Print Edition - 2018-07-29  |  Free the Words

Radiation all around us

  • With technological change, a lot more has happened than what meets the eye

Jul 29, 2018-

The industrial revolution brought about many changes in our day-to-day lives, but most noticeably it has made human life much faster and efficient. Steam engine started it all and within a span of two centuries technology has only kept improving. Technology, we believe, has made our lives much better and easier, but in this process of change, a lot more has happened than what meets the eye.

There is no doubt that contributions of technology have played a huge and important role in our daily lives right from transportation industrialisation to communication. However we now see many harmful effects of these inventions, if not all. Today we are aware of the depletion of the ozone layer, its causes and its effects. During summers in Kathmandu, we can all experience the pollution and feel its effect now. You often hear elderly people saying how clean and fresh the air was during their younger days and how clean the waters of the Bagmati River was. Even now, we ourselves can feel the difference between the atmosphere in the city and that of the village in rural areas.

But what about the pollution which we can’t see—the radiation pollution? Harmful radiations are emitted from most of the electronic devices we now use, cell phones, laptops, computers, tablets, wi-fi routers, etc. Then what is radiation, how harmful is it, and what are its effects?

The impact

By definition, radiation is the emission or transmission of energy in the form of waves or particles through space or through a material medium. Cell phones, PCs, TV, radio and various other electronic gadgets transmit electromagnetic radiations (often abbreviated as EM radiation or EMR). Numerous scientists from across the world have demonstrated that electromagnetic radiation has significant negative impact on any human’s well being, especially when they are in close proximity to their electronic gadgets. These radiations may not be seen or felt but they may impact our health in the long-run.

Scientists and researchers have demonstrated biological and neurotic impacts of electromagnetic radiation. Biological impacts are protein changes in skin, energised mind cells , DNA harm and cerebrum cell harm. They also increase the blood pressure. Neurotic impacts are salivary gland cancer, brain tumour, lymphatic cancer and bone marrow cancer, miscarriage, asthma and a few others. The World Health Organization (WHO) and International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified radio frequency electromagnetic fields as possibly being  carcinogenic—cancer causing substance to humans.   

Dependency and Addiction

The equipment and appliances used to enhance the standard of living and the means of communication, for example, mobile phones have become an indespensible part of modern living. Some startling data is now available from a recent survey which says that 45 percent of the respondents spend more than 4 hours a day on their phones, another 7 hours sleeping and add another 7 hours at work and that’s their life. 76 percent say their phone is the last thing they check before going to bed, and 53 percent say it’s the first thing they look at in the morning. This dependency on our cell phone has become an addiction and we find it more and more difficult to stay away andthe harmful effect of electromagnetic radiation that is continously harming us.

Even when it comes to parenting, busy lifestyles have made it difficult for parents to spend time with their children. Constant time crunch and pressure at work means parents get tointereact and play with their children rarely. As a result, parents have started turning to technology to keep their kids occupied and entertained.

But too much time with technology causes children to not get enough exercise. Lack of exercise is not only bad for their bodies, but it also interferes with cognitive develop. Furthermore, longer screen time causes eye strain. This can lead to blurry vision, eye fatigue, focus issues, and even double vision. Many kids these days have already started complaining about so.

Kids’ heavy addiction with such handheld devices makes them vulnerable to the harmful effects of electronic Medical Record (EMR).

Radiation is emitted not only through cell phones, but even laptops, tablets and wi-fi routers. Even in the safety of our homes and offices we need these gadgets in order to live and work better, but are we ready for the consequences that technology and communication brings with it? With the dependency we now have on our electronic and communication devices, the effect of EMR on our bodies and that of our family will only increase and the results will begin to show up after a period of time.

The harmful effects of EMR have just begun to surface and legislative controls are being put in place by countries around the world in various forms restricting the use of these devices. Specific Absorption Rates values have been introduced on mobile manufacturers limiting the amount of radiation a mobile phone can emit; and consumers are warned indirectly of its safe use in the mobile manual, which is seldom read.

The answer to this huge problem may be in sight and perhaps ironically, we await the introduction of the latest technological invention to solve this big problem once and for all.

Mondle is the Vice President of Vajra Universal

Published: 29-07-2018 07:28

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