It can be SO great to live in a connected world. Growing up I can remember my dad telling me how one day we’ll just carry little computers in our pockets and we won’t even need a big computer at our desk. I could hardly imagine this — yet here we are, with the world at our fingertips and electronics surrounding us in most aspects of our life. But that also means EMF radiation is surrounding us.
This might not seem like a bad thing — if EMF radiation is around us all the time, what harm can it really be doing. The truth is that YES, we are negatively impacted by electromagnetic radiation, and yes, that all comes from electronics and devices around our home. BUT, we can be much more intentional about how we use electronics around our home space.
I’m VERY aware that our electronics make life easier and it’s pretty cool how they help us learn and grow. As someone who started life without many of these electronic devices and watched them enter the world and change life for everyone, it’s something I don’t want to give up necessarily. But I do think there are WAY smarter ways of using technology to help support our body’s wellness.
Which is exactly what this week’s blog post is ALL about.
WHAT THE HECK IS EMF RADIATION?
The simplest way to describe electric and magnetic fields in your home is that they are areas of energy that surround ANY electrical device. This can range from your household appliances to your hair dryer, from power lines to the wiring within your home. Essentially, if it has an electrical component, it will have an EMF at some level.
Sometimes it’s referred to as an electric and magnetic disturbance traveling through space. And so, obviously this is a component of our world that we can’t see, and probably can’t feel.
If there is only one thing I could tell you about EMFs is that proximity matters. EMF radiation is strongest closer to the electronic item. The farther away, the less the EMF occurs. And if you’re far enough away, it won’t affect you at all.
And so when we talk about the importance of reducing EMF exposure at home, it really boils down to how close you are to some of the items we’re going to talk about, and for how long. So you might think of the biggest issue — your phone. YES! This is a big one — so many of us keep our phones on us throughout the day.
But another big place to look is around your bed. You’ve heard me say this about other toxins too. Toxins where you sleep can be one of the most burdening things on our bodies. The length of time we spend there allows us to be near toxins for very long periods of time. On top of which our sleep is supposed to be restful and restorative; free from toxins.
SCIENCE LINKING ELECTRONICS AND YOUR HEALTH
Biological Effects: A controlled study done showed that EMF and cell phones specifically can reduce the permeability of the blood brain barrier. Because the blood-brain barrier restricts the entry of inflammatory toxins into the tissue, we don’t want to compromise the permeability of that barrier. (STUDY)
Research done on this subject showed that the blood brain barrier permeability also contributed to nerve cell damage and damaged neurons due to mobile phone exposure and microwave exposure. (STUDY)
Another study linked cell phone use while pregnant to child hyperactivity and behavior problems. This study also points to a trend of increasing risk of children’s behavior problems since the study has concluded. (STUDY)
Bluelight and Eyes: Many electronics with screens give off a blue tinted light. This blue tinted light is not only impacting our eyes, but it also negatively affects the production of melatonin within the body. One study done asked participants with insomnia to use amber lenses to block the blue light from their eyes for the two hours prior to bedtime and their insomnia symptoms were almost completely improved (STUDY)
Another study showed that morning and evening blue light exposure alters metabolic function in normal-weight adults, lowering their metabolism and raising their glucose peak value during the exposure times. (STUDY)
Impacts of Microwaves: Numerous studies have been done on the negative health impacts that microwaves have on our bodies. A lot of the studies done point to degeneration of some type of system within the body. Specifically, microwaves have been linked to degeneration of the internal cellular membrane, nerve impulses within the brains’ cerebrum, loss of energy in the nerve centers, interruption of hormone production, degeneration of the blood and lymph systems.
And children absorb even more radiation from microwaves than adults (STUDY)
NEGATIVE IMPACTS ON HEALTH DUE TO EMF RADIATION AT HOME:
Tumors & Cancer Risk: The United States National Toxicology Program found cell phone radiation exposure of 9 hours per day was linked to heart cancer. (STUDY). Another study done showed that women who put their cell phones in their bra or over their breast had an increased risk of breast cancer incidents. (STUDY)
Lower Fertility Rates: A 2020 study done showed that high power WiFi exposure from 1-7 hours a day decreased sperm count (STUDY). Another study showed that even low frequency EMF exposure from monitors of computers and phones decreased sperm mobility (STUDY).
Another study linked cell phone use while pregnant for more than 30 minutes per day had negative impacts on fetal growth in some individuals (STUDY)
Anxiety: Because EMFs and radiofrequency radiation (RFR) drastically decreases the amount of melatonin produced, cell phone exposure has been linked to not only sleep disturbances; but it has also been linked to anxiety when radiation was on. (STUDY).
Another study showed that exposure to EMFs, vibrations and ringtones created an anxiety-like response. The EMF exposure produced oxidative stress in this study when cell phones were turned on compared to off. (STUDY)
Another study linked EMF exposure to a change in behavior and an increased risk of stress hormones. (STUDY)
Sleep Disturbances: A comparative study performed shows that low level exposure of EMFs, or exposure to even weak EMFs disrupts the pineal gland’s production of melatonin in the body. The pineal gland actually senses EMFs as light, and because of this decreases the production of melatonin. When melatonin levels are low, the body has a more difficult time falling asleep and staying asleep. And it’s these sleep disturbances that can lead to long-term health effects in humans. (STUDY).
