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Are EMFs Even Real?

Last Updated on: April 29, 2022

boy putting a Qi device into his backpack to protect against EMFs

We’re told that we’re surrounded by a form of radiation called electromagnetic fields (EMFs). But if we cannot see, feel, hear, or smell them, are they really there?

It is hard to believe in something that you cannot see, hear, touch, or smell. Luckily, scientists have found ways to identify the existence of some such things to help us gain a greater understanding of how the world works. One example is electromagnetic radiation.

group of friends leaning against a brick well on their phones
Electromagnetic fields (EMFs) are a type of radiation emitted from various electronic devices.

What Are EMFs?

EMF stands for electric and magnetic (or electromagnetic) fields, and they are often referred to as radiation. Generally, EMFs exist as a result of electrical power, as well as both natural and man-made forms of lighting. (1) EMFs exist on a range of wavelengths and frequencies. As a result, they are typically split into two different groups: non-ionizing and ionizing. (2)

Non-ionizing EMFs include low levels of radiation within the EMF spectrum. This type of radiation has longer wavelengths and lower frequencies, and it includes extremely low frequencies (ELFs), microwaves, visual light, and radio waves. Most scientists classify non-ionizing radiation as harmless to humans because it cannot break down chemical bonds within the body. Some of the main sources of non-ionizing EMF radiation include computers, cellphones, Bluetooth devices, power lines, magnetic resonance imaging (MRIs), Wi-Fi networks, and house energy smart meters. (1, 2)

Ionizing EMFs are wavelengths with high levels of radiation. This type of radiation has shorter wavelengths and higher frequencies, and it includes ultraviolet light, X-rays, and gamma rays. Generally speaking, ionizing radiation is more dangerous to humans because it can lead to DNA and cellular damage, especially with prolonged exposure. Some of the main sources of ionizing EMF radiation include sunlight and X-rays. (1, 2)

small boy at home looking at a tablet
Exposure to EMF radiation can lead to a variety of adverse health effects.

What Are the Risks of EMF Exposure?

Radiation is all around us, and in today’s digital world, everyone is exposed to greater amounts of electromagnetic radiation. The increased use of cellphones, Wi-Fi routers, power lines, and cell towers has many people concerned about the potential connection between EMF exposure and severe health effects. This concern grew and has continued to grow since the 1990s, and there have been a fair amount of studies performed over the years to test this connection. (3)

Although the effects of EMF radiation are still being studied, some studies show evidence of possible negative health effects that come from electromagnetic wavelengths. Here are just a few of the health risks that studies have found in connection with EMF exposure:

General Risks of EMFs

It is well known that weak EMFs can lead to a variety of non-thermal effects in human tissue, cells, and organs. (4) In fact, a number of recent studies and publications show that EMF radiation from radio-wave frequencies can lead to an increased risk of cancer, cellular stress, free-radical production, reproductive issues, memory and learning deficits, and more. (5)

Researchers also suggest that children and adolescents may be more susceptible to the health effects of EMF exposure than adults. Although there is no specific evidence to support this theory, it is a possibility due to a child’s or adolescent’s state of continuing development. Plus, children in today’s society tend to be more exposed to electronic and digital devices than previous generations, thus increasing their chances of developing health effects. (6)

young man sitting cross legged at a doctor's office
Many researchers have focused on studying how EMF exposure can contribute to cancer development.


Before today’s more recent studies, the bulk of EMF studies focused largely on cancer as a possible health effect of EMF exposure. (7) The results and interpretation of data, however, are somewhat contradictory.

In some studies, results show a clear and consistent increase of risk between childhood leukemia and exposure to ELF EMFs. In fact, due to the research and data available, the World Health Organization classified radio EMFs as potentially carcinogenic in May 2011 (4). However, the results of these studies also show that there likely isn’t a link between EMF exposure and adult cancers (such as breast cancer). (8)

In 2011, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) provided an evaluation on the health effects of electromagnetic radiation. In this evaluation, they stated that there is evidence of humans developing greater risks for cancer from radiation specifically from radio waves. This statement is largely due to the developing amount of epidemiology reports, experimental findings, animal carcinogenicity tests, and genotoxicity. (5)

On the other hand, many people believe that while there is evidence supporting a possible link between EMF radiation and cancer, especially childhood leukemia, there is a strong need for greater evidence and more consistent results. (9) Further still, other researchers state that there is inconsistent evidence between EMF exposure and cancer, and that there is no causal role between ELFs and the development of childhood cancers. (10)

For more information about what studies have found about EMF exposure and an increased risk of cancer, check out this blog post.


