Electromagnetic Radiation (EMR) – How to reduce exposure in the home
Are you concerned about man-made electromagnetic radiation (EMR)?
I wasn’t for many years. Although it was one of those things that I knew I should look into. So I put my proverbial head in the sand until recently when I went to the annual conference of the Weston A Price Foundation this past November and heard Mary Cordaro speak about how to minimize exposure to electromagnetic radiation (EMR) and electromagnetic fields (EMF) in the home. Mary Cordaro is a very accomplished, sought after interior and building baubiologist. As a top consultant in her field Cordaro heads up teams who analyze buildings and interior environments for mold, EMR and chemical contaminants.
The Weston A Price Foundation exists to promote and educate about food, farming and the healing arts. I gained a lot of valuable information about health and real food while at the 4 day conference. Over the next few weeks I am going to attempt to summarize some of the sessions I attended. Because EMR is a complicated subject with lots of detail, I will just talk about some basic points made in the session and link to more info should you want to research further. I am by no means an expert. So I encourage you to research further in order to make up your own mind.
To start, there are a lot of differing opinions about EMR even being harmful. The folks saying it is safe are the very ones financing the studies and selling the devices or services that emit EMR. That alone always makes me want to know more. And I think most would agree that the rate at which we are exposed today has astronomically increased, even in just the last 5 yrs. This is where my concern lies. Parents and grandparents today have had some (although increasing) exposure over their lifetimes, but our children will have exposure their whole lives in ever increasing quantities. As a parent, I want to minimize the risk for my child the best way I can.
Most of the everyday electronics we use – WIFI, cell phones, tablets, computers, TV, cordless phones, baby monitors, microwave ovens, electrical wiring, power strips/cords, transformers on power cords, CFL lighting, some LED lighting, smart meters, and smart appliances, to name just a few, emit electromagnetic radiation. Some (like cell phones and tablets) emit very low levels of non-ionizing radiation. This means that they do not have sufficient energy to break off electrons from their orbits around atoms and ionize (charge) the atoms, as do x-rays, CT scans, and other forms of ionizing radiation. (1) And some, like smart meters emit dirty electricity or high frequency voltage transients (HFVTs).
The standards that are in place are for the heat effects of these gadgets. There are no standards for the lower level non-ionizing radiation. According to Mary Cordaro this low level exposure over time is more critical.
The reason for concern is that the body is an electromagnetic being, our brains and cells communicate via electromagnetism. Man-made frequencies can interfere with that communication. And because we spend 95% of our time indoors, our exposure to EMF can be constant unless we take some action to limit it. The most at risk are fetus’s, infants, children and people with chronic illness. Babies and young people are at risk because their skulls are thinner and not fully developed.
Some small independent studies have been done and there is need for more. “Recently, independent studies from Europe have reported increased tumors and cancer risks linked to the use of cell phones and cordless phones. The cancer risk was highest when people started their use in childhood.” (2) Many people are now being diagnosed with hypersensitivity to electromagnetic fields (EMFs). Symptoms of this are nausea, headaches, exhaustion, and burning skin among others.
I think it’s safe to say that a majority of people have a smart phone these days. Anytime you are in a public setting your exposure is multiplied. Think of classrooms, concerts, movies or anywhere you are less than 10 to 15 feet (the recommended distance from a smart phone, tablet etc…) from another person. You can’t control the exposure much when you are out of your home so it can be essential to minimize risk when in your home.
Here are some scary statistics according to Cordaro:
- 44% of children under age 1 use mobile phones.
- 77% use them by age 2.
- 40% of children age 6 to 8 and 9 out of 10 kids by age 16 have their own cell phones.
- College students are now exposed 24/7. An example was given of a college student that Cordaro knew of that had trouble sleeping, grades were suffering and many other physical symptoms were experienced. When that student removed the EMFs from the dorm room her symptoms dissipated over a few weeks.
Those diagnosed with chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia have reported great improvements in their conditions when they get the EMFs out of their bedrooms.
