“There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.” Soren Kirkagaard.

Today we use a plethora of electronic devices and wireless technology throughout the day. These gadgets all emit Electro-Magnetic Radiation (EMR) a.k.a Electromagnetic Fields (EMF). Radio Frequency (RF) radiation is one type of EMR that is easier to understand. In a nutshell, RF radiation is an electromagnetic wave emitted from wireless technology. Think smart phones, tablets, computers, Wi-Fi routers, blue tooth, smart TVs, voice activated devices, virtual reality, gaming systems, smart meters, and cell towers. And even though RF radiation cannot be seen, smelled or touched, it damages all living cell.

More and more people are experiencing the effects of EMR as levels of exposure continue to rise in our homes, schools, offices, and public spaces. While some skeptics say studies have proven that EMR does not impact our health, most of that research is decades old and does not reflect the incredible advances in technology over the last fifteen years. Recent studies, especially those that are not influenced by industry bias, have found that EMR negatively impacts our health:

“Illness linked to electromagnetic radiation exposure include many cancers, neurological conditions, ADD, sleep disorders, depression, autism, cognitive problems, cardiovascular irregularities, hormone disruption, immune system disorders, metabolism changes, stress, fertility impairment, increased blood brain barrier permeability, mineral disruption, DNA damage and much, much more.” (1)

Thanks to the internet there is now a wealth of accessible information about the effects of EMR from scientists in the U.S. and around the world. Because most of us have not heard of EMR, I encourage my clients to do their own research. If you or your loved ones are experiencing any symptoms listed above, or other common ones such as head pressure on your temples or the back of your eyes, insomnia, fatigue, depression, and anxiety, it is worth taking the time to learn some basic information.

EMR 101

Below are a few resources I have found helpful in understanding EMR, including a recent NIH study, Physician website, EHS White Paper, the BioInitiative Report, and a Ted X talk video from an engineer.

1. Info released on May 27, 2016 from a recent NIH study links cell phones and brain tumors in rats: National Toxicology Program Carcinogenesis Studies of Cell Phone Radiofrequency report. From the The Wall Street Journal:

Cellphone-Cancer Link Found in Government Study

A major U.S. government study on rats has found a link between cellphones and cancer, an explosive finding in the long-running debate about whether mobile phones cause health effects.

2. Physicians For Safer Technology – Excellent website created by a group of physicians and health professionals whose mission is to provide trusted leadership in promoting, healthy and safe environments through the safer use of technology at home, in schools, in the workplace, in healthcare settings and in communities.

Our aim is to prevent acute and chronic diseases by encouraging understanding of the connection between the public, psychosocial and environmental health effects of using modern technology.

3. White Paper on Radiation Sickness a.k.a. Electrohypersensitivity (EHS)

Abstract: As the prevalence of wireless telecommunication escalates throughout the world, health professionals are faced with the challenge of patients who report symptoms they claim are connected with exposure to some frequencies of electromagnetic radiation (EMR). Some scientists and clinicians acknowledge the phe- nomenon of hypersensitivity to EMR resulting from common exposures such as wireless systems and electrical devices in the home or workplace; … Various organizations including the World Health Organization as well as some nation states are carefully exploring this clinical phenomenon in order to better explain the rising prevalence of non-specific, multi-system, often debilitating symptoms associated with non-ionizing EMR exposure. As well as an assortment of physiological complaints, patients diagnosed with EHS also report profound social and personal challenges, impairing their ability to function normally in society.

4. Independent studies from around the world, documented in sources such as the 2012 BioInitiative Report, provide detailed scientific information on adverse health effects for people exposed to much lower RF levels than the US government allows.

“It has been proven beyond any doubt by the best science available that certain types of electromagnetic radiation can have highly damaging effects on the human body.”

5. Ted X Talk by Bay Area engineer of emfanalysis.com (only 16 minutes long and a great primer)

Actionable Steps

Many experts believe that the most important place to reduce and manage RF radiation exposure is in the bedroom where we sleep, rest, and recover. That is why I am passionate about helping family, friends, and clients create a sleep sanctuary.

