Reducing Exposure to EMF'S

Here's how to significantly lower your absorption of EMF emissions from wireless equipment and home electricity.

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July 15, 2018 -- While wireless microwaves and other EMF hazards don't have the same bite as nuclear material or an unshielded x-ray, their pervasive presence around us makes them a clear and present danger to human health. In order to limit your exposure to harmful electromagnetic fields and radiofrequency radiation (RFR), you'll have to change your wireless habits, adjust the settings on your devices and steer clear of transmitting antennas both big and small. To get started, follow the 10 steps listed below:

Step One: Stay Away From Antennas

Antennas transmit and/or receive radiofrequency (RF) signals. A signal is a burst of energy shot out of the antenna like a cannon ball many times per second, carrying data, video, music and voice communications. To propagate (disperse) radiowaves, these energy bursts produce considerable EMF radiation. All wireless devices are equipped with one or more antennas to send and/or receive the signals.

Unfortunately, the antennas on many personal electronics are hidden from view, so you don't even know they're there. Besides cell phones, signals are sent and received by laptops, tablets, routers, printers, baby monitors, cordless phones, Smart appliances, Bluetooth-type devices, two-way radios and GPS units. Most new cars are routinely equipped with wireless antennas as well.

A sampling of EMF wireless sources with suggestions to lower exposure. Read on or download this article for a complete review of dangers and how to stay safe. Graphic: Clear Light Ventures

Unless the settings on your devices are adjusted, all these RF signals transmit constantly, day and night, creating a cacophony of waves pulsing through your body. Consequently, whenever you sit, stand or lie near an antenna on your phone, computer or home router, you're probably getting zapped with a big dose of radiation over and over and over. Now imagine the cumulative EMF dose from many such products installed under one roof (and those of your neighbors), as well as from more powerful equipment set up around the city you live in.

A wireless router mounted on a library ceiling. Look for these whenever you enter a public place and be sure to sit as far away from them as possible. Graphic: The City Edition

Outdoors, wireless signals are shot out into the air with even greater force by cell phone towers, microwave and satellite dishes, minicells (smaller cell towers on utility poles), large routers (also mounted on poles), weather radar stations and radio antennas. A cell phone tower, for instance, can propagate a signal 50 miles unless a mountain gets in the way. To do this obviously requires a tremendous amount of EMF energy, so avoid living or working within a quarter mile of any cell tower and make sure any bedroom or other commonly-used area in your home is at least 20 feet from an installed Smart Meter, dish antenna or outdoor router.

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At left, a cell phone tower in a Santa Fe, NM neighborhood. At right, this bank of Smart meters represents another high EMF-emitting area you don't want to be spending time around. Graphics from left: The City Edition, SafeGrid.net

If circumstances put you into close proximity to wireless microwaves for hours on end -- for instance, if you work in an internet cafe -- you'll be faced with harder choices in the quest to safeguard your health. Don't fret, however, because you generally have time to prepare and execute a plan to change a job, school or living situation. Just be vigilant in monitoring your health for EMF-related symptoms, like tinnitus, skin rashes, severe headaches and heart palpitations. Be sure to tell your doctor about your radiation exposure when seeking treatment. In fact, a physician's note may help with getting an accomodation away from the EMF source(s).

Step 2: Adjust Your Cell Phone Settings, Storing and Charging Routines

Because a cell phone includes a transmitting antenna, never hold the phone to your ear while talking. Besides using a land line to make calls when you're at home or work, here are two other alternatives: 1) Activate the speaker phone icon on the screen after receiving or dialing a call, then set the phone on a table or other place away from your body. 2) Purchase a good-quality headset. This will require some research, as most headsets are quite frankly junk, including the ones that come free with most cell phones. Buy a tube-type headset instead, since the more common copper-wire type still carries EMF energy up to your head from the phone.

Wireless devices operate at extremely high frequencies that deliver signals for communications in the gigahurtz range. Contrast that with utility electricity, which is in the 50-60 hertz range.

When you're not expecting a call, switch the phone to Airplane mode, then switch it back on periodically to check for messages. This stops the antenna from constantly emitting and receiving microwaves. When you are expecting a call, keep the phone a few feet from your body so its antenna isn't constantly pulsing EMF radiation at close range. This can be difficult when you're walking with your phone, but if you're in a car, office, cafe or at home, place the phone on a table, counter or other surface within easy reach (and clear view).

