Is EMF Exposure Really a Big Deal?

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Wellness Mama » Blog » Health » Is EMF Exposure Really a Big Deal?

Electromagnetic fields (EMFs) have been around since the beginning of time as we receive natural EMFs from the sun and earth itself. It wasn’t until mankind learned to generate electricity (and EMFs) that we hit technological breakthroughs like lightbulbs and radio communications. More than 100 years later, we now enjoy and have become almost completely dependent on high-performing computers, microwave ovens, and many other wireless technologies.

Every one of us is now exposed to unprecedented levels of man-made EMFs. The safety of EMF exposure is controversial because there are the pro-technology people who believe that these artificially created EMFs are completely safe. On the other hand, studies are emerging to demonstrate that EMFs, including non-ionizing ones, may be unsafe.

Perhaps the safest route to take is to be safe, informed, and proactive, rather than sitting back and passively consenting to being a guinea pig. To help understand why EMF exposure could be harmful, I’m going to attempt to outline the science that explains it as well as what we can do to help eliminate the negative effects.

What are EMFs?

EMF stands for electromagnetic field. Electromagnetic fields are comprised of an electric and a magnetic field perpendicular to each other, which travel together in an invisible wave form.

electromagnetic-fields-and-waves

EMFs Can Occur:

  • Near an electrical current, according to Maxwell’s Law.
  • When atoms absorb another form of energy, which can be in the form of heat or another EMF. The electrons in an atom can get excited and release another EMF field. This is exactly how plant chlorophyll extracts energy from sunlight to convert carbon dioxide into glucose.
  • When nuclear reactions occur, such as how the sun creates energy.

Many man-made EMFs are generated by one of these methods to create electromagnetic waves that are useful to us. These include radio waves, WiFi signals, and microwave radiation. In addition, visible lights, UV lights, and infrared radiation are also a form of EMFs.

Types of EMFs:

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences categorized EMFs into two different groups, i.e.

  • Low frequency EMF radiation. They have lower frequencies than visible light and are non-ionizing radiation. Examples include EMFs from microwave ovens, computers, visible light, smart meters, WiFi, cell phones, Bluetooth, power lines, and MRIs.
  • High frequency EMF radiation. These have higher frequencies than visible light, which are ionizing radiation. Examples include ultraviolet (UV) light, X-Rays, and Gamma rays.

electromagnetic-spectrum

Are EMFs Harmful?

There is no question that too much exposure to high frequency radiation can create health problems. If we stay out in the sun too long, we get sunburned from prolonged UV exposure. Every time we get X-Rays, the technician will ask if we are pregnant because X-Rays can cause harm to the growing baby.

Health effects of low frequency EMF radiation are more controversial for many reasons:

First, symptoms due to use of microwave ovens, smart meters, WiFi, cell phones, etc. can be inconspicuous at first, but they may become noticeable over time rather than immediately.

Second, the electronic and telecommunication industries have strong financial interests in consumers not being aware of potential harm from using their products.

Why is EMF Exposure a Problem?

We have long known that the human body is a sophisticated electromagnetic system. Our nervous system and our heart run on electricity, which explains why we can shock a dead heart into life using an electric shock machine called a defibrillator. Back in 1969, Dr. David Cohen, professor of Physics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology was able to detect the magnetic fields from the human heart and brain (source).

It is important to note, also, mitochondria and liver enzymes also operate based on electrical conductivity and light energy (source 1source 2).

Naturally, we have evolved with the natural EMFs, i.e. that of the earth and the sun which synch with our healthy biological rhythms. Earth has its own magnetic field, which is why we can always use a compass to find the north pole no matter where we are. Earth’s EMF is called the Schumann resonance (7.83 Hz). The sun is a big source of natural EMFs, including visible light and UV radiation.

Our own electromagnetic signals are very weak compared to the man-made EMFs. Exposure to man-made EMFs can interfere with the electromagnetic systems inside of our bodies. Particularly, the brain, the heart, and mitochondria can be particularly susceptible to EMF interference. In addition, because our own biology can get disrupted, EMF exposure can worsen inflammatory problems.

How Much EMF Exposure is Safe?

