In today’s technology-filled world, we are surrounded by electromagnetic fields (EMFs), invisible energy fields that affect us up to 24 hours a day. Our body is bio-electric in Nature – and the electromagnetic fields today affect us deeply within our physical body. With the growth of wireless technologies, there are more questions every day, with the main one being: Are they safe?
While the wireless companies and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) claim they are, there are more independent studies coming out confirming these fields carry severe health complications for society, as well as harm the environment. Moreover, further digging uncovers how corrupt the FCC is, which will not surprise many today, as more and more corporations, and institutions that are formed to help mankind are there to make money no matter what the cost. This organisation gave up its power to protect the people against EMFs a long time ago research has shown.
Since the wireless industry’s growth has not stopped but sped up, it is time to arm ourselves with the knowledge to protect our families.
What we know today is that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has classified EMFs as “group 2 carcinogenic: a possible carcinogen to humans,” based on studies that link cellphone use to brain cancer. Some scientists say this is not enough and urge WHO to change EMFs to a “group 1: carcinogenic to humans.”
“The evidence indicating wireless is carcinogenic has increased and can no longer be ignored,” stated Dr. Anthony B. Miller, professor, cancer researcher and long-time advisor to WHO.
But it is not just cellphones we need to be concerned about and the issue is associated with many diseases besides cancer. It is time to study the facts.
Since the 1990s, the growing popularity and technological evolution of cellphones have brought an increasing concern for health issues related to the electromagnetic frequency (EMF) radiation they emit. From warnings against carrying phones in our pockets due to risks of infertility to recommendations on limiting daily cellphone use because of brain cancer risks, concerned consumers and activist groups have tried to warn society of the potentially high price we are paying to have and use this technology.
For the companies manufacturing smartphones and other smart devices (electronic devices that connect to the internet via Wi-Fi, 3G or other wireless protocols) this is largely about making money while avoiding and often purposely hiding the dangers.
Today, there are two opposing forces that are changing our technology-filled world. On one hand, the Tech Giants are pushing more smart devices to the average consumer. What started with smartphones and Smart TVs became an agenda for Smart Homes, creating an environment that will be fully run by and integrated with technology.
If having EMF radiation emitted from your cellphone, tablet, laptop, Smart TV, and Wi-Fi router is a huge health concern, can you imagine what happens if all of the home devices will be connected to a wireless network? If Smart Homes succeed, you will be able to access your fridge while out shopping to see if you ran out of eggs. While it may be convenient for some people, the price for this convenience is more than anyone has bargained for.
That’s why there is a second opposing force to this — scientists, doctors, consumers, and health activists who are trying to warn people about the damaging effects of this technology.
Brain cancers are on the rise, especially in children between the ages of 4 and 10 years, and their link to phone use is becoming impossible to ignore. Just last year Joel Moskowitz, Director and Principal Investigator at the Center for Family and Community Health at Berkeley’s School of Public Health, has revealed that the university was hiding scientific research linking cellphone use to brain tumours and infertility (the two biggest concerns discussed when it comes to cellphones).
Moskowitz confirmed the wireless industry goes to great length to keep this kind of information out of the public eye. He also said that it reminds him of other truths that were hidden from the consumers for a long time in the past.
“They’ve done a very good job at [hiding it], essentially following the same playbook that the tobacco industry used,” Moskowitz said.
Until the truth about cellphones and smart, wireless technologies is fully out in the open, there are many trustworthy sources (experts such as Dr. Devra Davis of Environmental Health Trust and Director of the Center for Family and Community Health at UC Berkeley Joel M. Moskowitz, Ph.D.) to use to arm yourself with information on the dangers of EMFs and how to protect yourself, your home, and your family.
- What is EMF radiation?
EMFs are electric and magnetic fields. Electric fields are created due to the high and low voltage; magnetic fields are created with various electric currents. Invisible to the naked eye, EMFs are present everywhere in the environment from natural sources such as from thunderstorms. What is a growing problem is a high concentration of these fields from man-made sources: X-rays, cellphones towers, and Wi-Fi enabled technology. EMFs have various wavelengths and frequencies; higher frequency corresponds to shorter wavelength or distance. Every one of them has a different effect on the human body, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), and they affect our pets and wild animals as well.