Never carry a cell phone in your clothes, bra, cell phone holster or within a foot of your body unless it's powered off or in airplane mode. If necessary, encase the device in a shielding fabric or case. See the EMF Shielding Products page for more info.

If you're a frequent phone user at home, spend the extra money and get a land line installed if you can. When you factor in health costs generated by EMF-related illnesses, this actually represents a smart investment. However, don't buy a cordless phone to use with the land line as that will defeat the whole purpose.

If you constantly use your phone to check Facebook posts or other messaging apps, break this habit. Social Media browsing exposes you to EMF and RF radiation for no good reason.

Since a cell phone must power-on in order to charge, put the phone in Airplane mode before you plug it in for battery charging. Not only will you avoid the unnecessary microwave emissions, your phone will charge faster this way. This also applies when you charge your phone off a USB-equipped device. Even better, charge your phone at night in an unoccupied room. (For optimum battery performance, you should still recharge all your devices before they drop below a 50% charge.)

When using your phone as an alarm clock, put it in Airplane mode and keep it far away from your body while you sleep.

Step 3: Adjust Settings and Usage Habits for Your Laptops, Tablets & Desktop Computers

These devices emit a wide range of EMF and RF radiation, both as stationary electromagnetic fields and via transmitting microwaves. Tablets may be the most dangerous RF threat because they contain multiple antennas that actively receive and transmit data even when you're off the internet. Place all computers and tablets in Airplane mode when not in use or power them off completely.

Avoid holding a tablet or laptop in your lap, or have these devices perched alongside your leg or arm. This exposes your skin, testicles, ovaries, internal organs and blood circulation to radiation at close range. Such exposures may be hazardous if done repeatedly and for extended periods of time. Even ten minutes of laptop operation has been shown to cause a noticeable deviation in normal blood flow.

When possible, leave your laptop or tablet adapter unplugged while using the device, since adapters generate EMF emissions as well. At night, recharge the computers in an unoccupied room. If you do need to use the adapter during computer use, keep the box as far away from your body as possible.

When shopping for wireless devices, try to find out where antennas are located and if there's more than one. Also find out the RF transmission frequency, power consumption (wattage) and other data pertaining to EMF emissions. (To access a device manual, try Googling the brand, model number and "user manual" to download a copy and read the specs.) Ideally, you'd want just one antenna per device, placed at the back of the devic, with an RF of no more than 2.4 Ghz. (Many newer models now pulse at 5+ Ghz.) It's also preferable if the overall power consumption of your laptop/tablet is 65 watts or less. Many models consume more power and therefore have bigger batteries, generating greater EMF emissions. (An adapter safety label should list the device's power wattage.)

Another way to lessen radiation from laptops and other devices is to attach a grounding clip/wire to divert some of the emissions to ground. However, not all grounding products work for all device brands. In some cases you can simply connect a copper wire between a metal screw on your device and a metal object. Never use a magnet for this purpose, of course, because the magnetic field generated may be equally harmful. Also be sure you understand electrical safety before attempting to "rig" something up on your own. Otherwise, find an expert to help you.

Desktop computers are quickly becoming dinosaurs because of their high power consumption, but at least they're outfitted with a three-pronged power plug. This means they're automatically grounded. In any case, keep them out of your bedroom if possible. Otherwise, place the equipment (printer and cords included) as far from your bed as possible. Power off all components at night or when you're not using them.

Step 4: Replace Wireless Routers With Ethernet Connections or Move Them Away from People

Since these units are mini versions of a cell tower, they emit considerably more microwave emissions than the devices that receive their signals. As in the case of cell phones, they're sold at either a "low-density" frequency of 2.4 Mhz or "high-density" frequency of 5+ Mhz. The higher frequency models are considered more dangerous.

If you have a choice, always use the wired internet connection provided by most routers. You can buy an ethernet cable for this purpose from online sellers like Ebay. If the router's wireless function is needed by other devices, buy the longest ethernet cable available so you don't have to sit close to it. And if you don't need to use the wireless function on the router at all, be sure to read the manual to find out how to stop it from transmitting constantly.

