Electromagnetic Fields and Health

Electromagnetic Fields and Health

Today we are surrounded by large amounts of human made EMF’s that we have never before experienced in our evolution. What impact EMF’s have on our health is yet to be fully understood as with cigarette smoking and asbestos exposure there is a high lag period between exposure and manifestation of disease. So although there is a lot of research highlighting the negative health impacts, this research may become more compelling as the health issues become more apparent in the future. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies electromagnetic fields (EMFs) as ‘possibly carcinogenic’ to humans that might transform normal cells into cancer cells (4).

Radiofrequencies (used in mobile phones, cordless phones, baby monitors) were classified by the World Health Organisation on the 31st May 2011 as ‘possibly carcinogenic to humans’.

Early signs of EMF toxicity can be headaches and insomnia.

There are many natural sources of EMF’s such as;

  • The Earths Magnetic Field (MF) or Geo MF
  • Cosmic radiation – exploding planets in the galaxy
  • X rays – from the galaxy
  • Radioactivity within the earths crust – e.g. uranium, chlorine, potassium
  • The sun’s energy
  • Gravity

We have evolved with these frequencies and energies and they are really important to our health and wellness. They create a frequency that resonates with us and is kept at a certain level via massive global thunderstorms. Many insects and animals rely on the GeoMF for navigation and migration.

Where are EMF’s?

EMFs are produced for technological applications (e.g., power lines, mobile phones, internet routers), and are also widely used in medicine for diagnostic (e.g., magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner and microwave imaging) and therapeutic purposes (e.g., radiofrequency and microwave ablation and hyperthermia) (5,6).

Early Research

Currently the research shows that EMF’s generate reactive oxygen species (ROS). Overproduction of ROS can damage cellular components, mainly lipids in membranes and nucleic acids whilst also depleting enzymatic and/or nonenzymatic antioxidants triggering progressive dysfunction resulting in oxidative stress and damage in the cell body (12-17).

EMF’s  have been linked to;

  • Increased incidence of childhood leukaemia (1,2).
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), (7,8)
  • Adult brain cancer (11)
  • Increased incidence of Alzeimers Disease (10)
  • Miscarriage (9)
  • Decreases in melatonin (3)

Other Problems that may be caused due to chronic EMF exposure include;

  • Increased blood brain barrier permeability (18,19)
  • Parkinsons Disease (20-25)
  • Huntington’s Disease (22-25)

Childhood Leukaemia

There are published studies linking childhood leukaemia and close proximity to high voltage transmission lines. 3 milli gauss or higher that their chances of developing childhood leukaemia doubled (1). This is anytime in the first 15 years of their life if they are closer than 600m to the line. In the year 2000 album and greenland – international agency for research and dance that AC magnetic fields were classified as carcinogenic.

This level of more than 3 milli gauss can be easily replicated if a child is sleeping on the other side of a a meter box or an oven that is on. Other problematic appliances which all omit very high AC magnetic fields include fridges or solar inverters, digital clock radio within 30 cm’s of the bed. The amount of milli gauss from these appliance quickly drops off with distance. At home if you are sleeping on the opposite wall to a metre box that can be up to 500 milli gauss, depending on how many appliances are on.

Melatonin Production

Melatonin is a natural hormone produced by pineal gland activity in the brain that regulates the body’s sleep–wake cycle (4). Melatonin is a potent antioxidant within the body. The pineal gland, which in humans is located near the anatomical centre of the brain, is normally responsive to visible electromagnetic fields (ie light) since the eyes are functionally connected to the pineal gland by a series of neurons (3). Normally, the pineal gland produces low amounts of melatonin during the day and high amounts at night (3).

Effects on children

Professor Om Gandhi, head of electrical engineering at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, using life-size models and computer-generated images, found that 5-year-old children absorb 50% more radiation than adults during a call. Scans showed that while radiation spread a short distance from the ear in adults, in the youngest children it spread across most of the brain. More radiation can go through since the child’s ear is thinner, the telephone is closer to the head and this thinner ear doesn’t absorb so much power. Therefore more is able to go past the ear into the head.

Sources of EMFs in your Home

The EMFs of greatest concern are those used in wireless technologies and telecommunications (cordless phone, cell phone, baby monitors). But all EMF’s are a hazard

  • Appliances and building wiring
  • Baby monitors
  • High voltage transmission & power lines
  • Inverters from solar power
  • Lighting
  • Mobile phone towers
  • Phones
  • Radioactivity
  • Smart meters and the meter box
  • Wireless technology

Other things to look out for at home

Be mindful of what is on the other side of your bedroom wall – especially where your head is. Meter boxes, fridges, ovens, solar inverters – when in use all output large amounts of EMF’s. If your baby is sleeping in a cot on the other side of a wall with an oven that is on, their exposure will be very high (26).

Simple Tips to Reduce Your Exposure

This will depend on the source of the exposure (26).

  • DISTANCE is your friend– its called the inverse square law and it essentially means as you double the distance away from the EMF source, you will reduce your exposure to it by 75%. Its the cheapest, simplest and most effective way.
  • Keep at least a metre away from EMFs especially in areas where you spend time such as the bed, favourite couch, desk and so on.
  • Shielding is a last resort if you are unable to eliminate the source of the field. Shielding is used to reduce ones exposure to electric fields and to radio frequencies, however it is not effective against AC magnetic fields.
  • Earthing mats maybe useful to reduce your body voltage (AC electric field) but will do nothing to address the AC magnetic fields emitted from appliances, or radio frequency fields emitted from wireless devices
  • Demand switches and contactors placed in the fuse box may reduce exposure to AC electric and AC magnetic fields
  • Put the cell phone and ipad in flight mode when using a digital device – eg listening to music or playing a game
  • Don’t use digital devices two hours before bed as the blue light is a powerful inhibitor of melatonin which is important to induce sleep

Distance, distance, distance! As you double the distance away from the lines, you will effectively reduce your exposure by 75%. Homes should be at least 200 metres away from high voltage transmission lines however this may not address the pollution issue. Underground cables are a better alternative as the electric fields are screened by the earth, however the magnetic field will still be present.

What else can I do?

As EMF’s cause free radical damage and we are all exposed to EMF’s everyday we need to ensure we have a diet rich in antioxidant foods.

If your exposure is higher than average due to your work or living environment, or you feel you are sensitive to EMF’s  then you need to consider supplementing with antioxidants;

  • Melatonin – particularly important with EMF’s
  • Curcumin
  • Green tea
  • Vitamin C
  • Selenium
  • Vitamin E
  • Resveratrol
  • Alpha lipoic acid
  • Polyphenols
  • Flavanoids

Antioxidants work in groups so it is always better to have a broad spectrum antioxidant supplement rather than just one or two.


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