Both electric and magnetic fields are stronger closer to their source, which is why it is dangerous to live close to a cell tower or to place Wi-Fi routers in the bedroom or to keep a cellphone next to the head when sleeping. The farther we are from these EMF sources, the safer we are.
Different types of EMF radiation
Electromagnetic radiation (EMR) varies from low to high frequency. There are extremely low frequency (ELF) fields with frequencies up to 300 Hz, intermediate frequency (IF) fields – between 300 Hz to 10 MHz, and radio-frequency (RF) fields. The effect of these fields on human health depends on the level, type, and duration of exposure. The magnetic field is often measured in microtesla (µT) units or in Gauss (G). [1 Gauss is equal to 100 Microtesla].
ELF fields are created by electrical power supply and appliances; RF fields are created by cellphones, television, radio, and even microwaves. Bluetooth enabled-devices (used to provide communication between these devices) also create RFs, between 2.4 GHz and 2.4835 GHz, just like a microwave.
From the longest to the shortest wavelength of the electromagnetic spectrum, the sources are:
- subways systems
- power lines
- computer monitors
- airport full-body scanners
- microwave and satellites
- (RFID can use low, high, and ultra-high frequencies)
- Suntan beds
- Dental Curing devices
- PET Scans
Everything before suntan beds is considered to be non-ionising radiation, everything after ionising radiation. Ionising radiation ionises the molecules in the body, therefore setting electrons free. This has a potential to damage DNA. What about non-ionising radiation? While many government agencies say there is not enough evidence to show harm, many scientists are proving them wrong.
Microwave energy between 30-300 GHz (which is non-ionising) is used as a mainstream cancer “treatment,” which we know has its side effects and negatively affects the cells, and it doesn’t differentiate between healthy cells and cancer cells. According to a study published in the International Journal of Oncology, these non-ionising EMFs have “multiple biological effects.”
While all EMFs are harmful in some way, knowing the frequency of radiation is important when analysing the risks. Power lines, for example, were one of the first ELF sources to blip on the radar of public concern. They can measure at 20 µT when standing right underneath them. As early as 1979, researchers have pointed out there is a possible link between living near power lines and leukaemia in children. Another study has found that any long-term exposure higher than 0.4 µT can potentially double the risk of leukaemia. (This was later confirmed by the International Agency for Research of Cancer (IARC), a subsidiary of WHO).
Even without power lines, EMFs at home can easily reach 0.2 µT, and the number will keep growing based on how many new smart technologies we are introducing. And let’s not forget the new 5G cellphone towers are coming soon.
In big cities, there are even more challenges and EMF hazards. For example, in Vancouver, there is the Cathedral Square Park which stands above an underground substation. Anyone walking in the park is exposed to radiation between 0.2 µT to 10 µT – way above the radiation levels linked to leukaemia. Can you imagine that some parents might take their children to this park on a regular basis without any idea what it is doing to their health?
Then walking back home, they are exposed to cellphone towers, and then at home to EMFs from different devices.
How is this permitted? Sadly, most official safety guidelines are based on outdated science that does not even come close to predicting the increasingly negative effect all of the new technology brings.
Besides the ELFs, IFs, and RFs, many devices at home produce thermal radiation: radiation emitted by all objects with a temperature above absolute zero. Thermal radiation often leads to burns, sometimes bad enough to require hospital treatment.
According to a study published by Hindawi regarding Case Reports in Emergency Medicine:
Aerodigestive tract burns represent a rare but potentially devastating injury pattern throughout the world. Although the majority of these injuries do not require intervention, these burns have the potential for poor outcomes. Traditionally this disease has been caused by superheated gases found in explosions or fire-related injury. However, as technology advances, it brings novel methods for an injury that require physician awareness of potential hazards. We describe a case of laryngeal and oesophageal thermal burn caused by a microwave heated food bolus.
Cancers are the first concern when it comes to EMFs, followed by fertility issues. But there are many more health problems that are not often talked about.
