As parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends and guardians, we are responsible for ensuring that our children are healthy and thriving. With wireless technologies and devices all around us, we need to be well informed about safety and possible risks to protect those who are the most vulnerable: our children.
In this article we will help you understand:
- how microwave radiation, also called electromagnetic fields (EMFs), emitted by wireless devices and mobile phones can be detrimental to children’s health
- why children are more at risk than adults
- what evidence we have to support this
- how we can protect children against EMFs at home
A baby and an iPhone
Picture this. A beautiful baby boy. He must be only a few weeks old. So fragile, with his little cute nose, soft cheeks, and the tiniest fingers. And an iPhone playing soothing music. Placed just a few centimeters away from his tiny head.
How could this originally well-intended act of parenting love, which I have witnessed myself, affect the baby’s health?
If you’d like to know, read on.
Microwave radiation (EMFs): Class 2B possible carcinogen
The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) declared very well known compounds such as chloroform, DDT, lead, nickel, petrol, and diesel fuel Class 2B possible carcinogens.
We wouldn’t dare to think about exposing a child to these chemicals and we really need to think the same way about microwave radiation. Since 2011 microwave radiation is now also on the Class B possible carcinogen list.
In 2014, researchers from the Environmental Health Trust and the University of California put together a comprehensive review of peer-reviewed mobile phone exposure studies between 2009 to 2014. This review pointed out to some concerning effects of microvawe radiation, including an increased risk of oxidative stress, brain cancer and parotid gland tumors.
Do children absorb more microwave radiation than adults?
Multiple studies show that children indeed absorb more radiation than adults for the following reasons:
- their brain is more absorbent
- their skulls are thinner
- their head size is smaller
Practically speaking, if my 4-year old niece and I, a 36-year-old female, are both speaking on a phone placed to our head for the same amount of time, she, a child, will absorb at least twice to three times more radiation than me, an adult.
Joe Wiart, a senior researcher for French Telecom and Orange, confirmed this in a study published in 2008.
In 2010 yet another study carried out by a research team at the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine showed that children’s bone marrow specifically absorbs 10 times more radiation than in adults.
Radiation absorption rates in children vs adults:
Other significant effects of EMFs on children’s brain:
- Learning and memory deficits
- Symptoms related to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
- Increased neural cells death
- Neural abnormalities and degeneration
We discuss the effects of EMFs on brain function more in details in our article titled ‘The Effects of EMFs on brain function.’ (link when it’s ready).
How to keep your children safe from EMFs at home: 10 top tips
It is close to impossible to completely avoid exposure to microwave radiation, especially outside of the home. Having said that, there are still a few beneficial things we can do to protect our kids at home. Here are 10 top helpful tips:
- Keep overall exposure to mobile phones, WLAN routers and baby monitors to the minimum.
- Use phones and wireless devices with lower radiation / SAR values.
- If you are using a baby monitor, place it as far away from the baby cot as possible. The Federal Office for Radiation Protection advises that baby monitors with rechargeable batteries emit less radiation than the ones with a power supply.
- Ban mobile phones from children’s bedrooms.
- Use landline with a cord and avoid the use of cordless phones.
- If you use a cordless phone, make sure it is placed in the hall. Avoid such phones bedrooms at all cost.
- Switch off your wifi and mobile devices completely during the night.
- Get your kids to make calls only when absolutely necessary.
- Use parental controls and apps available such as FamilyTime to limit time spent on mobile devices.
- Educate your kids about EMFs. Have a conversation. It’s worth starting early.
Author Veronika Appleford Divincova
Research assistant, educator and content creator at Qi-Technologies.
In life, I believe that with more knowledge and understanding we can make better decisions.