SLEEP TIME – Keep your bedroom an EMR free zone ~ sleep time is our most sensitive and regenerative time. We spend 95% of our time indoors. And 1/3rd of that is sleeping. Mary Cordaro says “If your bedroom is largely free of man-made EMRs as well as mold and chemicals your body will get a break at night and will be better able to detox and regenerate.” (3)
CHILDREN – because their skulls are smaller and thinner than adults, kids should really never talk on a cell phone and they should have very limited time on electronic devices as well. I know you are saying “Wha, wha, what? That’s impossible!” At my house we limit screen time and use “airplane” mode on our devices whenever we are not on the internet. For my 9 yr old that is a lot of the time as he is playing games that are stored on the device. Laptops should always be on a surface, not the lap.
HOME AND OFFICE –
- ***MOST IMPORTANT***Turn WIFI off at night – should be no less than 6 to 10 feet from where you sit (CAT5 or CAT6 Ethernet cable is best).
- ***MOST IMPORTANT***Keep devices out of bedroom at night.
- Keep devices on airplane mode when possible especially when sleeping if you must keep it in the bedroom.
- 10 to 15 feet distance when possible from electronic devices is always best.
- Forward cell phone to a corded phone on a land line.
- Use air tube or blue tube headphones (headphones that use a tube without wires to transmit sound) with phone away from body and hands. Cordaro suggests attaching a ferrite bead (filter that reduces wire radiation to body) just before the plug. This will lower EMFs but not eliminate, so should be used sparingly. I just purchased one of these and I think the sound quality is actually better than my other headphones. This is the one I bought.
- Do not use Bluetooth on your head – it puts non-ionizing radiation closer to your brain.
- Only talk on cell phone when you have a strong signal. Cell phones operate at a higher power when they have a weak signal.
- Use speaker phone while placing phone away from body and hands instead of headphones or holding it to ear.
- Use a “flip phone” instead of a smart phone (much less radio frequency than smart phones in standby mode) ~ I hear some of you laughing at this one….and I couldn’t give mine up either. 😉
- EMRs are higher inside a car if not connected to hands free option in car (with antennae on the outside of the car) because the phone is sending out maximum power to stay connected to base stations and transmit through the car.
- If you use cordless phones at home make sure they are no more than 900 megahertz not gigahertz or dects. The gigahertz/dect signals are just like a mini cell antenna in your house.
- Avoid smart meters installed by your utilities company if at all possible. Get the analogue meter back if possible. If they are installed sleep as far away from them as possible. This is “dirty electricity” and cannot be shielded effectively. It is also a bigger topic that this blog post. You can find out more here and here.
- Avoid smart appliances (any appliance that connects to your phone, tablet, computer or other device wirelessly). They send out a signal whether you are using them with another device or not.
- Do not use most wireless baby monitors. They are said to generate 4600 RF more energy than a smart meter. A 900 megahertz audio monitor is better. Best is a wired computer and a webcam.
- Use laptops on a surface not the lap.
- Don’t use CFLs and some LEDs, keep office overhead lighting off and use plug-in lamps when possible.
- Keep all power strips and cords with transformers at least 3 feet from body.
In general as I try and implement some of the above around my house and my daily life, it has allowed me to disconnect more overall. I am noticing how much I look at my phone. And in this day and age – of everyone looking down, not engaging with the human beings right next to them while adding to the crick in their neck – putting the phone down and engaging is a good thing.
I really hope that these low level frequencies from our devices are indeed harmless as the electronics industry would have us think. But it would seem best to always err on the side of caution. There are meters and such that you can buy to measure EMR. There are also devices that can shield some of it. However Mary Cordaro suggests that shields are just a false sense of security as there are too many different types of EMFs to shield and no one device can do it all and still function properly. So buyer beware in this case. Here is a great interview with her on that very topic.
There is lots more info on the subject at the links below. I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface on smart meters, dirty electricity, the fact that “green” is not synonymous with safe and electric cars while being good for the environment may not be good for their occupants. Are you game to take your head out of the sand and learn more…if not for yourself for your kids?
What do you think? Are you concerned? Are you taking steps to minimize exposure? I’d love to hear how or if you are. Please comment in the comment’s section below.