“Cells in the body react to EMFs as potentially harmful, just like to other environmental toxins, including heavy metals and toxic chemicals. The DNA in living cells recognizes electromagnetic fields at very low levels of exposure, and produces a biochemical stress response.” 1 — Reba Goodman, Ph.D., professor emeritus, clinical pathology, Columbia University
We have a new health concern about which many people are completely unaware: EMF exposure and their health risks. EMFs (or electromagnetic fields) in the form of non-ionizing radio frequency (RF) and extremely low frequency (ELF) surround us. Every electronic device emits EMFs, including laptops, cell phones, Wi-Fi routers, kitchen appliances, hair dryers, FitBits, and more! EVERY electronic device.
25 years ago, EMF exposure was comparatively low. Today, our bodies are bombarded with EMFs from all sides, day and night, virtually everywhere we go. The long-term effect of this relatively sudden flood of ever-increasing EMF exposure has not been well studied and may have many unintended consequences. With more people now working from home, connecting via online web services, and using more wireless technology, we are more exposed than ever before. However, few people are questioning the health implications of this technology and are just going about business as usual, feeling grateful for the convenience. In this article, we will first review the many ways in which EMFs can harm your health and then provide many ideas for protecting yourself.
EMF Exposure: Can EMFs Harm?
Yes. Many studies show that ongoing exposure to EMFs can induce DNA damage and may cause a variety of health problems, including cancer, premature aging, neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric diseases, reduced immunity, heart disease, cardiac arrhythmias, metabolic syndrome, and more. The main problem is the mitochondrial (cell) damage triggered by peroxynitrites, which are free radicals (substances that damage cells).2,3,4
Another way that EMFs affect humans is through something called Voltage Gated Calcium Channels (VGCCs). When these channels are exposed to EMFs, they become dysfunctional and flood the body with excess calcium, causing oxidative stress, which is a major contributor to nearly every chronic disease.
EMF exposure can also cause harm by opening the blood-brain barrier, allowing other toxic invaders such as heavy metals, pesticides, and other pollutants through this important barrier, potentially contributing to neurodegenerative diseases. Some studies show that EMFs can also cause changes in the beneficial bacteria in your gut, possibly turning beneficial microbes into disease-causing microbes.6 Since the gut plays an essential role in immune health, this can also have far-reaching effects. It is important to note that exposure is increasing as new technologies, such as 5G, are launched. Thus, the harmful effects are magnified and may become more damaging, with little warning for the public.
How to Protect Yourself
There are some things you can do to reduce your overall exposure to EMFs. Keep in mind that harm comes from accumulated exposure over time. Three things are known to help minimize risks:
1. Eliminate the Source
You may choose to turn off the Wi-Fi at home and use hard wiring for your computers and television. If that’s not an option, consider turning off your Wi-Fi router at night. Get rid of baby monitors and cordless phones, and unplug appliances whenever possible.
2. Create Distance and Reduce Time
If you create distance between you and the source, it will reduce intensity.
- Be sure to use your cell phone at least one foot away from your body (use speakerphone when possible or earbuds with an integrated microphone).
- Turn your phone off at night or put it in airplane mode while keeping it away from your body.
- Take breaks from using electronic devices. Never carry your cell phone in a pocket or anywhere close to your body. Avoid using laptops and tablets on your lap.
- Avoid using your cell phone when the reception is bad since some phones ramp up their emissions, which increases your exposure.
- Spend time in nature, parks, and other areas where you are far removed from sources of EMF exposure.
3. Shield Yourself
It is possible to decrease exposure by using EMF shielding. Cell phone and laptop cases should have third-party FCC verification and block both RF and ELF radiation.
EMF Exposure: Know the “Big” Sources.
Power lines, household wiring, Wi-Fi networks, electric blankets, microwave ovens, alarm clocks, hair dryers, baby monitors, cordless phone bases, and smart meters are among the biggest sources of exposure. Wearable health tracking devices are also a source of exposure and may be problematic depending on overall exposure.
Although we can’t completely escape emerging technology, it is important to recognize and reduce exposure wherever possible. Earthing (or grounding) is a great way to help neutralize exposure to electro-pollution.
- Debaun Daniel T, Debaun Ryan P, Radiation Nation: Your Complete Guide to EMF Radiation Safety, p. 59
- Rev Environ Health. 2015;30(2):99-116
- International Journal of Innovative Research in Engineering and Management, September 2015; 2(5)
- J Cell Mol Med. 2013 Aug;17(8):958-65
- Pall, Martin L, Electromagnetic fields act via activation of voltage-gated calcium channels to produce beneficial or adverse effects J Cell Mol Med. 2013 Aug; 17(8): 958–965. Published online 2013 Jun 26. doi: 10.1111/jcmm.12088
- Taheri, M, Mortazavi SMJ, Moradi M, Evaluation of the Effect of Radiofrequency Radiation Emitted from Wi-Fi Router and Mobil Phone Simulator on the Antibacterial Susceptibility of Pathogenic Bacteria Listeria monocytonenes and Escherica coli, January 2017 https://doi.org/10.1177/1559325816688527
- Chevalier G, Patel S, Weiss L, Chopra D, Mills P, The Effects of Grounding (Earthing) on Bodyworkers’ Pain and Overall Quality of Life: A Randomized Controlled Trial; Explore, Vol. 15, Issue 3, May-June 2019, Pages 181-190
- Chavalier G, Sinatra S, Oschman J, Delany R, Earthing (Grounding) the Human Body Reduces Blood Viscosity – a Major Factor in Cardiovascular Disease, The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Vol 19, Number 2, 2013, pp. 102-110
- Chavalier G, Sinatra S, Oschman J, Sokal K, Sokal P, Earthing: Health Implications of Reconnecting the Human Body to the Earth’s Surface Electrons, Journal of Environmental and Public Health, Vol 2012, Article ID 291541