When purchasing or having a router installed by a cable/dish/phone company, ask for the lower density, 2.4 Mhz model. Then have the installer place the router away from bedrooms and other frequent-use areas such as the kitchen. Better to keep it in the garage or the attic, but be sure not to put it near a food storage area. EMF emissions can degrade any dry goods over time.

When no one is using wireless internet, always turn off or pull the plug on your router to stop it from emitting microwaves. It may take ten minutes to get the wireless signal up and running again later, but it's a minor inconvenience compared to the vast reduction of EMF emissions irradiating an entire household. Also check your router manual to see if you can set designated hours for the wireless transmitter to operate (e.g. on in daytime, off at night).

Step 5: Check for EMF Emissions From Home Wiring, Appliances & Dimmer Switches

All electrical components connected to a utility service panel give off an electromagnetic field. The potential danger from these emissions varies, however, so you'll likely need an EMF meter or professional to tell you if there's a problem. Since accurate testing equipment is expensive, you should consider hiring either a building biologist, an EMF inspector or consultant, or an electrician who performs this type of service.

In the meantime, you can still take many steps on your own to curb emissions and exposure on your property. But first you need to understand how non-wireless types of EMF can do harm. Voltage is normally energized 24/7/365 at your home's main utility service panel. Power outages aside, all connected wiring, wall outlets, switches, plugged in electrical appliances and electronic devices have this electric field around them. (Voltage is analagous to water pressure in pipes.)

Because residential voltage is generally low (120 volts, or 240 volts for larger appliances), electric fields by themselves are not considered harmful unless the house is poorly wired or the electrical components don't meet the requirements of the electrical code. This latter scenario has been dubbed dirty electricity and turns out to be quite common, especially in homes built before 1980. Electricians blame dirty electricity on high-frequency voltage transients (HFVT), and use special meters to test for them.

Besides electrical fields, home electricity produces another type of EMF called a magnetic field. When power is turned on to an appliance or device, current flows, producing light, heat, sound, running motors and other forms of power. When this happens, a magnetic field emanates from the wires, switches, wall outlets, appliances and devices that receive the power. Not only that, but any appliances or electrical equipment that use magnets will generate a more intense magnetic field. This is a cause for concern because such exposures have been linked to leukemia.

That's why you need to be careful about the location of beds, chairs and work stations inside the house and garage, as well as around the utility service panel. A dishwasher or table saw, for instance, is probably generating a large magnetic field when it's running. Stereo speakers may also put out heavy EMF emissions, depending on the size of the magnets inside them and the amount of wattage they use.

Keep in mind that short-term exposure to a magnetic field doesn't normally pose a serious health risk. It's only when people are sitting, sleeping or ortherwise lingering repeatedly around the field that an EMF-related illness can develop. Consequently, if someone's bed is on the other side of a wall from a motorized appliance, either the bed or the appliance should be moved elsewhere.

Dimmer switches are another big producer of magnetic fields, and they're emitting 24/7/365. If you have any installed, consider replacing them with a normal switch. Alternatively, you can try covering them with a specially designed metal plate that blocks the magnetic field from emanating outward. However, you'll need to test the effectiveness of any shielding product with an EMF meter before assuming that field has been neutralized. Also keep in mind that magnetism is similar to wireless waves in that it can maneuver around obstacles like water.

Other products to think about: Electric blankets and the newer digital clock radios emit lots of EMF radiation. Consider removing these items from your home, or at least from the bedrooms of children and pregnant women. Small battery-operated alarm clocks and thick blankets are healthier alternatives.

Relocate any electric-powered alarm clock or cordless telephone bay station several feet from any bed, desk or chair. Also consider moving your beds, desks, chairs, and work tables away from wall outlets, or covering the outlets with metal covers to block EMF emissions.

To eliminate both electric and magnetic fields in a room, you also have the option of turning the circuit breaker off for that section of the house.

Avoid entertaining guests in the kitchen. Besides the appliances producing large magnetic fields when operating (especially 240-volt appliances), so-called Smart appliances also pose a danger. "Smart" essential means that the equipment emits wireless microwaves through an antenna 24/7/365 in addition to other EMF radiation.

