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5 Things You Should Know About EMFs

We love technology. From making calls on our beeping, buzzing cell phones to clicking around in the dream-world of Facebook, many of us are addicted to the glitz and glow of screens. The digital world is captivating and steadily growing. Advances in technology over the past 15 years have completely transformed social patterns, altered the ways we teach and learn, expanded communication channels and created major shifts in business practices (and yes, the irony of typing this paragraph into an internet article is not lost on me). But the very mobile tools that we have come to treasure and depend on may actually be silently devastating our health. Studies indicate the the ambient electromagnetic fields generated by appliances, broadcasting networks and cellular devices could actually be quite problematic for the body and mind.

5 Things You Should Know About EMFs | Radiant Life Blog


1. What are EMFs?

EMF stands for electromagnetic field- a fancy term used to describe the invisible areas of energy associated with the use of electrical power and forms of natural and man-made lighting. Electric and magnetic fields fall on a broad spectrum of electromagnetic radiation that spans from the stable pull of a handheld magnet to beams of visible light; radio frequencies to infrared and X-rays.  

Electric fields occur when positive or negative electrical charges are present and apply forces on other charges within the fields. The fields and their strength are measured in volts per meter (V/m). Active electrical wires produce electric fields, as do almost all electric powered devices. The field exists even when there is no current flowing. When the voltage increases, so does electric field surrounding the device. When moving away from the source of the field, the field strength is reduced. 

Magnetic fields are created from electric charges. Their strength is measured in amperes per meter (A/m). Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs) also have related measurements which identify the flux density, expressed in microtesla, µT. When current is increased, the strength of the magnetic field increases. Magnetic fields are not commonly blocked with everyday materials.

 

2. Where do EMFs come from?

Electric and magnetic energy exists everywhere. The earth is a natural source of powerful positive and negative electrical charges that apply forces on one another. The majestic show of a thunderstorm for example, causes a turbulent build-up of electrical charge in the atmosphere. A higher voltage of electricity brings about a stronger electric field. The earth’s magnetic fields are also powerful, serving as a guiding force for the intricate annual migration patterns of fish and birds and bringing the needle on a compass to orient North. Magnetic fields are created from electrical charges that have a current or a flow moving through them. These currents are measured in flux intensity and density, making waves that can easily permeate everyday materials. In addition to organic sources, electromagnetic energy is created from the industrial whizz and whir of man-made power sources including power lines, electrical transformers, machines, appliances, broadcasting technologies and mobile devices.


3. How are EMFs Classified?

EMFs are generally characterized based on their wavelength and frequency. To understand these classifications, it is important to know a few things about how EMFs travel through space. Energy in the electromagnetic spectrum occurs in a series of waves- similar to the rhythmic rise and fall observed in ocean tides. Frequency describes the number of oscillations or cycles that occur in a second, whereas wavelength details the time between waves. Wavelength and frequency are thus very closely linked and inversely related: the shorter the wavelength the higher the frequency.

5 Things You Should Know About EMFs | Radiant Life Blog

Based on the wavelength and frequency, different types of EMFs possess specific qualities that provoke unique reactions by the human body. Ultimately, the higher the frequency the more energy and potential for damage an electromagnetic wave carries with it. When very strong, the electromagnetic fields can convey sufficient energy to break bonds between molecules. This is known as ionizing radiation and includes the gamma rays emitted by radioactive materials, cosmic rays, and X-rays. Those fields whose energy (also known as quantum) are insufficient to break molecular bonds are referred to as ‘non-ionizing radiation.’ The chart below describes some common EMF sources and where they fall on the electromagnetic spectrum.

5 Things You Should Know About EMFs | Radiant Life Blog

4. Are EMFs dangerous to human health? 

We know very well that powerful ionizing radiation is hazardous to human health. UV, Gamma and X-rays have all been shown to carry enough energy to instantly create cellular and DNA damage in the body, however varying information exists about the dangers of lower-level EMF exposure. Some write the EMF debate off as hippie mumbo-jumbo, while others are legitimately afraid of accumulating radiation toxicity. Researchers seem split on long-term EMF safety, and the polarizing issue has left most lay people unsettled and admittedly confused.

