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The Top Seven Ways to Reduce Your Electromagnetic Field (EMF) Radiation Exposure Without Killing Your Apple Watch

Written by Dr. Ben Reebs on December 25, 2022

How Can We Protect Ourselves from EMF Exposure?

If they are not already doing it, at least in some small way, many of my patients are wondering how they can protect themselves and their families from electromagnetic field (EMF) radiation exposure in simple, practical ways without having to spend a bunch of time or money. 

When I think of sensitivity to EMFs or electromagnetic frequencies, I think of the recluse attorney, Chuck, from Better Call Saul, who wrapped himself in a tin-foil “space blanket” to ward off EMF exposure. 

Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity Syndrome (EHS)

Though it is a rare condition to be on the level of Chuck and have what is known as Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity (EHS), it does indeed exist, that is, it is a real medical condition, and though Chuck may be a beloved fictional character, his kind are not alone in this world, or maybe a better way to put it, is that they feel very alone. (1)

This article will discuss what I think are the top seven ways that one can immediately reduce their exposure, even if they are unsure to what degree EMFs are harmful. But before we discuss the evidence or lack thereof regarding whether EMF exposure really matters or can make an impact on our health, let’s first discuss what EMFs are exactly.

However, before we do this, a good primer on EMFs that I highly recommend is called The Non-Tinfoil Guide to EMFs: How to Fix Our Stupid Use of Technology by Nick Pineault. (2)

So What Are Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs) Exactly?

EMFs, also known as electromagnetic fields, are basically charged particles in motion, which create magnetic fields. These charged particles accelerate and create electric fields, which, when in motion, also produce magnetic fields. Our organs and cells have their own fields, because they contain charged particles in motion. (3)

The EMF Epidemic and A Smart Phone for Every 6 Year Old

Did you know that the average age a child gets their first smart phone is 6 years old, according to a 2021 survey? (4)Hard to believe, right? Or not so much? Even though it makes sense, in this day and age, it still blows my mind.

The point is that our children are exposed at younger and younger ages to cumulatively higher amounts of EMF radiation and we have enough studies showing that this is not necessarily a good thing. (5) Fortunately, there are a few key ways that we can control our EMF exposure in our homes without too much trouble.

The Precautionary Principle

One principle that can be employed by consumers who resist using new products until their potential unknown effects on our health are better understood, is called The Precautionary Principle. (6)

I believe that it is highly indicated that we employ said principle, especially when it comes to our health.

The Telecommunications Act (TCA)

Since 1996, telecom companies in the US have been protected by the Telecommunication Act (TCA), as the industry spent $50 million in their lobbying efforts to obtain this protection, which has helped to ensure that these telecom companies are immune to the health threats of electromagnetic fields (EMFs). (7)

Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) Rating

Telecom companies must stay compliant with FCC guidelines which require that consumers are exposed to what is called a safe amount of radio frequency (RF) radiation or SAR. (8)

However, when you hold a cell phone next to your head the SAR exposure for that phone is 4 times its SAR rating. SAR technically stands for specific absorption rate. (9)

Unfortunately most companies do not offer much actual research to back up any claims they might make about providing safe devices or EMF mitigation.

What Are Some of the Most Common Symptoms of EMF Exposure?

  • Headache
  • Tremor
  • Dizziness
  • Memory loss
  • Loss of concentration
  • Sleep disturbance (10)

