How Important is Electromagnetic Field Protection?

Henry Gaudet

When judging the importance of electromagnetic field protection, two factors must be considered. The first and is perhaps more obvious concern is whether the device effectively provides protection from electromagnetic fields. The second and more fundamental concern is whether electromagnetic fields pose a health risk. Based on these factors, electromagnetic field protection does not appear to provide an important benefit to the user.

Vacuum cleaners expose people to electromagnetic fields.
Vacuum cleaners expose people to electromagnetic fields.

Since the 1980s, various reports have suggested that electromagnetic fields might represent a health risk. Electromagnetic fields generated by high tension wires, cell phones, televisions and other electronic devices have been blamed for illnesses and health conditions ranging from fatigue and headaches to leukemia. Fears of these potential dangers has led many to seek out electromagnetic field protection.

Electromagnetic shielding is most often employed to protect something or someone against radio waves.
Electromagnetic shielding is most often employed to protect something or someone against radio waves.

Nearly every electrical device produces an electromagnetic field, and many people are concerned that advances in technology have put the public at risk. Certain technologies have been singled out as potential health risks, but people often face exposure to fields of similar strength without fear. Power lines, for example, are often cited in news reports as dangerous, but common household appliances such as vacuum cleaners and refrigerators expose the public to similar electromagnetic fields.

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Many people assume that exposure to electromagnetic fields is a relatively new phenomenon. People, however, have always been exposed to the Earth's electromagnetic field. This field is considerably stronger than anything generated by electrical devices but is otherwise identical and operates the same way, meaning that this field would produce the same results as any other.

A number of studies have been carried out to determine the dangers of electromagnetic fields, and the results are conflicting. Research has found a higher incidence of leukemia in children living near power lines. Those researchers have been quick to point out, however, that there is no plausible explanation that would explain how electromagnetic fields might cause leukemia, and they hypothesize that another environmental factor might be at fault.

Regardless of whether electromagnetic fields represent a health risk, many people are concerned and have sought out electromagnetic field protection. These electromagnetic field protection devices usually take the form of a magnet built into a piece of jewelry. According to vendors and advocates, the devices shield the wearer from the harmful effects of electromagnetic fields.

It remains unclear what, exactly, these devices are expected to do. These devices are magnetized and have electromagnetic fields of their own. Some people suggest this field counters other fields, but there is no mechanism that might allow this to happen. Faced with this understanding, many people continue to use electromagnetic field protection and believe the devices to be effective, but no actual physical benefit has been identified.

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