Today you can purchase a SafeSleeve: The iPhone Case That Blocks Radiation and RFID
Health risks of EMF-emitting technology:
It has been well-established that short-term exposure to high levels of EMFs above 100 µT is dangerous, but now scientists are coming to a conclusion that there is no safe limit of EMFs when it comes to long-term exposure of at least 10 years.
In 2012, the BioInitiative Working Group (BWG) released a 1,557-page report on low-frequency EMFs and their health dangers based on the work of many independent scientists, researchers, and experts in this field. The main reason for all of the health issues, as they explain in detail, is because humans are “bioelectrical systems.” Our bodies are functioning based on internal bioelectric signals and artificial EMFs can disrupt any and all of the body’s normal processes.
“There may be no lower limit at which exposures do not affect us. Until we know if there is a lower limit below which bioeffects and adverse health impacts do not occur, it is unwise from a public health perspective to continue “business-as-usual” deploying new technologies that increase ELF and RF exposures, particularly involuntary exposures,” the report concludes.
Involuntary exposure includes inserting Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities in devices that one may not need connectivity for: like cameras and television sets, not to mention refrigerators. It also includes cellphone towers that can be put up close to someone’s home without their knowledge of the potential health risks.
It’s bad enough to chance health risks while doing something you choose to do; it’s another issue when it is done to you without your knowledge or permission…especially when the health risks are this severe. (With proper knowledge of the issue, however, you can protect yourself and your loved ones).
“For the first time in our evolutionary history, we have generated an entire secondary, virtual, densely complex environment — an electromagnetic soup — that essentially overlaps the human nervous system,” said Michael Persinger, Ph.D., a neuroscientist at Laurentian University.
Besides a huge list of known disorders that EMFs may trigger or even cause, EMFs are also the culprit for a new type of diagnosis with symptoms that do not fit any disease, yet are life-altering. This diagnosis is accepted by the medical community and is best described by WHO.
Electromagnetic hypersensitivity or EHS is a disorder characterised by various symptoms related to EMF exposure. These can be:
- Skin issues: redness, burning
- Concentration problems
- Heart palpitations
- Digestive issues
WHO, however, fails to consider all of the research done and suggest these individuals protect themselves from EMFs. Instead, as always, they are only focused on treating the symptoms.
A court case in France, however, has previously recognised EHS as a disability when granting a 39-year-old Marine money for her debilitating symptoms. After winning the case, Ms. Richard said: “We know how to make much less polluting technologies. That said, it’s a political choice,” suggesting that the tech companies can make safer technologies; they just don’t care to.
In her case, her symptoms changed her life but were not life-threatening. In other cases, EMF can increase the risk of very severe diseases.
EMFs and brain tumours and cancers
“While the government has deemed RF radiation to be safe, there is no current significant research to make this claim,” a Swedish study stated.
More than a dozen independent studies have linked RF radiation from cellphones and other EMF-emitting devices to increased risk for brain tumours. It has been shown that those who used a cellphone for at least 10 years had higher rates of tumours. The risk was magnified if they usually talked on the same side of the head. When they switched sides, the risk was increased by 20 percent, but when they talked on one side only — the risk increased by 200 percent.
Another study linked brain tumours to professions who receive EMF exposure such as electrical workers.
Famous brain cancer stories and cellphone radiation
The recent case of Sen. John McCain’s brain cancer (glioblastoma) has raised questions on whether his disease was linked to cellphone use. Like most other politicians, he spent a whole lot of time talking on the phone. Scientists have calculated that brain tumours caused by radiation can take 10-15 years to develop; since many people started using smartphones around that time, it is possible that we will see an increase of brain cancers in the future (we already have seen in it in children and one study suggests that cellphone use doubles the risk).
A 2017 study found a significant correlation between cellphone use and glioma (glioblastoma, McCain’s cancer is a type of glioma). Another study found that when male rats are exposed to nine hours of daily cellphone radiation for two years, they develop malignant tumours, including gliomas. Finally, a 2010 paper confirmed that using a cellphone on one side of the head leads to cancer. After 10-years of talking on the phone for just 30 minutes a day, study subjects had a 40 percent increase in glioma risk. Most of us talk on the phone more than that, and McCain likely spoke on the phone for longer than 30 minutes a day for business matters.
