I trained as an electrical engineer and even though I know EMF interacts with our bodies (most people have experienced sunburn) I guess in my head I’ve always put the electrical world (electricity, wires, computers, mobile phones etc) into a different category to the biological world of plants and animals. If you can’t see it it can’t hurt you!
Of course there are times when they obviously interact – Microwave ovens, visible light. But I’ve gone along with the general consensus that mobile phones are OK, and people who worry about EMF from overhead power lines are loonies.
These holidays I borrowed a couple of books on EMF. ‘The Force’ by Lyn McLean and ‘Zapped’ by Anne Gittleman. Here’s what I learned. Fascinating.
1. I used to think that only ‘ionising’ radiation impacted our bodies, but there are a lot of mechanisms whereby our biological bodies can interact with EMF. It has been shown that EMF can have the following impacts on humans: change the behaviour of calcium Ions in the body, Break DNA strands, change the way iron behaves in the cells, reduce the production of melatonin, increase the glutamate in the brain, change hormone levels, change brain wave activity, change polarisation of water molecules in the body. Not all these things are bad, but they show that EMF does impact our bodies.
2. There are statistical links of the following in high EMF areas: increased childhood leukaemia, increase brain timor, increase in melanoma, decrease in fertility, increase in diabetes, increase in asthma, increase in allergy.
3. EMF comes in many forms and different levels and frequencies impact different people in different ways.
4. Sick people are often more sensitive to EMF.
5. Low levels of EMF over long periods of time are bad as well as high doses over short periods of time.
6. The following are the highest sources of high EMF: Overhead power lines and transformers (especially high voltage), light dimmers, baby monitors, cordless phones, mobile phones, wifi base stations, car and plane travel, home mains power meter boxes, TV and Radio transmitters.
7. Being in close proximity to low EMF devices is bad too: electric blankets, laptops, computer screens, computers built into screens (eg iMac), bluetooth and wifi devices, electrical wiring to appliances such as fridges, washing machines, ovens.
8. The worst EMF emitters round the home are DECT cordless phones and base stations, wifi networks, mobile phones.
9. It’s good not to sleep near these devices.
10. It’s good to turn off all the electricity in your home at night if you can.
11. It’s good to be grounded to the earth – that means go barefoot when you can, or ground yourself in bed if you have trouble sleeping.
12. Australia is behind the rest of the world on this (as with lots of health things).
e.g. approved levels of EMF (in milliGauss)
Australia: 3000 mG
USA: 200 mG
Italy: 2 mG
(Source: The Force p42)
Things you can do:
Keep your landline phone and limit the use of your mobile phone to as little as you can, especially in the car.
Turn of your appliances when you are not using them.
If building, twist your 240V wires round each other.
Dont sleep near apliances.
Use wires network not wireless. Turn off wifi when you are not using it.
If you live under high voltage power lines, or near a mobile phone tower, move.
If your bed is near the meter box, fridge, TV, etc, move it.
Don’t let kids use the mobile (their brain absorbs much more EMF than adults – see this graph.)
Bacteria and EMF:
Google search ‘paramagnetic rock dust and soil bacteria’
Since writing the above article I have turned off the WiFi network in our home, although we do turn it on when we have visitors for their convenience.Our house in now wired with Ethernet cables.
We have replaced our 2 DECT cordless phones with old fashioned Alcatel wired phones.
I estimate that these 2 simple actions have reduced our EMF exposure to about 1/1000th of what it was.
More recently we have sold our Bluetooth mouse and keyboard, and use a USB keyboard again. I have Bluetooth turned of on all our computers and iOS devices.
We still keep our mobile phone on, but I try to use it handsfree or with headphones when I can. And I keep it in the family room – not by our bedhead!