7 Facts Emerald Coasters Should Know About Electromagnetic Frequencies

The electromagnetic spectrum refers to all of the known electromagnetic fields (EMF) and their respective wavelengths.  The electromagnetic spectrum can be broken up into two categories: non-ionizing radiation, which includes things like FM radio, WiFi, microwave ovens, smart meters, cell phones, and even visible light, and ionizing radiation such as x-rays and gamma rays. 

One extremely small part of this spectrum is the visible light that we can sense with our eyes, with the vast majority falling outside of the limited perception of human sight.  Because the electromagnetic smog that most of us spend our entire lives in cannot be seen, smelled, or heard, for most people it is “out of sight, out of mind.”  

Screen Shot 2019-05-01 at 4.26.43 PM.png

But, in my opinion, this is a losing strategy because this EMF may have a profound influence on our health and wellbeing.  In this article, I hope to shed some light (no pun intended) on the brave new world we currently find ourselves in and how we can make smart choices to protect our families.

#1: Electromagnetic fields can be natural or man-made.

It would be a mistake to assume that all EMF is unnatural or harmful.  The Earth is electromagnetic in nature, with strong magnetic fields emanating from the planet, the Sun’s so-called “galactic radiation,” and even lightning contributing to the naturally occurring EMF on our planet.  Though the intensity of this EMF may vary over time and location, it is a constant part of our lives as humans.  This type of EMF is completely natural.

Modern life, however, has led to the exponential increase in non-native EMF (nnEMF), or man-made electromagnetic fields.  Examples include everything from wireless internet and cordless phones to kitchen appliances and fluorescent light bulbs; in fact, anything that runs on electricity will cause man-made EMF radiation.  The truth is, with cell phone towers scattering the landscape and a smartphone on most every body, humans in 2019 are bathing in a sea of man-made radiation that simply did not exist for their great-great-grandparents.   These frequencies that fill our air, sometimes referred to as electrosmog, are practically ubiquitous.  

#2: Current safety standards don’t address biological harm.

When it comes to the technology that we use every day - things like cell phones, laptops, and WiFi routers - many people assume that, because they are on the market, they must be safe.  The alarming truth is that there are no pre-market safety tests or standards on these devices for their non-thermal effects on human health. 

The current international safety standards on microwave radiation (which includes cell phones and other wireless technology) are based on thermal damage only.  Simply put, these safety limits are meant to prevent your tech from literally cooking you.  But research going back as far as the 1970s from NASA, the US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), and others have shown that EMFs can harm human health via non-thermal mechanisms.  This means that our current safety standards are based on outdated science and do not address a majority of the very real health effects that EMFs may cause.

#3: There are numerous health concerns associated with EMFs.

The level to which our bodies (which are electromagnetic in nature!) are exposed to nnEMF is unnatural and, in my opinion, downright harmful.  In 2011, the World Health Organization classified cell phones as a 2B carcinogen, meaning they are “possibly carcinogenic to humans.”  In a $25 million study on the health effects of cell phones, the National Toxicology Program found the technology used in 2G and 3G networks clearly caused cancer in lab animals.  However, the potential harmful effects of EMF exposure are not limited to cancer.

There are dozens of well-cited biological health effects from EMFs and microwave radiation, dozens more if you consider the anecdotal evidence.  Here are just a handful of health concerns which are supported by scientific and epidemiological research:

  • Microwave radiation is genotoxic, causing DNA strand breaks and affecting gene expression.  

  • Cardiac issues including arrhythmias and high blood pressure

  • Endocrine system disruption via altered hormone levels - these include thyroid hormone, serotonin, melatonin, cortisol, and more.

  • Fertility issues including damage to the sperm and ovaries, reduction in sperm count, and miscarriage.

  • Immunological effects including autoimmunity, changes to immune cells, and an increased incidence of allergies, asthma, and rashes.

  • Permeability of the blood brain barrier (BBB), which can have neurotoxic effects.

  • Impaired cognitive abilities including learning, memory, and concentration.

It is beyond the scope of this article to touch on all of the documented health effects of exposure to nnEMF; however, if you are interested in learning more, I recommend The Environmental Health Trust website, www.ehtrust.org, as well as the book, The Non-Tinfoil Guide to EMFs by Nicolas Pineault.  Both resources act as excellent primers on the subject and have well-cited science-based information about the health effects of EMFs.

#4: Children are the most at-risk population.

Just as they are more susceptible to all toxins, children are especially vulnerable to the risks of excessive EMF exposure.  This is because kids have smaller bodies, softer heads, and developing brains.  For example, research has shown that the brains, eyes, and bone marrow of kids absorb 3-10 times more radiation than adults.

