I have wanted to raise the consciousness of my readers regarding the biological impact of electromagnetic radiation (EMR’s) or electromagnetic frequencies (EMF) on human health and the environment for a long time, but have felt so dismayed by what I have been learning, that I have wanted to avoid it. It is clear to me that our exposure to EMR’s is an unacknowledged public health crisis. This is yet another very inconvenient truth, just like the devastating impact that our dependence on fossil fuels has on the planet, or the ethical dilemma that the consequence of the mass production of meat is cruelty to animals. It’s overwhelming to accept that our current first world culture and practices are completely unsustainable and damaging not only to the environment, but are seriously degrading our health.
The bulk of what I learned about EMR’s has been via Dr. Martin Blank’s excellent book “Overpowered” , which was published in 2014. Martin Blank, PhD is an expert on the health-related effects of electromagnetic fields and has been studying the subject for over thirty years. He is a scientist with two PhDs, one from Columbia University in physical chemistry and the second from the University of Cambridge in colloid science, and serves as an expert regarding EMR safety for the Canadian Parliament. Everyone should read this very important accessible book to understand the reality and magnitude of this problem, and what we can do about it.
Before reading “Overpowered”, I thought that the problem had to do with cell phones and wireless technology, but now understand that we are adversely impacted by our exposure to all electricity, including common low tech devices such as hairdryers, toasters and electric clocks and blankets. Who knew? ! Some of our exposure is completely unavoidable, such as the exposure we sustain due to the frequencies in our environment from cell phone towers and electric power lines, but there are some simple steps within our control that we can take to reduce the harm. I will list some of them at the end of the post.
Prior to 200 years ago, our only exposure to EMR came from sunlight and other cosmic sources, lightening and geomagnetic forces. ” In 1879 only 250 people owned telephones in all of New York City, just ten years later, dense forests of telephone poles were sprouting eighty and ninety feet tall, bearing up to thirty cross-branches each. Each tree in these electric groves supported up to three hundred wires, obscuring the sun and darkening the avenues below.” (The Invisible Rainbow: A History of Electricity and Life p 75, by environmental activist Arthur Firstenberg.) This is a picture of New York City during a March blizzard in 1888. As you can see from the photo, cities became electrified practically overnight.
Electricity and our capacity to harness it is the foundation of modern civilization. Just as there was an Iron Age and a Bronze Age, Dr. Blank suggests that we are now living in the Electromagnetic Age. Electricity has enabled all the staggering rapid technological and scientific advancement of the modern era.
The applications of electromagnetic technology, however, has resulted in our ever increasing bombardment and exposure to higher frequencies and dosages of radiation. Humans cannot see, touch, taste, or smell EMR, which understandably contributes to our capacity to deny the risks of exposure. Its effects accrue over time, and are proportional to the duration and intensity of exposure.
Electromagnetic frequencies cause damage to our intricate and delicate DNA and is related to the development of cancers, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases, infertility, depression and suicide. “Scientists, doctors and researchers have long accepted that ionizing radiation, such as the ultraviolet rays that accompany sunlight, or the X-rays that you are exposed to in your doctor’s or dentist’s office-can harm and destroy DNA. It has been assumed, however, that non-ionizing radiation from power-lines, television broadcasting and cell phones did not harm DNA.” (Overpowered p 51) This is not the case. Non-ionizing radiation can react with and harm DNA which can cause mutations and even cell death and lead directly to serious medical illness.
