As health-conscious people, we value our longevity and do our best to mitigate our exposure to toxic chemicals in our food, on our skin, in the air and in our soil. But there is a growing public concern about an invisible culprit that could be affecting our well-being without our knowledge and without us being adequately warned: Electromagnetic Frequency. While we can choose what food we eat, what cosmetics we use and where we live, in today’s ultra-connected digital world, it seems almost impossible to avoid living in the midst of the ever-present, low-level EMF.
In 1998, the ICNIRP (International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection) came out with the safety guidelines for limiting exposure to electromagnetic fields. The function of this organization was to examine the hazards associated with low-level, non-ionizing radiation.
“These guidelines will be periodically revised and updated as advances are made in identifying the adverse health effects of time-varying electric, magnetic, and electromagnetic fields.” (1)
Yet no updated guidelines have been released despite the roll-out of new and more powerful wireless signals including the most recent 5G technology. There is a growing concern surrounding the subject of our constant exposure to EMF, particularly radio frequency. Let’s clarify some terminology first…
The term “electromagnetic field” or EMF refers to radiation of a frequency that is slower on the spectrum than visible light. This is also known as non-ionizing radiation, as opposed to the ionizing radiation on the opposite end of the spectrum, faster frequencies than visible light. Ionizing radiation includes x-ray and nuclear radiation. There is no question that these types of radiation are indeed harmful to the human body, but the understanding of how non-ionizing radiation affects us is still shrouded in mystery for the public. Non-ionizing radiation includes ELF Magnetic Fields and ELF Electric Fields such as in power lines, electrical wiring, appliances, light fixtures and many other electrical devices. Radio Frequency is emitted from wireless and electronic devices like cell towers, cell phones, TV/radio towers, Smart Meters, WiFi, baby monitors, microwaves...you know, the numerous devices that we have surrounding ourselves and our children at any given moment.
Remember, the current radiation safety standards applied by most western governments were set by the ICNIRP in 1998 (and by the Federal Communications Commission in 1999) when there was much less scientific research and much less general exposure to low-level radio frequency radiation. They stated that the guidelines were only intended for short-term exposure and “in the case of potential long-term effects of exposure, such as an increased risk of cancer, ICNIRP concluded that available data are insufficient to provide a basis for setting exposure restrictions, although epidemiological research has provided suggestive, but unconvincing, evidence of an association between possible carcinogenic effects.” (1)
If you visit the World Health Organization website, their overview on EMF is lightheartedly peppered with cartoons of what electrical currents look as they are conducted through your body. The WHO casually states that even though your body is full of electrical currents which are affected by low-level EMF, it’s not harmful to you because even though standing underneath a powerline will cause EMF to be conducted through your body and into the ground, it’s not powerful enough to shock you. The explanation seems vague at best. They leave their explanation there and agree with the ICNIRP guidelines that research is inconclusive, but still give no warning as to minimizing your exposure. The WHO website explains that although short term exposure to high level radio frequency is hazardous, “there is no evidence to conclude that exposure to low level electromagnetic fields is harmful to human health.” (2) There are very specific safety guidelines for being careful of high-level exposure like for workers who are close contact with EMF, but most of these major government-run organizations operate under the assumption that because there aren’t enough studies to show direct hazards from low-level exposure, that there is no cause for concern.
Except that’s not true.
Many studies suggest that EMF exposure may be linked to a variety of conditions including leukemia, lymphoma, brain and nervous system cancers, melanoma, breast cancer, miscarriage, birth defects, Alzheimer’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease, depression and suicide. Anecdotally, EMFs have been associated with symptoms such as nausea, headache, fatigue, anxiety, dizziness, mental confusion, memory loss, sleep disturbance, seizures, tinnitus, changes to blood pressure and heart rate, itchy or burning skin sensations, and skin rashes.
One of the most extensive laboratory studies ever done to test the hazardous effects of radio frequency showed in 2018 that 2G and 3G RF indeed caused cancer. (3)
“The National Toxicology Program (NTP) concluded there is clear evidence that male rats exposed to high levels of radio frequency radiation (RFR) like that used in 2G and 3G cell phones developed cancerous heart tumors.”
Is it time to update those 20-year old safety guidelines yet?
These studies didn’t even take into account WiFi technology. What’s even more disturbing about these findings is that the studies took so long to perform, that their 2G and 3G testing platform was already out of date by 2018 now that 4th generation is well in place and there is a new initiative to roll out a pervasive amount of 5G towers around the world.
“5G is an emerging technology that hasn’t really been defined yet. From what we currently understand, it likely differs dramatically from what we studied,” said Wyde of the National Toxicology Program. (3)
5th Generation frequencies run up to 100GHz, the same frequency that the U.S. Army uses in concentrated beams for crowd dispersal weapons that causes the sensation that your skin is on fire (Active Denial Systems). In fact, the frequency of 10 to 100GHz has been shown to penetrate the skin and interact with our sweat glands. There have been virtually no studies to test the safety of 5G on human health and despite the evidence that the earlier generation of cellular technology can indeed cause certain types of cancer, the schedule to install 5G towers continues as planned. The truth is, smart technology simply hasn’t been around long enough for any long-term effects to be studied, let alone the effects of a lifetime of exposure that starts from the embryo. Even cases of brain cancer that are caused by ionizing radiation (or radioactivity), may not become apparent sooner than ten or twenty years after exposure. (7)
Modern humans are celebrating the convenience of having hotspots and WiFi at their beck and call; of having instant access to the internet, GPS and texting stashed right in their pocket, snuggled up next to their reproductive organs. Yet, still no one is clear on whether or not it’s actually safe to have radio frequency coming at us in low-level doses all day long every day and also while we sleep.