Screen Shot 2019-05-01 at 4.26.59 PM.png

Today’s children were born into a world where technology is not only prevalent, it is essential.  But they will also be the first generation to suffer from the cumulative effects of lifetime exposure to electromagnetic pollution.  Because of this, I believe that it is imperative for parents of young children to set limits around technology and to make the home an electrically quiet escape.  For more information, please see the Healthy Home Challenge in this issue and visit http://www.parentsforsafetechnology.org/.   

#5: Most modern homes contain high levels of man-made electromagnetic fields.

Let’s consider the average NW Florida home.  Inside it you’ll likely find no fewer than five microwave-emitting devices including cell phones, tablets, laptops, DECT cordless home phones, WiFi routers, Bluetooth speakers, fitness trackers, and e-readers.  Several rooms will have smart TVs (more RF/microwave) which may be connected to gaming devices (high magnetic fields), wireless printers/speakers/cameras/etc. (more RF/microwave), or streaming entertainment sticks (even more RF/microwave).  The kitchen houses several small appliances that are constantly plugged in, thus generating electric fields even when not in use, as well as large appliances, such as a fridge and dishwasher, which emit high magnetic fields when running.  The bedroom, a place intended for rest and recovery, may contain an alarm clock plugged in just beside the bed (high magnetic fields), perhaps an adjustable bed (high electric and magnetic fields), and might be positioned with the head of the bed backed up to a clothes dryer or A/C condenser just on the other side of the wall (extremely high magnetic fields).  And this is just inside the home; don’t forget the cell phone antennas, high voltage power lines, and smart meters positioned right outside.

This scenario isn’t intended to scare you.  It’s meant to explain how the technology that fuels our modern life has become so ubiquitous that its potential ill-effects can easily go overlooked.

#6: Electromagnetic pollution will massively increase over the next several years.

According to Dr. Olle Johansson, our bodies are subjected to one quintillion (1,000,000,000,000,000,000) times more electromagnetic radiation than they were just one decade ago.  This statement is even more profound when you consider that one decade ago there were iPhones - we aren’t even comparing today’s electrosmog to the days of horse-drawn carts and kerosene lamps!  So with this incredible increase in EMF in our environment that has already occurred, what can we expect in the future?  Well, more of the same.

A conversation about coming technologies would be incomplete without a quick discussion on 5G, or 5th generation wireless, so let’s briefly discuss what it is and its implications.  Many people mistakenly believe that 5G technology is simply a higher power density of prior 3G and 4G networks.  However, the infrastructure that powers 5G wireless is completely different, employing a high frequency millimeter wave technology.  Their shorter wavelengths do not travel as far, so 5G antennas will have to be positioned more densely, with millions of new antennas required.  It should also be noted that 5G technology will not replace existing 3G or 4G infrastructure, but will be laid on top of it, exponentially increasing electromagnetic pollution.  

As of now, several large cities have at least partial 5G coverage including Chicago, Austin, Los Angeles, Nashville, and Orlando, with major telecom companies anticipating nationwide coverage by 2020.   The promise of 5G’s incredibly fast speeds which, in turn, would allow the mega-connected Internet of Things (IOT) and “smart city” capabilities to become a reality, may be blinding people to the legitimate concerns raised by citizens and scientists alike.


“The new 5G wireless technology involves millimeter waves (extremely high frequencies) producing photons of much greater energy than even 4G and WiFi. Allowing this technology to be used without proving its safety is reckless in the extreme, as the millimeter waves are known to have a profound effect on all parts of the human body.”

-Prof. Trevor Marshall, Director Autoimmunity Research Foundation, California

#7: Coming technologies raise many non-health-related red flags.

Lastly, it is important to note that the potential negative effects of an increasingly technological society are not limited to human health concerns.  The website www.whatis5g.info has a great list of 8 other ways that this rush to build the ever-connected “smart cities” could harm humans and the environment:

  • Privacy – The invasion of our privacy from the collection and mining of our digital data

  • Cyber Security – The fast-growing and devastating cyber security risks

  • Environment – The harms to wildlife, particularly bees, butterflies and other pollinators

  • Energy – The huge energy consumption to produce and power a wireless Internet of Things

  • Brains and Humanity – The effects on our brains and humanity from humans increasingly inhabiting the cyber world

  • E-Waste – The astronomical e-waste that will be generated from connecting virtually every “thing” to the Internet

  • Conflict Minerals – 5G and the IoT will vastly grow our dependence on conflict minerals, which have brought about the death of close to six million people

  • Ethics – Ethical issues arising from the IoT.  New human rights laws are being considered; how should humans relate to robots and AI?  The blurring of what was once a clear delineation between technology and humans


So what can we do?

