Current EMF Regulations to Protect Children

Current EMF Regulations to Protect Children

In today’s digital world, children are increasingly being exposed to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF). This exposure is happening earlier and more frequently through the growing use of cell phones, tablets, and other wireless devices with apps and programs geared towards children. These technologies offer many opportunities for education and entertainment. However, they also pose potential health risks, especially for a population as vulnerable as children. Now more than ever, effective safety measures are a necessity in order to protect children from the harmful effects of EMF exposure.

How EMF Impacts Children

Radiofrequency EMF is the non-ionizing radiation emitted by wireless devices. This can include everything from cell phones to wireless routers to baby monitors. The question of how this radiation might be affecting human bodies has come up time and time again over the past few years. Since the arrival of smartphones into society, we have been attached to our devices more than ever, and they have captured the attention of children as well as adults. This could be especially problematic, as research has shown children are more vulnerable to the potentially harmful effects of EMFs.

Two teenagers on cell phones

Image Source: Pexels

Why are Children More Vulnerable to EMF?

Children are not simply smaller versions of adults. They have unique physiological and developmental characteristics that make them more susceptible to RF-EMF exposure:

  •  Developing Brains: Children’s brains are still developing, which makes them more sensitive to environmental influences such as EMFs

  •  Thinner Skulls: A child’s skull is thinner and absorbs more radiation compared to an adult’s

  •  Longer Lifetime Exposure: Exposure to wireless devices at a young age means a longer cumulative lifetime exposure to EMFs

2018 study compared the absorption of wireless radiation in the child versus adult brain and eye from both cell phone and virtual reality system use. The use of wireless devices is rapidly increasing around the globe, but since 1997, safety testing has relied solely on a large adult male head mannequin to simulate exposure. This “Standard Anthropomorphic Mannequin” is used to estimate whether or not tissue temperature increased by more than 1 degree Celsius during exposure to EMF. Since children’s brains are more susceptible to harmful effects from exposures and are thought to absorb higher doses of radiation, age-specific methods for compliance testing need to become the norm.

EMF Policies Regarding Children

The impact of radiofrequency EMFs on children has been debated for as long as mobile phones have been part of our everyday lives. For years, people have argued over whether or not children are especially vulnerable to EMF exposure.

Prior to the introduction of smartphones, questions about wireless safety have arisen since early studies suggested a connection between radio frequencies and harm to children. A study conducted in Korea between 1993-1999 followed approximately 2,000 children with leukemia and 1,000 children living with brain tumors. Findings showed that the risk of leukemia was over 2 times higher among children living within 2 kilometers of an AM radio transmitter than the group of children who lived at least 20 kilometers away.

Later, in 2000, the UK Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones released the “Stewart Report,” which states, “Children are exposed to electromagnetic waves over a longer lifetime than adults and their nervous systems are in the process of development. As the conductivity of the children is higher due to higher moisture and ionic content than adults, and more than adults, children’s head absorbs a lot of RF energy.” Therefore, the report suggested that children should not be encouraged to use mobile phones unless necessary, and that mobile phone companies shouldn’t promote their use to children. This report sparked international debate regarding children’s vulnerability to EMF exposure from wireless devices.

Child watching a laptop screen

Image Source: Pexels

International Policies on Children and EMF

Countries around the world have implemented the following policies to mitigate the risks of EMF exposure, which especially apply to children:

  • Bans on selling and advertising cell phones to young children

  • Prohibiting the construction of cell towers near schools

  • Public awareness programs to educate on minimizing exposure

  • Returning to wired connections instead of “Wi-Fi” in schools 

  • Cell phone radiation level labels 

  • Nationwide cell tower emission monitoring

France and Belgium have completely banned the sale of cell phones for children younger than seven. In Chile, cell phone towers cannot be installed near schools or hospitals. France, Israel, and Cyprus have banned “Wi-Fi” equipment from nursery schools, along with several other countries and multiple local government agencies.

Over 20 countries have issued public health advice recommending that parents minimize their children’s exposure to cell phone radiation. Some have banned any cell phone advertisements geared towards young children. Schools around the world are turning back to wired internet connections versus “Wi-Fi” to reduce children’s exposure to EMF. 

United States Regulations and Legislative Efforts

Because regulations for cell phone radiation have not been updated since 1996, the United States is behind in implementing safety measures to protect children from the potentially harmful effects of EMF. Because the standard testing model represents a 220-pound adult male, it cannot accurately determine the effect this radiation has on children. The current models also do not test phones in body-contact positions, but children commonly keep devices in contact with their bodies when in use.

In 2012, the “ Cell Phone Right to Know Act ” was proposed “to examine, label, and communicate adverse human biological effects associated with exposure to electromagnetic fields from cell phones and other wireless devices.” This aimed to initiate government research, better labeling, and new safety limits. However, this bill did not pass despite strong support from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Many concerned groups have pushed for government action, such as the Children’s Health Defense (CHD) who sued the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) over their lack of action in reviewing their 1996 guidelines. While the court ruled in favor of the CHD, no federal action has yet been taken. 

With no progress at the federal level for EMF protection, many parents are turning to solutions from Aires Tech to protect their families from the effects of EMF exposure. This patented, proven technology transforms EMFs into a form compatible with living organisms, which mitigates the negative effects. With devices like the Lifetune Zone that protects areas up to 93 feet in diameter to wearable devices such as the Lifetune Flex, parents can rest easily knowing their children are safe from the harmful impact of EMFs.

Boy on a tablet

Image Source: The Feral Farm

U.S. States Taking Action

Meanwhile, state-level initiatives are addressing the concerns many parents have about their children’s exposure to EMF. New Hampshire legislators  formed a commission in 2021  that researched the impact of EMF on public health and issued a report of their recommendations. Among these was the recommendation that schools and public libraries should move away from wireless connections and implement hardwired connections. The commission also stated any new wireless antennae should be set back from schools and residences.

The state of Maine has also taken steps to identify potential harm to children from EMF exposure with the bill, “Resolve to Study the Effects of 5G Technology on Bird, Bee and Insect Populations and the Effects of Long-term Exposure on Children.” This bill established an independent commission that will study the effects of 5G. Other states such as Vermont, Massachusetts, and Connecticut have also passed legislation addressing concerns about EMF exposure, and hopefully the rest of the country will soon follow.

Tips for Parents to Reduce EMF Exposure

The American Pediatric Association (APA) issued recommendations for parents to limit their children’s cell phone use and exposure to unnecessary radiation. Some ways to mitigate children’s exposure to EMF are:

  • Go “Hands-Free.” Remind children to distance devices from their brain and body

  • Pre-download videos for children to watch with “Wi-Fi” turned off

  • Use wired connections whenever possible

  • Educate children on safe technology use

  • Find screen-free alternatives for younger children 

  • Place EMF protection devices in areas where children frequently spend time

Protecting Our Most Vulnerable Population

The long-term effects of EMF exposure on children are still largely unknown, because we are in the middle of this constant wave of emerging technology. This uncertainty over the potential harm our children are facing must be met head-on with strict standards, especially in environments where children spend large amounts of their time. Adopting precautionary measures to reduce children’s exposure to EMF in their homes, schools, and daycares is crucial. With so much unknown about the long-term effects of EMF exposure, steps must be taken now to ensure healthy futures.

Related Posts