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Electromagnetic Fields and Health

Constantly developing technology influences modern life rapidly. Daily tasks are becoming easier and the time and energy are made to be used more economically with the products of new technology entering in the lives of the people.  News broadcasts are occasionally broadcasted in the press and the media on the negative effects, in other words, that these products that are becoming more difficult to be given up may be harmful for health. However, the issue is still among the research and debate issues of the scientists.

Considering the negative health effect possibility of the developing technology, it is necessary to take precautions in advance for the public health; however even though it is still uncertain, the negative broadcasts of some press and the media institutions affect people negatively. The World Health Organization defines human health as "a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity." As it can be seen in this definition, psychological situation is important in human health as well as the physical condition. Therefore, new researches, analysis and results that are seen important on the effects of the present and ready to use new technological devices will be broadcasted in the web page of the Information Technologies and Communication Board (BTHK), so that the public would be enabled to be informed deliberately instead of information, which are not approved by scientists and which, affect the human psychology negatively, with the aim of attaching first degree importance on the public health.

There are two types of electromagnetic radiations that are classified as their energies, in other words, according to their affect on the living beings, as the Ionizing and Non-Ionizing are given in the frequency spectrum that can be seen in the table below.

  1. Ionizing EM radiation is in the high frequency zone that has photon energy that is sufficient enough to create ionizing atomic bonds that keep molecules in the cells (ie, destroying the structure of the atom with effect on the unloaded neutron that keep the positive (proton) and negative (electron) loads together in atoms) and it has energy value beginning from minimum 12eV (electron volt). For example, Roentgen (X ray) may beam Gama and Cosmic rays. Being over exposed to these rays is dangerous for the effects such as the organelles in the cell of a living being are damaged and DNA chain is damaged.
  2. Non-Ionizing EM radiation is the Electromagnetic (EM) waves that are composed of photons that do not have the necessary energy to break these atomic bonds. These are visible light, infrared, ultraviolet, RF (Radio Frequency) waves, microwave and static and magnetic areas. In brief, it is approximately 1000 GHz part beginning of 1 Hz (Hertz= frequency unit – number of waves in a second) in the frequency spectrum. The value of the measured energy is for example 0,00125 eV in 300 GHz and it is very low in accordance with the level to make ionizing. However, as these areas cause thermal effect (increase of heat) in the body depending on the factors (distance, strength and time of expose, etc.), some experts claim that it may cause biological effects as well. Its cancer effect is not proved yet.


Two types of effects as thermal and non-thermal can be seen in the living beings that are being exposed to the Non-ionizing EM waves. Thermal effects are described as the EM energy that is absorbed by the body to turn into heat and increasing the body temperature. The increase of temperature continues until it is balanced by removal with blood circulation, sweat, etc. Non-thermal effects are still not known and researches are continuing on this issue. There are three opinion on the subject.

  1. The present limit value is high and Electromagnetic (EM) waves are harmful for human health.
  2. The effect of EM waves will appear in 15-20 years.
  3. EM waves are harmless as they do not have ionizing effect.

There is no doubt that the scientists are the addressee of these three opinions. However, as a country, what we need to do right now is to take precautionary measure for the possibility of such loss.

Many researches are being conducted on the subject throughout the world. ICNIRP (International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection) is the leading institution, which is taken as reference by the World and European countries for determining the limit values for exposal to EM areas. The limit values that are determined by this organization in the international arena are among the most commonly accepted values in many European countries and in many countries in the world. ICNIRP is a free research organization that is officially recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) and International Labour Organization (ILO). The studies that are included in the ICNIRP Guidelines are carried out by an interdisciplinary team that is composed of many engineers, biologists, physicists, epidemiologists and other related scientists by cooperating with universities and research organizations.

Information regarding Non-ionizing radiation released the public wrongly for many reasons. In fact, all devices that are operated with electricity beam this radiation in certain levels.  ICNIRP, which is supported by the World Health Organization, determined the standards on particularly wireless technology. The Information Technologies and Communication Authority (BTHK) that is the competent authority in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus takes ICNIRP, which is preferred by the EU countries and which is also the most preferred authority in the world, as reference. The value that is considered to affect the human health is determined as 2.000 Volt/Metre for non-ionizing radiation according to scientific studies. The limit value determined by ICNIRP for base stations is 41.2 Volt/Metre and it is accepted by BTHK in TRNC as well. Information Technologies and Communication Authority constantly examines the present limit values in accordance with the precautionary measure principle.

Scientific studies that are carried out throughout the world do not provide scientific proof that non-ionizing radiation's effect on human health and the environment, nonetheless, suggestions on usage habits are brought forward.

Even though it is found that both the devices that are being used in electronic communication infrastructures (Radio/TV transmitters, base stations, R/L, etc.) and the devices that are being used by consumers (cell phones, DECT, wireless phones, low power devices, etc.) do not have negative effects on living beings when they are used below the limits, which are accepted by the World Health Organization and ICNIRP, as a result of many researches and analysis that were carried out; it is suggested that the related operators and manufacturers throughout the world regarding these devices should follow the developing technologies closely and to be sensitive for taking any measures without avoiding any sacrifice in order to lower the parameters such as EM waves and SAR levels until the continuing researches in this area are completed.

Developing technologies have crucial role to make our country reach the information society level. We have no doubt that in the light of science; new technologies would be enabled to be used both in education and in all sectors in the highest level.