Just as the tobacco industry suppressed the scientific evidence regarding the hazards of cigarette smoking, there is a profit motivated strategy to manufacture doubt about the negative health effects of wireless technology. There has been a repeated assertion that there is no “proven link”, that the data is inconclusive. “It appears that the response of governments and industry groups to this lack of specific cause and effect relationships between non-thermal exposure to EMF and negative heath effects has been to formulate regulations and safety standards that ignore them completely. While there is plenty of science indicating the presence of significant health risks at non-thermal levels, as far as safety standards and regulatory frameworks are concerned, EMF is harmful to humans only at levels powerful enough to result in increased temperature (the so-called thermal effect). No recognition at all is given to any potential health effects at lower, non-thermal levels of non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation even though non thermal biological effects have been scientifically demonstrated for over a century.” (Overpowered p 161)
Here is a partial list of some of the steps that you can take to reduce your exposure. All of these suggestions are followed by fully elaborated explanations in Overpowered.
I know that these recommendations can feel like an unwelcome hassle. But it’s important. Making even small changes can make a difference cumulatively.
There are two key principles:
- Minimize your use of of EMF generating technology
- Maximize the distance between you and those EMF sources when they are in use..
Do not live near high voltage power lines.
Stay away from transformers.
Live as far from cell phone antennas as possible
Don’t use electric blankets or waterbeds.
Run extension cords away from furniture and keep cords organized.
Switch from electric to battery alarm clocks.
Energy efficient appliances generate less pollution than older less efficient models
Don’t use fluorescent lights
Don’t use dimmers of three way switches
Don’t use microwaves, but if you do, get out of the kitchen when the microwave is on
Put your cell phone on airplane mode when not in use
Don’t put your cell phone in your pocket
Laptops are not for laps
Minimize use of hairdryers and electric razors
Consider using an ethernet cable rather than wifi in your home
Turn the wifi router off at night
Switch to plastic eyeglass frames and foam mattresses which do not function as antennas.
Here is a YouTube excerpt of a keynote address given by Dr. Blank:
Since initially posting this a few days ago, it was brought to my attention that Bulletproof Radio’s most recent episode featured an interview with Dr. Joseph Mercola titled “The Real Dangers of Electronic Devices and EMF’s” It’s worth a listen.
Carol Metral says
Thank you so much for your latest post about the public health crisis of electromagnetic radiation.
I am always surprised that most writings about ways to counteract EMFs do not mention orgonite as a relative inexpensive, versatile option.
Orgonite is based on the work of psychoanalyst, Wilhelm Reich. The components of copper shapes, crystals, metal shavings, & the pressure of hardened resin create a piezoelectric effect that separates harmful EMF energy into two parts. The denser, harmful energy is attracted by & recycled thru the Earth. That leaves beneficial negative ions – similar to salt lamps, waterfalls, ocean waves, & lightening – in the environment.
For the past three years Natalie Johnson & I have been making a variety of orgonite shapes & sizes. Energies of Reiki & intention also are added during the creation & drying process. Although we have yet to find a meter to measure the effects on EMFs, personal experience & anecdotal comments include a general sense of peace & calm, reduction in headaches & insomnia, & beneficial effects on garden plants.
I recently ran across another practice related to negating harmful effects of EMFs. Back to the Future for Mankind: Biogeometry by Ibrahim Karim is a fascinating review of the resonance of shapes. Severe symptoms in adults, children, & livestock in two Swiss communities began after cell towers were installed. EMFs were changed by architectural application of specific shapes on or near the local cell phone towers. These changes are credited with reversing most of the symptoms associated with EMF exposure.
In addition Dr. Karim & his research group have determined the optimal energy flow patterns of various organs, tissues, & hormones. Being in the presence of these shapes helps to bring the body energies back to optimal vibration & harmony. This technology can be as free & simple as drawing the shapes on paper & keeping them nearby. BioGeometry Signatures: Harmonizing the Body’s Subtle Energy Exchange with the Environment
I find the ideas of subtle energy, vibration, sound, shapes, color, etc. and their effects on the body, mind, spirit, and environment fascinating. I always look forward to your posts and the holistic connections you make. Thank you!
Peace & Light,
Carol Metral, RN
Thank you so much for taking the time to write and for sharing this fascinating perspective. I am sure that others will be interested.
