What are electromagnetic fields (EMF)?
Electromagnetic radiation (EMR) or electromagnetic fields (EMF) broadly define the exposures created by wired and wireless technologies. You cannot see, taste, or smell electromagnetic fields; however, exposure to EMFs has now been shown to affect human biological processes, according to the BioIniative 2012 report. Human beings are bioelectrical systems. Our hearts and brains are regulated by internal bioelectrical signals. Environmental exposures to artificial EMFs can interact with fundamental biological processes in the human body. In some cases, this can cause discomfort and disease.
The BioInitiative 2012 report covers about 1800 new studies reporting bioeffects and adverse health effects of electromagnetic fields (power lines, electrical wiring, appliances and hand-held devices) – and wireless technologies (cell and cordless phones, cell towers, WI-FI, wireless laptops, wireless routers, baby monitors, surveillance systems, wireless utility meters (‘smart meters,’ etc.).
What are the Sources of Electromagnetic Fields?
According to the International Institute for Building-Biology and Ecology, there are many sources of man-made and naturally occurring electro-magnetic radiation that we are commonly exposed to.
The following is a summary of these sources:
- AC electric fields come from AC voltage in electrical installations, cables, appliances, outlets, walls, floors, beds, and high-tension and other power lines.
- AC magnetic fields come from AC current in electrical installations, cables, appliances, transformers, motors, overhead and ground cables, power lines, and railways.
- Radiofrequency radiation comes from cell phone technology, RF transmitters, broadcast, trunked radio systems, line-of-sight systems, radar, military, and cordless phones.
- DC electric fields come from synthetic carpeting, drapes and textiles, vinyl wallpaper, varnishes, laminates, stuffed toy animals, TV and computer screens.
- DC magnetic fields come from steel components in beds, mattresses, furniture, appliances, and building materials. DC current is also present in street cars and photovoltaic systems.
- Radioactivity comes from building materials, stones, tiles, slags, waste products, devices, antiques, ventilation, terrestrial radiation, location, and the environment.
- Geological disturbances cause currents and radioactivity in the earth. These are local disturbances caused by faults, fractures, and underground water courses.
- Sound and vibration come from traffic noise, air traffic, train traffic, industry, buildings, devices, machines, motors, transformers, and sound bridges.
By reading through this lengthy list, it is obvious that we are all exposed to a variety of EMRs. As stated in the summary of the BioInitiative 2012 report, virtually everyone is exposed on a daily basis to two types of EMF’s:
- Extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields (electronics in our homes and work spaces and power lines)
- Radiofrequency radiation (through wireless communication sources, cellular antennas, and broadcast transmission towers)
NOTE * These types of radiation are non-ionizing radiation, which 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.
What are the Effects of EMF Exposure on Our Bodies and Our Health?
The approximately 1,800 new studies reflected in the BioInitiative 2012 report highlight the following as some of the effects of EMF exposure:
- Abnormal gene transcription
- Genotoxicity and single-and double-strand DNA damage
- Stress proteins because of the fractal RF-antenna like nature of DNA
- Chromatin condensation and loss of DNA repair capacity in human stem cells
- Reduction in free-radical scavengers – particularly melatonin
- Neurotoxicity in humans and animals
- Carcinogenicity in humans
- Serious impacts on human and animal sperm morphology and function
- Effects on offspring behavior
- Effects on brain and cranial bone development in the offspring of animals that are exposed to cell phone radiation during pregnancy
The BioInitiative 2012 report makes the following statements about human health and Electromagnetic Fields( EMF )exposure:
- “People who have used a cell phone for ten years or more have higher rates of malignant brain tumor and acoustic neuromas. It is worse if the cell phone has been used primarily on one side of the head.”
- “The evidence from studies on women in the workplace rather strongly suggests that EMF is a risk factor for breast cancer for women with long-term exposures of 10 mg and higher.”
- “The consequence of prolonged exposures to children, whose nervous systems continue to develop until late adolescence, is unknown at this time. This could have serious implications to adult health and functioning in society if years of exposure of the young to both EMF and RF result in diminished capacity for thinking, judgment, memory, learning, and control over behavior.”
- “Alzheimer’s disease is a disease of the nervous system. There is strong evidence that long-term exposure to EMF is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease.”
For a full look at the report click here.
Create a safe haven from electromagnetic radiation
How to Make Our Homes a Retreat from Constant EMF Exposure?
We now realize our bodies are constantly being bombarded by electromagnetic radiation all day long, and there is mounting evidence that this constant exposure has effects on our health. While we may not be able to make immediate changes in some areas of our environment, such as work or school, we can make our sleeping hours a time for cell regeneration and body healing.
Start by making your bedroom a safe haven and reduce your EMF exposure. According the International institute for Building Biology and Ecology there are five easy steps you can take to create a Sleeping Sanctuary:
- “Use battery-powered clocks near bed: Research has shown exposure to high magnetic fields while sleeping can cause severe long-term illness. Many electric clocks produce high magnetic fields.”
- “Turn off bedroom-affecting circuits: A restful sleep is necessary for health and a strong immune system. Electric fields affect your bio-communications, keeping you from sleeping soundly.”
- “Eliminate, minimize, or shield from Radio frequency (RF): RF signals from portable phones, cell phones, and wireless devices have been shown to interfere with the body’s immune system.”
- “Use beds without metal: Metal frames and metal box springs can amplify and distort the earth’s natural magnetic field, which can lead to a non-restful sleep. Use natural materials.”
- “Make sure there are no elevated magnetic fields: Magnetic fields from appliances and building wiring can penetrate walls into a bedroom and disrupt the body’s communication system.”
The International Institute for Building-Biology and Ecology suggests the following simple cost-free examples of ways you can minimize your exposure to various EMFs throughout your own home:
1) Forward your cellphone to your landline when you get home and then power off your cellphone.
2) Use corded phones, and unplug your cordless phones (from power sources) when not in use, particularly before bedtime.
3) Turn off your wireless internet router (Wi-Fi) when not in use, particularly before bedtime – and better yet hardwire your router via ethernet cable to your computer(s) and disable your modem’s Wi-Fi signal.
4) Maintain a distance of at least six feet between your bed and all electrical devices.
5) Before bedtime, turn off the circuit breaker that serves your bedroom(s).
Although we live in a world with increasing EMF exposure, we can take some steps to reduce the stress this can cause on our bodies. Be mindful of creating a EMF-free zone especially during your sleeping hours. Follow some of the steps listed above to give your body a break from these exposures.