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What Does EMF Radiation Mean?

EMF radiation means a type of energy that comes from electronic devices. It is a form of energy that can be harmful to people if they are exposed to it for too long.

How is EMF Radiation Created?

This is a summary of what EMFs are. For a full article, read What is EMF? EMFs Explained.

EMF stands for electromagnetic radiation. 

Accelerating charged particles produce changing electric and magnetic fields. 

This interplay between fields creates energy in the form of electromagnetic waves that move through free space. 

This released energy emission is radiation. 

When radiation moves through the air it travels in waves. Higher frequency waves emit a lot energy and have a shorter wavelength. 

Lower frequency waves are longer and emit low energy. All these waves are placed on a spectrum – the electromagnetic spectrum. 

They are ordered from low to high energy waves. 

Graphic of the electromagnetic spectrum from non-ionizing radiation to ionizing radiation listed from left to right

Ionizing Vs. Non-Ionizing Radiation

The high energy waves are ionizing waves, which are the most powerful. Gamma rays, nuclear energy, x-rays and even some UV rays are ionizing. 

These can instantly cause damage to the body by shattering electrons and shattering the molecules in our bodies. 

Non-ionizing radiation is weaker but it can still alter cells on a biological level after a long period of exposure. 

These waves include infrared, microwaves, radio waves (RF) and extremely low frequency waves (ELF). Sources of RF and ELF radiation include cell phones, Wifi, Bluetooth and even appliances like hairdryers. 

Extremely Low Frequency (ELF) Radiation and Radiofrequency (RF) Radiation

ELF radiation comes from currents flowing in an electronic device. It is the lowest frequency of radiation but all devices emit it. Anything that gets power from an outlet or a battery. 

Since most sources are used briefly and from a safe distance they aren’t as damaging in the long run. 

Smart devices like cell phones, smart watches, laptops, tablets and wireless Bluetooth headphones emit both ELF and RF radiation. 

RF radiation is emitted when the smart device connects to Wifi, uses the cellular network, 5G, uses Bluetooth, etc. 

RF radiation travels. Bluetooth signals travel up to 30 feet. 

Wifi travels up to hundreds of feet. 

Cell phone signals travel several miles. 

The closer you are to the source of radiation the more you are receiving. 

Direct skin contact like against your head or body are the most harmful because of the short distance. 

Short distance in addition to the long amount of time with these devices are what makes us most vulnerable to them. 

The health effects from even low levels of EMF exposure can damage DNA strands, heat cells, change cell makeup, and disrupt entire processes in the body. This can lead to reproductive effects, genotoxic effects like DNA fragmentation, fertility problems, glioma brain cancer, cellular stress, cognitive effects, behavior and sleep effects, blood brain barrier effects, among others. 


  1. University of Tennessee Knoxville – The Production of EM waves
  2. World Health Organization – Radiation: Electromagnetic Fields
  3. Occupational Safety and Health Administration – Ionizing Radiation
  4. Physicians for Safe Technology – Behavior, Memory and Learning:
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Nicole Moore is the Founder and Managing Editor of EducateEMF. She has completed two certificates of completion on the topics of EMF Radiation and EMF Protection in your home. She extensively researches topics using peer-reviewed research, literature and journal articles.