The Top Seven Ways to Reduce Your Electromagnetic Field (EMF) Radiation Exposure 

  1. Turn Your WiFi Off at Night. Approximately a third of our lives is spent sleeping, and the #1 source of EMF exposure (and non-ionizing radiation) in the home is the WiFi router. WiFi uses radio frequency (RF) to communicate with your devices, exposing your household to EMF radiation.We can entirely cut this at least a third of this exposure out of our lives by simply turning our WiFi off at night. Also, it is recommended to keep your WiFi router as far away from where you spend the most time in your house as possible. Though wireless routers emit EMF radiation in the low-gigahertz frequency, it is still at levels considered potentially dangerous, especially the closer we are to the WiFi router for long periods of time. (20)
  2. Put Your Cell Phone into Airplane Mode at Night. Your cell phone connects itself to a WiFi router, BlueTooth accessory, or a cellular network or tower by sending out radio frequency (RF) signals, which are disabled when your phone is in airplane mode. This completely ends any EMF radiation exposure that your phone may be emitting. Cell phone radiation is extremely low frequency (ELF) radiation and radio frequency (RF) radiation. If you like to have your phone next to your bed at night, the first step is to put it in airplane mode and the second step is to not charge it next to your bed, unless it is at least 4 feet away. (21)
  3. Do Not Use a Baby Monitor for Your Child. Baby monitors emit EMF radiation while maintaining a connection between the camera and monitor by way of radio frequency (RF). Particularly the WiFi-enabled monitor emit large amount of EMFs, which can disrupt your baby's REM sleep. One way to reduce EMF exposure while using a baby monitor, is to use voice activation, so that the monitor only turns on when there is a sound. There are also now low-EMF monitors on the market, such as some analog baby monitors. (22)
  4. Do Not Place Your Cell Phone to Your Ears But Rather Use Headphones. As mentioned earlier, when you hold a cell phone next to your head the SAR exposure for that phone is 4 times its SAR rating. SAR technically stands for specific absorption rate. Also, phone cases can increase SAR radiation by 20% to 70%. For these reasons, it is safest to hold your phone away from your head when using it, and to use a headset when talking on the phone. (23)
  5. Install Dirty Electricity (DE) Filters in Your House and/or Your Office. We are surrounded by dirty electricity (DE), such as the EMFs emitted by CFLs, electronic chargers, smart TVs, and the wiring from wall-sockets or mains. I use a meter in my home and office building and DE filters, such as the ones available by GreenWave, and I notice a significant difference in how my personal space feels. Not to mention it is quite eye-opening to see the measured dirty electricity in rooms fall from upwards of 150 mV to below 25 mV after installing filters. (24)
  6. Do Not Place Your Laptop on Your Lap for Long Periods of Time. Easier said than done, right? There are shields available. Obviously EMFs from a laptop can impact fertility, if our vital organs are directly exposed for too long. (25)
  7. Put Wireless Wearables into Airplane Mode. This goes for your Apple Watch and your Oura Ring. No, you don't have to kill them, but you also don't have to buy them in the first place either.

A couple of great nutrients that appear to have promise for protecting us from EMFs include magnesium and glutathione, but the evidence-based research is limited. (26)

Some Basic Facts about Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs)

Rather than write several boring paragraphs about facts, I decided that I would arrange the basic facts in a series of short questions below. And after you read them, you will know a great deal more about EMFs than you probably thought that you could in about 5 minutes. (11, 12, 13)

What is the EMF Spectrum of a Standard Electrical Outlet? 60 Hertz

Are The Waves of a Standard Electrical Outlet Long or Short? Long

Are The Frequencies of a Standard Electrical Outlet Long or Short? Short

Can Some Animals See Infrared, UV, and Other EMFs? Yes

What are the 4 Types of EMFs that are Linked with Adverse Health Effects? Radio frequencies (RFs), magnetic fields (MFs), electric fields (EFs), and dirty electricity (DE).

What Type of Specialist Helps to Mitigate EMFs in the Home? A certified building biologist.

What are Some Classic Examples of Devices Which Emit Radio Frequencies (RFs)? Cordless phones, smart meters, smart phones, WiFi, microwave ovens, 5G, Bluetooth devices

When Discussing Radio Frequencies (RFs), What is the Range of Hertz that We Are Discussing? 900 MHz to 71 GHz

What Are Some Common Sources of Magnetic Fields (MFs)? Electronic chargers, high voltage power lines, electric panels, faulty wiring, electric current on water or gas pipes.

What Does Any Amount of Electricity Running a Wire or Metallic Object Create? A magnetic field (MF).

What Type of Field Runs Perpendicular to the Magnetic Field, Contained Together In The Same Field? An electric field (EF).

What Type of EMFs Do Transformers Irradiate? Magnetic Fields (MFs) that irradiate up to several feet around transformers. 

What Do Transformers Do? Transformers transform the alternating current (AC) coming out of a standard 120/240v wall outlet into direct current (DC) that runs through electronic devices.

What Is The Typical Range of Magnetic Fields (MFs) in the Home Running Through Appliances or Electronic Devices? 50 to 60 Hz.

What Are Some Classic Sources of Electric Fields (EFs)? Household wiring, power strips, ungrounded electronics, cords/chargers, lamps/lighting.

What Does the Flow of Current Create? A magnetic field (MF) around itself.

If the Flow of Water in a Water Hose Correlates with the Flow of Current, Which Creates a Magnetic Field (MF), then What Does the Water Pressure in a Water Hose Correlate with? Voltage.

What Does Voltage Create? An electric field (EF).

What Type of Field is Our Body Constantly Absorbing as a Low Level Shock? Electric fields (EFs).

If a Lamp is Plugged In But Not Turned On, Does the Electricity Inside the Cord of the Lamp Constantly Emit An Electric Field (EF)? Yes.

What Are Some Common Sources of Dirty Electricity (DE)? Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLS), electronic chargers, solar panel inverters, dimmer switches, smart TVs.