With high-coverage cell phone networks, WiFi signals, and appliances, it is simply not possible to reduce EMF exposure to zero. Whether a certain EMF is dangerous depends on a few different aspects of the electromagnetic waves, including:

  • Frequency: The higher frequency an EMF is, the more energy it carries and the more likely it is to be dangerous.
  • Power density: The average energy of the electromagnetic waves in a given area or volume.
  • Strength: of the electric and magnetic fields that are present
  • Duration of exposure: prolonged duration is usually worse than acute duration for the same levels of EMF.

The World Health Organization established a guideline for safe EMF exposure, while different countries also have established their own guidelines. According to a report by Netherland’s National Institutes of Public Health and another report by Dr. Jack Kruse, Russia has the strictest requirements while the US has allows for more EMF exposure.

eu-emf-comparison

See the full text of the comparison of international policies about EMFs, including the image above in PDF form here.

What the Industries Don’t Want You to Know About EMF Exposure

The telecommunication and electronics industry have a major conflict of interest against consumers becoming aware of health effects from EMF exposure. In fact, they might even be in denial. Their safety claims are typically reinforced by government agencies as it can be very expensive for them to make things safer.

Currently, the claims that the low frequency EMF exposure is safe are based on the fact that there is no direct evidence showing that certain sources of EMF exposure are safe (or unsafe). The International Agency for Research on Cancer has already categorized low frequency EMF radiation a class 2B possible carcinogen (source). However, harmful effects of EMF radiation are not limited to cancer.

An infamous case of such denial was when utility companies started installing smart meters in people’s homes. While the companies claim that smart meters are safe, numerous people started to experience neurological problems and, in some cases, worsened inflammatory symptoms as soon as the smart meters were installed (source). These consumers had to immediately move to a new home with no smart meters or fight to have the smart meter uninstalled in their home.

Many parents in Ontario are observing that their children are becoming ill after schools started to install WiFi (source). Children are particularly susceptible to harm from EMF radiation because they have smaller and growing bodies, so symptoms can be more apparent.

Symptoms Related to EMF Exposure

Chronic high levels of low frequency EMF exposure can result in:

  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Brain fog
  • Dizziness and vertigo
  • Frequent illnesses
  • HPA axis dysfunction (also known as adrenal fatigue)
  • Hormone imbalances
  • Cancer or increased in cancer risk

(source 1, source 2, source 3)

Therefore, EMF exposure is not healthy. Fortunately, it is still possible to reduce EMF exposure and take steps to mitigate potential harm from EMF radiation.

How to Reduce EMF Exposure

We all know it isn’t realistic to avoid all man-made EMFs, but there are some simple steps we can take to reduce exposure:

Avoid Living Near Strong Sources of EMF Radiation

Very strong sources of EMF radiation can present significant health risks. These include smart meters, radio stations, electrical generators, power lines, and electrified train tracks. An Italian study found that adults and children who live within 3 km of a high-power radio station are at a higher risk of developing leukemia than others (source). Therefore, you want to consider having these EMF sources removed or moving away from them.

Limit EMF Exposure At Home

It may not be possible to avoid using electricity and devices that generate EMFs, but it is possible to reduce EMF exposure. This is particularly important in the bedrooms or when sleeping. We can reduce EMF exposure by:

  • Keep appliances and devices off, or on airplane mode as much as possible
  • Hard wire internet connections, rather than using WiFi
  • If WiFi use is necessary, only turn it on when in use and turn off the WiFi router at night
  • Hard wire computer peripherals rather than using wireless or bluetooth connections
  • Ensure that your homes electrical wiring is done properly to minimize EMFs
  • Keep electronic devices, i.e. cell phones, tablets, and computers away from your body. This includes using head phones to make calls instead of placing the phones near your ear to speak
  • Sleep away from circuit breakers or large appliances that run overnight, including if the appliance is on the other side of the wall
  • Use protection tools such as Defender Pad under your laptop, and EMF shields for cell phone
  • Filter out dirty electricity using dirty electricity filters
  • Minimize use of digital devices when possible. Even better, take regular digital detoxes.

