Is EMF Exposure Really a Big Deal?

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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.


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.


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.


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!


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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. 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.


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

  1. Carsten W Avatar
    Carsten W

    You go to all the trouble of outlining the two sides, you carefully stay neutral and outline some studies which have been done, and then you suddenly spring a Somavedic on us which magically fights physics and science via no known mechanism? How is this thing supposed to protect us? Whoever designed it does not understand how wave propagation works. If it works for anyone at all, then likely as a placebo (which can be very powerful if you truly believe in them, due to our body’s self-healing power).

  2. Nina Vechkanov Avatar
    Nina Vechkanov

    Hi All,

    Just wanted to point this out, WHO did not update their website when their source released new research in 2010. In that article is says “ This publication replaces the low-frequency part of the 1998 guidelines (ICNIRP 1998). ICNIRP is currently revising the guidelines for the high-frequency portion of the spectrum (above 100 kHz).”

    Here is the link to the full article
    Here is the link to all their publications

  3. Bonita Bateson Avatar
    Bonita Bateson

    I have a EMF meter and inside my house is not bad; but I walk outside my front door and power lines go right over my front yard over 235 volts coming at me just under the power line and by the power pole over 300 volts. Everyone is talking about inside the house; but how do you protect yourself while mowing the grass, etc.
    In loving kindness,

  4. Jessica Avatar

    Do you feel any difference with the somavedic? I noticed in your recommendation, you mentioned that only your friends feel a difference. Do you believe it will effectively mitigate emf? I noticed in their studies they have a very small sample size. Any feedback would be helpful! Thanks!

  5. Nicole Avatar

    Just touching base to see if a more detailed and recent version of EMF as been published please?

  6. Melisa Avatar

    Would standing on a grounding mat while in a sauna block the EMFs from entering the body?

  7. Ian Avatar

    She lost credibility when she mentioned she uses a bio meridian machine. Irresponsible with the science. You have no way to connect EMF’s to all these symptoms you were experiencing

  8. William McCoy Avatar
    William McCoy

    Aloha, my left foot recently dropped(can’t lift up). The Dr said it is a result trauma but no known injury. Today I realized that when I sit outside; often for several hours a day, my left leg is right next to a wall mounted A C unit. Could that be the culprit?

  9. Sarah Avatar

    My three year old out of the blue developed a stutter. He has never stuttered before. Its obviously concerning me and I now remember that our gas company installed a new EMF emitting smart meter on our home two weeks ago. His stutter started one week ago. Any thoughts? Anyone else heard of this?

  10. Dennis Avatar

    Howdy! Dennis Wells here! I grew up under 3 high tension power lines inn Garden Grove CA. I was wondering if approx. 20yrs. of that kind of exposure would have any effect on my health? I have 2 sisters, 1 older, 1 younger and they both have health issues. I fortunately do not, I am very healthy, no issues at all! What is up with that? I just thought I would chime in on this as it has often crossed my mind. Funny things is I am the 50yr. drug addict alcoholic in the family and still very healthy. Interesting,Eh?

  11. Kristen Conklin Avatar
    Kristen Conklin

    Hi! I hope passing along this information brings you joy through knowledge. These are my favorite technical finds. I’m an electrical engineer looking for a way to prove that some EMFs are VERY bad, but not all. If you’d like assistance with a technical interpretation of the document please let me know.

    Microwave frequency electromagnetic fields (EMFs) produce widespread neuropsychiatric effects including depression. – PubMed – NCBI

    [Effects of microwave irradiation on ATPase activity and voltage dependent ion channel of rat hippocampus cell membrane]. – PubMed – NCBI

    This technology has been around for quite some time according to the patent office.

    US3951134A – Apparatus and method for remotely monitoring and altering brain waves

    I have several other documents that are free from my personal interpretation of you’d enjoy.

    Thanks for all you’ve done!

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