In EMF Exposure Part 1 – The Science, we discovered how difficult it is to escape electromagnetic frequencies in our environment. So what can we do to manage our exposure and protect our families?
Discovering Your EMF Load:
My recommendation is to test your home and workplace with an EMF meter (gauss meter). You can hire a company with a professional meter, or you may be able to obtain a meter for rent or borrow at a local library or business. If you would like to purchase your own meter you can find them online. They range in price from $20 to several hundred dollars. We purchased a meter for $25. The basic meter can take a reading in close range, however it does not have the ability to take ambient readings. You will need a good quality meter with the proper antenna to take an accurate ambient reading.
Protecting your Family:
Below is a list of electronics and devices with the potential to emit high electromagnetic frequencies. The list includes heavy offenders along with a few ideas to reduce your exposure. However, this is just a guideline to get you started. You may discover as you test your space that you have unexpected items registering well above reasonable levels. The best defense against EMF exposure is distance. If you find a devise registers high it is important to keep a proper distance and remember certain elements like metal can act as a conductor. It is also a good idea to turn off all electronics when not in use.
Take a look at the EM Watch link with a list of electronics tested with a Gauss Meter. The list also gives you an idea as to how far from a devise you will need to be to avoid exposure.
From the BioInitiative Report 2012, “While new ELF limits are being developed and implemented, a reasonable approach would be a 1 mG planning limit for habitable space adjacent to all new or upgraded power lines and a 2 mG limit for all other new construction. It is also recommended for that a 1 mG limit be established or existing habitable space for children and/or women who are pregnant (because of the possible link between childhood leukemia and in utero exposure to ELF).”
(See below for a discussion of ‘dirty electricity’ and ‘transformers’ as mentioned throughout this article.)
Computers and Laptops:
- Do not put laptops on your lap or body. Put electronic devices on a solid, non-metal surface (metal can act like a conductor).
- Computers, including laptops, should be hardwired with an Ethernet cable (USB adaptors are available for laptops that do not have an Ethernet port). Turn off the Wi-Fi setting on your computer once connected.
- Printers, mice, and keyboards should also be hardwired.
- Turn off Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS and location tracking when not in use.
- Surge protectors or any place you have several devises plugged into one area can create a high level of EMF’s. The surge protector under my desk, an inch from my feet, tested at 174.4 mG.
TV’s, Streaming Boxes, & Game Consoles:
- Flat panel TV’s tend to have a lower EMF load then the old box style TV.
- When possible hardwire channel streaming boxes and game consoles.
- Use wired controllers for game consoles.
- Do not carry a cell phone in your pocket or on your body unless in ‘airplane’ mode or contained in a Faraday style sleeve or pouch.
- Do not hold a cell phone directly to your ear, use the speaker or air tube/hollow tube headset (most cell phone user manuals recommend that you do not put the phone directly to your head).
- Do not use a cell phone in your car, elevator, train, airplane, or metal room. The metal surround amplifies the EMF’s.
- Turn off Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, and location tracking when not in use.
- If you are using GPS navigation try downloading the map ahead of time instead of using constant data, the car’s metal cage amplifies the signal.
- Do not use cordless DECT phones, instead use a wired phone or an older cordless phone. I also suggest testing your corded phone – the handset on my CL2902 phone registers high at 8mG.
- If using a baby monitor make sure it is hardwired.
- If you must use a wireless baby monitor mount the monitor as far away from baby as possible, preferably outside of the room. Do not plug the unit in near the baby, the plugs often contain a transformer releasing high amounts of EMF.
- It is best to use a hardwired system.
- If you do use wireless, turn it off at night or anytime when not in use.
Smart Meters (Exterior Electrical Meters):
- Test with a gauss meter. If you have high readings use EMF-blocking materials to protect family members inside your home. Our meter hovered around 66 mG with spikes about every 5 seconds beyond what the meter could measure.
- Avoid appliances that communicate using Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. These will increase your exposure. If you already have them consider disabling the connection.
- Do not stand near it when in use, go into another room.
- Use another form of heating when possible. Toaster ovens, steam ovens and pressure cookers can be good alternatives. It is a good idea to test your microwave, when in use our microwave tested between 55mG and 144mG (in front of the closed door).
Cell Tower, Electrical Field or Powerlines:
- If you live or work near a cell tower or electrical field, test the environment around you. There are products on the market you can use to protect yourself including EMF-blocking paint, drapery, and wearables.
Electric Clocks or Alarm Clocks:
- Do not place electric clocks or alarm clocks near the ‘head’ of your bed, they can interrupt your sleep. Many digital alarm clocks contain a transformer inside of the clock housing or at the plug. The alarm clock sitting on my nightstand tested at 66.1mG.
