One of the questions I get quite often online is, “What is EMF?” followed by “Do I need to worry about it?” It’s really one of those grey topics – really there is no black and white answer. EMF, or electromagnetic radiation, is all around us pretty much all the time. And different levels of EMF radiation can affect the body and mind in different ways. The strength of the EMF waves and the closeness in proximity also play a part in HOW it affects us as humans.
With all these variables, it can be a really tough road to navigate the world of electromagnetic radiation without feeling confused. But the good news is there are answers to the questions about “What is EMF”. And with all the research that’s been done and continues to be done we gain more insight and knowledge about the safest way to keep our home and our bodies safe.
It’s even more important to understand who is at the highest risk of a variety of health effects due to constant exposure of EMF radiation. This post is going to walk you through the answers to what is EMF doing to our health, how to avoid it and how to protect yourself from it.
WHAT IS EMF?
EMF stands for electromagnetic fields, or radiation. Electromagnetic fields and radiation occur naturally in our world, and we’ve created very unnatural sources as well.
Naturally, our bodies and our earth are electrical in nature. What is EMF radiation in the natural world? Think things like the earth’s natural magnetic field, lightening and plain old visible light. The difference between what is naturally occurring in the earth and what we’ve produced in our world has to do with polarization.
EMF is measured on a spectrum ranging from low frequency to high frequency.
What is EMF at a low frequency? This would be the radiation from power lines, radio and television, cell phones, baby monitors and microwaves. These devices give off non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation. Many of these are also in the category of extremely low frequency, or ELF.
What is EMF at a high frequency? This would be ultraviolet radiation and x-rays. This category isn’t something we come in contact with on a daily basis, and so it’s not generally a huge concern unless you’re working in a particular environment that has these types of EMF radiation.
Aside from these, there are radio-frequency EMF, which come in the form of wireless technologies. What are EMF in radio-frequency form? Think cell phones, wireless networks, laptops, blue-tooth, radar, WI-FI hot spots and broadcast towers.
HOW ARE YOU EXPOSED TO ELECTROMAGNETIC RADIATION?
With our wireless world, we are exposed to radio-frequency EMF and low frequency EMF consistently, every day. When you use your cell phone, or you’re in a space that has wireless internet, your body is coming in contact with electromagnetic radiation.
Different electronics and wireless devices output different variances of EMF radiation in the form of radio-frequency EMF. Some of the biggest offenders that come into play when you’re at home are:
- Wi-Fi Routers and Systems
- Wireless Headsets
- Baby Monitors
- Bluetooth Devices
- Alexa or Google Home Devices
There are also other sources of electromagnetic radiation that don’t involve the internet that are also affecting our bodies. Some of those sources include:
- Lights on Dimmers
- Baby Monitors
- Refrigerators & Freezers
- Fluorescent Light Bulbs
- Hair Dryers
This page has an interesting chart of the various appliances we have in our house and the exposure levels of each item.
STUDIED HEALTH RISKS OF EMF EXPOSURE
While more and more studies are being performed on the health effects of our wireless world as it advances, there is still so much that we have to learn. But what we currently know is enough to indicate that we need to be safe with these electronics that we use on a daily basis.
An interesting study done in Europe concluded that some childhood leukaemia cases can be attributed to the current exposures to EMF fields on a regular basis. This study was performed studying extremely low frequency fields as opposed to high frequency fields.
Another extremely in-depth study discusses how electromagnetic radiation in homes and in our daily life alters the function of the brain. Specifically, how the brain is stimulated and at what level.
When it comes to microwave EMF exposure, this specific study was one and it showed a variety of health effects related to the exposure including sleep disturbances and insomnia, headaches and even depression.
What is EMF avoidance? Just as it sounds. It’s simply avoiding as much as you can in terms of EMF exposure. I think that this is the BEST way to try to reduce your exposure to electromagnetic radiation in your home.
Replace Your Microwave: One really big way you could change your home is by swapping out your microwave for a toaster oven. You can still heat up food and you can do it quickly, it just uses convection heat as opposed to electromagnetic fields at a constant low frequency. This is the convection oven we opted for and haven’t ever looked back.
Put Your Cell Phone Down: Instead of carrying your cell phone around with you all day every day, try setting it down in a designated spot. Come back to it when you need to check it, but try to avoid keeping it in a pocket all day. You can also avoid using things like blue-tooth to help decrease the strength of EMF around you.
Manage Your Sleeping Space: I’ve said this before, but the place where we sleep is often the most critical piece to the overall healthy house puzzle. This is simply due to the fact that we are spending countless hours there on a regular basis. It’s also the place where our bodies try to repair from the day. A space filled with electronics including clocks, TVs, computers, radios, sound machines and cell phone chargers just doesn’t allow our bodies to fully rest and recover. Create a space that is free of all electronic devices if you can. If you absolutely can’t, I recommend keeping those electronics at least on the other side of the room as the EMF waves can drop off quite quickly. This post will help you in creating a true sleep sanctuary for your body.
Hard Wired Internet: This would be a HUGE change for a lot of us, and it might not be a feasible change for your home. But wired internet as opposed to wireless is a much better option when it comes to our online habits. The waves that are produced with wireless internet play a huge role in EMF radiation while we are at home and work. If you can switch to a wired internet connection in your home, it’s a great option for the health of your body.
You might be wondering, “What is EMF protection?” It’s exactly what it sounds like. It’s products that can help protect you from EMF radiation. While I do think that avoidance is the BEST way to go, there are things you can do to keep your family a little healthier when it comes to electromagnetic fields and radiation.
GreenWave Filters: 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.
Blankets: If you’re going to be using a laptop or tablet, I think a protective blanket is the best way to go to protect your body from EMF waves when you are in extremely close proximity to your computer and wireless internet. This Armsheild Blanket is moderately priced and great for having around the house.
Belly Armor Clothing: One of the huge concerns that is mentioned in the studies above is the negative affect EMF radiation can have on babies in utero. This is something that Belly Armor by Radia Sheild has set out to change. Clothing options for both babies and for pregnant moms can help protect your baby from the EMF waves around us all the time.