If you’ve heard anything about EMFs (electromagnetic fields), the information probably falls into one of two camps:
- EMFs are harmful and will give you cancer; or
- EMFs are totally harmless and those hippies are just trying to scare you
Like most issues having to do with your health, the truth is a little more nuanced than that. Also like most preventative health topics and relatively new technologies, there’s still a lot we don’t know. Read on to find out what EMFs actually do to your body and how to minimize your exposure.
What are EMFs
Your body is designed to handle a fair amount of EMFs. Even if you lived a completely unplugged existence in the middle of the jungle, the planet you’re standing on exposes you to EMFs. We humans emit electromagnetic energy, and there’s no escaping ourselves.
An EMF refers to the invisible cloud of electricity that surrounds electrically charged particles. When charged particles are moving (and they always are), they produce magnetic fields. Every living and nonliving thing you come in contact with has its own electromagnetic field.
So, EMFs are safe, right?
Only to a point. The world has far more EMFs coursing through the atmosphere than it did even 10 years ago. Once cell phones found their way into everyone’s pocket, the world started going wireless with everything.
The shift happened in a relatively short amount of time, which means you have to deal with a steep influx of EMFs.That makes us all the study population; the guinea pigs. Your body simply hasn’t had the time to adapt and there’s some evidence that this flood of EMFs is causing some pretty massive damage to your cells.
EMFs aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, so instead of waiting around to see what the long-term repercussions are, I’ve come up with some proactive ways to avoid overexposure.
Some sources of EMFs
In an increasingly wireless world, EMFs are everywhere. The big influx of EMFs come from humans and technology, and of course you still receive low-level EMFs that have always been around.
Some sources of EMFs include:
- Cell phones
- Your wireless internet
- Your neighbor’s wifi
- Wireless conveniences: smart thermostat, baby monitors, security cameras
- Microwave oven
- UV Lights
- Household light bulbs
- The sun
Why EMFs are harmful
EMFs modify DNA and genes
EMFs can tamper with your DNA  and genes,which are the instruction manuals your cells use to carry out processes. Bad things happen when your cells don’t know what to do. Best case scenario (but still bad), your cells are under stress and you’re tired all the time. Worst case scenario, your cells’ DNA get damaged and things go haywire. We’re talking genetic mutations and cancer.
EMFs cause problems in the brain and nerves
EMFs’ action on the nervous system matters most because our phones spend a lot of time close to our heads.
Researchers observed measurable changes in brain cells after EMF exposure. Worse yet, researchers are getting consistent results in rat studies showing that EMFs damage the protective layer of the brain, the blood-brain barrier. Exposure can also cause headaches, which might be related.
Children are especially vulnerable to EMFs because their brains are developing, young brain tissue is more conductive than fully matured brain tissue, and they have many years of exposure ahead of them.
EMFs disturb your body processes from head to toe and everywhere in between
The brain and nervous system get a lot of attention, but EMFs can alter your body in more ways than that. EMFs:
- Disrupt the immune system
- Cause behavioral problems
- Damage cells
- Disrupt sleep cycles
- Change blood pressure and heart rate
- Reduce sperm quality and motility
How to lower EMF exposure
Ditch your microwave
Microwaves blast your living space with a powerful wave of EMFs (much more powerful than your phone or wifi) every time you press “start.” A convection steam oven takes up just as much space as your microwave and heats up your food in about the same amount of time, without nuking yourself and your family. Cuisinart makes a nice one.
Use EMF protective phone cases
You keep your cell phone in a case anyway, so this one is easy. Pick up an EMF shielded case like Defender Shield to keep the bad stuff inside the phone and away from your body.
Keep phones and laptops off of your body
Don’t put your phone in your back pocket or bra. If you must, switch to airplane mode while it’s there.
Hold your phone a thumbpad length from your ear when speaking. You’ll still hear your phone if it’s slightly off of your skin. Better yet, talk on the phone using your earbuds. Use your laptop, but put it on a tabletop instead of on your lap. You can get an inexpensive EMF blocking mat to set your laptop on for an extra layer of protection.
Turn off your wifi when you’re not using it
At a minimum, turn off your wireless router while you’re sleeping. Better still, turn it on when you’re using it and off when you’re not.
Use the old school cables when possible
Depending on what type of computer you have, you’ll have an ethernet port or you can get a cheap adapter to make one work. Wired baby monitors, plug-in sound systems…virtually anything you used to connect using a cable is still available in a wired version.
Even if you’re spoiled by your smart thermostat, you can switch it out with a programmable version that won’t affect your quality of life in the least. Really, you’ll get used to it.
The less wiring you use, the more EMFs permeate your space.
Install EMF blockers in your house
These range from $20 contraptions that plug in like a night-light, to $400 standalone setups that work long-range. Models vary in price, size, and effectiveness, so compare models to find out what’s best for your living space.
Use a Faraday canopy on your bed
A Faraday canopy is like a mosquito net, but instead of keeping ugly bugs from biting you while you sleep, it keeps invisible radiation waves from zapping you all night long.
If you live in a single-family home and your wireless router and devices are off while you sleep, you can save yourself the thousand bucks.
If you live in a shared space like an apartment or high-rise condo, or if you spend a lot of time in hotels, you’re contending with your neighbors’ many wireless devices, too. Especially if you’re experiencing noticeable sleep disturbances, Faraday netting is worth the one-time investment.
Limit EMFs, but don’t let them freak you out
You’re not going to eliminate EMFs from your life. To do that, you would have to turn off the earth’s electromagnetic field, and then the birds and butterflies won’t know how to fly south for the winter. You don’t want that on your conscience.
Instead, start with the easiest, highest impact EMF reducers – unplug your wi-fi router and switch your phone to airplane mode at night. Scrap your microwave. Microwaved food is gross anyway. Those alone will drastically reduce your exposure and bonus! You’ll notice that you sleep better.
After that, look into EMF shields for devices close to your body, and assess your environment for other ways to reduce your EMF exposure.
In a wireless world, electromagnetic noise bounces around us every minute of every day. Actively blocking at least some sources of EMFs is better than sitting there and taking it.
Do you notice a difference when you use some of these tools? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.