Updated: Apr 28
The covid-19 pandemic has certainly changed the world in dramatic fashion. For a large portion of the population, the time we spend at home has greatly increased since last spring. Working and schooling from home is the new norm for many.
Creating an optimal home environment for work or school is essential not only to be at our most productive and most absorbent, but also to maintain optimal health. It is critically important to intentionally create healthy spaces in the places where we spend extended periods of time. Now that my two daughters are schooling from home via district provided equipment until at least the beginning of November, I wanted to do everything in my power to create a healthy home learning environment.
To achieve this, most people would want the home setup in a way that ensures a quiet space insulated from the noise in the rest of the home, a comfortable chair or sit ball, perhaps near a window or plants or soothing decorations. They might set reminders for intermittent exercise or getting outside.
These are all excellent ways to create an optimal space, many of which I have used, but I would like to propose to you that they are the tip of the iceberg. There is a looming issue below the surface that affects all modern homes- electromagnetic field (EMF) pollution.
What are EMFs?
EMFs are essentially a variety of forms or ways that energy travels throughout the universe. You may be familiar with the chart below from a high school physics class. It describes visually some of these ways, and handily lists devices we are all familiar with, for each section.
Modern homes with their electrical wiring, all of the devices and gadgets we put in them, and external sources like power lines or cell towers all use various forms of energy (EMFs) to function. There are many excellent benefits from these technologies, but as with many things in this world, there are consequences to be aware of.
Most people are aware that electricity can be lethal, or that a microwave oven can heat up food. Electrocution or having your steak come out tasting like shoe leather are extreme results from these types of EMFs, but did you know that scientific and medical research has built a massive amount of data and studies dating back well over 100 years showing negative health effects from a variety of EMFs at much lower levels? Here is a small sampling.
EMF Pollution Types in Home Environments
Here are the major types of EMF pollution commonly found in home environments, and basic information about them. Later in this report, we will list the top tips on how to reduce or eliminate them in your space.
Consists of waves of electric and magnetic energy moving together (radiating) through space at the speed of light. RF waves are used to convey information from one place to another through the air. They are used in mobile communication (WiFi, cellular, BlueTooth), radio and television broadcasts, radar, satellite navigation and homeland security. They are a core component of our wireless communication infrastructure. These high energy, airborne waves are capable of traveling miles. Radio frequency waves are considered high frequency electromagnetic radiation (27 MHz -6 GHz). The fifth generation in wireless technology “5G”, which is already being rolled out domestically and in Europe will see the use and deployment of much higher frequencies, by some estimates up to 100 GHz. This is up to 100,000,000,000 oscillations per second!
From baby monitors to smart meters to digital assistants like Alexa to computers and wearable devices, the average person now has about 7 such devices. How many people live in your space?
One study found RF EMF exposure causes “oxidative stress, sperm, and testicular damage, male infertility, increased apoptosis [programmed cell death], stimulates the growth of adipose stem cells (“role in obesity?” the study’s authors ask), DNA damage, abnormal postnatal development, and disruptive endocrine changes.
The frequencies of light emitted by modern lightbulbs and screens is akin to an alien sun. See the graph below for comparison of different light sources.
One study found that “Fish and mice exposed to fluorescent light showed genome-wide changes in the gene expression of patterns in the skin, brains and liver. Both the skin and brains exhibited increased inflammation and immune response following exposure.”
Produced by electrical current flow. Any device or appliance that consumes electricity will produce an AC Magnetic Field. The intensity or strength of the magnetic field is directly related to the power consumption of the device. A more powerful device will produce a higher magnetic field. These fields usually remain close to their source (2-3 feet), but can travel several hundred feet in the case of high voltage power lines. AC Magnetic Fields are considered low frequency electromagnetic radiation (5 Hz – 400,000 Hz)
Examples: Home wiring and wiring errors, power lines, electric baseboards, hot water heaters, cooking range, laptop charger, electric motors like in a blender
Produced by the presence of electricity, and a voltage difference between two points. Their strength is determined by voltage; the higher the voltage or number of sources, the stronger the field. AC Electric Fields are generated by live electrical wires and generally travel 6-8 feet from the source, but in some cases further. An electric field will exist even when a device is not in use (turned off). In other words, these sources produce a continual emission. AC Electric Fields have a natural attraction to ground and are considered low frequency electromagnetic radiation (5 Hz – 400,000 Hz)
Dirty Electricity (DE)
Dirty electricity refers to spikes and surges of electrical energy that travel along the wiring in buildings where only standard (60 Hz) electricity should be. This type of electropollution is created by many modern electronics, appliances, and lighting solutions as they manipulate standard electrical current in one way or another in order to operate. Dirty electricity circulates throughout buildings, and even between buildings via wiring and power lines. It radiates electromagnetic fields (EMF) into rooms as it travels. Think of it as noise or excess, additional frequencies adding to the EMF soup of a modern environment.
