However, in recent years the sheer number of non-ionizing instruments in our environment has caused some scientists to wonder if the assumption that this type of radiation is truly safe at low levels as once thought. As cell phones, microwaves, satellites and radio have all become much more widespread, people claim to suffer everything from headaches to cancer as a result of their exposure to this "harmless" radiation.
Within the electromagnetic spectrum, radiation is either ionizing or non-ionizing. Ionizing radiation is harmful to humansbecause exposure causes cells and genetic matter to mutate or change form. This can lead to various types of cancer, affecting the thyroid, breast, bladder, colon, liver, lung, esophagus, ovaries and stomach. Scientists also suspect links to other forms of cancer, heart disease and stroke.
Non-ionizing radiation, while it has believed to be safe, is now proven to overheat cells, causing them damage as well. Scientists cannot pinpoint the level at which this type of radiation becomes unsafe, as testing on humans presents an ethical dilemma. However, in animal studies, exposure to cell phone radiation for as little as two minutes is proven to have a damaging effect on the brain and blood vessels.
It is quite a leap from speculation to fact to assume that because non-ionizing cell phone radiation causes cell damage in animals, it must cause cancer in humans. However, the trends now becoming apparent in cancer as a result of low-level radiation exposure suggest an alarming link between the two.
Governments around the globe have taken steps to regulate the amount of non-iodizing radiation that a cell phone or microwave can emit. But is it enough? Victims of so-called "low-level radiation sensitivity" or "electromagnetic sensitivity" claim to suffer from migraine headaches, nausea, stomach ailments, hearing and vision problems and more as a result of the barrage of electromagnetic pollution in our environment. Simply avoiding these emissions simply isn't possible as more and more cell phone towers and satellites pop up around the world.
The problem seems to be that without solid scientific proof that exposure to cell phone radiation causes cancer, governments are unwilling to take a stand proclaiming them a danger to humans. However, it is impossible to set a safe exposure level standard until scientists can prove that this low-level radiation isn't responsible for the symptoms the victims of electromagnetic sensitivity suffer.
Part of the problem is the latent period; that is, the time between exposure to radiation and cell mutation. A person exposed to low-level radiation may develop cancer twenty years later, but by that time it could be blamed on any number of factors including genetics, pollution or smoking tobacco.
Until scientific evidence either proves or disproves the link between non-ionizing radiation and cancer, it is up to each person as an individual to try to limit their exposure to these potentially harmful rays.