Is your house making you sick?
This was the very question that I began asking myself when I started having persistent health issues but came up empty-handed after numerous blood tests and investigations by doctors.
On paper, I was in perfect health, so why was I constantly suffering from low energy, brain fog, poor sleep, and dizziness?
And why did most of my symptoms magically improve the minute I stepped outside?
When we lost power one day, (ironically) a lightbulb went off in my head: Maybe my house was causing these health issues. As I sat there in the dark, it was like somebody had flipped a switch. The constant buzzing in my body and ringing in my ears had stopped, and the strangest sense of stillness washed over me. My mind was sharp. I felt great.
Once everything was up and buzzing again, I started Googling and stumbled across a phenomenon called electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS). Basically, some people feel awful when they’re surrounded by too many electrical and wireless devices, which emit electric and magnetic radiation, or electromagnetic fields (EMFs).
Symptoms of EHS can range from the ones I’d been experiencing, to headaches, skin irritation, musculoskeletal pains, heart palpitations, anxiety, depression, and many others.
Frustratingly, both the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) acknowledge EHS but say that there’s no scientific evidence to back it up. Say what?? The implication is that it’s all in our heads. Fortunately, other scientists disagree and are pushing the WHO to classify EHS as a real medical condition so that doctors can start diagnosing and treating it, and sufferers can get some relief.
EMFs May be Wreaking Havoc on Your Health
The more I kept digging, the more I learned about the potential negative effects of EMFs on everybody, not just people suffering from EHS. According to the Environmental Health Trust (EHT), magnetic fields, which are found wherever electricity flows, are linked to childhood leukemia, miscarriage, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, obesity, and asthma.
This is especially relevant with super-fast 5G wireless technology being rolled out as we speak, and I’ll explain why in a minute.
First, here’s a quick explanation of EMFs: They’re invisible zones of radiation produced by electricity that fall into two categories: ionizing, mid-to-high-level radiation that can cause cellular and DNA damage—think x-rays and ultraviolet rays—and non-ionizing, low-to-mid-level radiation that’s generally considered harmless to humans.
Some non-ionizing EMF sources are
- cell phones
- microwave ovens
- smart electric and gas meters
- Wi-Fi routers
- Bluetooth devices
- power lines
- electric shavers
- electric blankets
Although the official line is that non-ionizing radiation is safe in small doses, there are plenty of experts who think otherwise, especially when it comes to wireless, which relies on radiofrequency (microwave) transmissions. Even the WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer classified radiofrequency EMFs as ‘possibly carcinogenic to humans’ based on an increased risk for glioma, a malignant type of brain cancer associated with wireless phone use.
As for 5G wireless technology, which uses even higher levels of radiation known as millimeter waves, it’s hard to believe that the benefits of faster internet will outweigh any negative health implications.
Michael Wyde, Ph.D., a toxicologist in the National Toxicology Program, comments that scientists are still working to understand the impact of radiofrequency radiation exposure on biological tissues, but concedes that moving forward to 5G will expose wireless users to a much broader spectrum of these frequencies. “What is known is that while wireless consumers will continue to be exposed to the current frequencies, they will be exposed to the higher frequencies as well,” he says.
The FDA, which is responsible for ensuring cell phone safety, doesn’t seem to be concerned about any new health risks associated with 5G but says it will monitor the situation.
Experts at the EHT and the Electromagnetic Safety Alliance believe that 5G hasn’t been sufficiently tested and will exacerbate people’s health issues, especially children’s. Moreover, some U.S. cities including Petaluma, Mill Valley, and Monterey in California, and Doylestown in Pennsylvania have voted and passed policies to halt 5G or restrict its rollout into neighborhoods.
So, where does that leave us?
While there might not be much you can do to halt the rollout of 5G to your neighborhood, you do have the power to reduce EMF exposure at home.
10 Tips for Reducing EMF Exposure in Your Home
I’m not trying to be a fearmonger but I don’t think we should bury our heads in the sand, either. There are plenty of easy actions we can take to minimize EMF exposure and promote better health. Here are ten tips from the EHT:
- Keep laptops, tablets, and cell phones off your lap and away from your body. Always use them on a table or desk. Even if wireless is off, they still emit magnetic fields.
- As much as possible, use laptops running on battery rather than while charging.
- More distance means less exposure. Don’t stand close to a microwave oven when it’s on. If you can’t properly “high-five” your computer screen, you’re sitting too close; position your monitor at least 24 inches away.
- Avoid sleeping next to appliances, or a wall with the electric meter or electric panel.
- Clocks and radios with electric cords expose you all night. Get an alarm clock with a battery.
- Remove electronics and screens from the bedroom and especially around the bed and crib. No electric cords or extension cords underneath or near your bed.
- Replace Bluetooth and Wi-Fi with wired connections; no Wi-Fi baby monitors. If you aren’t wired, then turn off your Wi-Fi at night.
- If you use an electric blanket or heating pad, always unplug it before you get into your bed. If you only turn it off, fields will still be present.
- Remove fluorescent lights and strong LEDs and replace dimmer switches with on/off switches.
- Measure the EMF levels in your home. Power companies will often do this for free. Sometimes high levels are caused by faulty wiring that an electrician can fix.
Natural Ways to Counteract the Impact of EMFs
The debate over the safety of EMFs has been raging for decades and it’s not likely to end anytime soon. While the scientists are battling it out, I’m not taking any chances, because I want to do everything I can to feel my best and protect my family, too.
With that in mind, and being holistically inclined, I’m also trying these natural suggestions:
- Spend as much time as possible in nature – a daily dog walk or a stroll in the local park can work wonders. In Japan, ‘forest bathing’ is widely promoted for its health-boosting benefits. With a strong immune system, your body is more able to fight free radical damage caused by EMFs.
- Take a weekly sea salt and baking soda bath – throw equal amounts into the tub, with the water as warm as you can take it without feeling faint, and soak for 20 minutes. If you don’t have a bathtub, soak your feet in a basin for 40 minutes. Be sure to rinse off afterward. Holistic healers swear by this for neutralizing radiation and drawing toxins out of the body.
- Get barefoot outside (earthing), ideally every day – When we are in direct contact with the Earth’s surface, negatively-charged ions transfer into our bodies, which can help neutralize the effects of EMFs.
- Place crystals near devices and around your house, especially your bed – black tourmaline is said to protect against EMFs because it emits negative ions and absorbs radiation; shungite is another crystal whose powerful properties are believed to absorb and neutralize EMFs.
Like it or not, EMFs are here to stay, so why not cover all bases?
Karen Finn is a freelance health writer and reiki therapist who is passionate about bridging the gap between conventional medicine and complementary therapies, as well as empowering people to take responsibility for their own health.