© 2017 by Kim Eabry - all rights reserved
While modern technology offers countless benefits, a large and compelling body of evidence links electromagnetic fields (EMFs) from electricity, electrical appliances, and wireless communication devices with serious health effects: sleep disorders, learning difficulties, DNA damage, autism, Alzheimer’s, and cancer. These effects are seen at levels of exposure well below current safety standards.
Fortunately, there are many simple and inexpensive ways to significantly reduce exposures. The menu of options in the categories below offer varying levels of protection, so you can choose what best fits your concerns and lifestyle.
Special care should be taken to protect pregnant women and children of all ages. The unborn fetus, as well as a child’s brain, nervous systems and other organs are developing rapidly, making them especially vulnerable to damage. Also, an infant or child’s brain absorbs much more radiation than an adult’s due to a smaller head, thinner skull and higher conductivity of brain tissue.
WiFi – The best option is to turn off the WiFi and install hard-wired Ethernet cables. Hard-wired connections are also faster, more secure, and consume less energy. If you do continue to use WiFi, place the router far from occupied spaces, and unplug it at night (use an outlet switch or programmable timer). Advocate to ban the use of WiFi in schools. Powerful commercial routers and a room full of WiFi enabled devices create unnecessarily high exposures for children and teachers.
Cell Phones – The best choice is to reserve cell phones for emergencies and otherwise use a corded land line. This recommendation is especially strong for pregnant women and children of any age. When you do need to use a cell phone, these precautions can help reduce your exposure:
Keep calls brief, and maintain as much distance as possible from the phone during calls. Even the manual warns to avoid direct contact with the body! Use speaker phone, or air tube headsets. Avoid wireless Bluetooth headsets as these are always transmitting.
Never store an active phone on or near the body – first power off. In men, carrying an active phone in the pants pocket or on a belt is associated with DNA damage to sperm and infertility. Women who keep an active phone in their bra may increase their risk of breast cancer. Storing an active phone in a baby carrier or stroller puts the child’s developing neurology at risk.
Cell phone radiation is higher when the signal is poor - avoid use when bars are low or when surrounded by metal such as in an automobile, elevator, bus, train or aircraft. Also, when in a moving vehicle the phone uses a stronger signal to search for new towers along the route.
Text rather than call. Cell phones emit less radiation when sending text messages compared to voice. Even better, compose texts in airplane mode, then activate phone only while sending.
If using only for calls, disable the data connection; if using only to listen to music or play a game, place phone in airplane mode – both help avoid unnecessary radiation.
Avoid using a cell phone while carrying, or sitting next to, a child.
Do not give cell phones to children as toys – if you do, first place the phone in airplane mode.
Seriously consider the risks before giving a child their own cell phone - preliminary research suggests that cell phone use before the age of twenty (the age at which the brain reaches full development) may carry a significantly higher risk of certain brain cancers.
Cordless Phones – Cordless phone base units are like small cell towers. The best option is to switch to a corded land line. If you must use a cordless phone, replace DECT phones (which emit high radiation 24/7) with a 900 MHz unit which emits only during calls. If still using a DECT phone, place the base unit away from occupied spaces, and unplug it at night (use an outlet switch or timer).
Laptops and tablets – In addition to WiFi, data and Bluetooth radiation, these devices also emit high electric and magnetic fields. In the case of all EMF radiation, distance is your friend:
Maintain distance from laptop or tablet by placing it on a desk rather than in the lap. Create even more distance from a laptop by the use of an external corded keyboard and mouse.
Use hard wired Ethernet whenever possible; turn off WiFi, data, and Bluetooth when not in use (esp. before giving to a child); if not hard-wired, when streaming, download first, then disable WiFi and data while watching.
“Smart” meters - These meters do not reduce energy usage as promised, measurements consistently show the RF emissions are stronger and more frequent than we have been told, and they are a source of “dirty” electricity (see "Dirty" electricity below). They have also been identified as the cause of many house fires. Find out how to opt out from PG&E meters here. In California there is a one time $75 fee plus $10 per month for three years. In many cases the meter can be changed out within a week. Another option is shielding, but the effects must be measured, as the shield can cause reflection from another source and actually increase exposures (see EMF Home Evaluation).
Apple TV / Roku media devices – These emit a strong WiFi signal 24/7 from the box as well as, in some cases, the remote. Switch to DVDs or Blu-Ray, or at minimum, unplug the device when not in use. Another option is to use an Ethernet wired laptop temporarily connected by cables to your TV.
Microwave ovens – These emit both microwave radiation as well as high magnetic fields – it’s best to avoid their use. If using, stand beyond a minimum 4-5 ft radius while in operation. Make sure the door latch and seal are clean and functioning properly, and that the unit doesn’t operate unless the door is latched. It is a good idea to test for radiation leakage – they already emit radiation at the time of manufacture, and with use the emissions tend to increase (see EMF Home Evaluation).
Baby monitors – Best to avoid their use entirely - consider co-sleeping. If using, choose an analog model, (slightly weaker signal than digital) and place as far from baby and caregiver as possible.
Cars – Many newer cars come with built-in Bluetooth, WiFi and other RF features which are always on when the engine is running. The signals bounce around inside the vehicle, increasing exposure to the occupants. When buying a car, be sure these features can be disabled – read the manual, or hire an auto electrician.
Other RF emitting devices - Avoid the use of other wireless devices such as gaming systems, “smart” watches, fitness bracelets, keyboard/mouse, printers, “smart” appliances, home surveillance systems, etc. Buy devices that connect with cords, and make sure you can disable any wireless features.
Electrical appliances – Many appliances have high magnetic fields which are associated with miscarriages and cancer. These include hair dryers, electric blankets, blenders, vacuum cleaners, space heaters, refrigerators, and computers (esp. desktops). Maintain as much distance as possible while in operation. Reconsider hair dryer use, esp. for children. If using an electric blanket, warm the bed before getting in, then unplug the blanket from the wall. Hot water bottles are an excellent alternative. Avoid placing appliances or electrical items with transformer/charger boxes on the other side of the wall from the head of a bed. Also, some appliances may not be grounded, resulting in increased electric fields. Don’t forget to assess occupational exposure as well.
“Dirty” Electricity – Some fixtures and devices add high frequency harmonics to house wiring which may cause adverse health effects. These include anything that converts current or restricts its flow, such as: compact florescent light bulbs and florescent fixtures (replace with incandescent or LEDs); dimmer switches (replace, or at minimum use only on high); computer chargers and the black box electrical transformers that power or charge many devices (use only while actively charging, otherwise unplug from the wall); computers and TVs (especially plasma); “smart” meters; and solar inverters. Dirty electricity can also enter your home from outside sources, such as poor connections or arching on the distribution line, and sources in neighboring houses. Special filters can be installed for further reduction, but are recommended only if measurements have been taken to assure the absence of high magnetic fields, as these can be magnified by the filters (see EMF Home Evaluation).
Tips for the Safer Use of Technology