Mitigate Negative Health Effects of EMF Exposure

With high coverage of cell phone and power line networks, it is not possible to completely avoid man-made EMF exposure. In addition to taking steps to reduce EMF exposure, we can mitigate the negative effects by

  • Grounding– it allows our bodies to neutralize positive ions from electronic devices and re-synchronize with the Schumann resonance.
  • Exposures to negative ions such as being near moving water, Himalayan salt lamp, or a negative ion generator can mitigate negative influence of exposure to EMF radiation.
  • Somavedic – We have a couple of these in our home and the semi-precious stones and metals inside the beautiful glass sphere are designed to mitigate any EMF radiation. There are a few different sizes and options as well as one that can travel with you in the car or even bring on vacation with you. We have several friends that have these in their home and they can feel the difference when they have them in their space. Use code “wellnessmama” for a discount.
  • Eating a nutritious diet high in antioxidants can help mitigate some oxidative stress from EMF exposure.

Want to Dig Deeper?

I’ve covered this topic multiple times on the Wellness Mama podcast. See how experts weigh in on this controversial topic:

This article was medically reviewed by Cynthia Thurlow, NP, the CEO and founder of the Everyday Wellness Project, nurse practitioner, international speaker, and globally recognized expert in intermittent fasting and nutritional health. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.

What’s your experience with negative health effects of EMF radiation and how do you mitigate them? Share below!

Sources
Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.

Comments

98 responses to “Is EMF Exposure Really a Big Deal?”

  1. Andrew Baer, M. D. Avatar
    Andrew Baer, M. D.

    What you did not address is that the FCC and many others only consider the thermal effects non ionizing radiation from radio frequencies (RF,) electric fields (EF,) and electrosmognetic fields (EMF.). The problem is that there are non thermal effects, particularly from digital, pulsed sources.

    Just two weeks ago, my wife and I were looking for a condo in a very nice area in MD near the DC border. Using a basic RF Meter inside, I was unable to get a reading. The signal was so strong, it was beyond the range of the meter. There is a 240 meter tower about a quarter of a mile from the condo. Even going behind me the building the signals we’re beyond the range of the meter. I was any to identify most of the antennas. However, they could not account for the reading

    Later, I identified 3 FM stations each broadcasting over 20,000 watts. Making matters worse, the stations have HD digital signals in addition to the usual analog ones. Needless to say, we did not take the condo. The cost of shielding would not make sense.

    In DC and the surrounding areas there are places walking around which have very high readings just like in urban apartments where every neighbor has WiFi.

    One cannot rule out that the increased incidence of Alzheimer’s, autism, ADHD and other chronic conditions may have the advent if cell communications and wifi as contributing factors.

    There is great irony in this for me. My grandfather, whose legacy I am trying to better define and promote, was Hugo Gernsback, best known as the Father of Science Fiction for whom the Hugo Award is named. However, he was also instrumental in advocating science in general, and amateur radio. He had a radio station, WRNY from which he transmitted TV signals. He was the second person to do so. I doubt he ever thought that there might be any danger involved.

    Research has demonstrated an increased incidence of leukemia in amateur radio operators. People should take this seriously. Of greatest concern is that the present administration is pushing for 5G without any concerns for the potential health consequences. 5G wit its shorter wave length does not travel as far as the earlier generations. This means, coming soon, to a tree, a lamp post or other structure outside your window, will be a 5G antenna, pumping energy possibly through your or your children’s windows. If you do not join or create advocacy groups to push against this will become your reality. As it is there is an uphill battle because Federal law prohibits the potential health effects from interfering with implementation…read, no research.

  2. Alex Pearson Avatar
    Alex Pearson

    Environmental Health Trust (ehtrust.org) throughly examines the scientific literature for health effects of (man-made) electromagnetic fields, and makes research accessible to suggest that it does. 5G will greatly increase our exposure to radio frequency electromagnetic fields. However, in the United States, if a state or city tries to prevent placement of 5G small cells, under the Telecommunications Act of 1996, it is illegal to deny placement. Specifically, Section 704 States: “No State or local government or instrumentality thereof may regulate the placement, construction, and modification of personal wireless facilities on the basis of environmental effects of radio frequency emissions, to the extent that such facilities comply with the Commission’s regulations concerning such emissions .” For anyone interested in how the cellphone industry has perfectly orchestrated this whole game so far, I recommend “How Big Wireless Made Us Think Cellphones Are Safe”, which is published by The Nation

