Understanding Your Exposure to Electromagnetic Field (EMF) Radiation

When we talk about wireless technology there are a couple things we need to understand first about our human body:

  1. Our body has electrical responses. Our cells are specialized to conduct electrical currents. Electricity is required for the nervous system to send signals throughout the body and to the brain, making it possible for us to move, think and feel. 
  2. Our bodies repair and detoxify at night while we sleep, as well as in nature.

What are Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs)?

Generally, it refers to a field of energy that surrounds all electronic devices. Because we co-habituate with so many electronics (refrigerators, lights, lamps, TVs, toys, computers, phones, dishwashing machines, WiFi, etc.) we are always surrounded by EMFs. 

What we worry about mostly is the frequency that decides what the biological effects are of the radiation that hits us as well as the commutative effects of always being exposed to EMF radiation.

There are different types and sources of EMF radiation:

1. Electric Fields

These are always on, because we always have electricity available. As the World Health Organization (WHO) explains, “Plugging a wire into an outlet creates electric fields in the air surrounding the appliance… Since the voltage can exist even when no current is flowing, the appliance does not have to be turned on for an electric field to exist in the room surrounding it.”

Basically, anything with an electric cord that is plugged in creates electric fields, even when it is turned off. Inside our homes, the main sources of electric fields are household wiring (which are mostly out of sight in our walls or floors), TVs, computers, fluorescent lights and light dimmer controls, lamp cords, cell phone chargers, baby wipe warmers, nightlights, vacuum cleaners, diffusers, etc.

2. Magnetic Fields

Magnetic Fields are a concern when an electric current is flowing to power an appliance; in other words, when a motor or appliance is on and running. For example, when your dishwasher, breaker box, HVAC system, refrigerator, wine refrigerators, air filters, hairdryers, irons, transformers are actively working and/or running a cycle.

3. "Dirty" Electricity

Dirty electricity is basically unused electricity that is over-produced by all electronic equipment. In-home offenders include: 

  • Light dimmer switches
  • Fluorescent light bulbs and tubes
  • Desktop computers and laptops
  • Televisions
  • Cordless phone systems
  • Multi-Speed fans

4.  Radio Frequency (RF) Radiation  

This is information being carried via radio waves in the air; we know it as WiFi.    Our ‘Smart’ homes are filled with WiFi due to wireless security systems, home sound systems, a Google Nest, Alexa, ‘Smart’ appliances such as washers, dryers, refrigerators, TVs, wireless printers, cell phones, baby monitors, smart watches, some toys and gaming consoles, and wireless headphones like EarPods.

What is 5G?

5G fits within RF radiation. It stands for the newest (5th) Generation mobile network - not to be confused with the 5.8 GHz WiFi and cordless phone frequencies. Within 5G, there are a wide variety of frequency bands used divided into the "Under 6GHz" and the "Over 20GHz" (for comparison: 4G technology always stayed under 6 GHz while the new 5G antennas will operate in the Over 20 GHz).

There are various concerns with 5G. As we understand it, the Over 20GHz frequency ranges have not been evaluated for safety on humans, or anything living for that matter. These frequency bands are auctioned off in the USA by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to telecommunication companies, but no one has studied what constant exposure to these new frequencies could do to the human body.

Furthermore, cell phone providers are installing many new antennas that will house both the new 5G and preexisting 4G infrastructure all over the country, especially in large cities. They are planned to be much closer together than the old 4G antennas alone (these were generally installed in more urban areas about 1 - 1.5 miles apart). 

Wireless network companies hope that the 5G antennas will be installed every 2-10 houses and at similar proximities in urban areas. The reason for this proximity is that while 5G is strong and can provide very fast upload/download speeds, it does not emit well over long distances. According to Prof. Trevor Marshall, Director of the Autoimmunity Research Foundation, this could mean we will be exposed to at least 100 times more radiation exposure from these new dual 4G/5G antennas.

Potential Harm of All EMFs

In addition to the concern specific to 5G technology, all EMF sources have many reported effects on human health. It's important to understand that our bodies can tolerate some electromagnetic interference - the worry is that in today’s modern and connected world, this exposure is constant and at a much higher level. Basically, the body never has a moment to be without exposure to EMF.

