Readers ask me all the time about the health risks from wi-fi, cell phones, and electrical devices. Being a lover of technology and convenience, I've mostly plugged my ears and hummed a happy tune.
Slowly though, I started to look around and realized that I am surrounded by electro-magnetic fields (EMFs). I began to wonder – are all of our tech gadgets really doing harm? And if so, how can I reduce EMF exposure without going back to the days of Little House on the Prairie?
How EMFs impact the human body
Gittleman, author of Zapped, a comprehensive guide to EMFs, explains that us humans are basically energy sources with natural electrical forces running through our bodies all the time.
If you have ever had acupuncture, this is just like the Chinese Medicine concept of Qi (pronounced ‘chee'), which loosely translates to “life force.”
EMFs are emitted from every device that plugs into an electrical outlet as well as from airplanes and power lines or transformers. Your laptop, iPod, cell phone or other small handheld electronic devices all emit EMFs when they’re in use, and these frequencies interfere with the flow of energy (Qi flow) in our bodies. Over time, disruption of Qi can create imbalance and disease.
“Dirty electricity” refers to electro-magnetic fields contaminated by high frequency distortions.
Examples are fluorescent lights, wi-fi, computers, battery chargers, smart meters, and plasma tvs, just to name a few. These devices and their dirty electricity have been linked to four of the biggest inflammation diseases: cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular and neurological disorders.
Short and long-term health risks from EMFs
According to a study done by the Anatomisches Institute in Germany, high-frequency EMFs had “no notable short-term effect on pineal melatonin synthesis in male and female Sprague-Dawley rats and Djungarian hamsters.” They determined their findings were true for all mammals as well. (source)
Long-term issues, however, are a different story. The World Health Organization (WHO) put out a press release in May, 2011 that states that radiation from cell phones can be a carcinogen to humans and, with excessive use, could be linked to brain tumors.
Excessive EMF absorption has also been linked to headaches, nausea, dizziness, chronic fatigue, muscle weakness, respiratory and cardiovascular distress, behavioral problems, lack of focus, certain cancers, infertility and much more. (source)
Every biochemical process involves precisely choreographed movement of EMF-sensitive atoms, molecules, and ions. Iron in blood is affected by EMF as well as the proper function of nerves, blood vessels, skin, and other organs – even the DNA of chromosomes. (source)
8 easy ways to reduce EMF exposure without moving off the grid
Whether or not our technology will be the death of us still stands to reason. There's certainly enough evidence, however, that it's worth considering ways to reduce EMF exposure. Some of the following may be more doable for you than others. For more tips, I highly recommend that you read Zapped which has an additional 1,260 ways to “outsmart the hazards of electronic pollution.”
#1 – Get rid of wi-fi and go back to corded networks
Anything digital or wireless is going to emit a higher level of EMF than a plugged in device.
Wi-fi emits dirty electricity, which is greatly reduced when home computer networks are plugged in with permanent cords. Gittleman recommends that if you need to keep wi-fi, just make sure it’s “at least three rooms away from where you spend most of your time, and especially your bedroom.” (source)
Being the tech-loving geeks that we are in my household, we have wi-fi out the wazoo and don't plan to ditch it any time soon. Our compromise: every night we shut down the wi-fi router so the machines can stop sending EMFs while we sleep.
#2 – Use your smart phone wisely
It's pretty clear that holding a cell phone next to your ear is not a smart move. Instead use speaker phone or a hands-free kit with a wireless air tube like this one.
Texting (not while driving, of course) is also safer since the phone is further away from your brain as well. As much as possible, keep your phone in ‘airplane' mode to turn off all signals to and from the device when not in use.
#3 – Purge electronics from your bedroom
Hopefully you're spending a good 7-8 hours each night tucked away in bed. To maximize the restorative benefits of your sleep and eliminate damage from EMFs, remove as many electronic devices from your bedroom as possible. This includes using battery operated alarm clocks, moving the bed away from ‘charged' walls, and possibly even shutting off the electricity to your room at night time.
#4 – Get rid of cordless phones and digital baby monitors
Many folks I know don't even have a home phone, but if you do, know that cordless phones emit EMFs even when not in use. This is another device that should be kept out of the bedroom. (source)
Due to some weird wiring in our house, our only phone jack happens to be right near my 3 year old's bed. Not good. I don't know about you, but I just love the idea of an old fashion twirly-cord phone, and I think we will be switching to one asap.
Since a baby monitor is right next to your loved one’s head, it would be smart to replace digital monitors with older corded versions. If this not possible, be sure to keep the monitor (as well as any other electronic device) at least 6 feet away from your baby.
#5 – Replace old box style televisions with flat screen LCD versions
If you've been holding out from getting a flat screen tv, I've got the ultimate excuse for you: newer style LCD televisions have much lower emitting frequencies than the old-school tubes. An LCD screen emits 2mG radiation from a 6 inch distance, but an old CRT television has 4-5mG radiation when tested from 2 feet away. (source)
#6 – Move furniture away from EMF “hot spots”
Walls won’t protect from dirty electricity frequencies. If your furniture is all pushed up against the walls you may want to consider what wiring and appliances are in and behind those walls. Pulling furniture away from the places these lines run will help to reduce exposure. This is especially important for your bed. (source)
#7 – Use EMF filters
According to electrical engineer and building biologist Larry Gust, EMF filters can reduce symptoms from dirty electricity such as “chronic fatigue, depression, headaches, body aches and pains, ringing in the ears, dizziness, diabetes, impaired sleep, memory loss, and confusion.”
The filter/monitor combo recommended in Zapped is this one, which is a bit on the pricey side. I've been eyeing this home protection system, which seems to get good reviews. If you have one that you like, please share with us in the comments!
#8 – Use ‘earthing' techniques
I've written about earthing before in this post: Earthing – Are You Connected?
While you can buy fancy earthing sheets which many of my friends swear by, the basic concept of earthing is making direct contact with the ground.
We're talking bare feet directly onto dirt every day.
The free radicals created by dirty electricity and other toxins are then neutralized by the earth's free electrons and inflammation is halted.
Wanna protect yourself from dirty electricity?
Get off your computer, hang up your phone, and go for a barefoot walk outside.
Just be sure to steer clear of the power lines and those suspicious looking symmetrical trees that are cell phone towers in disguise.
What are you doing to reduce EMF exposure?