  3. Leigh Ann Avatar
    Leigh Ann

    Hello Katie! I am so grateful for the thorough information you provide on so many topics! I work at a holistic day spa and we have been having issues with our guests bringing cell phones into the infrared saunas. We are very careful to inform them that the saunas are a clean space meant for detoxing and we want to keep those spaces pure and free of EMFs. I understand that EMFs can disrupt the electromagnetic impulses in our bodies. Can infrared saunas play a role in resetting those impulses or “detoxing” us from EMF radiation?

  4. JC Avatar

    Thanks so much for this article and for explaining it in a way where it’s understood clearly and easily. I just added a line of EMF Protection jewelry to my shop and will be referring people who have questions about EMF to this article (if that’s ok).

  5. Mindy S. Avatar

    Thank you for sharing this important information!!! Part of wellness is making sure our technology is not harming us. There is only so much eating right and choosing the right personal/cleaning products can do to keep us healthy. I would like to stress that SMART METERS are EXTREMELY dangerous (not just for health but can explode/catch fire and destroy your house/apt) and very expensive (MANIPULATING DATA CAN RAISE YOUR ELECTRIC BILL !!). 5G is another very dangerous technology being rolled out on our streets. Without our knowledge, anyone living in a large city (over 100k population) might be seeing utility workers putting up new street poles with 5G antennas (they vary in appearance) or adding 5G devices to already existing poles. You have a RIGHT TO KNOW where your taxes are going, who is paying for the roll-out of 5G and IF YOU GIVE CONSENT to the UNKNOWN harm to humans, animals and the environment. Dr. Martin Pall is an expert on 5G and I hope others will look up this information and organize and fight both your city govt/county govt and your utility company or municipality to FIRST DO NO HARM. IF IT AIN’T BROKE….WHY FIX IT? Keep your analog meter and 4G in place.

  6. Stephanie Avatar
    Stephanie

    Hi Katie! We would like to install a security system in our home and most seem to work on wifi. But we turn our wifi off at night. Researched this and some cameras can work off cell phone signals. What can we do in this situation? Would love your thoughts!

  7. Sam Avatar

    I am getting my house resided and would like to wrap my whole house in an EMF shielding material. Do you have any suggestions for a product I could use to do this? Thanks

  8. Meghan Avatar

    Hello! If a cell phone is on airplane mode is it safe to have in our bedroom while we are sleeping? Is it safe to have in our sons bedroom? Thanks

  9. Steve Avatar

    This is an interesting and truly controversial topic due to the incredible amount of money involved. We currently create orgonite pyramids and other pieces that mititgate EMFs. We know they are mitigated due to testing by our daughter who practices Morphogenic Field Technique, MFT. By allowing the body to tell us what works and what doesn’t the orgonite pieces are tested and shown that the body accepts the pieces as mitigators of the negative energy created by the EMFs. That is the short, succinct version. Better sleep, focus, and quality of life are the results. This is not a sales pitch!! We are helping people!!

  10. Cynthia Avatar

    We had an experience with power grids causing my daughter to vibrate. We had gone to a nursery in America Canyon CA to look at plants. The nursery itself was built extremely close to high power lines. She commented that she felt weird and as I touched her I could feel her vibrating! We left right away!!

  11. Claudia Avatar

    My parents recently were part of a Missions group to Tanzania, Africa and my mom mentioned to me that she’s had sciatic pain for weeks but while she was there, she felt no pain at all but it’s returned upon being back home. Another man on the trip also said that he had no back pain while there but that it’s also returned upon being back home. They did manual labor as part of their work there too. I know that had very poor wifi signals because another person in their group had a difficult time working remotely due to the poor signal. Anyway, when she was telling me this, I immediately wondered if this might be due to being in a low emf environment? Just a thought, but I’d love to hear if anyone has more info on a connection between body and nerve pain and emf’s.

    Thanks!