Unless you personally feel symptoms from EMR, it may be easy to ignore this info for now. But remember, EMR damages everyone’s cells, ages you more rapidly, and is carcinogenic.

So even if you are not ready to bring in a professional who can use meters to measure the radiation sources in your home, why not make a few simple changes to see if you and your family experience a difference:Finally, for those who are ready to learn more, continue reading about four types of electro pollution that are most often measured and addressed in healthy homes. The learning curve can be steep initially, but it gets clearer with time and the payoff in health and well-being is worth the effort. Especially for anyone experiencing insomnia, anxiety, depression, headaches, spinal pain, and more that can be caused in large-part from EMR.

EMR 201

Below is a high level explanation of non-ionizing radiation as well as source examples, measurements, and tips for the four most frequently addressed types of EMR.

Electromagnetic Spectrum (Image from SLT.co)

The electromagnetic spectrum above is often used to explain the different types of EMR at a high level:

EMR travels at the speed of light and is invisible to humans. It is generally organized by frequency and wavelength.

The frequency of EMR refers to the number of times it repeats itself or cycles per second as Hertz (Hz).

The wavelength refers to the physical size of the wave and wavelength is inversely proportional to frequency.

Extremely Low frequency or ELF, have the longest wavelength and higher frequencies such as Radio Frequencies (RF) or Microwaves (used mostly for communication) have a shorter wavelength. These types of EMR are referred to as non-ionizing radiation.

The highest frequencies have very short waves and are classified as ionizing radiation. …Ionizing radiation is composed of particles that individually have sufficient energy (or can liberate sufficient energy) to remove an electron from an atom or molecule. (2) Think xrays as shown on the spectrum above.

In short:

  • We are exposed to natural EMR from the earth and also from man-made electricity.
  • On the left hand side of the chart is man-made radiation, a.k.a. non-ionizing radiation.
  • Non-ionizing radiation may not visibly damage cells, like a sunburn from UV light, but the radiation damages cells inside all living animals. Symptoms will vary depending on the individual’s current state of health.
  • Reducing or shielding radiation emissions from non-ionizing radiation can reduce or prevent cell damage and thus protect health.

The four types of non-ionizing radiation that are most often addressed when creating a healthy home along with source examples, measurements, & tips are:

1. Radio-frequency (RF) radiation

  • Source examples: Think cell tower or W-Fi router as seen in the fourth and fifth photos above. RF radiation is emitted from cell towers, wi-fi modems / routers, and wireless devices such as cell phones, computers, tablets, and DECT cordless phones, and anything branded “smart” such as TVs, watches, home appliances, meters, etc.
  • Measurements: microwatts per meter squared (µW/m 2).
  • Tips:
    • Even if you’ve turned off or removed all wireless devices in your home, you may still be experiencing RF radiation from external sources, like your neighbors, cell towers, or fire alarm systems.
    • Having a meter is the only true way to identify the amount of radiation.
    • For a list of meters that I use, please see the products page.
  • Note: In major cities, like SF, antennas (aka Distributed Antenna System (DAS) or mini-cell tower) are going up on almost every block. I know first-hand how devastating this can be. It usually starts with a mailing from the city informing you of a scheduled hearing to protest the antenna. Laws are set up in favor of placing antennas so it is almost impossible for the Telecom antenna application to be denied. DAS are often placed on lamp posts right outside bedrooms on the second or third floor. The best recommendation I can make is to invest in your health from the start — hire someone with experience to guide you at least for one consultation. (The experts are often called EMF consultants or Building Biologists — and like any service provider, they all have different skill levels and experience so due diligence is of utmost importance when selecting a consultant. Unless there is only one consultant in your area and then count your blessings that there is at least one consultant in your area and you don’t have to fly one out 😉 With their help, purchase meters, and learn how to use it correctly. Even then, it will take hours to read, learn, and make changes as EMR is complicated, especially in the beginning. But it is possible for most of us — even with the physical impairment caused by EMR.

