Exactly What Free Radicals Are And How They Can Affect The Skin

Australians love their smartphones: 88 per cent of us own at least one, and a whole generation has never known life without them.

But with pervasive smartphone use and associated radio waves they need to work, are there any health effects?

One of the first scientists to pose this question was Australian physiologist Ross Adey in the 1970s.

While mobile phones were yet to gain the ubiquity they have today, Professor Adey was concerned by the frequencies emitted by household appliances and electric power lines.

In experiments conducted in the US, he found rabbit brain tissue was sensitive to very weak electromagnetic radiation.

Professor Adey was, unsurprisingly, a controversial figure until his death in 2004, and few of his experiments have been replicated.

But in the decades since that initial research, loads of time and money have been spent looking into how electromagnetic radiation might affect our health, from sleep patterns to cancer.

Let's start with the basics.

What is electromagnetic radiation?

We are surrounded by all sorts of different types of electromagnetic radiation every day: your eyes pick up visible light, your bag is scanned by X-rays at airport security, microwaves heat your lunch and too much ultraviolet light gives you sunburn.

At its essence, electromagnetic radiation is energy comprising an electric field and magnetic field, which travel together, but perpendicularly, in waves.

Sometimes the length of these waves (or wavelength) is very short — a few nanometres for X-rays — while others are much longer — a few centimetres up to kilometres.

Exactly What Free Radicals Are And How They Can Affect The Skin

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Exactly What Free Radicals Are And How They Can Affect The Skin

Exactly What Free Radicals Are And How They Can Affect The Skin

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Exactly What Free Radicals Are And How They Can Affect The Skin

Exactly What Free Radicals Are And How They Can Affect The Skin

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Exactly What Free Radicals Are And How They Can Affect The Skin

Exactly What Free Radicals Are And How They Can Affect The Skin

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Exactly What Free Radicals Are And How They Can Affect The Skin