Ionizing vs. Non-Ionizing Radiation - Do you know the difference?



We know for a fact that our personal electronic devices, such as cell phones, tablets, and laptops emit radiation, but is that radiation harmful to your body? To answer that, we must first explore the nature of radiation.

The radiation emitted by electronics falls in the spectrum of Electromagnetic Radiation (EMR). On the higher end of the spectrum, you have the known cancer causers like X-Rays, UV, Gamma etc.

These are sub-categorized as ionizing radiation because they contain enough energy to remove an electron from an atom, an effect that can have a detrimental effect on DNA and cause irreparable damage to your body.

On the lower end, you have your Radio Frequencies (RF) and Extremely Low Frequencies (ELF) that are emitted by personal electronics. Conversely, these are considered non-ionizing because they lack the required energy to remove an ion from an atom.  

Cell Phone Radiation Emission Levels

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However, just because non-ionizing radiation doesn’t have the energy to ionize an atom, does not mean it is not dangerous. When cell phones emit this radiation, the tissues nearest to the antenna absorb it.  

Radiofrequency exposure from cell phone use does cause heating to the area of the body where a cell phone or other personal electronic device is held (your ear, head, etc.). This is exactly how a microwave “nukes” your food to scorching temperatures in just a matter of seconds.

In fact, lower frequencies of EMR (RF and ELF) can be more dangerous because their wavelengths are longer, enabling them to penetrate barriers more effectively than higher frequencies (ex. X-ray, light, UV etc.).

Furthermore, there are numerous, peer-reviewed studies that have shown a link between brain tumors, cancer, and glioma and cell phone usage.

A $25 Million, a government-funded study was recently conducted where rats and mice were exposed to cell-phone radiation to see if they became sick. Ron Melnick was the designer of the study and concluded that there is a carcinogenic effect.


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How Can Non-Ionizing Radiation Be Harmful?

There are two main ways by which non-ionizing radiation can be harmful:

  1. Non-ionizing radiation has been shown to decrease the blood-brain barrier, lowering defenses against other common carcinogens.
  2. It has also been shown to interfere with DNA replication.  For children, these risks are increased due to longer exposure to electronics, their smaller heads, and lower bone density.

The most important takeaway is to understand that, although our personal electronic devices emit non-ionizing radiation, they could still pose a threat to our health. Be sure to learn what cell phone companies aren't telling you by clicking here. To prevent yourself from the radiation be sure to shop our phone covers.