Bruce McCarter, Psy.D. says
Do you know anything about the German product called, ‘Bemer’, that is supposed to expose the body to electromagnetic energy at the same frequency as the earth and reportedly has healing effects, including increased circulation at micro-capillary level? In any case, thank you for the valuable information.
I am not familiar with it.
I am concerned. I own a Tesla and haven’t spiritually felt quite right.
That is fascinating. I don’t recall Martin Blank addressing the issue of electric cars, but I found myself wondering about them as I was writing this piece. I don’t know the answer. When you say spiritually not quite right, what does that feel like?
MJ Webber says
I bought a second hand electric car a year ago and discovered quickly that it made me feel ill when I drove it. This was the first direct experience I had of harm from EMF’s though I had read a little bit about it. For me, my whole body ached whenever I drove the car. I had to sell it at a loss and had mixed feelings about this because I didn’t want to pass the problem on to someone else. An internet search revealed that a small minority of people have this obvious negative response to electric cars. It is quite unfortunate since they are so much less polluting.
Wow, that is a impressive experience. I am sorry that happened. There are people with hypersensitivity to electricity. Some of them are so acutely sensitive, that they have to live in special areas of the country where there are radio wave free zones. There is an area in West Virginia like that and there are some others. But it can be totally debilitating. Very serious. Thanks for sharing.
As an electrical engineer, I’m not sure how to feel about this. I see articles from industry organizations that say EMR is safe, but I’ve never completely believed this. The conflict of interest is obvious with these organizations. It would be better to have a more balanced debate, but I expect people like Dr. Blank will be treated as quacks by “serious” people.
I don’t think computers and phones are the biggest concerns. These devices continue to use less and less power with each generation. In contrast, our transportation machines will always require enough power to transport our physical bodies. As we electrify our transportation infrastructure as a way to wean ourselves off of fossil fuels, concerns about EMR come into direct conflict with concerns about climate change.
Wireless charging of phones is here today, and wireless charging of electric vehicles is in active development. These charging technologies put much more power in the air than the communications signals that are part of their normal operation. I’ve even seen proposals to build wireless charging into highways, so that electric vehicles could be charged while they drive. This would of course expose everyone to a high power EM signal whether or not their vehicle was using it.
I would add the following to your list of suggestions.
If you want to be politically active, argue against putting wireless vehicle charging into public areas.
Turn off Wifi and Bluetooth on your phone when you’re not using it.
The distance recommendation is the most important. EMR follows an “inverse square law”, so putting an EMR source twice as far away makes the signal four times weaker, three times further makes it nine times weaker, etc. So putting the phone across the room instead of next to your head at night makes a big difference. And taking the phone out of your pocket when you’re sitting still also helps.
I think our electronic technology is here to stay, and I hope the benefits outweigh the risks. It’s good to have some people focused on the risk side of the equation.
Thanks for your informative comment. It reminds me of the fact that I used to think that it was progressive and enlightened that the City of Brookline has wi-fi available for the whole city. You can sit on a bench in the park and log onto the internet for free, like in many airports. I believe that the the provision of this service was well intentioned, but it actually exposing everyone all the time. Same goes for being able to connect to wi-fi in airplanes. There is a conflict between feeling pleased to be able to connect wirelessly and then the downside of the exposure. Its a dilemma.
Suzanne B. Hale says
Thank you both for your thoughtful and informed response. This is truly something to think about.
Cecelia Doucette says
The science is showing that although the signal strength and distance are important considerations, the modulated, pulsed, spiked nature of the signal is of greatest concern. Digital technology pulses off/on, off/on at billions of cycles per second and that is what is disruptive and harmful to our biological systems.
Please feel free to peruse my personal research repository, Understanding EMFs. There is a page For Engineers & Physicists if you may find that helpful. There are other pages on the Science, Cancers, Infertility, Impact on Children, 5G & IoT, etc.
The message is not “no technology” but rather “safe technology”. Thanks for tuning in.