How Do Electromagnetic Waves Interfere with Brain Function?

emf brain risks

Exposure to electromagnetic waves is inevitable these days. Though it is not a new phenomenon, the trend of environmental exposure to man-made EMFs is rising. Time and time again, repeated warnings to avoid overexposure to EMFs have been issued by concerned parties. And while radiation side-effects are no news, the EMF brain risks are the ones to pay attention to.

But how big are the EMF brain risks? What is the effect of electromagnetic radiation on the human brain? Is there any way that we can protect ourselves from the harmful effects of electronic radiation?

A study conducted by the American Medical Association in 2011 showed that radio waves from a cellphone can affect the brain’s metabolism. Though the study didn’t conclude whether the brain metabolism increase has adverse effects on its functions, taking caution is advised.

EMF Brain Risks: How Much Protection is Enough?

Before you let panic set in and start throwing away your gadgets, it is important to understand what an EMF is. Electromagnetic fields are actually present everywhere. It appears as well that the primary biological effect of the electromagnetic fields of radio-frequency fields is heating.

Electromagnetic fields can either be naturally sourced or man-made. Examples of naturally sourced EMFs are the UV rays that come from the sun. That said, man-made sources may come from various home appliances such as:

  • Microwave ovens
  • Computers
  • Cellphones
  • Bluetooth devices
  • Medical equipment (like MRIs and x-rays)
  • Power lines

It is also evident that the further you move from these sources, the lesser the exposure. EMF exposure can be categorized into low-level (non-ionizing) and high-level (ionizing). From the examples earlier, what belongs to the ionizing type are the ultraviolet light and X-ray. The rest is low-level.

Among the gadgets that fall on the non-ionizing category, cellphones are the most controversial. This is probably because they are the most utilized among all the electronic devices of modern times. You will find that most studies are focused on this particular gadget as well.

Health Risks Due to EMF Exposure

While much of the research doesn’t provide definitive or conclusive results yet, there is no harm in heeding the warnings. The World Health Organization commissioned a study primarily focusing on uncovering all possible EMF brain risks. The study is yet to uncover evidence on the low-level EMF exposure risks. However, it can’t be denied that even short-term EMF exposure can have adverse effects on the human body.

According to some scientists, exposure to very high levels of EMF can affect the nervous system functions. Here are the possible side-effects and EMF brain risks:

  • Sleep disturbance
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Depression
  • Lack of concentration
  • Dizziness
  • Memory changes
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability

In 2018, a study of 700 Swiss adolescents yielded that cumulative RF-EMF brain exposure to mobile phone use for one year could have negative effects on the development of the figural memory performance of the adolescent brains.

EMF Exposure Protection

No one can be ever kept away from EMF exposure. So, the best way to protect yourself is to be aware of EMF sources, reduce exposure, and use appropriate EMF protection. As with any other consumption, moderation is key.

The International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) established international guidelines for EMF exposure. The guidelines they have set are based on years of research on all EMF brain risks as well as general health risks. As long as exposure doesn’t exceed the harmful levels of these guidelines, no harmful effects of electronic radiation on humans are expected. You may check EMFs in your home using an EMF meter. Alternatively, you can call your local power company to arrange an on-site reading schedule.

To reduce exposure, try doing the following:

  • Limit exposure to the sun.
  • Get X-Rays only when it’s medically necessary
  • Put your phone down when not in use
  • Use the speaker function or earbuds when taking calls
  • Leave your phone in another room when you are asleep
  • Use a steamer to reheat food rather than the microwave.


It is best to continue to be watchful of the ongoing studies on the effect of electromagnetic waves on the human brain and the human body in general. You also want to monitor WHO’s announcements as they will definitely issue protective measures when necessary. For now, it is clear that the best prevention would be to avoid overexposure to EMFs.

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IS RADIATION From Your Cell Phone Making You Sick? Our health and lives are at stake, and that isn’t overstating the case.