
The root of the cell phone controversy—are RFs from cell phones safe?—stems from what is known already about the “biological effects” of large amounts of RFs on the human body. In large doses, RFs can break down tissue in the body and wreak havoc with DNA. But the emissions from cell phones are reportedly minimal and pose no danger, so says the FCC, which has been responsible for dissemination of this data for years.
Most troubling to many people is a statement like this, also from the FCC: “It is generally agreed that further research is needed to determine what effects actually occur and whether they are dangerous to people.” So one might imply that the FCC really has no idea of the “actual” effect of RFs on people.
Since no definitive truth exists on the safety of radio frequencies in the environment around us, consumers should at least be aware that there could be dangers:
These are just a few of the examples of health hazards unofficially charged to RF emissions. Many kinds of studies have been done but few consistent and concrete results have been rendered.