The extent to which EMF can affect an individual’s health depends on a long list of factors, including a person's epigenetics. Nevertheless, a precautionary approach is always advisable. It is important to keep in mind that children, who are still developing, could be more sensitive to EMF exposure and therefore more deeply effected. As is the case with most chemical exposure, the cumulative effects of EMF exposure are also hard to pinpoint and might not be evident for many years. However, just because the effects are not seen immediately, that does not mean they don’t exist.

These are some of the commonly reported effects of EMF exposure:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Headaches and pain
  • Brain fog
  • Poor memory, focus and concentration
  • Weight gain/slow metabolism
  • Increase in ADD symptoms
  • Infertility (lower sperm counts in men and egg quality in women)

What You Can Do at Home

Ultimately it's all about finding balance and moderation. Most of us cannot live in an EMF-free environment - there are actually very few left on earth! - and modern technology benefits us in many ways. If you are particularly sensitive to EMF, we recommend taking all of the following precautions and speaking to a building biologist that specializes in EMF.

Here are some things we can all do at home to at least reduce our exposure to EMFs:

All Around the House 

  • Unplug any electrical item not in use. This includes chargers, lamps, alarm clocks, air filters, electric blankets, heating pads, humidifiers, etc. Pay most attention to bedrooms and children’s play areas where we spend most of our time. At night, unplug anything within 6-8 feet of your bed (this includes any item that is on the other side of a wall).
  • Restrict tablet and smart phone use for kids. When they are using these devices, try to keep it on a table, away from their body. When watching a movie, download it first and have your child watch it while the device is in "airplane mode."
  • Shut off your routers at night. This can be achieved by using a plug-in power timer or turning it off online via your router’s settings.
  • Opt out of smart meters installed by an electric company. If this option is not available to you, try a smart meter guard that blocks RF radiation.
  • For lighting, use incandescent or new halogen incandescent light bulbs, which run straight off 120 volts and do not generate dirty electricity. Newer LEDs are also getting brighter, more affordable and cleaner. Also avoid using dimmers inside the house. If you do have them, make sure the light is completely off and not just ‘dimmed’ off.
  • Do not work, play or sleep next to a running electrical appliance.
  • Invest in EMF & 5G radiation shielding clothing, blankets, cell phone and laptop cases, bags and glasses. We love DefenderShield products for this.

In the Bedroom

  • Never sleep next to a charging mobile phone. Charge your phone in the bathroom or in your closet.
  • Make sure there is no HVAC, circuit breaker box, or other electrical appliance on the other side of a wall you sleep against.
  • Use an RF and Electric Field Shielding base paint on the walls to protect the room from EMF coming from outside, like ECOS paints or Y Shield.
  • Try a bed canopy, such as one from Swiss Shield, which have been shown to reduce exposure to EMFs (note that they must be properly grounded to the earth).
  • For electrosensitive individuals it might be helpful to shut off the bedroom’s  circuit breakers, and not just the light switches.
  • For babies, avoid ‘smart’ baby monitors and cameras and ‘smart’ cribs or bassinets.

    Cell Phones

    • Don’t use bluetooth headphones or hold your phone up to your ear. Instead, use corded headphones or use the speaker function.
    • Never carry your phone on your body (unless it is in airplane mode).
    • Turn off bluetooth when it's not in use.
    • Turn off data if possible.

    Aida Garcia-Toledo is a non-toxic living and sustainability expert based in Los Angeles, CA. Aida founded Non-Toxic Munchkin, now 3 Little Plums, over a decade ago in order to share her expertise and help her community transition to a healthier, safer, more organic life... without the added stress. As a mom herself, Aida is passionate about researching, educating and inspiring others to take on their non-toxic living journey by providing them the research, the know-how and recommending only 3 Little Plums-approved essentials for all stages in life!

    Read More:

    Wi-Fi is an important threat to human health

    The sensitivity of children to electromagnetic fields

    Why children absorb more microwave radiation than adults: The consequences

    The Effects of RF-EMF on the Child Brain

    The content provided in this article(s) is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical or other professional advice. Neither Carson Meyer nor C & The Moon LLC are liable for claims arising from the use of or reliance on information contained in this article.