Are you concerned about the impact that constant exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMFs) has on your health? Are you wondering how to reduce your EMF exposure while still using a cell phone, computer, and the internet?
EMFs can be a scary topic – they aren’t something we can visually “see”, most people can’t “feel” them, and there are a lot of fear-based marketing tactics being used to scare people into purchasing “EMF Protection” devices, some of which have questionable impact.
So where do you start? What are EMFs? And are they really dangerous?
The Dangers of EMFs
EMF exposure has increased significantly over the past few decades, and the research hasn’t had time to catch up. Despite the limited research, more and more studies are showing that contrary to popular belief, non-ionizing radiation (like what you get from your cellphone, WiFi router, Bluetooth headphones, etc.) can have a negative impact on our health. If you need a little background on what EMFs are and the ways they can impact our health, see the article, Do You Need to Protect Yourself Against EMF Dangers, from Chris Kresser. If you’re ready to take action, read on.
Cancer, infertility, and sleep disruptions aside, recognition and diagnosis of a condition known as Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity (EHS) is on the rise. According to the World Health Organization, “EHS is characterized by a variety of non-specific symptoms, which afflicted individuals attribute to exposure to EMF. The symptoms most commonly experienced include dermatological symptoms (redness, tingling, and burning sensations) as well as neurasthenic and vegetative symptoms (fatigue, tiredness, concentration difficulties, dizziness, nausea, heart palpitation, and digestive disturbances)“.
Despite a reluctance to acknowledge EHS in the US, ICD 10 includes billing codes for EHS, and practitioners and patients that are dealing with complex, chronic illness (such as Lyme disease, chronic fatigue, mold illness, MCS, etc.) are finding it important to address EMF sensitivity as a part of treatment. Research is also being done on the link between Autism and EMFs , , and among other interventions, many parents and practitioners are finding benefits in reducing a child’s EMF exposure.
Whether you have a known EMF sensitivity yet or not, reducing your exposure to harmful EMFs makes a lot of sense. I know it sounds intimidating, but there are small, smart changes you can make to support the health of you and your family.
Four Easy Ways to Reduce Your EMF Exposure and Protect Yourself and Your Family
In our modern, connected world, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and powerless when it comes to your EMF exposure. The good news is, there is actually a lot you can control.
Here are four tips to help you reduce your EMF exposure safely and easily:
1. Create an EMF-Safe Sleeping Area
Some of the biggest sources of EMFs in our homes are our WiFi routers, cell phones, tablets, and smart devices like Google Home, Amazon Alexa, and Sonos speakers. These types of devices can each pump out Radio Frequency (RF) radiation (a type of EMF) at anywhere from 1.0 µW/m2 to over 1000 µW/m2 (microwatts per square meter).
But what do those numbers mean? Well, the Institute of Building Biology & Sustainability has developed guidelines for acceptable RF levels. The following table shows the Radio Frequency guidelines from their Evaluation Guidelines for Sleeping Areas:
|No Concern||Slight Concern||Severe Concern||Extreme Concern|
|Below 0.1 µW/m2||0.1 to 10 µW/m2||10 to 1,000 µW/m2||Over 1,000 µW/m2|
If, on average, we spend 7-9 hours of our day sleeping, why not reduce our EMF exposure as much as possible during that time?
Whether you have an EMF meter to measure your levels or not, here are a few things you can do to create an EMF-safer zone for sleeping:
- Phone – keep your phone outside of your bedroom and/or turn it off at night. If you use your phone as an alarm clock and need to keep it by your bed, put it in airplane mode, or consider purchasing a simple, inexpensive alarm clock to use instead.
- Smart Devices/Speakers – keep these as far as possible from your bed. Distance is your friend with all EMF devices as the strength of the signal decreases the further away you get. If you must have a smart device or Sonos speaker in your room, connect it via a wired Ethernet connection and disable the device’s WiFi. By doing so, you’ll see a huge decrease in the EMF output from the device. For example, with our Sonos speakers, EMF output went from 816 µW/m2 to well below 0.1 µW/m2, just by using a wired ethernet connection and turning off WiFi for the speaker itself!
- Baby Monitors – If you have a child and use a baby monitor, find one with low EMF output, connect it with a wired ethernet cable, and place it as far as possible from your child’s crib/bed. Babies and children are even more vulnerable to EMFs than adults.
- WiFi Routers – Ensure that your router is placed as far from your living/working/sleeping space as possible. RF radiation decreases with distance, so the further you can be from your router, the better. And for an even better night’s sleep, try turning off your WiFi router overnight. You can do this in several different ways:
1) Manually, by physically unplugging your WiFi router before going to bed (cost: free).
2) Via a remote controlled outlet (affiliate link), allowing you to turn your WiFi router off at the press of a button (cost: $15-20)
3) By using an outlet timer that will do the work for you – automatically switching the WiFi router off at bed time, and turning it back on for you in the morning. (cost: $10-20)
4) By getting an intelligently designed router like the JRS Eco 100 D2, that (in addition to outputting far lower levels of radiation than a traditional WiFi router), allows you schedule when the WiFi turns off, and will automatically shut off WiFi when no devices are connected. Now that’s smart design! (cost: $283)
2. Maximize Distance Between You and Your Phone/Tablet
Again, since the signal strength decreases with distance, the more distance you can put between you and your device, the better. There are a few different ways to protect yourself here:
- Turn on “Airplane Mode” when you are carrying your phone in your pocket and any time you don’t need to be making or taking calls. (Possible side-effect: without the ability to mindlessly check email, social media, etc., you may find your productivity levels increase!)
- Disable Bluetooth – consider changing your default setting for Bluetooth – keep it turned off until you need it; not the other way around.