Another controlled trial showed that test subjects exposed to low level EMFs during the night had more night wakings out of deep sleep and had a more restless sleep. (STUDY)
EASY CHANGES TO MAKE AT HOME:
The good news is there are SO many easy changes you can make (TODAY!) to start improving your health and wellness in your home space when it comes to EMF radiation and exposure.
Put Down Your Cell Phone: This is probably going to be one of the most impactful changes you can make. Make a habit to put your cell phone down when you’re at home. Give a home on a countertop or somewhere out of your reach so that you aren’t tempted to pick it up. Not only is this great for your body, but it can also be great if you’re working on being more present without distractions at home.
Keep Electronics Out of Your Bedroom: Another SUPER impactful change is to keep ALL electronics out of your room (and especially your kids’ rooms). If nothing else, get your cell phone charger out of your sleep space if possible. One thing to keep in mind is that some electronics’ EMF exposure drops off relatively quickly the farther away you move from the device. For example, I tested our Medify Air Purifier, and while it gave off high levels of EMFs neary, around 2 feet away there was almost nothing detected. This means the farther away from your bed you can get electronics, the healthier it is for you.
Get a Red Light Night Light: We know that bluelight is terrible for our sleep and our eyes, so one of the best changes we made for our kids was to get a red light nightlight. I personally love these salt lamp nightlights for bathroom trips at night.
Turn off Your Router At Night: If you can, turn off your router at night. It can really give your body a HUGE break overnight from EMF radiation exposure. A solid 8 hours where you can be completely free from most EMFs can be just what your body needs to reset.
Avoid Wearables: Wearables are the worst way to expose yourself to EMF radiation because the devices are directly on your skin and obviously VERY close to your body. If you can avoid smart watches, fitness trackers, etc, you’ll be doing your body a huge favor.
Move the Baby Monitor: If you have a baby monitor, know that these can be one of the WORST sources for EMF radiation exposure. The farther away from the crib your monitor camera is, the better for your baby and your baby’s brain. And then the farther away from your bed the actual monitor is, the better for you. Make it a habit to keep these devices as far from sleeping areas as possible.
Don’t Use Smart Home Devices: Any device that connects to your Wi-Fi and also has bluetooth in order to connect to your phone is a HUGE source of EMFs. If you can avoid these devices, please do! Or at the very least limit them in your home. This can range from smart light bulbs to speakers and smart home devices with screens.
Read a Book Before Bed Instead of Scrolling Your Phone: One of the BEST habit changes my husband and I made was to read before bed with a soft glow book light instead of scrolling our phones. It has impacted my sleep so positively to have a low, natural light and book in my hand before sleeping instead of the blue light phone in my hand.
Use Airplane Mode: When your phone is on you or near you, go ahead and turn it to airplane mode. It’s not going to reduce ALL EMF exposure, but it will reduce a large amount of it. It’s a great habit to get into if you don’t need your phone, but need to carry it with you wherever you’re going.
Turn it Off When Not In Use: Anytime electronics aren’t being used, go ahead and TURN THEM OFF. Most electronics won’t emit any sort of EMF exposure when they’re turned off. So make it a habit to turn off items when you’re not using them and save yourself the exposure to EMF radiation.
BIG WAYS TO REDUCE EMF RADIATION AT HOME:
And then there are some big ways you can reduce EMF exposure that might take a little more time and intention on your part.
Stop Using Wi-Fi at Home & Hardwire Instead: A new trend right now is to completely hardwire your home rather than utilize Wi-Fi. And even if you have a home that is already built, you can retroactively do this or at least do it to some of the electronics in your home. Computers are the big one and so are televisions. Having them hardwired with an ethernet cable or CAT5 is going to reduce the use of WiFi in your space.
Invest in a AirTube Headset: Airpods and Bluetooth headsets are another one of the WORST ways you can expose yourself to electromagnetic radiation. But many of us don’t have the option of hardwiring our headphones to our phone anymore. Using something similar to the Airtube reduces the magnetic part of the energy because they are metal free. They’re not perfect, but it does offer a reduced level of EMF exposure compared to the standard headphones that are on the market.
Get Rid of Dimmer Switches: Dimmer switches produce high levels of EMFs because they alter the amount of electric current being sent to your light bulbs. This type of dirty electricity is notorious for high levels of EMF radiation and really should not be used in homes at all.
Try a Filter for Electronics to Reduce EMF Exposure: These filters are designed to reduce the amount of dirty electricity that is present in your home. This post about dirty electricity covers what exactly it is and how to avoid it. The technology it uses simply filters out the electricity that is within your home’s wiring that causes EMF radiation through the variance in alternating and direct current. You can shop their filters here and get enough for just one room or your whole house.
Replace You Microwave: An easy swap for your kitchen is to use a toaster oven rather than a microwave. This is a much safer and healthier way to heat up your food and chances are once you make the switch it won’t take long before you’ve changed all your habits and don’t even miss your microwave.
Don’t Get an Induction Stove: If you’re in the market for a new stove, a plain old electric stove is going to be a MUCH better option than an induction stove. An induction stove gives off high levels of EMFs while in use and even while not being used. If you do have an induction stove, just make sure you don’t have a bed on a shared wall to the stove, where there would be EMF exposure during sleep.
With just a few small changes, you can start reducing EMF exposure today. And then you can plan ahead and make bigger changes going forward. You don’t even have to ditch all your electronics. Instead, you can use your electronics in a more intentional way to guide you closer toward positive health and wellness.