SEOUL, June 23 (Korea Bizwire) – Does excessive exposure to electromagnetic waves increase the chance of having a daughter? Do microwave ovens cause cancer? Are cellphones killing bees?
Prior to the “First Electromagnetic Waves Safety Forum” which will be held on June 23 at the Korea Institute of Science and Technology Center, the National Radio Research Agency (RRA) came up with several explanations to dispel some of these rumors.
According to the RRA, the notion that excessive exposure to electromagnetic waves leads to lower sperm count or gene variation that increases the chances of having a daughter has not been confirmed scientifically. No medical research has been conducted into how electromagnetic waves affect baby gender.
Some studies on cellphones and how their electromagnetic waves may cause male infertility have been conducted in the past, however the RRA notes that other factors such as lifestyle patterns including eating and drinking were not completely controlled, and as such the relationship needs to be researched further before any conclusions can be made.
Rumors of microwave ovens causing cancer and “destroying” nutrients have also proven to be false.
However, when a microwave oven is operating, an electromagnetic field of approximately 60 Hz (hertz) is produced, so experts advise users to stand at least 30 cm away from ovens in use. The effect of electromagnetic waves on the human body decreases to 1/10 of its intensity when a distance of 30 cm is maintained.
Older or broken microwaves may emit 2.45 GHz electromagnetic waves when they are operating. It is not advised to look into a microwave oven at a close distance as the radiation can be harmful to the eyes.
Although some electromagnetic radiation protection products such as charcoal, cacti, and shielding filters are fairly well known in the market, these items have not been proven to offer any protection. Standing away from a microwave oven at a safe distance should suffice.
Myths about cell phones killing bees to the point of extinction have also turned out to be false.
Some studies proposed that electromagnetic waves from cell phones along with mites, pesticides, viruses, and climate change could be the causes of declining populations of honey bees, however no direct influence of electromagnetic waves on honey bees has been proven scientifically.
The RRA also pointed out that many people are misinformed about the danger of electromagnetic waves from cell phone base stations. Electromagnetic waves emitted from the base stations are not accumulated in the body, nor do they contain harmful radiation. The intensity is only 10 percent of the safety standard.
The World Health Organization (WHO) did list electromagnetic waves of cell phones as a known carcinogen, which may have started the rumor that using cell phones can cause cancer. Yet a limited correlation exists between cell phone use and the development of cancer, according to the WHO.
The RRA explains that electromagnetic waves belong to Group ‘2B’ carcinogens, as do coffee, diesel fuel, and kimchi.
The WHO is aware of people who have electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS) where they experience headaches, disturbed sleep, or indigestion when exposed to even to low-level electromagnetic fields, but the phenomenon is not recognized as an actual medical diagnosis since it is more of a psychological distress, according to the RRA.
A detailed explanation about electromagnetic waves and related rumors can be found on the RRA website (http://www.rra.go.kr/emf/wrongfact/rumor/).
By Nonnie Kim (firstname.lastname@example.org)