‘The Scientific evidence is overwhelming that there are adverse health effects associated with this, that is no longer a possible maybe, people who use those terms are just trying to protect their reputation by not being definitive; there are health issues that are very very well documented and they have been documented for more than 40 years.’ Magda Havis (Feb 1st 2013, HAPA Round Table on EMF, Toronto)
Modern day exposure to electromagnetic fields may give new meaning to the term ‘magnetic personality’, the statement ‘I’ve being charged’, the activity of ‘circuit training’ at your local gym, or the expectation of what you will hear about on ‘The Current News’.
Health issues related to electromagnetic fields may present one of the most challenging emerging issues of our time. Growing concerns over deleterious health effects from EMFs will inevitably clash with a world wide growing dependence on gadgets and technologies and the companies that profit from them. A whole new dimension of possibilities has been added to the existing knowledge of airborne pollutants. If we could see all the EMFs around us from power lines, mobile phones, television, computers, smart meters, WiFi, microwaves, antennas, towers, and more, perhaps every day would appear like the 4th of July.
Reflective of this new era are emerging terms such as ‘Electromagnetic Sensitivity’, ‘Electro-Refugees’ and ‘ElectroSmog’. There is a growing involvement of scholars, medical professionals, and scientists who are conducting studies and attending international conferences to discuss concerns about EMFs.
How Can EMFs Affect Us? A better question may be how can EMFs not affect us? To deny that there is a significant possibility that EMFs interact and affect our bodies really goes against logic. The human body can be thought of as a low current electrical device. We are electrical. Some of our illnesses are diagnosed with devices and tests such as EEGs and EKGs that measure body electricity. We accept the possible interference of EMFs with cardiac pacemakers and electrical equipment causing equipment malfunction, static on wireless broadcast, and flickers on computer screens. We also use devices to treat health issues that deliver pulsed electromagnetic fields such as a TENS machine for pain.
In my opinion it is not a question of do they affect us but rather how do they affect us. Our internal bioelectrical environment determines the operation of every cell in the body, our nervous system, heart and brain activity, and more. Each beat of our heart is triggered by an electrical signal. Voltage-gated ion channels in our body play a critical role in the actions of cells, especially of the nervous system. Free radicals that cause damage to our tissues and organs in the body are positively-charged molecules and naturally seek out negatively charged ions in order to stabilize themselves.
In a perfect world without human created EMF interference, if you stand on the earth/ground barefoot you will experience the negative electrical potential of its surface. These electrons are conducted to your body in an attempt to bring it to the same electrical potential as the earth. According to new research, this process, sometimes referred to as earthing or grounding, may have favorable physiological and electrophysiological impacts on your health. The book ‘Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever?” is a fascinating read about how we may be affected by the earths natural currents.
Regardless of studies, we are hearing more and more the stories of people who claim to be sick because of EMFs. I myself experience an immediate sensation of heat and at times a sharp pain when holding a cell phone directly to my ear. For others the experiences are much more profound. Here is one man’s story about man versus EMFs. Eric is a local Ontario citizen who tells his story as an ‘Electro-Refugees’. It is poignant and eye opening: https://soundcloud.com/health-conversations/story-of-an-electro-refugee
Symptoms reported to be caused by EMFs may be extremely varied in type and intensity. EMFs appear to affect multiple organs (including the skin, eyes, heart, lungs, stomach and nervous system) and cause a wide range of symptoms: skin reactions, rapid heartbeats, high blood pressure, headaches, pain, dizziness, poor concentration and memory, nausea, numbness, insomnia, tinnitus, tremors/cramps, anxiety/depression, haziness/confusion, irritability and speech difficulties.
BioInitiative Report 2007, written by an international group of scientists, researchers and public health policy professionals, is an ongoing initiative to document the scientific evidence on electromagnetic fields. Included are reports linking EMFs to childhood leukemia, brain tumors, Alzheimer’s and more. You may access these reports here: www.bioinitiative.org/freeaccess/report/index.htm
What Can We Do About EMFs? I believe strongly in the precautionary principle which denotes a duty to prevent harm, when it is within our power to do so, even when all the evidence is not in. I also know that as citizens we must be informed and politically active to really address this huge issue. At the same time, we can all start in our own lives to make some modifications to protect ourselves.
TIPS ON REDUCING EXPOSURE TO EMFs
The Office and Computing Area
• Limit working on a laptop and never put it on your lap or use it when plugged into an electrical outlet. Use it on battery mode only.
• When replacing your computer monitor (or TV) buy a new LCD (Liquid Crystal Display)
• Clean up the electrical power cords and transformers around your desk and reroute them away from your feet and seating area.
• Don’t install a wireless network (wi-fi) in your home or office.
• Don’t buy DECT cordless portable phone (they emit 24/7 while not in use).
• Never use baby monitors with DECT technology
• Limit the time you spend talking on a cordless phone and cell phones especially children
• Put your cell phone on airplane mode when not in use or when using applications that don’t require wi-fi
Electrical Wiring and Devices
• Unplug all electrical power cords and devices that are not in use (ex. lamps, toasters, clock radios) and limit the use of electrical devices in the bedroom.
• Position your bed so you are furthest from any electrical devices
• Avoid installing low-voltage (12 volt) halogen, florescent tube, or energy-efficient compact fluorescent lighting (CFL). While energy efficient, they create “dirty electricity” and EMFs.
• Replace all the dimmer switches in your house with regular switches.
For an elaboration on some of these points above visit the website EMFsolutions.ca from where much of the content was taken.
Assessing your EMF Exposure at Home or Work. A growing number of specialized companies perform assessments of your home and work place EMF status and provide various types of technologies and/or advice. Here are some places your can inquire about. While I encourage my readers to do their research and have heard many positive reports about such companies and products, I do not specifically endorse any particular company or product.
Sources of Further Information