Note: On iPhone, the quick access Bluetooth control does not turn off Bluetooth; it just disconnects any connected Bluetooth devices until tomorrow. To actually turn off Bluetooth, you need to go into the phone’s settings, and toggle the Bluetooth control to “Off”.
- Keep the phone further from your head when making calls and don’t make phone calls when you have low signal strength (or when you’re in a moving vehicle). To keep the phone away from your head when making calls, use speaker phone, or a set of wired (or “air tube”) headphones.
- Experiment with Turning Off LTE (or 5G) in your phone’s cellular data settings. Or, if you’re on your phone a lot, consider switching to a low-SAR smartphone or an ultra low-SAR minimalist phone to decrease the RF radiation output from the device itself.
- Consider a Digital Detox to help re-establish a healthy relationship with your phone. EMFs aside, technology addiction is a real problem. A digital detox can help you increase your awareness, reset your priorities, and reduce your EMF exposure. And if you try it, track your symptoms and see what you notice – Do you have less pain? More energy? Are you sleeping better at night?
3. Focus on “Wired” Connections
With a little extra awareness, you can create a low-EMF office setup to minimize your EMF exposure during the work (or school) day:
- To start, switch your computer from using WiFi to a wired ethernet connection for internet. Once you plug-in via ethernet, make sure you also turn off WiFi on your computer (or put it in “airplane mode”). Otherwise, the EMFs may still be emitted from your device at the same strength as when you’re using WiFi.
- Next, turn off Bluetooth on your computer and use a wired mouse, keyboard, and external monitor. I use this USB wired vertical mouse and this USB mechanical keyboard (affiliate links) which have negligible impact on the EMF readings in my office (bonus: the ergonomic mouse significantly decreased my shoulder pain, just by changing the angle of my wrist!)
- And if you’ve designed your home network from the “wired first” mentality – rather than today’s typical default of “WiFi first” (or even “WiFi only”) – you can easily turn off WiFi whenever you’re not using it. By relying on wired ethernet connections, placing your WiFi router in a smart location, and turning WiFi off when you’re not using it, you can significantly reduce the RF radiation levels in your home.
There are a many different ways to create a wired home network and it can be done to fit a variety of different budgets; if you’re ready to create a wired network in your home, email me for resources and personalized support.
- And if you (or your family members) use a smart phone or tablet for remote learning or work, check out How to Wire an iPad or iPhone (for Ethernet). It’s possible, and can make a big difference!
Before I made any changes, my RF radiation exposure while using my laptop with WiFi and Bluetooth turned on ranged from 1.0 µW/m2 to well over 30 µW/m2. By making these simple changes, I was able to drop my RF exposure to less than 0.03 µW/m2!
4. Create Your “Smart Home” Wisely
Does your fridge really need WiFi if all it does is allow you to control the temperature settings? How often have you even had to change those temperature settings? Sure, WiFi can make some things in life easier. The key question is, at what cost? Ultimately, with a little knowledge and planning, it seems you can have the best of both worlds – leveraging smart devices and modern technology while still minimizing the impact of EMFs on your health.
- With more and more devices being WiFi enabled, it’s getting harder, but if you are looking for new appliances, inquire about models without WiFi or Bluetooth, or, ask about the ability to turn off those features if you don’t plan on using them.
- Choose Smart Devices that support wired ethernet connections (like Sonos speakers), and use a shielded ethernet cable to connect them to the internet, not WiFi.
- Place any wireless devices (like your WiFi router) that emit high levels of EMF in locations further from where you and your family spend time. Alternatively, invest in a more intelligent, lower EMF router like the JRS Eco and consider using timers or switches (affiliate link) to turn devices like traditional WiFi routers & smart speakers off at night, or whenever they’re not in use.
Need More Help with EMFs?
I hope this article gave you a feel for how many ways you can control your EMF exposure, and how simple (and inexpensive!) some of the changes can be. If however, it raised more questions than answers, consider the following next steps:
- Continue your learning – check out resources like The Non-Tinfoil Guide to EMFs, Zapped, and EMF*D (affiliate links). Or listen to a podcast with Nick Pineault or Dr. Mercola. Dr Becker’s classic book, The Body Electric: Electromagnetism And the Foundation of Life (affiliate link) is another great resource.
- Get an EMF meter and start exploring and experimenting for yourself. I chose this Cornet ED88T Plus (affiliate link), which measures three types of EMFs – Magnetic Fields, Electric Fields, and Radio Frequencies – and I learned how to use it via YouTube. Seeing the readings from our devices was eye opening and a powerful motivator for change. And if you don’t have the budget or interest in owning an EMF meter, check your local library! Here in Massachusetts, the Ashland and Newton Free Libraries (both part of the Minuteman Library Network) have meters that patrons can borrow to help assess and reduce EMF exposure in their environments.
- Start switching to wired ethernet connections. When you’re ready, these gigabit ethernet switches and shielded CAT-7 ethernet cables (affiliate links) will come in handy. To create a high-speed wired ethernet network in your home with WiFi that you can easily turn on/off as needed, you may be better off purchasing your equipment – a compatible modem, wired router, and wireless access point (many cable-company rented devices aren’t designed with this wired-first mentality). We have Xfinity internet service, and have had great results creating a wired network in our home with this ARRIS Surfboard SB8200 modem and a Ubiquiti EdgeRouter X as our wired-router (affiliate links). We configured our old WiFi router as a basic wireless access point, and turn our WiFi on and off as needed using this remote switch (affiliate link).
- If you want to dive deep into creating a healthy home, hire a building biologist to evaluate your space and provide individualized recommendations.
- And if you’re feeling overwhelmed, reach out and schedule a free Health Coaching Session. Making changes is hard. The support, resources, and accountability from a coach can help you succeed, whether your goal is to do a digital detox, create a healthier home, or tackle another intimidating health challenge.