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Ionizing vs. Non-Ionizing Radiation

Last Updated on: May 10, 2022

Reviewed By: Jessica Herzog, MD, FAAP, ABioM

woman sitting by her apartment window in a city with many buildings surrounding her


When questions about EMFs like this are Googled the answers from the search results are contradictory. Some sources will say that EMFs are harmful and cause cancers, while others will say EMFs are safe in small amounts. Still, other sources will say it’s all about ionizing or non-ionizing radiation.

This leads to another Google search in which you try to understand ionizing and non-ionizing radiation. To save you the time, let’s go over the differences between ionizing and non-ionizing radiation in an easy-to-understand way.

There are several different sources of radiation, both natural and man made. Their frequencies are measured in hertz and range from extremely low frequency (ELF) (3 to 30 Hz) all the way up to gamma rays.


EMFs are broken down into non-ionizing radiation and ionizing radiation. The term ionize means to give an atom a charge by displacing an electron from its orbit. So, when you’re exposed to ionizing radiation, it means you’ve been exposed to an energy that is strong enough to disrupt the basic structure of the atoms and molecules in your body by knocking off an electron. This loss of an electron causes the molecule that lost it to become extremely reactive and damage the cell around it. Ionizing radiation causes direct damage to DNA, which can cause cancer. Most people aren’t exposed to ionizing radiation regularly.

stressed man with hands by his head in front of his laptop


Non-ionizing radiation has longer wavelengths, a shorter frequency, and therefore a smaller amount of energy. This type of radiation is much more common, and we are exposed to it every single day. However, because of its low energy, the effects on the body are much less direct. For a time, many people believed that non-ionizing radiation was harmless because it’s weaker and harder to link to certain diseases. However, it has been proven to heat substances, making it a cause for concern. When people are exposed to direct non-ionizing radiation for long periods of time, like when a cell phone is held against the head, it heats the tissue in the body and can lead to serious damage.

man sitting near window seal and looking at his tablet


Previously, it was thought that only ionizing radiation was dangerous and could cause cellular damage. We take many precautions to protect ourselves from ionizing radiation in our world today. This is why you have to wear a heavy lead apron when the dentist takes an X-ray. The radiation in the higher frequencies readily enters your body and can damage the bonds of your DNA and cause cancer.

With modern research, we now know that both ionizing and non-ionizing forms of EMF radiation can be dangerous. Ionizing radiation directly damages the covalent bonds of your DNA, while non-ionizing radiations create hydroxyl free radicals (OH-), causing indirect damage. The hydroxyl radical, which is one of the leading causes of disease, can damage the mitochondria (the powerhouse) of your cells and damage the DNA.

man and woman sitting on couches with a EMF protection device


While there are many ways to minimize exposure, in our world today, it is next to impossible to completely eliminate your exposure to non-ionizing radiation. However, Qi devices create protective areas that depolarize and reduce EMF exposure, making it biologically safe. To learn more about Waveguard technology, visit www.synergyscience.com/qi/.

Additional References:

Hardell L. & Nyberg R. (2020). Appeals that matter or not on a moratorium on the deployment of the fifth generation, 5G, for microwave radiation. Molecular and Clinical Oncology, 12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7016513/pdf/mco-12-03-0247.pdf

Mercola J. (2020). EMF*D: 5G, Wi-Fi & Cell Phones: Hidden Harms and How to Protect Yourself. Hay House Inc.

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