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Every modern home is loaded with modern technology. As we enjoy man-made inventions, we should also be aware of our responsibility to human well-being and the world we live in, even if we can easily afford the costly power bills. There is reason for alarm since every electronic equipment in our homes produces electromagnetic radiation (EMR) in our atmosphere.
EMR can be classified in three categories.
1. ELECTROMAGNETIC FREQUENCIES
This differ in intensity as follows:
a. Electromagnetic frequencies (EMFs) are produced by power cables, radio, television,
computers and IT Equipment, nautical and maritime navigation equipment and more. EMFs emit intense frequencies. To communicate, the telephone produces radio waves at 10,000 hertz while the high fidelity sound produces 20,000 hertz.
b. Extremely low electromagnetic frequencies (ELFs) are produced by LED lights (light emitting diodes), food warmers in restaurants, microwave oven for food and more. ELFs have a range of 1 to 100 hertz cycle per second and a wavelength of 1 to 100 meters long wavelength. The microwave oven produces a 100 hertz cycle per second with a 100-meter long wavelength. These less intense frequency can affect the electrochemical balance of the brain and development of the fetus if the waves are modulated at a low frequency between 5 and 100 hertz per second, because these has the same magnitude as brain wave frequencies according to Encyclopedia Brittanica. The proximity to extremely low electromagnetic frequencies like power transmissions or directly using gadgets like heating blankets has adverse effect on the health and balance of the brain.
The widely used mobile phone or handheld cellular phone and tower-based antennas expose the users to radio frequencies or radio waves. The cell phone has 1,800 to 2,200 megahertz. It has the same frequency as the cordless telephone except that the cordless gadget has limited range and has less power. This non-ionizing radiation is easily absorbed by the body tissues closest to the handset, tower-based antenna equipment or cordless telephone. Using these for about 30 minutes a day is a cause of concern for risk of illnesses like brain tumour, salivary gland tumour and genetic damage.
Also, working with a computer exposes the user to two radio frequencies - strong electromagnetic frequencies and extremely low electromagnetic frequencies. The result is eye strain, headache, high blood pressure and stress.
But there are ways to minimize the risk of these illnesses when using these equipment and gadgets.
Here are some green tips:
a. Reduce exposure to cell phone by having shorter conversations or using landline phones.
b. Use a hand-free device to have a distance between user and cell phone.
c. Switch off and unplug all electrical equipment when not in use.
d. Position workplace near the window preferably near the garden which is stimulating. Eco-research showed people work more productively in natural lighting.
e. Do not leave appliance or equipment on standby. Plugged appliances when not being used account for 20 to 40% of the power bill because power keeps running and being registered in the electric meter.
f. If the computer, lights or appliances will not be used within 15 minutes, better switch or plug them off.
g. Screen savers are not energy savers.
h. Recycle personal computers by donating to charity instead of throwing into landfills, because computers are toxic and will surely pollute the earth.
Ionization produces radiation as classified below:
a. Non-ionizing radiation. These are sound waves, microwave for communication and food, infrared radiation lamps (ex. LED lights), radio, television, cell phone and tower-based antenna, and more. Non- ionizing radiation has enough energy to move a molecule around to cause them to vibrate but not enough to remove the electrons from molecules.
The side effects of using these are hay fever, migraine and stress. To minimize health inconvenience, here are some green tips:
1. Limit the number of electrical and electronic devices at home.
2. Use natural materials for furniture and walls.
3. Bring in plants as natural ionizer. (Make sure it gets sunlight first and to take it out at night.)
4. Use electric ionizer.
5. Make sure your home has adequate ventilation.
b. Ionizing radiation. These are x-ray machines, CT scans, and other medical equipment. Ionizing radiation have enough energy to break chemical bonds between 2 carbon atoms. Ionizing radiation is capable of removing directly or indirectly electrons from most molecules. These medical equipment are managed by professionals for safety purposes.
These are emissions that have weak charges of electricity which cannot be unearthed due to the presence of insulating materials such as rubber and synthetic carpets. But when these static build up, metals near the computer can be charged since metals are good conductors of electricity.
To reduce the risk of static, here are some green tips:
a. Use materials like wood and leather which will allow static to disperse.
b. Metals conduct electricity thus, avoid metal furniture, beds with frame or springs near the computer.
c. Use anti- glare screens for computers.
d. The use of pure beeswax or linseed oil for finishing surfaces combat static.
As we use technology, let us remember the needs of our natural beings. Using computers cause health-related injuries called Repetitive Strain Injury or RSI.
Here are some precautionary measures:
a. Stop for 10 min. for every 40 to 50 min. using computers. Do some stretching.
b. Adjust depth vision by focusing eyes in far objects every 30 minutes, because eyes become tired after focusing at short range for a long time.
c. Blink and look away from computer regularly.
d. Keep mouse clean since grease and dirt build- up makes it slow down. It is harder to use because there is increased effort and there is a tendency to develop RSI. Using key board connects more.
e. Position mouse at the same height with keyboard to avoid shoulder strain.
f. Buy a wrist rest to support your hands
g. Relieve yourself from stress by means of exercise or listening to music.
h. There are also herbs that remove stress like holy basil or tulsi. Tarragon is also relaxing. Just check out www.herbalandherbs.com for more of these herbs.
i. Sit well back from the screen but not to one side because it is at the sides that radiation is leaked.
j. The desk should have enough space to sit properly. Your distance from the screen is preferably 20 inches or 50 cm.
k. Supportive chair should be adjustable to prevent slouching.
l. Choose a light bulb that will serve one’s specific needs. There two kinds of light bulbs that are widely used to suit one’s needs:
1. LED or light emission diodes gives directional light with minimum emission and saves energy cost.
2. Incandescent light bulbs produce 90% energy that is only converted to heat, while it only produces 10% light.
Aside from different waves that we receive from technological pollution, the power plants produce a large amount of greenhouse gases to be able to serve our power demands. Electricity produced from fossil fuel emit sulphur dioxide and carbon dioxide, while those produced from coal emit carbon dioxide.
Our Creator has provided all our needs out of nothing - the air to breathe, space to move around, eyes to see, plants and herbs to feed and relieve us, and many more. Man created something out of nature we call necessities. Let us evaluate our ‘real needs’ and mere wants. Wants arise from a “propaganda of false needs” that push us to excessive use which conflict with our human nature and ecology.
Let us exercise discernment! The benefit of limiting our use of technology to moderation or even a minimum will manifest not only in our health but in our lower power bills at home. Our return to the simple life is our recourse to protect the world we live in.
The human heart emits two Hertz cycle per second which adversely reacts to electromagnetic fields emitted outside. We are living witnesses to technological advancements that have caused serious illnesses and man-made calamities. Let us heed Mother Nature’s call for prudence while enjoying modern privileges!
Em-em Tinasas, MBA
Callard, S. and Millis, D. (2009) Eco-living handbook: A complete green guide for your home and life. London: Carlton Books Ltd.
Radiation: Non-Ionizing and Ionizing. (n.d.). Retrieved from www.epa.gov/radiation/understand
Ionization. (1992). In Encyclopedia Brittanica (15th ed., pp. 200-202).
Mobile phone radiation and health. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_phone_radiation_and_health
Cell Phones and Cancer Risk. (n.d.). Retrieved April 21, 2015, from http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/causes-prevention/risk/radiation/cell-phones-fact-sheet
The Hidden Dangers of Cell Phone Radiation. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.lef.org/magazine/2007/8/report_cellphone_radiation/Page-01