A common health effect that many citizens claim to be a side effect of EMF exposure is a condition called EMF hypersensitivity. Some of the most common symptoms associated with hypersensitivity include headaches, dizziness, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, and a sensation of heat on the skin. (6, 3)

Although we have no consistent evidence to show a relationship between radio-wave or general EMF exposure to hypersensitivity symptoms, more and more people are reporting these symptoms. As the use of mobile and electronic devices increases, the number of people who are suffering from EMF hypersensitivity is growing, many of which describe themselves as “severely dysfunctional.” (4)

The first data on headaches in relation to EMF exposure was around 20 years ago, before exposure to radio waves and microwave frequencies grew exponentially. (7) Since then, an extremely limited number of studies has focused on the relationship between EMF exposure and hypersensitivity symptoms. As a result, it is difficult to say whether there is a definitive relationship. However, there is no way to prove the absence of these health effects or deny the many reports of public citizens who are suffering from them.

man working at home close to his computer
It is well-known that EMF radiation can heat body tissue, which can lead to various health issues.

Thermal Tissue Effects

According to scientists, the most influential impact of EMF exposure to humans and other living organisms is that of direct tissue penetration. (4) When it comes to radio waves specifically, the general consensus is that thermal tissue effects are the most widespread effects of exposure. (3)

Thermal tissue effects refers to EMF waves heating up the tissues within the body. Each person has tiny electrical currents in the body as a result of chemical reactions. When your body comes in contact with electromagnetic fields, the EMFs can induce currents and voltages inside of the body. The main biological effect of this is heating tissue. (11)

When radiation interacts with tissue, including organ tissue, it can impair the function of that tissue. As a result, one may experience red skin, radiation burns, hair loss, and acute radiation syndrome. (12) In fact, the thermal effects of EMFs have been known and studied since the 1930s. However, back then, this information was used to induce artificial fevers by having the skin absorb radio waves and help patients heal from diseases. (3)

While medicine has evolved from using radio waves to heal disease, using cellphones and other electronic devices in our lives will not likely result in such severe side effects as hair loss and burns. Even so, specialists are concerned about the effects of heating tissue within the body. This concern is largely focused on the effects that using cellphones may have on heating the tissue in and around the brain.

Research and previous studies have shown that a significant temperature increase in brain tissue can increase permeability of the blood-brain barrier. Increasing permeability increases one’s risk of developing brain diseases, such as tumors, or neurological symptoms like headaches. Some studies have found that low-level radio-wave frequencies can influence the blood-brain barrier, and more recent studies support that finding. In fact, two studies reported that the blood-brain barrier absorbed more of the protein albumin after being exposed to radio wave frequencies. (3) This is a significant finding because albumin is responsible for keeping fluid in your bloodstream, and an increased absorption of it could lead to various health issues, such as hyper-excitability. (13)

Study Limitations

While studying the adverse health effects of EMF exposure is incredibly important — especially with the growing use of mobile and electronic devices — the field is still fairly new and data are limited. Even with the current studies and data, interpretations vary and conclusions are inconsistent. This is because there are several limitations, like the ones listed below, when it comes to studying EMF radiation exposure:

  • Because exposure to radio waves, microwaves, and other EMFs have been limited until more recent years, we cannot yet know the long-term effects of EMF exposure. We simply have not been living in a world with high EMF exposure for long enough. (6, 8)
  • In regard to the carcinogenic effects of EMFs, researchers face the same issue. Carcinogenesis is a long, slow process, and the use of mobile phones and other devices has only become common in the last 20 years. Although there are some studies with positive results, we do not have enough data or consistent results to provide a definite answer. (7)
  • The data from EMF studies vary greatly. While some studies have produced significant results, it is often difficult to replicate the results to prove that they are definitive.
  • Human studies are limited for measuring exposure levels for ethical reasons. We simply cannot expose humans to various levels of EMF radiation. As a result, many are skeptical of study results, especially in terms of reproducing results. (3)
  • It is difficult to measure actual exposure because radiation power varies greatly based on your distance. This means that most “actual doses” of EMF exposure are estimated, which can make it difficult to replicate results in repeated studies. (3)
Qi devices that protect against emfs sitting on a chair
Protect yourself from EMF radiation with a Qi Device™.

How You Can Reduce Your EMF Exposure

Although the health effects of EMF exposure are still being studied and the data we have thus far vary greatly in results, we cannot deny that more and more people are suffering from health issues after being around electronic devices. In fact, researchers recommend that even though the health problems of EMF exposure have not yet been fully identified or resolved, it is necessary to take precautions when using devices that emit electromagnetic radiation. (7)

If you are looking to reduce your EMF exposure and thus reduce your chances of suffering from adverse health effects, try these simple lifestyle adjustments:

  • Do not carry your cellphone or other devices in your pockets.
  • Use headphones or earbuds when taking a long call instead of having the phone directly against your face.
  • Do not sleep with your phone next to your pillow.
  • Replace time with devices with time spent outside or doing something without an electronic device.

The best way to protect yourself against EMF radiation is with a Qi Device™. These devices are proven to reduce overall EMF exposure in 12 double-blind studies, ultimately helping you to reduce your chances of developing adverse health effects. Choose from the portable Qi Me™ or Qi Shield™ to protect yourself on the go, or use a Qi Home Cell™ or Qi Max™ to protect yourself and your family while at home.

Even though EMF radiation is something we cannot see, smell, feel, or hear, the danger is real. It is important to ensure that you and your family have the protection you need — especially in a world where we use more electronic devices than ever before.

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