Electric and Magnetic Fields and Health

At a Glance

For more information

You can visit the Électrium, an EMF interpretation centre in Sainte-Julie, on Montréal's South Shore.

An electromagnetic environment

All around the world, people are constantly exposed to countless sources of electromagnetic waves, including cellular telephones, radios, televisions, antennas, satellites, and so on. These waves are everywhere and have become an integral part of our daily environment. But our environment is also full of electromagnetic radiation from natural sources such as sunlight (light from the Sun carries infrared and ultraviolet radiation) and ionizing radiation from the Earth and space. No one can avoid it!

Using electricity

Using electricity adds electric and magnetic fields (EMFs) to this invisible world. Any electric current that flows through a device or a wire–from high-voltage lines to your computer's power cord–generates fields to which we are exposed to varying degrees. However, these fields do not travel like radio waves. In fact, they lose strength rapidly as distance increases.

Click on the video links below to learn more about electric and magnetic fields:

Electric fields

Running time: 4 min. 03 sec.

Magnetic fields

Running time: 5 min. 00 sec.

In daily life

Running time: 4 min. 08 sec.

Human health

Running time: 5 min. 48 sec.

Pacemakers

Running time: 5 min. 46 sec.

Radio waves

Running time: 3 min. 31 sec.

Direct current lines

Running time: 3 min. 57 sec.

Biking under power lines

Running time: 2 min. 33 sec.

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