Another famous brain cancer story is of Johnnie Cochran, a prominent attorney most know for the O.J. Simpson trial. Cochran passed from a brain tumour and his doctor suggested that it may have been linked to his cellphone use. Dr. Keith Black, the head of neurosurgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, has told CNN that he believes cellphones do indeed cause cancer and that scientific research will show what he is already seeing in his patients.
“One of the studies that is very concerning has been a story out of Europe that looked at a long-term exposure to the use of cellphones over a period of 10 years,” he states. “And when patients or people were exposed to over 2,000 hours of cellphone use — which is about an hour a day for 10 years — that study reported about a 3.7-fold increase in the risk of developing brain cancer.”
Cochran used his cellphone on one side of his head — the left — side and his tumour was on the left. This is not only confirmed by the 2010 study described above, but also seen in real life in Dr. Black’s patients.
“There have been some studies that show a correlation between the side that you use a cellphone on [and] the side that you develop a brain tumour on…We see tumours developing in the location – close to the location that people do use cellphones,” he said.
These two famous cases remind us to keep out phone use to a minimum and switch which sides of the head we use when talking.
EMFs and childhood leukaemia
When it comes to cancers, EMFs affect more than adults — children are also at risk, maybe an even bigger risk because their bodies are more vulnerable.
As previously discussed, there has been evidence that living near power lines has been associated with higher risk of childhood leukaemia, a blood cancer, and the most common cancer in children.
A 2015 report by the European project ARIMMORA, after looking at the data associating leukaemia with EMFs, recommended that all child canters, kindergartens, and schools be built away from high voltage power lines.
Since power lines are low-frequency EMFs, other ELFs were also classified as possible human carcinogens by WHO.
Another study has shown that these ELFs increase the risk of leukaemia at much lower levels than the safety standard allows. A WHO report concluded, based on two pooled analyses, that at a 0.3 to 0.4 µT EMF exposure two times more children may get leukaemia than at lower exposures.
This level of exposure is not rare. For example, if a child (or an adult) sleeps with an electric blanket, they will be exposed to between 1 µT to 2.5 µT. A television produces a field of 2 µT. Talking on the phone can reach a 3 µT exposure.
Today, more than ever, it is important to keep EMF emitting devices away from where the child sleeps and turned off at night. These include cellphones, tablets, computers and laptops, Wi-Fi routers, and video game consoles.
“There is little doubt that exposure to ELF causes childhood leukaemia,” the BWG report stated.
Childhood leukaemia is on the rise, which is why we need to guard the children against EMF exposure. Even when the exposure is too low to cause cancer as a child, the many years of early exposure for a not-fully-developed organism can lead to other cancers as an adult.
EMFs and other cancers
Adult leukaemia: While children are at the highest risk of cancer when living near power lines, it was also found that adults who live not farther than 300 meters from a power line were also at a higher risk for leukaemia. The 2007 study in the Internal Medicine Journal points to the conclusion that living near a power line as a child can cause cancer as an adult.
Breast cancer: The occurrence of breast cancer was increased in numerous studies not only in women but also in men when they were exposed to EMFs.
“The evidence from studies on women in the workplace rather strongly suggests that ELF is a risk factor for breast cancer for women with long-term exposures of 10 mG and higher,” according to the MWG report.
Studies have shown that EMFs between 6 and 12 mG can get in a way of melatonin’s protective effect on the body, therefore permitting the growth of breast cancer cells. Long-term exposure to ELFs reduces melatonin in the body, leaving it vulnerable.
Prostate cancer: Workers who were exposed to higher frequencies were reported twice as likely to die from prostate cancer as those exposed to lower levels of EMFs.
Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma: Chances of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma were also increased for workers exposed to EMFs.
Skin cancer: Living next to power lines was reported to increase the chance of malignant melanoma. EMFs also have been linked by some studies to thyroid, stem cell, lymph node, and eye cancers.