    1. Alex Pearson Avatar
      Alex Pearson

      Last summer when I was sleeping in an RV with a strong WiFi connection, my hats were getting destroyed. I didn’t know this at the time, but the WiFi radiation was bouncing around the RV which acted as a faraday cage. I recommend looking at the Environmental Health Trust at ehtrust.org. They have a lot of scientific articles to back up what they’re saying

  12. Jennifer Prescott Avatar
    Jennifer Prescott

    Thank you for this great, comprehensive overview on EMFs! I include EMFs in the category of a toxin that must be protected against in the home environment – particularly bedrooms. I’ve linked your post to my healthy bedroom posts as a reference. Very grateful to you!

  13. Ann Avatar

    I am looking at buying an infared sauna. I would use this 5-6 times a week for half an hour or an hour. Is this something I should be concerned about and not but? Is there a way I could migate the affects of the sauna, like wearing an EMF reflector pendant or using crystals?

    I really like and want the sauna- would that amount of time hurt me? would it hurt my mitochondria functioning?

  14. Dianna Avatar

    It is to my understanding 5G is absorbed in our food and drink so everyone can enjoy ingesting their radiation. We the consumers are in control of this carcinogen. There’s a YouTube video called EMF Refugees, it’s extremely interesting. Goes into detail. Also there’s a yahoo group of us who share ideas and suggestions when we can handle exposure. You have to request to join, but anyone with any experiences or knowledge or suggestions is welcome. Now that you’re immune system has been overwhelmed, you might not “get rid” of the symptoms easily. It isn’t necessarily an automatic reversal. Look into organite towerbusters and realize, this is what we are giving our kids and grandkids. Our bodies act like little antennas, our skin. Nikola Tesla, though known for his anvancements, was extremely EMF sensitive. You can look it up. The issue is there is so much “electro smog” and it doesn’t just go away or evaporate. Electricity is invisible but we accept it exists. Get as much knowledge about this second tobacco lie and be proactive. The more voices, the better. And btw, it’s been discovered second hand cigarette smoke is not as deadly as this EMF/RF/MW over exposure. Look at your microwave. Look in your phone settings under legal. We are being warned, it’s just in the fine print.

  15. Gary Avatar

    This is one of the stupidest articles I’ve ever read. People believe this nonsense. No wonder our country is in such disarray.

  16. Kathy Avatar

    I skimmed thru the previous questions about EMFs and only saw one about cars. we have a (new to us this week) 2015 with bluetooth and I would like to disable it. I had a professional come to our home and use the EMF meter everywhere and the car was the worst……… and even if we ‘turn off ‘ inside the house etc, we are constantly re exposed inside the car when it’s running…… will grounding daily help to alleviate the problem? are there other forms of detox for daily contact with a vehicle? any ideas on how to disable the bluetooth? I read the manual…… not much help. I tried online and everything I could find mentions how to connect……not disconnect. thanks.

  17. Connie Avatar

    I never thought I would have EMF toxicity. After years of unresolving gastrointestinal issues, resorted to chiropractic/kinesiology treatments that also uses BioEnergetix Wellness system testing.that I started in March with the intent to find core reason for food intolerances, poor digestion, diarrhea, possible parasitic infection by correcting my energy or message pathways of organs that can be affected by environment, diet, emotions, etc. Of my three tests, the latest showed a high response to EMF damage. The doctor suggests I improve my home environment, grounding techniques’, along with his alignment treatments, and suggested he would use infoceuticals to help my body deal with EMF exposure. This was the last thing I ever would have thought would be a concern when thinking about environment. I recently read that an 8 yr. old, diagnosed with Hashimoto disease and after an electrodermal testing, found that radiation and EMF’s from digital cell towers, cell phones, computers, etc. were damaging not just her thyroid, but her whole endocrine system. Her naturopath used homeopathic tinctures and supplements to reverse the damage and magnets and a chip to wear to protect from further damage. She was able to get off thyroid meds and no longer has Hashimotos. Also read about crystals or rocks can help prevent or detox from EMF exposure. There is a lot to learn about how EMF’s affect us.

  18. Jeff Henderson Avatar
    Jeff Henderson

    Can you pls advise the names of 3rd party EMF rating agencies? I am looking to talk to them about their rotating of EV cars.

    Thank you.

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