I personally understand how large and scary this problem may seem and it is, of course, not my goal to frighten you into defeat or inaction.  Instead my goal is to bring more Emerald Coast residents to the understanding that EMF is a real issue, and that those risks should not be ignored by the promise of faster download speeds.  In my opinion, these are the three most important things that you can do if the information in this article interests you:

  1. Get educated on the topic.  For more information about EMF in general, I would again recommend the book The Non-Tinfoil Guide to EMFs by Nicolas Pineault.  It is a great starting point for learning more about this broad topic.  For more information about 5G technology specifically, I would highly recommend searching YouTube for videos from The Conscious Resistance Network as well as Dr. Jack Kruse.

  2. Share the information.  Once you’ve educated yourself about electropollution, share the information with friends, family, and neighbors.  The more people who are well-educated on this issue, the better chance we stand at demanding safe technology.

  3. Limit your exposure.  There are massive improvements that can be made in most people’s homes (see the Healthy Home Challenge for more details), and even some tips and tricks you can employ at the office or in your kid’s school.  Take the steps that you can to protect yourself from excessive exposure.

-----------------------------------------------------


May/June 2019 Healthy Home Challenge

Reducing Household EMF Exposure

The good news is that we can take certain precautions at home to protect ourselves from dangerous levels of EMF without reverting to a Flintstones-esque existence.  Here are my top 5 tips for cleaning up the electromagnetic noise inside your home:

  1. Limit the use of WiFi.

One of the most profound ways that you can decrease your exposure to nnEMF is to reduce your WiFi use.  The very best solution would be to use wired internet, which is both faster and more secure.  But if you are unable to do this, a great alternative would be to put your router on an automatic timer that turns it off overnight.  You can also put the router inside a router guard (I recommend the one from www.smartmeterguard.com) which is a Faraday cage that blocks 95% of RF/microwave emissions.  By combining the router guard with the auto timer, you will cut your family’s exposure significantly!

  1. Shop “smartly.”

When you are searching for a new electronic device, be a conscious consumer.  “Smart” devices, including TVs, alarm systems, cribs, and even wallets all broadcast RF/microwave radiation.  I recommend avoiding the use of this smart technology unless absolutely essential.

  1. Unplug electronics when not in use.

Electric fields are present whether or not current is flowing.  This means that electric fields are present any time that an item - say your toaster oven - is plugged in.  Devices that have WiFi, Bluetooth, or similar technology - something like a wireless printer - will continue to pulse microwave radiation bursts as they look for new connections.  The simple solution is to unplug all non-essential electrical devices when not in use.  

  1. Switch your bulbs back to incandescent.

Incandescent light bulbs are considered by experts to be the most biologically-compatible form of lighting, primarily because of the spectrum of light that it emits.  Fluorescent bulbs including CFLs (the curly kind) not only contain mercury vapor, they emit UV light and cause dirty electricity, which is like an electrical echo in your wiring.  Dirty electricity comes with its own set of health effects.  For these reasons, I recommend switching back to incandescent bulbs, which are usually found on the bottom shelf at most hardware stores.

  1. Flip your bedroom breakers at night.

One of the most effective ways to quiet the electromagnetic noise as you sleep is to cut the breaker to your bedroom at night.  People who do so often report falling asleep faster and sleeping more deeply.

      Bonus Tip: Test your home for less than $200!

You can purchase an electrosmog meter to test your home for electric fields, magnetic fields, as well as RF/microwave fields!  I recommend either the Trifield TF2 or Cornet ED-88Tplus, both of which can be purchased on Amazon for under $200.  

To learn more tips and tricks for reducing electromagnetic pollution in your home PLUS see some of my favorite low-EMF home devices - please visit www.wholesomehouses.com/onthecoast




5 Home Safety Hazards (And How to Avoid Them)

Less than one week into 2019 in a quiet neighborhood in Tampa, a couple pulled their Mercedes SUV into the garage of their townhome and went upstairs.  Unfortunately, the keyless ignition was left on and the vehicle’s engine ran all night long.  This simple mistake cost the husband, Thomas Martino, his life.  When paramedics arrived the following morning, he was pronounced dead on arrival and his wife was rushed to the hospital in critical condition.  The cause was accidental carbon monoxide poisoning.

