EMF & Your Health

Electro-Magnetic fields (EMFs) and radiofrequency EMFs (RFs) have become a topic of health-related conversation as of late.  Some people suffer from exposure to EMFs with headaches and insomnia.  More severe symptoms include cardiac arrhythmias, neurological disorders, and cancers.   Dr David Carpenter, Dean at the School of Public Health, State University of New York believes that 30% of childhood cancers are the result of exposure to EMFs.

EMF.jpg

EMFs are unavoidable.  They occur naturally within in our bodies as well as in the earth and the atmosphere.   They are produced by the electric appliances in our homes, computers, electric clocks, Wi-Fi, cordless phones, electric blankets, and hair dryers.  Really anything that carries or uses electricity can be a source of EMF’s, even the wiring in our houses.

In the last few years, with increased use of wireless devices, there has been a huge increase in radiofrequency EMF’s in the environment, as well as increased hypersensitivity and diseases related to EMFs and RFs.  Studies correlate exposure to neurological disease, reproductive problems, immune issues, and hypersensitivity to EMFs.

Children are at greater risk from EMFs and RF’s, because their brains are still developing, smaller, and their skulls are thinner.  The risk to children is understood all around the world; in Switzerland all schools must be wired.  The World Health Organization recommends limiting a child’s use of cell phones.

With all of these correlations between EM’s and health problems, it makes sense to be prudent and avoid as much exposure as possible.  You can measure the level of EMFs and RFs at home, work, and school with a Gauss meter, but here are some general guidelines you can follow:

  • Don’t let children play around power lines and transformers.
  • Don’t sleep with an electric blanket.
  • Don’t sit too close to the TV.  Appliances, like televisions, still emit EMF’s even when “turned off”.
  • Consider using a “low EMF” hair dryer.
  • Even a quartz watch emits EMFs, so a “wind up” or “mechanical” watch could be an alternative.
  • Consult a licensed electrician if your house wiring is faulty and producing EMFs.

 

Computers

Computers radiate EMFs and RFs from all sides, which means that a person does not have to be sitting in front of the computer.  Today many people have laptops or tablets which they put on their lap to use.  EMFs have been associated with infertility.  Better to put them on a table.

Wired computer networks, rather than wireless (Wi-Fi), cut down on a lot of the danger.   All appliances radiate EMFs, so putting them against an outside wall rather than an interior wall would be better.  Keep in mind that walls are not a barrier—they do not block EMFs.

Cell Phones and Wireless Headsets

Cell phones are a huge problem.  The cell phone itself contains a small, but powerful, radio to connect to the cell tower.  Cell phones are designed to vary the transmission power of the radio depending on the signal strength (number of bars).  When a cell phone is in a weak signal area, the transmission power of the cell phone radio is raised, increasing the amount of RF emitted.  Typical use of a cell phone, up to your ear and next to your head, places a powerful radio right next to your brain.

The use of wireless headsets is no better, since they also use a form of RF to communicate with the telephone.  Bluetooth, for example, uses microwaves to communicate with the telephone.  Consider the wisdom of putting microwave radiation right next to your brain.  It is much better to use a wired headset, ear bud, or the speaker on the phone to reduce the amount of RF exposure.

Smart meters are also source of EMFs.  There are currently campaigns in a few states seeking to limit or prohibit their use.

Below is a chart showing the differences between lower-frequency Power EMFs and higher-frequency radio frequency (RF) EMFs.

Being aware of the sources around us, means that we can reduce our exposure in some ways and thus reduce our risk of developing a health issue.

 

Power-frequency EMFs Radiofrequency EMFs
The frequency is 50 hertz (60 hertz in the USA) and harmonics The frequency is hundreds of kilohertz upwards, all the way up to tens of gigahertz – millions or tens of millions times higher than power frequencies
They are produced by mains electricitypower lines, substations, electricity in the home, appliances They are produced by many different technologies – broadcast TV and radio, cell phones and other radio communication, Wi-Fi, Wi-Max, Tetra, etc.
There haven’t been many major changes in the technologies producing them for many decades The technologies are changing all the time
The electric and magnetic fields are separate phenomena
They can induce currents in the body but do not cause heating They can cause heating in the body
They tend to be relatively straightforward waveforms (a sine wave with only a few harmonics) The modulations used to transmit signals mean the waveforms are highly complex

 

There are some similarities as well though:

  • neither causes ionization in body tissues
  • both are the subject of exposure limits
  • both have been classified by IARC as “possibly carcinogenic”, though based on completely different bodies of evidence
  • both are now inextricably linked with modern societies and lifestyles

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