If you have a microwave oven, electric drier or electric oven, try to stay several feet clear of these appliances when they're operating, as they also use considerable wattage. If possible, test your microwave oven with an EMF meter for leakage of RF radiation and, if necessary, have it repaired, replaced or removed from the home. See the EMF Meters page to learn how to test for emissions.

Keep the area around your utility service panel free of tools and other things you use regularly. A service panel emits considerable EMF radiation, even moreso when it's connected to an adjacent Smart Meter. The fewer reasons you have to spend time in this area, the better.

When charging battery-operated tools, don't leave the batteries inside chargers indefinitely; remove them when the charging is complete and disconnect the charger from the wall socket.

If you have old-style flourescent lighting fixtures in your home, consider replacing them as well, as they flicker at a frequency that's unhealthy for the body. (They're known to cause migraine headaches and seizures in epileptics.) Consumer awareness groups also point out that the new compact flourescent bulbs (CFL's) use mercury that may be occasionally released as a vapor emission. Be extremely careful when handling flourescent bulbs as they're considered hazardous waste and cannot be tossed in the trash. And if a CFL bulb breaks, be sure to ventilate the location to scatter the vapors before you clean up the mess using gloves.

Step 6: Avoid Smart Meters

You can distinguish a Smart meter from a conventional one by looking at the display. A Smart meter is digital while the older meters use several clock-like dials.

As explained in the main article, Smart meters are being installed throughout the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia to replace conventional utility meters. (On last check, it was still possible to refuse the installation of this device here in the U.S.) Since the new meters transmit strong EMF pulses several thousand times a day, you don't want to linger around it for any stretch of time.

If you have a bedroom or other frequently-used room within 20 feet of a Smart meter, you should convert the room to a non-food storage closet. Alternatively, you can try to mitigate the problem with specially designed wall paints, metals screens or drapes. See the EMF Shielding Products page for info.

Since Smart meters aren't UL listed, you also need to be wary of the prospect of a house fire.. Warning signs to watch out for: the smell of burning nylon or plastic (copper wire sheathing); frequently-tripping circuit breakers; GFCI wall receptacles constantly de-activated; electrical appliances or home electronics acting erratically.

Step 7: Curb Your Vehicle's EMF Emissions

Nowadays, most new cars and trucks come outfitted with wireless electronics. Be sure to read the vehicle manual to find out how to turn off the transmitting antennas when not in use. Since GPS map apps are routinely available on cell phones, there's no reason for you (or your children) to be irradiated all the time whenever you're driving.

You should also avoid making cell phone calls inside a vehicle,, even with a headset or speaker phone option in use. This is because microwaves bounce off the steel vehicle's frame, back and forth, vibrating through you again and again until they eventually escape from a window. Stand outside the vehicle to make a call instead. And unless you're expecting an urgent or need to use the map app, it's best to put the phone into Airplane mode until you reach your destination.

Step 8: If You're Attending School...

If your campus that has gone wireless, ask the authorities or school nurse how you can limit your EMF exposures. Of course, they may not know what you're talking about, so you should download and print out an article or two about EMF radiation and have them read it. Be diplomatic and nonconfrontive in order to win their cooperation. Then, once you've broken the ice, you'll want to find out:

  • if the school has any cell phone towers, pole-mounted routers outdoors, microwave dishes, weather radar or radio antennas mounted on the property, as described earlier in this article.
  • what the school's indoor routers look like and where they're mounted in classrooms, libraries, laboratories, cafeterias, study areas and dormitories.
  • whether or not the option for using a hard-wired (ethernet) connection with computers is available. (You may need to bring your own ethernet cable, but as long as a router can be physically accessed and a port is available, this might be a workable solution.)
  • If you find school administrators uncooperative, here are some remedies that might help:

