image by Bjørn Giesenbauer
Editor's note: this is a guest post from Lloyd Burrell who writes on the electro-magnetic fields caused by cell phones etc. In 2002 he developed health challenges as a result of sensitivity to EMFs, this is something I am also affected by in my own life so I wanted to share Lloyd's advice with Living by Design readers.
Isn't technology great? The Internet, cell phones, PDAs, Kindles, iPads, etc, these are all wonderful inventions. They allow us to do so much so quickly. Year on year it just seems to get better and better, the gadgets are smaller and smaller and they get faster and faster.
But what if I told you these electromagnetic fields (EMFs), though invisible, are a source of stress and can take their toll on your health?
More than 2000 independent studies point to the dangers of EMFs with symptoms ranging from, fatigue, headaches, high blood pressure to more serious conditions such as brain tumors and cancer. I know they are dangerous because for nearly ten years now I have been suffering from electrosensitivity.
Cell phone radiation
Cell phones emit radiation. This is an undeniable fact. The frequencies used are moving up the GHz scale as our needs move more and more towards streaming and video applications. Just how dangerous this radiation is to your body is a subject of much debate. There are those that say that the EMF radiation is negligible, interestingly most of these studies are funded by the cell phone industry. I stopped using a cell phone nearly 10 years ago, it was causing me more than stress, I was in extreme discomfort and pain as soon as I tried to use one. My advice here is to minimize your exposure by reducing your cell phone use, by holding the cell phone away from your body as much as possible when using it, to use a headset (airtube models are the best). And to keep the cell phone out of your bedroom at night.
Cordless phones emit radio frequency radiation much the same as cell phones. They use DECT (digital European cordless telephone) technology at frequencies between 900 MHz and 5 GHz. Cordless phones do create EMF stress, again studies show this. My best advice here is to limit if not remove them from your home. As much as cell phones are indispensable, depending on your job and circumstances, removing cordless phones from your home and replacing them with cord ones is not that much of a hardship. If you don't feel ready to take this step then make sure you don't have any cordless phones (or more importantly the base units) in or near your bedroom.
Microwave ovens do heat food fast, they do save time but they also give of considerable EMFs into your home environment. The problem with most microwave ovens is faulty door seals. These are your first line of protection from EMF radiation. Once these seals are compromised there will be radiation leakage. Being as microwave ovens undergo no safety tests once they have been bought and installed in your home, most people are totally unaware of this EMF pollution. Using a faulty microwave you are constantly exposing yourself to EMF radiation. My own solution has been to stop using microwave ovens, alternatively you could measure for any leakage using an EMF radiation meter.
Being able to connect up to the Internet anywhere around your home or even in your garden really takes some beating. But having WiFi installed also means that your home is bathed in electromagnetic radiation. WiFi functions in the 2.4 GHz range, similar to that of cell phones. I prefer to use only cable connections around my home. But if you prefer to keep using WiFi then you can limit its effects by switching it off at night. Also, make sure that your WiFi Router is a safe distance from anywhere where you work or rest for long periods. A top shelf away from your desk in the office is a good choice, but also make sure that your (or your child’s) bedroom is not above because EMFs travel through walls and ceilings.
Video Game Consoles
More and more video game consoles use WiFi or Bluetooth technology in their operation. The Sony PlayStation 3, for instance, users EMFs to communicate between the handheld units and the main console. It's the same for the Nintendo Wii. I know about this because my son has one. This problem is easily solved with the PlayStation3, you just need to use wired controllers instead of the wireless versions. For the Nintendo Wii, to my knowledge there are no wired hand controls so make sure that you switch off the console when you're not using it.
Electric Clock Radios
Typically its older clock radios with a digital green and red display that are particularly bad. These clock radios give off magnetic radiation. The issue is the proximity of the clock radio to your head when you are sleeping. If you have one of these old models you can either replace it with a more modern LCD type clock radio, or move your existing clock radio away from your bedside table to a prominent position, so you can still see it, the other side of the room.
Compact fluorescent lights came into widespread use only a few years ago. On the face of it they do seem to be a great idea because they consume considerably less electricity than a conventional light bulb. But did you know they give off both RF radiation, like a cell phone, and magnetic radiation? My solution is to use LEDs, they are slightly more expensive but they emit considerably less EMFs than CFL's and they have a lower mercury content, which can cause a problem with the CFLs on disposal.
This technology is here to stay, that's for sure. So what's important is to understand the dangers and take action to minimize its effect. Because the effects of EMFs are so insidious you probably won’t even realize that those headaches you’ve been getting or the fatigue you have been suffering from of late are entirely due to EMF pollution in your home. Take action now, I’m sure you will thank me for it in the long run.
Guest author's Bio: Lloyd Burrell became electrosensitive in 2002, a condition sparked off by only moderate cell phone use. In addition to the steps outlined above, Lloyd also recommends cell phone tower protection shielding for people living near a cell phone tower . He enjoys being a guest blogger and writing on his EMF meter review website.