Examples: LED and fluorescent light bulbs, solar panel transistors, switch mode power supplies like in a laptop, variable speed pool motors, and others.
One study on lower frequency (ELF) EMFs such as AC magnetic found “These results provide the first evidence that ELF frequency magnetic fields can act at the cellular level to enhance breast cancer cell proliferation [rapid increase] by blocking melatonin's natural oncostatic [cancer inhibiting] action.”
I hope I have sufficiently captured your attention now by pointing a handful of the available medical literature on EMFs. These studies aren’t saying that you will develop a disease like cancer overnight from EMF pollution exposure, but they do point to the ability of EMFs to wear us down over time. In the near term, this will effect your energy levels and cognitive abilities leading to poor work or school performance.
My goal in listing these studies was not to create fear or anxiety. Rather, I would like to propose that we look at this issue in an empowering way, in terms of changing our behaviors or hygiene around technology, to maintain the benefits, while reducing harm from exposure to EMF pollution. To that end, let’s look at some practical tips for reducing or eliminating EMF pollution!
Top 5 Tips for Reducing EMF Pollution at Home
Reconnect to native EMFs outside. Key times are sunrise and sunset, but regular outside sessions for fresh air, grounding and natural light are of immense benefit in a world full of non-native EMFs.
2. Clear the air! Eliminate as many points of wireless communication (RF) as possible.
Switch to a hard-wired (ethernet) internet connection. Here is an excellent DIY from Jeromy Johnson of EMFanalysis.com:
Many devices (printers, TVs, digital assistants etc) will continue to transmit RF pollution once hardwired. The best solution is to leave them powered off until needed. Or get your own RF meter (see below) and test each device. If it won’t go into true airplane mode, consider getting rid of it or replacing with one that does.
A Google Voice number can be created for free, and you can make/recieve calls and texts through your hardwired computer or phone. You can forward a cell phone number to it, or get extra fancy with this non-WiFi phone handset from OBiHai Obi1022
Wireless headphones are problematic. They emit RF pollution 35,000 times greater than the Building Biology Institute’s guidelines (as measured by Stephine @ Sage Living), and they do it closer to your brain than a cellphone.
3. Try out a new Light Diet to reduce alien frequencies of light, as outlined in our blog Rethinking the Evening Hours. There are many practical tips found there, but here are the highlights:
Switch out LED and fluorescent bulbs for incandescent.
Use light filtering software like Iris and Night Shift for phones, tablets and computers
Use blue blocking glasses after the sun sets.
4. Cut the cord! Avoid using phones, tablets, or laptops when plugged in for charging to reduce exposure to AC electric fields. Never put these devices on your body, and maintain as much distance from them as possible.
Run power cords, power strips, and cables at least 4’ away from where you sit. Make sure they are grounded. Here is an excellent, shielded power strip.
Use of an infra-red, non-BlueTooth keyboard is the optimal solution here for laptops and desktops: .
Tablets can use this keyboard for an RF free connection.
The wiring in wired headsets are a conduit for AC electric fields to travel into your ear canal. Use a set of these instead, which reduce exposure by inserting an 8” section of plastic tubing near your ears.
5. Consult with a Building Biologist to fine-tune your home. The guidelines listed above generally work very well for reducing exposures to EMF pollution. However, they don’t address common issues in your home wiring, or external sources such as a cell tower or power lines. A qualified Building Biologist can help you understand what effect ALL sources might be having on your internal spaces, and what to do about it. Contact us today for a FREE discovery call to learn more about having an EMF home inspection.
The great news is that most of the recommendations above are low cost and DIY, no outside vendors needed! Add in a set of your own EMF meters to take before/after readings, and you are truly empowered to verify the results of these recommendations. Here are the best consumer-grade meters that I recommend to clients all of the time. Use code ‘ODS05’ for 5% discount when ordering:
Unlike a school or office, where you don’t have much environmental control, being at home for these activities affords us an excellent opportunity to craft something optimal. In my own personal experiment with these changes, I have certainly felt the benefits, and witnessed my children thrive while learning. The juice is worth the squeeze here. I would highly encourage you to take action to incorporate the above into your life, to take your performance and health to the next level!