Over the coming year, we are going to discuss some best practices to make your home a sanctuary of health and happiness.  We will explore the basics of a healthy home - like air and water quality - and even get into some deeper topics such as building physics and electromagnetic pollution. Before we get there, we’ve got to start with something very foundational: safety and maintenance.  

Oh, not the glamorous topic you were hoping for?  Sorry, but here’s the harsh truth:  Your home can have all of the sustainably-harvested hardwood floors and flame retardant-free furniture you’d like, but if your smoke detectors are out of batteries or your water filter hasn’t been changed in four years, it doesn’t really matter.

Screen Shot 2019-05-01 at 4.46.28 PM.png


So I promise to try to make this admittedly less-than-exciting topic as interesting as I can, but I’m begging you not to overlook this article because, “Yeah, yeah, yeah...of course safety is important.”  You simply cannot have a health-focused home without regularly addressing safety and maintenance issues.  

Top 5 Household Hazards

There are hundreds of potential safety risks that exist in a home, so discussing them all would be a difficult task (not to mention a boring read)!  So we will focus on avoiding the five leading causes of unintentional death in the home (according to the Home Safety Council):  falls, poisonings, fires/burns, choking/suffocation, and drowning/submersions.   

#1 FALLS

  • Outside walkways should be well-lit and free of toys and other items; add a glow-in-the-dark anti-slip tape to steps for extra protection

  • Keep floors free of tripping hazards including toys, cords, and shoes

  • Install non-slip adhesives to bathtub and shower flooring; add support rails if needed

  • Staircases should be well-lit, with securely attached railing and flooring, and be free of toys and other items; additionally, if young children are in the home, safety gates should be installed at the top and bottom of the staircase

  • Use appropriate stools and stepladders when needed; never use a chair to reach high items

  • Use window guards on low-level windows to prevent children from falling

  • Avoiding shoes in the home is a great way to reduce exposure to toxins, bacteria, and other uninvited guests, but socks can present a major slipping hazard; bare feet, socks with grips, and house shoes are recommended instead

  • Trampolines should have a proper enclosure and should be checked for tearing and deterioration seasonally

#2 POISONINGS

  • Save the number for Poison Control (1-800-222-1222) in your cell phone and display it prominently near home phones

  • Install a carbon monoxide detector on each floor of your home and test it regularly

  • Fluorescent and CFL light bulbs (the curly kind) contain mercury; if one breaks in your home, the room should be evacuated immediately and a window or door opened to ventilate the space 

  • As much as possible, reduce the number of commercial cleaning products, yard care products, and beauty products you bring into your home, or at least replace them with non-toxic alternatives

  • Always properly close medication bottles and store out of reach of young children, preferably in a locked medicine cabinet

  • Store household chemicals and cleaners on a high shelf, preferably in a garage or outside of common areas; purchase products in child-proof containers

  • Do not store household products in the kitchen or near food items

  • When using cleaning products, use gloves to protect your skin and open a window to improve ventilation

  • Do not mix cleaning products together, as they can cause noxious fumes (never mix ammonia and bleach products)

  • If your house was built before 1978, you may have lead-based paint on your walls - any chipping, peeling, or other damage should be addressed by a lead-safe certified contractor

  • Keep button batteries (watch batteries) out of reach of children, and consider avoiding toys and devices that use them

Screen Shot 2019-05-01 at 4.46.50 PM.png


#3 FIRES AND BURNS

  • Install photoelectric smoke detectors on each floor of your home and near each bedroom; test units monthly and change batteries each year

  • Have an ABC-rated fire extinguisher in your kitchen and ideally on each floor of your home

  • Store matches, lighters, and candles out of reach of children

  • Avoid smoking in the home, especially in the bedroom (smoking in bed is the #1 cause of home fire deaths)

  • Unplug appliances when not in use and replace items with frayed or damaged cords

  • Install ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) in kitchens and bathrooms

  • Do not overload outlets, extension cords, or power strips

  • Keep space heaters and radiators at least 3 feet from furniture, curtains, and other flammable items

  • Clean your dryer’s lint trap (ideally outdoors - dryer lint contains chemicals you don’t want in your indoor air) after each use and clean the dryer exhaust seasonally

  • Have your chimney professionally cleaned annually

  • Keep in mind that, in addition to other health and safety concerns, there is evidence that smart utility meters may pose a fire risk 

  • Use the back stove burners when possible or turn pot and pan handles toward the back of the stove so that children cannot grab them

  • Set water heater temperature at 120°F and always check the water temperature before bathing children

Screen Shot 2019-05-01 at 4.47.16 PM.png

#4 CHOKING AND SUFFOCATIONS

  • Avoid toys that are smaller than 2” long x 1” wide for children under 3 years old; regularly inspect toys for loose parts

