Problematic electromagnetic radiation in our homes can have many sources, and some are unexpected. Nick Pineault, in his very readable The Non-Tinfoil Guide to EMFs, talks about four types of electromagnetic frequencies (EMFs) that have been linked to adverse health: radio frequencies and microwaves (RF), electric fields (EF), magnetic fields (MF), and dirty electricity (DE).
Most of us think of harmful or potentially harmful EMFs as radio frequencies from cell phones, Wi-fi, etc., but the other three also have negative effects on our health and well-being. In fact, well-known building biologist Oram Miller holds that magnetic frequencies are the most harmful, suppressing the immune system and increasing the risk of cancer.1 Magnetic frequencies and radio frequencies reduce melatonin production and disrupt our cells’ calcium channels,2 leading to the same negative effects.
Electric fields are the most common in our homes, but have not been the subject of much research. Dirty electricity can be a big problem for attention and behavior in children, and also appears to be a factor in several chronic diseases like diabetes and multiple sclerosis. Let us take a closer look at each of these.
RFs are generated by smart phones, tablets, Wi-fi, Bluetooth, baby monitors, cordless phones, wireless electric meters (smart meters), microwaves, and cellular phone networks (4G and 5G). Quite a lot of research has been done on RFs and their links to brain tumors and other cancers, depression, insomnia, decreased fertility, impaired fetal development, and behavior and learning problems in children.
2. Magnetic fields
MFs are produced by electronic device power supplies, speakers, computer hard drives, appliances with electric motors, induction cookers, your home’s electrical panel, electric blankets or heating pads, faulty wiring, and high voltage power lines near the home. Magnetic fields of various intensities have been linked with childhood leukemia and adult cancers, neurodegenerative diseases, insomnia, decreased immunity and, in some people, elevated blood sugar.3
3. Electric fields
EFs form around household wiring, power strips, ungrounded electronics, cords and power supplies, lamps and lighting. They are not as well studied as other EMFs, but some sources link EFs to decreased melatonin production, chronic fatigue, insomnia, restless leg syndrome, allergies, hyperactivity, depression, and headaches.4
4. Dirty electricity
DE is electrical current that fluctuates with mini-power surges rather than flowing continuously and smoothly. It is generated any time an electrical current is transformed from AC to DC or DC to AC, as in solar panel inverters or power supplies for electronic devices, or when current is switched rapidly on and off, as happens with energy-saving light bulbs (CFL, fluorescent, and most LEDs), dimmer switches, variable speed motors, and energy efficient appliances. Dirty electricity has been linked with unstable blood sugar, sleep disturbances, attention and behavior issues, depression and fatigue.5, 6
Our lives have become intertwined with all these devices that emit potentially harmful EMFs. Unless you want to go to the wilderness and live off the grid, there is no way to turn back the clock and return to life without electricity, appliances, computers, cell phones, and internet. But there is a lot you can do to minimize your exposure, and your children’s exposure, in day-to-day life.
Remember that these tips are especially important for our most vulnerable family members: pregnant women, babies, children, the elderly, and people with chronic illness or health problems, including depression, anxiety, fatigue, and insomnia.
1. Eliminate the source
2. Reduce the amount of time you are exposed or increase your distance from the source
If you are pregnant, hoping to conceive, or you are a man of reproductive age, please use the above tips to decrease EMF exposure in general, and take extra care to protect abdominal and reproductive areas. Be sure not to carry cell phones in your pockets or use laptops sitting directly on your lap.
There are many devices on the market that use chips, diodes, crystals, shungite, and frequencies to “harmonize or neutralize” artificial EMFs. Some of these products have been developed with careful research and testing, while others may have been developed based on hearsay or speculation. It is important when considering these products to look for tests conducted by reputable independent laboratories. Do the websites show any tests? What were the tests measuring? What were the results?
Then use your common sense and intuition to decide if it is a product you choose to spend your money on. Several of the most reputable of these companies emphasize that their products should not be used as a substitute for reducing your EMF exposure. Since none of us can eliminate our exposure completely, either inside or outside our homes, these products could be a good addition to using EMF reduction measures.
One way to restore the body’s electrochemical balance costs nothing at all – walk barefoot on the Earth! The surface of the Earth is electrically conductive, and is constantly emitting negative ions, which can be absorbed into the body through direct contact with your feet. These negative ions counteract the oxidative stress caused by exposure to artificial EMFs, toxins, and stress, decreasing inflammatory responses and strengthening the immune system.10 And if your time in nature takes you away from cities, cell phone towers, wind turbines, and other strong sources of EMFs, you can tune into the Schumann Resonance, Mother Earth’s heartbeat, as well. Why not consider an EMF detox vacation? Get away into nature, walk barefoot, and leave your smart phones at home!
2 Brendel, H.
et al,2000. Direct suppressive effects of weak
magnetic fields on melatonin synthesis in the pineal gland of Djungarian
hamsters, Journal of Pineal Research. 29,4: pp. 228-233.
3 Pineault, N.,
The Non-Tinfoil Guide to EMFs, pp. 66-95.
4 Ibid, pp.126-127.
5 Havas, M. and
A. Olstad, 2008. Power quality affect teacher
well-being and student behavior in three Minnesota Schools,
Science of the Total Environment, 402:2-3, 157-162.
6 Havas, M., 2007. Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity: biological effects of dirty electricity with emphasis on diabetes and multiple sclerosis, Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine, 25,4: pp. 259-268. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17178585/
7 Lear, R.,
Dirty Electricity: Invisible Role in the US Health Crisis?,
Dramatic Rise in Chronic Disease Project, Brown University.
9 Blank, M., 2014. Overpowered: What Science Tells Us about the Dangers of Cell Phones and Other Wi-Fi-Age Devices. Seven Stories Press, New York.
10 Chevalier, G. et al, 2012. Earthing: Health Implications of Reconnecting the Human Body to the Earth’s Surface Electrons, Journal of Environmental and Public Health, 2012: 291541. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3265077/