In the World, in General, What Frequency Does Continents Generally Use? 60 Hz for North America, 50 Hz for Europe, most of Africa/Asia/South America/Australia

What Common Device Messes Around with the ON and OFF Switch of Your Light Bulb 120 times per second? A dimmer switch.

Do Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs) Create Dirty Electricity? Yes.

How Does a Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) Save Energy, Making It Energy Efficient? By going ON and OFF at least 20,000 times per second.

Do Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs) Stay Within the Standard 50-60 Hz Range? No.

What is the Range of Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs) Then? 300 Hz to 10 MHz. Compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) may be energy efficient but they also unfortunately emit a ton of dirty electricity

What Range of Electric Fields (EFs) with Regard to Radio Frequencies (RFs) are Especially Deleterious to Health? 2kHz to 100 kHz

When Chargers or Power Strips are Actively Charging, What Do They Emit? Magnetic fields (MFs).

Is It Possible for Some Devices to Emit a Back-and-Forth Radio Frequency (RF) Signal with a Router? Yes.

How Far Do High-Voltage Power Lines Irradiate Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs)? Approximately 80 to 100 meters (260 to 325 feet).

The Adverse Health Effects of Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs)

Can EMFs Make Us Feel Sick Even If We Don’t Feel Them? Yes.

Can Cell Phone Radiation Affect the Blood Brain Barrier (BBB)? Yes.

Is it Good to Use a Phone Case? No. It can increase the amount of radiation absorbed (SAR) by 20% to 70%.

Can Electromagnetic Field (EMF) Radiation that is Non-Ionizing Physically Affect Your Cells? Expert disagree on this point, but many physicists and engineers do not think so.

Can Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs) Affect Voltage-Gated Calcium Channels In the Body? Yes. (14)

Is there Evidence that Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs) Deplete Glutathione (GSH)? Yes. (15)

What Video Went Viral in 2015 that is Related to Ants and Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs)? A video of an incoming call on a cell phone which caused ants to form a circular procession around the phone.

YouTube Thumbnail for Ants Circling My Phone

What Class of Carcinogen are Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs) In? According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), EMFs are classified as agents, based on scientific evidence derived from human and experimental studies, as class 2B carcinogens, which is the same category under which DDT, lead, and diesel fuel are classified. (16)

Can Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs) Deplete GABA? Yes. (17)

Can Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs) Damage the Myelin Sheath? Yes. (18)

Are Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs) Associated with Intestinal Permeability? Studies are inconclusive but it appears that EMF radiation exposure plays a role in increased intestinal permeability or leaky gut. In other words, the answer is probably ‘yes.’ (19)

Are Grounded Electronics Safer Than Ungrounded When It Comes to the Electromagnetic Fields that They Emit? Yes.

What Do Dirty Electricity (DE) Meters Actually Read or Measure? The electric field (EF), not the magnetic field (MF)

Can Magnetic Field (MF) Radiation Be Easily Shielded? No.

What is a Safe Way for a Pregnant Woman to Use a Laptop on her Lap? Use a product that shields her from the EMF exposure, such as a Belly Blanket or a Belly Band.

Is Extremely Low-Frequency Radiation (ELF) a Type of Non-Ionizing Radiation? Yes.

What impact have you noticed, if any, that EMFs appear to have on your life? What are some hacks and strategies that you have implemented, if any, to reduce your exposure to EMFs?

Resources:

  1. Stein, Y., & Udasin, I. G. (2020). Electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS, microwave syndrome) - Review of mechanisms. Environmental research186, 109445. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2020.109445
  2. Pineault, N. (2017). The non-tinfoil guide to emfs: How to fix our stupid use of Technology. Nicolas Pineault.
  3. Asghari, A., Khaki, A. A., Rajabzadeh, A., & Khaki, A. (2016). A review on Electromagnetic fields (EMFs) and the reproductive system. Electronic physician8(7), 2655–2662. https://doi.org/10.19082/2655
  4. Staff, health enews. (2021, September 27). Do 6-year-olds need cell phones? health enews. Retrieved December 26, 2022, from https://www.ahchealthenews.com/2021/09/28/does-your-6-year-old-need-a-cell-phone/
  5. IARC Working Group on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans. Non-Ionizing Radiation, Part 2: Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields. Lyon (FR): International Agency for Research on Cancer; 2013. (IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans, No. 102.) 1. Exposure Data. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK304634/
  6. Kriebel, D., Tickner, J., Epstein, P., Lemons, J., Levins, R., Loechler, E. L., Quinn, M., Rudel, R., Schettler, T., & Stoto, M. (2001). The precautionary principle in environmental science. Environmental health perspectives109(9), 871–876. https://doi.org/10.1289/ehp.01109871
  7. S.652 - telecommunications act of 1996 104th Congress (1995-1996). (n.d.). Retrieved December 26, 2022, from https://www.congress.gov/bill/104th-congress/senate-bill/652
  8. Specific absorption rate (SAR) for cellular telephones. Federal Communications Commission. (2020, October 14). Retrieved December 26, 2022, from https://www.fcc.gov/general/specific-absorption-rate-sar-cellular-telephones
  9. Pineault, N. (2017). The non-tinfoil guide to emfs: How to fix our stupid use of Technology. Nicolas Pineault.
  10. Bortkiewicz A. (2019). Health effects of Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields (RF EMF). Industrial health57(4), 403–405. https://doi.org/10.2486/indhealth.57_400
  11. Pineault, N. (2017). The non-tinfoil guide to emfs: How to fix our stupid use of Technology. Nicolas Pineault.
  12. Bodewein, L., Dechent, D., Graefrath, D., Kraus, T., Krause, T., & Driessen, S. (2022). Systematic review of the physiological and health-related effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic field exposure from wireless communication devices on children and adolescents in experimental and epidemiological human studies. PloS one17(6), e0268641. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0268641
  13. World Health Organization. (n.d.). Radiation: Electromagnetic fields. World Health Organization. Retrieved December 26, 2022, from https://www.who.int/news-room/questions-and-answers/item/radiation-electromagnetic-fields
  14. Pall M. L. (2022). Low Intensity Electromagnetic Fields Act via Voltage-Gated Calcium Channel (VGCC) Activation to Cause Very Early Onset Alzheimer's Disease: 18 Distinct Types of Evidence. Current Alzheimer research19(2), 119–132. https://doi.org/10.2174/1567205019666220202114510
  15. Kıvrak, E. G., Yurt, K. K., Kaplan, A. A., Alkan, I., & Altun, G. (2017). Effects of electromagnetic fields exposure on the antioxidant defense system. Journal of microscopy and ultrastructure5(4), 167–176. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jmau.2017.07.003
  16. IARC classifies radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as possibly ... (n.d.). Retrieved December 26, 2022, from https://www.iarc.who.int/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/pr208_E.pdf
  17. Hu, C., Zuo, H., & Li, Y. (2021). Effects of Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Radiation on Neurotransmitters in the Brain. Frontiers in public health9, 691880. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2021.691880
  18. Redmayne, M., & Johansson, O. (2014). Could myelin damage from radiofrequency electromagnetic field exposure help explain the functional impairment electrohypersensitivity? A review of the evidence. Journal of toxicology and environmental health. Part B, Critical reviews17(5), 247–258. https://doi.org/10.1080/10937404.2014.923356
  19. Sieroń, K., Knapik, K., Onik, G., Romuk, E., Birkner, E., Kwiatek, S., & Sieroń, A. (2021). Electromagnetic Fields Modify Redox Balance in the Rat Gastrointestinal Tract. Frontiers in public health9, 710484. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2021.710484
  20. Zeleke, B. M., Brzozek, C., Bhatt, C. R., Abramson, M. J., Freudenstein, F., Croft, R. J., Wiedemann, P., & Benke, G. (2021). Wi-fi related radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF): a pilot experimental study of personal exposure and risk perception. Journal of environmental health science & engineering19(1), 671–680. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40201-021-00636-7
  21. Blank, R. (2022, June 30). Does airplane mode reduce my emf radiation exposure? yes. Shield Your Body with SYB 5G & EMF Protection. Retrieved December 26, 2022, from https://www.shieldyourbody.com/airplane-mode/
  22. Christian. (2022, June 22). 7 best low EMF baby monitors [updated 2022]. EMF Academy. Retrieved December 26, 2022, from https://emfacademy.com/best-low-emf-baby-monitors/
  23. Lv, B., Chen, Z., Wu, T., Shao, Q., Yan, D., Ma, L., Lu, K., & Xie, Y. (2014). The alteration of spontaneous low frequency oscillations caused by acute electromagnetic fields exposure. Clinical neurophysiology : official journal of the International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology125(2), 277–286. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clinph.2013.07.018
  24. de Vocht, F. (2010, March 24). "dirty electricity": What, where, and should we care? Nature News. Retrieved December 26, 2022, from https://www.nature.com/articles/jes20108
  25. Blank, R. (2022, June 30). The dangers of using your laptop on your lap. do this instead. Shield Your Body with SYB 5G & EMF Protection. Retrieved December 26, 2022, from https://www.shieldyourbody.com/laptop-lap-dangers/
  26. Kıvrak, E. G., Yurt, K. K., Kaplan, A. A., Alkan, I., & Altun, G. (2017). Effects of electromagnetic fields exposure on the antioxidant defense system. Journal of microscopy and ultrastructure5(4), 167–176. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jmau.2017.07.003
Article written by Dr. Ben Reebs

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