The steady increase in electricity demand, domestic appliances, industrial tools, broadcasting, and mobile technologies used today has raised serious concerns about the cumulative effects of EMFs by consumers and researchers alike. Over the past 30 years, over 25,000 articles have been published on the subject, each with complicated and often contradicting results. Many studies have linked lower-level EMF exposure to such concerning conditions as infertility, DNA fragmentation, dermatological irritation and cancer, yet no intelligible manufacturing or usage guidelines have been released. Muddled by the biases of private interests and overall newness of such technologies, study findings have been allegedly ‘too inconsistent’ for policy-makers to take progressive actions. Guiding institutions such as the World Health Organization (WHO) have stalled on taking a clear public stance on the matter, as some of their literature boasts about the safety of mobile technologies, while other evidence-based documents list cell phone use as a “Class B” carcinogen next to lead and engine exhaust.

Left with these ambiguities, it has become up to the consumer to gather independent research and devise personal opinions on EMF sensitivity. Due to the lack of long-term studies, even the most comprehensive scientific reviews admit to gaps in the current knowledge base around EMF exposure. Yet amidst all the squabbling, one thing has emerged as unfailingly clear: chronic exposure to EMFs has not been proven universally safe.

Electronic Hypersensitivity (EHS) is a clinically recognized and documented cluster of nonspecific symptoms that have been linked to more short-term EMF exposure. Medical professionals believe that certain individuals are more vulnerable to the charges and currents produced by EMFs, similar to the ways in which some people struggle with food sensitvities while others do not. Sympotms of EHS include (but are not limited to):

  • Dermatological changes
  • Fatigue, tiredness
  • Concentration difficulties
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Mood instability
  • Heart palpitations
  • Digestive disturbances

5. How can I protect myself from EMF exposure?

It is impossible, and truthfully undesirable, to eradicate EMFs from the environment, however a few simple techniques can minimize the risks associated with chronic exposure. We do not have to be lonesome victims of EMFs nor banish technology forever, but can instead be empowered to work safely with the knowledge and tools we currently have available. As research progresses in the coming years, we will hopefully continue to expand our understanding of EMFs so that we can all enjoy the benefits of technology in a way that is safe and beneficial. 

Get a Measurement

If you are concerned about the potential of EMFs being emitted by a powerline or substation near your residence or office, your local power company can be contacted to schedule an on-site reading. Low-level EMFs are detected in the air using tools that measure Gauss- a unit describing magnetic flux density and intensity. You can also measure EMFs personally by using a handheld gaussmeter, which can be found for purchase online.

Create Space

The intensity of electromagnetic energy decreases with space from the source. In the case of laptop computers for example, a distance of just one foot has been shown to decrease EMF strength by 80%; two feet by 90% and four feet by a total of 98% neutralization. Keep cell phones out of your pockets and never put a laptop or tablet directly onto your lap.

Limit Time

Most of the concerns about EMFs have to do with cumulative, long-term effects. By minimizing the number of hours spent gazing into the glow of the computer or tapping away at the tablet or cell phone, you can protect your body from the collective damage of electrical currents. This also involves creating an electrically “clean” environment for the hours that you spend soundly sleeping. Consider relocating your bed away from walls shared with appliances, and keep cell phones, laptops, tablets and other devices out of the room or completely powered off. 

Use a Shield

Immersed in our modern world of e-communication and advanced technology, it isn't always realistic to stop or limit the use of electrical devices. In such cases using a physical shield, such as this one by DefenderPad, can be helpful in deflecting EMFs from reaching the body. Not all of the shielding products available on the market are reliable or effective, so be sure to do your research and select a brand that has been independently tested to block the full electromagnetic spectrum.