EMFs and DNA damage
One of the reasons for EMF radiation potentially causes or increases the risk of different cancers is because it may damage DNA. DNA damage may lead to cancer cells multiplying rapidly and not dying. DNA damage can be caused by many environmental factors, including exposure to toxic chemicals. Some studies have provided evidence that both ELFs and RFs can negatively affect the genes, therefore disrupting the body’s biological processes. This can not only lead to cancer but many diseases, especially chronic ones.
When the European research program called REFLEX did tests on DNA, they found significant changes in biological functions. They documented altered genes and genotoxic effects in the cells. “Genotoxic effects and a modified expression of numerous genes and proteins after EMF exposure could be demonstrated with great certainty,” the researchers found.
Most importantly, while some claim that EMFs from cellphones is too low to do harm, this research has shown that cells react negatively to RF exposure of SAR levels 0.3-2 W/kg. Most cellphones fall in between these numbers. iPhone 6, for example, measures at 1.18 W/kg when 5mm away from the body (talking distance).
EMF and the immune system
Just as ELFs and RFs can damage the cells on the DNA level, they can also mess with the immune system. When our natural defence system encounters an unwanted exposure, be it a chemical, a virus or EMFs, it sends out signals and produces responses to warn the body of the threat and get rid of it. When constantly exposed to these environmental hazards, there is a constant production of stress responses without an actual way to fix the problem. This leaves the body in a vulnerable state that leads to inflammation and a heightened risk of allergic responses. It’s no wonder that Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity is sometimes referred to as EMF-allergy.
The body releases inflammatory substances to try to fight EMFs, and this can lead to allergy-like reactions: skin issues and allergic hypersensitivity.
EMFs and fertility issues
After the issue of cellphones and brain cancer, the other big one that most have probably heard of is cellphones hurting reproductive health. There has been a growing concern that men carrying a cellphone in a pants pocket (without an EMF-protective case) have a lower sperm count. This has been confirmed by at least 10 different studies on humans which have shown very similar results, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG).
All of these studies conclude that cellphones stored in pockets lead to:
- Lower sperm count
- Decreased sperm vitality
- Sperm damage
- Oxidative stress
- DNA damage
This is a growing issue as currently about 15 percent of couples of reproductive age cannot conceive, and in half of the cases it’s due to fertility issues in men.
A study in the Fertility and Sterility Journal found that one-quarter of the sperm stop swimming after being exposed to Wi-Fi for just four hours. “We speculate that keeping a laptop connected wirelessly to the internet on the lap near the testes may result in decreased male fertility,” researchers said.
Other studies suggest that not only carrying a cellphone but also talking on the phone lowers the sperm count. A 2005 study has shown that men who talk on the phone for longer than an hour a day have 17 percent fewer sperm than men who talk for less than 15 minutes.
There have not been good studies done to look at the reproductive health of women and cellphones, but many studies have shown how it negatively affects the foetus and its development (continue reading about this topic below under Children’s Health.)
EMFs and suicides
EMF exposure does not only affect physical and mental health (brain function) – emotional health is also disturbed. A few studies have found a link between EMFs and depression and suicides.
A study published in The Western Journal of Medicine looked at 140,000 male electricity workers and found a strong association between their exposure to EMFs and suicides. Another couple of dozen studies point to the same conclusion: “Low-intensity, non-thermal microwave EMFs produce widespread neuropsychiatric effects.”
These effects include depression and anxiety. Suicides are more common with severe exposures, such as of those working on power lines; living under one may also increase the risk.
EMFs and children health: ADHD, autism
Not only are the FFC guidelines not strict enough, they are also based on studies done on 200 adults 20 years ago. Children are likely to be more severely affected by the same devices all around us.
The American Academic of Paediatrics wrote a letter to the FCC urging them to look into the issue, saying the “current FCC standards do not account for the unique vulnerability and use patterns specific to pregnant women and children.”
Children’s bodies are more susceptible to any type of harm, including EMFs. They are more vulnerable than adults; therefore we need to be even more cautious exposing children to EMFs.
We have already discussed children’s leukaemia, but this is not the only life-altering disease to worry about. Some studies have suggested that in some cases ADHD and even autism can be linked to EMF exposure.