- Do not use electric blankets near or wrapped around your body. My friends in the north, I truly understand your disappointment on this one. An electric blanket was my lifeline on a long winter’s day. However wrapping your body in electricity is not a good idea, especially for kids and pregnant women.
- Fluorescent and LED lighting requires a transformer which creates dirty electricity, and this contributes to your home’s EMF load. There are products on the market that use a fairly clean and efficient transformer. Consult a lighting store for products and spec sheets.
- Incandescent bulbs are an alternative.
Solar or wind power inverters:
- Solar or wind power inverters tend to create high EMF levels. If you own this type of system take steps to install the inverters way from sleeping areas and areas that are occupied on a regular basis.
- Opt for a hardwired system.
- If you use a wireless system avoid setting the alarm when you are home.
Health and Beauty:
- Things you use on or near your head should be given special consideration: hairdryers, curlers, electric toothbrushes, electric razors, etc. They are held close to a very active and sensitive part of your body – your brain. This means it is important to limit their use or remove them altogether. My hairdryer tested 118 mG at the handle and my air curler tested at 187 mG with spikes beyond what the meter could measure. All this time I thought it was the loud noise giving me the headache in the morning, maybe that was only half of the problem.
Designing to Reduce EMF Exposure:
Everything electronic emits EMF’s in varying degrees. For many, having an electronic-free zone in your home or workplace could have a big impact on your health and wellbeing. The area where you sleep is most important since our bodies detoxify and recharge while we sleep. Offices and workplaces could greatly benefit from EMF ‘free’ zones. Most business use a large number of electronics. Offering employees an EMF free room to take a break can decrease overall workplace stress. Most important of all are schools and locations where children spend their time. As we learned in Part 1, children are two times more susceptible to the effects of EMF’s.
The first step to reducing EMF exposure is to hardwire as many systems as possible. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are major contributors to ambient EMF exposure. When building or renovating it is the best time to install wall jacks and an Ethernet hub. If you are not renovating there are companies that can retrofit your space by running wires through basements, attics, or a plenum.
Second is to find alternatives for heavy offenders. For example, installing a steam oven instead of a microwave, or contacting your utility company to have your smart meter replace with an analog meter. After you test your space and have a grasp on the areas that are most problematic it is easier to determine the best solutions.
EMF Sensitivity or EMF ‘Free’ Zone:
For those who are sensitive to EMF’s or for any room like a bedroom or a child’s room where you would like to create an EMF free zone, there are several avenues you can pursue. Begin with the electrical wiring in the walls. The electrical wiring creates varying amounts of EMF. This can be dependent on the amount of dirty electricity in your home or neighborhood. To reduce the EMF’s coming through the wiring and outlets, run the electrical wires through conduit pipes and install EMF-blocking switch plates. If the room is already built, applying an EMF-blocking paint can reduce the frequency coming through the walls. This special paint can also work for Wi-Fi or radio frequencies outside of the room. Since fluorescent and LED lighting is a source of EMF’s, opt for products that use an efficient transformer or incandescent bulbs. For windows, drapery is available to shield the interior from outside frequencies. For those who are just looking for an option while sleeping, EMF-blocking sheets, blankets and bed canopies are available. Once a room or area is treated to block electromagnetic frequencies it is important to remove all electronic devices. Using an electronic device in a room that has been treated with EMF-blocking paint or materials can amplify the signal.
What is Dirty Electricity:
Dirty electricity – what is it and where does it come from? “…high frequency voltage transients, or “dirty electricity.” Transients are largely by-products of modern energy-efficient electronics and appliances — from computers, refrigerators, and plasma TVs to compact fluorescent lightbulbs and dimmer switches — which tamp down the electricity they use. This manipulation of current creates a wildly fluctuating and potentially dangerous electromagnetic field that not only radiates into the immediate environment but also can back up along home or office wiring all the way to the utility, infecting every energy customer in between.” [ Michael Segell from MSNBC ]
What is a Transformer:
According to Roy Riggs, “Transformers – The job of a transformer is to convert high voltage to low voltage. An example of this is a digital bedside alarm clock that only need 6 volts to operate, but is plugged into your 120 volt ring circuit (240 volts in the UK). The volts that it doesn’t need are radiated out as energy and heat. Bedside clocks usually have the transformers inside the clock housing. Most others are usually black and look like big 3 point plugs and are hot to touch.” Transformers are commonly found on household items. Some are easy to identify, and others are contained in the housing of the electronic device. It is important to keep transformer boxes, such as the one on your laptop cord or the large plugs that you find on many electrical devices, at least two feet away from your body.
Though the volume and complexity of the information about EMF’s may be daunting, we can take charge of our exposure levels, and our well-being, with a bit of thoughtful design and planning. This may mean altering or adapting a few of our technological customs, but even making just a few key changes can be impactful. I believe for most of us our health and the health of those we love is worth any minor inconvenience we may encounter.
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Holistic Primary Care