Resources

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

World Health Organization EMF Project

International EMF Study Database

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Comments

How about so-called dirty electricity? 
To help clean-up dirty electricity in the home some advocate the use of plug-in (socket) filters which can cost 30$ or more each and may require 20 or more for a modern home.  
Then there are those who advocate a whole house power filter/conditioner which makes more sense. I recently purchased a power strip that supposedly includes EMI/RFI filtering capabilities, but how can I know for sure that such are working? What equipment or tests are there to verify the sought after results? There are a lot of skeptics out there regarding dirty electricity...but I am not one of them. Already I have changed out most of my compact fluorescent lights to LED/incandescent. I have removed the wireless phone and have installed an ethernet cable between my wireless router and laptop.
Posted @ Sunday, February 23, 2014 6:02 PM by Craig
So does that mean that the "earthing" devices (sheets, foot pads, etc.) are bad for us??
Posted @ Sunday, February 23, 2014 8:23 PM by Diane
We have Pong cases for our phones and iPads. Where can I find a comparative study to find out if they are as effective as they say they are? Until this article I hadn't heard of any other radiation - reducing cases. Thank you.
Posted @ Sunday, February 23, 2014 8:36 PM by Nina
Can you tell me the difference between the defender pad and the wave tech shield?
Posted @ Sunday, February 23, 2014 8:51 PM by E
Hi there 
Could you please look into making your awesome article with the option to PIN them on pintrest:) 
thank you 
Jessica
Posted @ Monday, February 24, 2014 10:51 AM by Jessica
This is good information but it is a bit misleading if one read it and is not educated on the workings of electromagnetism and shielding technologies. Apologies to radiant health but most things like the Defenderpad will only block EMF when placed between the "radiating source" and the "destination". As an example…if the pad is under you laptop, on the desk in front of you, it is NOT blocking most of the electric or magnetic field coming off the laptop. The fields are still hitting you from the top of your head all of the way down your body, stopping somewhere in the legs. I just tested this product last week with both a Tri-Field and also the ED75 Cornet meter, and it does NOT “soak up” the field that it enters but rather blocks in a line of site fashion. The marketing for the product is not lying, but it is misleading to those who do not understand. 
 
As far as grounding, it is EXTREMELY healthy for you BUT there are complications that people are not aware of. If you are truly connected to the ground itself then you are ok. This usually requires purchasing a little grounding package (usually something like 40 feet long) so that you can run a wire out the window and push the pole into the ground. If you plug your grounding pad/sheet into the wall outlet then you are likely subjecting yourself to the EM fields from the ground wire itself. This is because the ground is now typically tied onto the utility neutral or to the water/gas lines. These all carry a slight bit of power over them (to stop corrosion of the pipe in the ground) and thus throw off both an electric field and also a magnetic field. Not good… 
 