ADHD has similar symptoms to electromagnetic hypersensitivity, a condition acknowledged by the WHO as a new diagnosis caused by EMFs. Both conditions cause:
- Problems concentrating
- Memory problems
- Behavioural problems
- Sleep issues
A 2008 Danish study looked at 13,000 children and their mothers’ phone use, both during the mothers’ pregnancies and after birth. What was found is that cellphone exposure increases the risk of emotional problems in children by 80 percent, same goes for hyperactivity and problems communicating with peers.
And when it comes to autism, some studies have also found a correlation.
A 2009 study by Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt discovered that mothers exposed to EMFs during their pregnancies and children exposed to EMFs when sleeping are both contributing (and maybe even causative) factors to neurological issues in children, including autism.
Protecting children from EMFs is of utmost importance. This starts before the child is born by shielding the mother from radiation while pregnant. When the child is born, make sure they get the room with the lowest EMF levels (measure it yourself), turn off Wi-Fi when you are not using it (choose corded internet), keep cellphones, tablets and even baby monitors away from children.
A 2014 report summarises well why children are at bigger risk than adults and need to be protected:
Children absorb more radiation than adults.
Foetuses are even more vulnerable than children, which is why pregnant women need to be careful to not expose themselves to EMFs.
Electronic devices should not be used as toys for a toddler to play with.
EMFs and other health issues
Brain Function and the Nervous System: EMF exposure has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease (nervous system disorders), according to a report on “Extremely Low Frequency Fields” by WHO. Just like with breast cancer, melatonin can protect the brain from these two diseases, and ELFs reduce melatonin, therefore increasing the risk for a disease. Long-term ELF exposure also changes the body’s calcium levels and produces oxidative stress, which then damages the body because of toxicity.
Laboratory studies have shown that the nervous system is sensitive to ELFs (and that is true for humans and animals). One of the studies confirming this was led by Dr. Nora D. Volkow, a brain imaging scientist. She and her team found that even the lowest levels of EMFs affect the brain. The changes in the brain could be seen in PET scans after just a 50-minute phone call.
This and other studies have confirmed that cellphone use can alter brain activity and brain function; it can also hurt memory and abilities to learn and think fast. This issue can have one of the biggest consequences on society. If the larger population is at risk for decline in cognition, no matter how small, the sheer number of people affected would produce immeasurable harm on the health and economy in the country.
Other health effects:
Migraines and vertigo: A 2009 Danish study examined 420,095 adults and found that long-term cellphone use contributed to 10-20 percent increased risk of being hospitalised for migraines and vertigo episodes.
Asthma: A 2011 study found that children born to mothers who were exposed to stronger EMFs have three times more risk of developing asthma.
Enzyme issues: A 2014 study on cows has shown that EMF exposure can decrease or even disable functions of some enzymes.
Vision loss: A study on rabbits who were exposed to common electronics has shown that the thermal waves can damage the cornea.
Insomnia: When airport surveillance operators were studied in 2013, it was found that their exposure to high-frequency EFs led to insomnia, as well as anxiety and depression.
Headache: A 2017 report linked cellphone use to headaches based on 40 different studies.
Long-term exposure to EMFs has caused people to have the following symptoms:
- problems concentrating
- problems with balance
- ageing too fast
- hormonal issues
- liver damage
The Human body is electric
Humans are highly susceptible to EMFs because the human body is a conductor of electricity; it allows electricity to flow through it. It also produces electricity to communicate between cells. Even the heart wouldn’t beat without this electricity! The body relies on electricity for survival, so it comes as no surprise that being affected by electromagnetic fields on a daily basis messes up all of its normal functions.
Dr. Robert Becker, called “the father of electromedicine,” spent his lifetime studying the human body and its connection to electricity. At first, he was laughed at, but after he succeeded at using electricity to grown bones his research started to get noticed by some.
As early as the 1970s, he started warning people that EMFs are harmful and yet no one listened. Today, his research that was way ahead of his time is extremely timely.
“The greatest polluting element in the earth’s environment is the proliferation of electromagnetic fields. I consider that to be a far greater threat on a global scale than warming, or the increase of chemical elements in the environment,” he wrote.
Read more on the subjects in the book “The Body Electric: Electromagnetism And The Foundation Of Life” by Robert Becker and Gary Selden.