2. Electricity – AC Voltage | Electronic Field (EF)

  • Source examples: electrical wiring in the wall or the wire that brings electricity from equipment to the electrical socket in the wall.
  • Measurements: Volts/Meter (V/M). EFs can emanate 6 to 8 feet into the room and can be measured at the source with an EF meter or demonstrated flowing into a person using a body voltage meter.
  • Tips:
    • Live in a home with metal shielded wires instead of Romex, and definitely not older pre-Romex wiring.
    • Unplug devices or use a single-port switch to stop EF’s.
    • Turn off breakers not-needed if home is wired correctly (test with meters!).
  • Note: Alternating Current (AC), i.e. electricity in homes, continually changes polarity for positive to negative creating a push-pull force effect” vs direct current (DC), i.e. electricity in automobiles, “which is a constant continual field or a constant force.

3. Electricity – AC Current Magnetic Field (MF)

  • Source examples: think power line in the first photo above in the electromagnetic spectrum chart where a current is flowing. Electrical sources like high voltage power lines, transformers on the street, appliances with transformers like clock radios, laptop plugs, or power cables, and most devices that use electricity like computers, cell phones, tablets, laptops, electric blankets. Also, the distribution panel or circuit breaker in the home. MF goes hand in hand with EF, so sometimes difficult to keep straight.
  • Measurements: Milligauss (mg)
  • Tips:
    • MFs are difficult to block or shield but distance helps. I once heard someone say to use the golden arm rule, which basically means to stay at least an arms distance away from electrical devices or appliances that emit MFs or minimize the amount of exposure time.
    • Know what is on all sides of the walls and above or below. e.g. move a bed away from a wall if the refrigerator is on the other side.
    • An exception case happens when there are wiring errors. This can cause what is known as a net current or neutral to ground fault where high magnetic fields are produced. Unfortunately, these errors are quite common in many homes. This happens for many reasons, including most electricians not knowing they are incorrectly wiring the electricity.
    • In worst-case scenarios, net currents can cause shocks or sparks / fires which is why they are considered a building code violation. Testing with a circuit receptacle tester is a good place to start identifying this problem. Especially 3-way light switches that are often wired incorrectly.
    • The MF cannot be felt by most people and will silently damage cells resulting possibly in cancer or other EMF symptoms. This is why I strongly believe every home should be tested with a meter, but you must know how to use it correctly (over .5mg is worth investigating when everything is unplugged for the average home). If there are any errors, I highly recommend hiring an EMF electrician to investigate and repair. If you have an older home with knob and tube wiring (you know because you have a fuse box as opposed to a distribution panel), re-wiring the entire home may be necessary.

4. Dirty Electricity (EMI)

  • Source examples: Think invisible (colored green in photo above) radiation coming from the electrical outlet and wiring in the wall. Often caused by dimmer switches, compact flourescent lightbulbs (CFLs), LED light bulbs, variable speed motors, laptops, and most solar inverters (that convert the DC electricity into AC electricity).
  • Measurements: millivolts (mV). Harmonics that distort 60Hz electricity. Aka intermediate frequency.
  • Tips:
    • Use old-fashioned incandescent light bulbs
    • Hire an electrician to remove or correctly disconnect dimmer switches (note: in new construction, a dimmer switch is required by code).
    • Be aware of neighbors who have solar panels in the neighborhood.
    • I almost never recommend filters  (Watch this helpful video) in the home. In exception cases, some EMF electrician’s recommend using a PX-DNA dissipated filter installed at the external panel of the house. This is complicated and should only be done with trained professionals.

Additional Resources
setting up an EMR-free home
phire by dr. erica mallery-blythe
takebackyourpower (documentary sometimes available on Netflix)
electromagnetic radiation hypersensitivity report