What electromagnetic waves do mobile phones use?

Sperm Viability

It’s time to discuss some science here on WaveWall as we answer the question, “what electromagnetic waves do mobile phones use?” We talk a lot about electromagnetic fields and electromagnetic frequencies (EMF) because they are the main way a mobile phone works and connects to the network. Mobile phones do not work without them.

Let’s start with the basics and answer the question ‘what are electromagnetic waves?’

The most common and obvious form of an electromagnetic wave is light. The visible light spectrum is what we see in our day to day lives. Visible light from the Sun enters Earth’s atmosphere and bounces off the world around us, ricochetting into our eyes. Our brain, via the optic nerve, interprets this light and this enables us to see. Light is indeed a form of electromagnetic radiation, as are the waves emitted from mobile phones, or any electronic device for that matter.

However, the visible light spectrum forms a tiny part of the entire electromagnetic spectrum. The entire spectrum contains everything from gamma rays through to ultraviolet, infrared, microwaves and radio waves. You may have heard of some or all of these.

X-Rays

Used for medical diagnostics, e.g. when breaking a bone. They can scan bones beneath the skin to provide doctors with images of injuries, etc.

Ultraviolet

Used in forensics, e.g. when detecting bloodstains. Also used in numerous inks, paints and in fluorescent lights.

Infrared

Used in thermal imaging, electrical heaters, and in TV remotes and similar devices.

Microwaves

Used in microwave ovens.

Radio Waves

Used in FM and AM radio transmission and telecommunications.

It’s important to understand that the entire electromagnetic spectrum is indeed that – a spectrum. There is much overlap between many of these types of electromagnetic radiation. The radiation emitted by mobile phones falls somewhere in between microwaves and radio waves. These are often called radio frequencies (RF).

Ionising vs Non-Ionising Radiation 

So what makes radiation harmful? When we hear the word ‘radiation’, we often think of dangerous stuff, like nuclear bombs or Chernobyl. In these instances, we’re thinking about extremely short wavelength radiation that lives way down the left-hand side of the above diagram, past X-rays. This area is comprised of gamma rays, which are extremely short-length waves. This part of the electromagnetic spectrum is the most dangerous, and gamma rays have the potential to damage living tissues beyond repair. Forms of radiation that directly damage DNA via the process of ionization, like gamma rays, are called ionising radiation. 

Ionising radiation fundamentally damages the matter that makes up our cells by removing electrons. This destabilises DNA, which in turn causes it to mutate, possibly causing cancer and other diseases.

DNA damage
DNA damage

Ionising radiation also includes X-rays and UV rays. We cannot receive too many X-rays over the course of a lifetime as this is a cancer risk. UV from sunlight also has the potential to damage cells and cause cancer.

Broadly speaking, this area of the electromagnetic spectrum is the most dangerous.

So what about non-ionising radiation?

As we move up the electromagnetic spectrum, we find other types of less dangerous radiation. All radiation including and beyond visible light is classified as non-ionising. That means it does not affect our cells in the same way as ionising radiation.

So is non-ionising radiation harmless?

No, it is not as simple as that!

Take microwaves as an example. Despite being non-ionising, they still produce enough energy to warm food very quickly indeed. Clearly, if we were exposed to these sorts of microwaves, we would be harmed.

In fact, the FDA has warned against dodgy microwaves that are old, broken or are otherwise unsealed, as there have been numerous reports of microwaves ‘leaking out’ and hurting people!

Lately, more and more research is showing that non-ionising radiation DOES have the potential to cause harm, even in smaller amounts. The key here is long-term exposure. Whilst small doses of non-ionising radiation are extremely unlikely to cause any harm at all, continuous doses over the course of years are still somewhat of an unknown. It is only in the last 40 – 50 years that our lives have become so heavily reliant on technology. We’ve opened a Pandora’s Box full of radiation and we just don’t know how harmful it all could be for us.

So What Radiation Do Mobile Phones Produce?

Mobile phones produce radiation in the radio frequency (RF) area of the electromagnetic spectrum. This sits between radio waves and microwaves. Radio frequencies are powerful over long ranges and provide an efficient means for radio towers to connect to our phone antennae. Your phone ‘talks’ via its antennae to these radio towers, and this connects it to the network.

In addition to that, the electronic components of phones also produce microwaves and radio waves. You can think of phones as emitting radiation in 2 ways, through their own functionality and components, and through their connection to radio towers.

As we’ve just explained, microwaves are non-ionising. They are not going to cause a very high risk of cancer from just minimal exposure, as could be the case with X-rays or gamma rays.

But still, they do produce radiation in sizeable quantities and the problem is, we’re exposed to it pretty much all day every day.

We live and sleep with our phones by our sides, even from a very young age. In fact, the majority of children now sleep with their phones directly by their sides.

We now know, through many studies over many years, that EMFs from mobile phones, or mobile phone radiation, damages the body and is especially linked to male infertility.

The Impending Danger of Mobile Phone Radiation

The tricky thing is, science advances all the time and we’re constantly revealing new information on how radiation works. This includes how non-ionising radiation may interact with our bodies.

Here is an example:

X-rays were first properly studied and understood in 1895 but were also available outside the medical field at first – you could get yourself x-rayed at a fair for fun. We just didn’t know what damage they could cause. 

That’s over 100 years ago – the idea of unnecessary x-rays is obviously horrifying to us now.

Can you see how this relates to mobile phone radiation? Mobile phones have only been around for a few decades. Widespread adoption didn’t start until into the 21st century. The iPhone only had its tenth birthday a year or so ago. We understand what electromagnetic waves mobile phones use. But have we had time to fully understand all the effects they might cause?

It really is all a big grey area right now and rightly, the scientific community is very worried.

The only sound option right now is to take action for yourself, and protect yourself against mobile phone radiation.

Just like protection from x-rays or ultraviolet, you can protect yourself from mobile phone radiation. WaveWall anti-radiation cases are scientifically proven to block 85% of radiation making it to your body from your phone.

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