Utility neutral wires and water/gas pipes can be absolutely horrific in terms of carrying dirty electricity. If you want more info (on anything) then please email me… AMagewick@Yahoo.com 
Posted @ Monday, February 24, 2014 11:47 AM by Aaron
Hi Diane! I understand your concern as I had the same question when I first started using my earthing sheet. However, it is important to recognize that earthing products are plugged into only grounding section of the outlet not the electrical portion. This part of the outlet is not connected to a charge, but rather to the ground itself to protect from surges etc. In all of the studies that I have read testing earthing products, researchers have observed no hint of electrical charge or force produced from the sheets/mats that is greater than what your body experiences when walking on the ground outside. Some experts even believe that the healthy electron balance created in the body from using earthing sheets/mats can help protect from the harmful body voltages generated by exposure to the common household EMFs. Based on all of the documentation I have read, I believe in the safety of earthing sheets and continue use mine every day.
Posted @ Monday, February 24, 2014 1:04 PM by Kayla Grossmann
Hi Jessica, 
I am working on the Pinterest thing : ) We should be getting a blog update in the coming months that will be helpful for that. Until then, I do post most of the articles on our pinterest so you can stop by and repin them from there. Thank you for your patience!
Posted @ Monday, February 24, 2014 1:15 PM by Kayla Grossmann
Hi Craig! You are right- this information is not something to be taken lightly or brushed off, yet it is confusing when there are so many different strategies and opinions on the matter. I have found that it is important to do research carefully, and look at who is funding the various studies. Getting personalized readings is the most effective way to assess your home, although it does require investing in some instruments. There are many "dirty electricity" or DE meters as well as EMF readers available online. We have found our handheld gaussmeter to be a very helpful for measuring EMFs and the Stetzer meter to be a good way to get direct readings of dirty electricity in the home.
Posted @ Monday, February 24, 2014 1:32 PM by Kayla Grossmann
We selected the DefenderPad because of the amount of independent FCC research available on the product. There are many EMF protecting products out there, but it was important to us that there was quality unbiased research to back up the product we offered. The intent of the DefendePad technology is to act as a shield, protecting from the very harmful EMFs emitted when a laptop is placed directly on the legs. This close contact is believed to be the most damaging. We are not currently aware of a device that removes all ambient EMFs from all devices, but will continue to research and bring that to our audience when we have found a satisfactory product that we truly believe in. I hope that is helpful in explaining our selection process!
Posted @ Monday, February 24, 2014 1:39 PM by Kayla Grossmann
Terrific article. 
 
The issue of EMF exposure and whether there are dangers is a difficult and tedious study.  
 
My wife and I have recently renovated a warehouse for our 3 boys. The issue of EMF’s came up during the renovation when we discovered power lines lying on the roof and telephone lines attached to the rear of the building. 
 
While not completely resolved, we were able to convince the power company to move their lines and the phone company to install a pole and detach their lines from the building. 
 
Utilities do not accept the premise EMF’s are dangerous; carefully script your choice of words when dealing with them, or you’re hoped for results will get stonewalled. 
 
Yet, certain areas of the building’s interior still have high EMF readings and we are investigating the installation of a mitigation system. Here I cannot stress enough carefully choosing your sources like RadiantLifeCatalog for accurate unbiased information and produce analysis. 
 
If you want to measure for the presence of EMF’s in your home, I do recommend the use of a good measuring device. I have tried several and recommend AlphaLab – Trifield meter. 
 
There are international and country based standards for “safe” EMF’s, here is a good place to start http://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/topics/agents/emf/ if you have a yearn to learn more. 
 
Thanks RadiantLife. 
Posted @ Monday, February 24, 2014 1:54 PM by perry smith
What about smart meters that are now being installed across the country to replace electric analog meters? I've read about them at stopsmartmeters.org and emfsafetynetwork.org but not enough is out there in the media and the analog meters are being replaced without homeowners knowledge. These "smart" meters expose EVERYONE in THEIR OWN HOME and there is no way to avoid it, unless your electric utility will allow an opt-out. Unfortunately, even if you opt-out (which usually comes with an extra monthly fee), you will still be exposed from the smart meters being installed on your neighbors' homes.
Posted @ Thursday, June 12, 2014 12:04 AM by L
Not only do the smart meters have the wireless transmission but the "backbone" mesh network that ties the system all together has wireless as well. Some meters are calm and only produce little traffic, while others are insense and never seem to stop. Likely it is based on location, how many other meters are around, and if the meter is a collection meter for the area. Having a collection meter would be the worse case scenario. The smart meters also produce noisy EMF that ride the wiring in your home. More is coming... traffic lights now have wireless for time sync, and more is coming down the pipe like WiTricity. Wireless is going to probably be mandated in ALL cars starting within the next few years. When does convenience become problematic? It already has but it is under the radar of most people. It will all HAVE to end one day when enough consciousness takes hold regarding the truth to all of this.
Posted @ Thursday, June 12, 2014 12:12 PM by Aaron
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