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.”
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.
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:
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.
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.
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:
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!
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.
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.
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.
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