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.
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)
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)
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.
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.
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)
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.
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)
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. Here is the video embedded below:
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?