  • Regularly get down on your hands and knees to inspect the floor for small items that may have fallen

  • Keep all plastic bags, including shopping bags and dry-cleaning bags, out of reach of children

  • Avoid window blinds that have looped cords or install a cord guard

  • Be sure that crib mattresses fit snugly within the crib and that bedding fits snugly around the mattress

  • Put child-resistant locks on all air-tight appliances including the washing machine

#5 DROWNING AND SUBMERSIONS

  • Do not leave children alone near water including buckets, bathtubs, pools, or the ocean; be especially mindful to keep the bathroom door closed if you fill your bathtub prior to storms

  • Install and maintain child-proof fencing around pools and hot tubs; fences should be four-sided and at least 5 feet high with a self-closing and self-locking gate 

  • Have all non-swimmers and weak swimmers wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket; arm “floaties” and foam noodles are toys, not acceptable safety devices

  • Designate one person to provide close and constant monitoring for children (many drownings happen at family gatherings when adults think someone else is watching the kids) 

  • Have a rescue pole with life hook and life preserver in the pool area

  • Take a CPR-training course and remain familiar with these life-saving skills

  • Remove toys from the pool when you get out to prevent kids from trying to retrieve them

  • Avoid the use of prescription drugs or alcohol when in a pool or hot t

Screen Shot 2019-05-01 at 4.47.29 PM.png

Home safety and maintenance is an essential part of creating a healthy home.  Nothing is more important than keeping your family safe. Again, this is not an exhaustive safety list, but is a great start toward having a safer and healthier home.  Start with some of the items on this list, and then expand into other areas of concern.  

Remember not to let perfect be the enemy of better; any positive change is a step in the right direction.  

---

Run A Fire Drill

March 2019 Healthy Home Challenge

Drill.  Even the word sounds exhausting.  But as the Greek poet Archilochus said, “We don't rise to the level of our expectations; we fall to the level of our training.”  

So while we may think that everything will come together in the event of an emergency, it would be a terrible time to find out that you are wrong.  It was a fire drill spurred by the writing of this article that made me realize that even though we own a fire escape ladder, I had no clue how to use it.  Maybe I figured I’d have time to read the instruction manual by the light of a blazing inferno behind me?  Not smart.

If you have kids, this is even more critical.  Parents, I know you can think of more than a few examples of times that telling did nothing, but showing did everything.  We need to show our children how we expect them to handle an emergency, and work out the kinks in our plan while the stakes are low.   

Here are some tips for running a fire dril

  • Discuss how your family would react in several different scenarios.  These may include what to do if your clothing caught fire, the door handle felt hot, or the pet were on the other side of the house.  

  • Practice each aspect of the plan.  Have family members actually leave the house and gather at the designated meeting area.  This is the best way to identify challenges and improve outcomes in an actual emergency.

  • Catch them off guard.  What if a heavy sleeper snoozes through the smoke detector alarm or your kids panic and freeze?  Running an unexpected practice drill - with a real alarm - is a good idea.

---

Overlooked Maintenance Tasks

April 2019 Healthy Home Challenge

With spring cleaning just around the corner, home cleaning and maintenance tasks are already top of mind.  Here are a few of the most commonly overlooked home maintenance tasks that are important in creating a healthy home.  This month, your challenge is to take your deep cleaning even deeper with these maintenance jobs:

  • Cleaning and sanitizing washing machine.  Yes, you should clean the cleaner!  Many new models have self-cleaning cycles but for those that don’t, running an empty load with 2-3 cups of vinegar can work great at descaling and disinfecting your machine. 

  • Cleaning refrigerator drip pan.  A refrigerator drip what?  See your owner’s manual to find the precise location, but this pan catches the condensation - and often food particles - from your fridge.  Once discovered, it’s often a bona fide science experiment.  Clean it thoroughly, then add kosher salt to prevent future microbial growth.  

  • Flushing your water heater.  Your water heater can collect mineral deposits and other sediment that contaminates the system and the hot water that comes out of your faucets.  Flushing the system regularly will make your water heater last longer and run more efficiently.

  • Cleaning gutters.  Out of sight, out of mind, right?  They are hard to access and no fun to clean, but clogged gutters can lead to water damage and mold and can also provide a prime nesting ground for pests to end up in your home.  

  • Having AC unit serviced regularly. Annual HVAC cleaning will save on your power bills and extend the life of your system, but more importantly, it will keep the air you breath clean by reducing microbial build-up and contamination.