Electromagnetic Fields

The potential health effects of human-made electromagnetic fields (EMFs) have been a topic of scientific interest since the late 1800s, particularly in the last twenty years. Electromagnetic fields are natural phenomena that have always been present on earth. However, during the twentieth century, environmental exposure to human-made EMFs increased steadily, predominantly due to increased electricity and wireless technology use. Nearly all people are exposed to a complex mix of different types of weak electric and magnetic fields, both at home and at work.

EMFs can be broadly divided into two categories: extremely low-frequency electric and magnetic fields (ELF EMFs), common sources of which include power lines, household electrical appliances, and computers; and high-frequency or radiofrequency electric and magnetic fields (RF EMFs), of which the main sources are telecommunications and broadcast facilities, and mobile telephones and their base stations.

Electrical currents exist naturally in the human body and are an essential part of normal bodily functioning. Nerves relay signals by transmitting electric impulses, and most biochemical reactions, from those associated with digestion to those involved in brain activity, proceed by means of rearranging charged particles.

ELF EMFs influence the human body just as they would any other substance consisting of conducting materials and charged particles. ELF EMFs may induce circulating currents within the human body. The strength of these induced currents depends on the intensity of the outside magnetic field and the size of the loop through which the current flows. When sufficiently large, these currents can cause neural and muscular stimulation (among other biological effects). However, at the EMF exposure levels normally found in the environment, the currents induced in the body by ELF EMFs are much weaker than those occurring in the body naturally.

At RFs, the main biological effect of EMFs is heating, the same effect that microwave ovens utilize. The levels of RF EMFs to which people are normally exposed are far lower than those need to produce significant heating.

BODY CURRENTS

Electrical currents exist naturally in the human body and are an essential part of normal bodily functioning. Nerves relay signals by transmitting electric impulses. Most biochemical reactions, from those associated with digestion to those involved in brain activity, proceed by means of rearranging charged particles.

neural related to nerve cells or the nervous system biological effects effects on living organisms

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