What are EMFs?
EMF stands for electromagnetic field. It is defined as an electric and magnetic force field that surrounds a moving electric charge. Sometimes, it is referred to as electromagnetic radiation or EMR. Electromagnetic fields have different wavelengths and different frequencies; they are calculated in what are called Hertz (Hz).
The Electromagnetic spectrum has a range of EMFs. They flow from low frequencies like those found in a standard household power outlet, through to high frequency EMFs. These are classified as radio or microwave frequencies (RF). This particular type of EMF is emitted from mobile phones, mobile phone towers, cordless phones, Wi-Fi routers, tablets and also Bluetooth devices, smart meters, microwave ovens and many other sources, some unknowingly found in your home, such as smart appliances.
How does one measure EMFs?
This depends on the type of EMF. Low frequency magnetic fields are measured using certain types of meters, whereas low frequency electric fields are usually measured. Instead of directly measuring the electric field, many building biologists measure them indirectly by measuring AC on body voltage. Radio frequencies from wireless devices and technology typically gets measured in the 10MHz to 8GHz range is measured using radio frequency meters.
Where do EMFs exist?
They actually exist EMFs everywhere. Even though we can't see them, smell them or touch them them, they are around us all the time. They also exist in nature but in todays day and age, there is an unprecedented increase of exposure to man-made EMF s. This results from new technologies and devices called “smart”. These are of growing concern to many health professionals, biologists and scientists as well.
Stop and pause for a moment – many of our apartments, offices and homes have the latest mod-con appliances plugged in all day. These emit high levels of magnetic and electric fields. In addition, many of us in office environments will spend a considerable amount of time using or in close proximity to our smart phones; or we may be working wirelessly on a computer, laptop or tablet. This invites in a smorgasbord of radio frequency radiation. And when we drive, many of today’s cars now have safety features, such as reverse cameras and sensors, car alarms and Bluetooth capability. These all of contributes to our daily EMF exposure. And not to be spared using public transportation either. There we we are surrounded by the phones and devices of other users. Most public places also now offer free WiFi and schools are wirelessly connected often with a Wi-Fi router classrooms. It’s likely on any day we are exposed to man-made EMFs at levels millions of times higher than you would naturally be exposed to in nature. This exposure is also exponentially higher than a human body is designed to cope with.
Will EMF exposure rise in the future?
Assuredly, Yes. According to GSMA Intelligence there are already 5 billion unique mobile phone subscribers globally. Also reported, 75% of the global population was expected to be connected by mobile by 2020, with an extra 3 to 5 billion people given access to the internet for the very first time. It is forecasted that with the advent of the 'Internet of Things' (IoT) there will be around 50 billion devices, people or sensors all connected with each other in the not too distant future.
There is really little being done to escape from EMF in our modern environment. To meet unprecedented demand means adding more mobile phone towers and also upgrading networks to 5G. This will essentially mean putting an EMF emitting antenna on almost every street corner. An then there are also wirelessly connected balloons floating around the stratosphere; these help deliver internet connection to many and often remote corners of the planet.
How concerned should we be About EMF?
There have been numerous studies into the effects of EMF on human and animal health. These all report we should be concerned about what this increased exposure to EMF from our phones and other smart technology might be doing to our health. Cynics abound as well; for every study showing a link between EMF and harm to human health studies have been published which seem to disprove the theory.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is part of the World Health Organization classifies electromagnetic fields from mobile phones (one of our greatest sources of EMF exposure) as a class 2B 'possible' carcinogen; that is interpreted to mean that it could possibly cause cancer. WHO says 'the electromagnetic fields produced by mobile phones are classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as possibly carcinogenic to humans.
What areas of the body can be affected by EMFs?
Studies about the link between cancer and mobile phone are often the ones that hit the mainstream media. However, reported adverse health effects from EMF are many and these can include:
- Sleep disorders
- Anxiety and depression
- Asthma and allergies
- Skin problems
- Heart problems and high blood pressure
- Hormone disruptions
- Headaches and migraines
- Memory disorders
- Lack of focus and concentration
- Fatigue and weakness
- Hearing problems/tinnitus
- Joint and muscle pain
- Electro hypersensitivity (EHS)
Are there ways to Reduce Your Exposure to EMF?
Yes, there are many. Noted below are some easy ones to adopt:
*Don't carry your phone or wireless device on your body i.e.: in a pocket or a bra. Always keep distance between the device and your body or consider an anti-radiation shielding case
*Turn your Wi-Fi router off at night to reduce EMF levels in your home while you're asleep.
*Remove all EMF emitting devices from your bedroom. If you still use your phone as your alarm clock then switch your phone to Airplane Mode or consider treating yourself to an old-fashioned alarm clock
*Don't hold your phone to your head. Text instead of call, use the loudspeaker function when possible or an Air Tube headset. Distance is your friend, exposure is lessened the further you are from the source of EMF.
*Set you phone to Airplane Function on your devices when possible and especially when being used by children. This cuts off the signal between the device and the WiFi router or mobile phone tower, dramatically reducing the EMF radiation levels.