And speaking of sleep, EMF is known to interfere with our circadian rhythm, or our sleep/wake cycle by suppressing our secretion of the hormone melatonin. Melatonin is secreted in the pineal gland at night. Research has shown that the marvelous pineal gland can sense fluctuations in the earth’s magnetic field - information it uses to help regulate our circadian rhythm. Electromagnetic frequency has been shown to disrupt this keen perception, causing issues with our sleep. It is estimated that between 50 and 70 million Americans suffer from chronic lack of sleep (9) which can lead to a wide variety of deleterious health consequences including…
You probably sleep with your smartphone next to your head for the alarm to wake you in the morning. Your WiFi router might be nearby and you are likely picking up your neighbor’s WiFi signal as well. This invisible toxin may have been disrupting your precious sleep all along without you knowing.
If you needed more evidence that something is not so good about exposure to radio frequency, listen to the team of 225 international scientists that have signed an appeal to the FCC to cease the roll-out of the 5G network for the sake of public health. The EMF scientists emphasize the greater vulnerability of children, pregnant women and the sick. Each of these 225 scientists has published peer-reviewed studies showing the adverse biological effects of EMF. (5)
“We are scientists engaged in the study of biological and health effects of non-ionizing electromagnetic fields (EMF). Based upon peer-reviewed, published research, we have serious concerns regarding the ubiquitous and increasing exposure to EMF generated by electric and wireless devices. These include–but are not limited to–radiofrequency radiation (RFR) emitting devices, such as cellular and cordless phones and their base stations, Wi-Fi, broadcast antennas, smart meters, and baby monitors as well as electric devices and infra-structures used in the delivery of electricity that generate extremely-low frequency electromagnetic field (ELF EMF).” (6)
The evidence of RF exposure is vast and easy to find once you look for it, yet the public still seems generally unaware of the ever-growing risk because we simply aren’t being properly educated by the authorities that give us the news.
Listen, friends. I’m not trying to tell you that this is a massive cover-up of the hazards of RF. What I found scary and surprising about this subject is that all of this information - the EMF scientist appeal, the fact that there are no studies on the safety of 5G, the evidence of conclusive studies to show that there are harmful effects to our biology -is that I barely had to scratch at the surface to discover this, yet it is so unknown by the public whose lives it is going to affect. It’s not my intention to use fear to leave you biting your nails about the future of our technological progress, but rather to empower and educate you about the ill effects of this technology, how pervasive it is and what you can do to protect yourself. We can’t put a stop to all of the harmful things that impact us on a daily basis, but we can become aware of the risks and learn how to minimize these issues.
WiFi routers are about 100 times as powerful as they need to be to generate a signal strong enough for your household. Just think, how often are you able to pick up your neighbor’s WiFi? And the neighbor 6 doors down too? There is a simple way to dampen this signal and still be able to stream your videos in any room of the house. You can create a casing out of hardware cloth (this allows it to vent its heat) and keep a very small area open. This is, in essence, a mini Faraday cage for your router, but not sealing it 100% will allow that signal to still come through. You can also simply enclose the router in tin foil, leaving some vent holes open. If you need a little more signal, just cut an extra hole or two in the back. Even the act of turning your WiFi off at night will decrease your exposure greatly, especially during those important nighttime hours.
RF is greatly dependent on proximity. Even keeping your phone twelve inches from your body as opposed to directly next to it will massively decrease your RF exposure. And unfortunately no, keeping it on airplane mode will not significantly reduce the EMF. If you need to put it in your pocket, turn it off.
Even the name laptop defines this device as intended to be put in your lap. Research has shown that the genitals can be particularly affected by RF. There are EMF-blocking laptop and tablet pads that you can use as a barrier between yourself and your devices. It may not be convenient, but keep it away from your junk.
Even if you hold your phone away from your head, there will still be EMF conducted back to your body through your hand, but it’s at least better than keeping it directly next to your head. Even wireless bluetooth devices will be giving off RF so those aren’t a great option either.
There are websites including antennasearch.com which allow you to type in your address and view the antennas and towers in your area, although I have found the newer towers aren’t often listed. Keep an eye out for towers in your area. They are frequently found next to apartment buildings and on churches or schools. If you live have a cell tower on your building and have been noticing EMF sensitivity symptoms, it may be time to move.
If you find yourself particularly worried about your exposure and maybe have trouble sleeping, you can invest in EMF-blocking bed canopies. These companies often sell sizes that will fit an infant crib or child’s bed as well.
The skeptics out there may be chuckling at the idea of us walking around wearing tin foil hats. But just stop to consider: while these measures may seem extreme to some, it’s really not so far-fetched to think of protecting ourselves with silver, EMF-blocking fabric when we wear sunscreen and sunglasses to block UV radiation. Our mothers scolded us not to stand right in front of the microwave oven as kids. X-Ray technicians take great care to protect patients’ bodies with lead vests. Is it so strange to want to protect ourselves from radio frequency too?