  • Inform the school nurse about specific health concerns, like tinnitus, headaches, heart palpitations, skin rashes and other symptoms you may have.
  • Ask your parents to intervene.
  • Contact an EMF advocacy organization for advice or a referral.
  • Enlist the aid of a lawyer familiar with EMF-related liability claims.
  • Circulate a petition around the campus asking the school to provide wired ethernet or newer fiber optic technology, as well as wireless-free zones on campus.
  • Write a letter to the school's health insurer explaining that school authorities are being unresponsive to EMF radiation concerns. (Send it by certified mail.)
  • If you're already experiencing symptoms of an EMF-related illness, ask your doctor for a note or letter explaining your diagnosis and suggesting suitable accommodations to limit your EMF exposures.
  • Step 9: Take Extra Precautions for Pregnancy, Infants & Children

    Needless to say, if you're pregnant or have children the potential for harm from EMF emissions is much greater and requires a sense of urgency in mitigating the various threats. For starters, limit the use of all wireless electronics in the home, replace dimmer switches. Consider moving beds away from wall outlets, stereo speakers, or large appliances operating on the other side of a bedroom wall. And refrain from providing young children with cell phones.

    It's probably a good idea to invest in an EMF meter as well. While the lower- priced meters (under $300) aren't considered very accurate, they can still alert you to the presence of a strong EMF-emitting source nearby. They're also compact enough to be discreet when using them outside the home. See the EMF Meter page for info on models and how to use these products.

    In advance of giving birth, you may decide to shop around for a hospital where protocols to limit EMF radiation have been implemented. Ask about the amount of wireless electronics in use at the facility, if newborns are fastened with wireless monitors, and if you can say no to this latter stipulation.

    Instruct your children on EMF radiation risks and precautions concerning cell phones, laptops, wireless networks and all electronics they might encounter at school or elsewhere. Be sure to explain the radiation threat as a long term threat, not something imminently harmful. Otherwise, it could create anxiety and depression while they're at school or in situation of exposure which they can't escape. See section on Schools above.

    For babies, use a non-wireless means for monitoring them when you're out of the nursery, or purchase a specially-designed wireless monitor with low EMF emissions. In addition, remove televisions and all other unnecessary electronics and appliances from the nursery .

    Check out the "Shielding Products" page to help you design mitigation strategies for problem areas in your home, office or school.

    Step 10: Take Care of Your Health & Vision

    You're less likely to succumb to any illness if you pay attention to nutrition, get plenty of exercise and get a good night's sleep. This applies to EMF-related illnesses as well as all other environmental health threats.

    Since your eyes aren't protected by skin when open, they get the full onslaught of EMF radiation from electronic displays and wireless microwaves. Take frequent breaks to rest them. Whenever possible, go outside into the natural light and air.

    Blue light emitted from computer and cell phone screens will also damage your vision. So shop around to find good-quality screen filters for your computer and video displays. You might also consider wearing glasses if you don't already. If you have good vision, simply purchase a pair with no lens correction. Glass is the best shield for radiation, but most lenses today are made of plastic, so you'll have to look online for the best product. Anti-reflective coatings are also available for lenses, but their cost is high and the coating typically wears off after a few months.

    There's free software online that automatically adjusts the screen light and colors of your screen according to the temperature or time of day. One product is called "f.lux"

    Don't forget that whenever you're indoors (or driving), your eyes do not get beneficial UV energy from the daylight, since UV rays don't penetrate through glass. (That's why greenhouses are made of plastic.) So spend as much time as possible outdoors in the daylight. You can also drive with your door window open. Unless there's too much glare from the sun, take off your sunglasses while outdoors, although you should leave them on while driving because of the glare from other cars, buildings and steel poles.

    When your home furnace is operating, your eyes may dry out, especially if you're using a computer or spending lots of time with a Smart phone. Whenever you feel dryness or itchiness in your eyes, get outside into the open air or use a natural eye lubricant. The herb cineraria, for instance, is beneficial and comes in eyedrop form.

    Be sure to read the article "Restoring Your Bio-Rhythms" to learn how to discharge EMF electricity and return your cells to their natural vibrating frequencies. You'll also find out about recommended nutritional supplements for detoxing harmful compounds that can form as a result of EMF exposure.

    Learn all you can about EMF radiation, the illnesses it spawns, harmful products on the market and the latest research findings. Check out the "Watch Videos" page to get detailed briefings from scientists, physicians and nonprofit health advocates. You can also visit other EMF-related websites by clicking on "More Resources" from the main menu at EMFradiation.net.

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