By Dr. Shawna Darou, ND
This article starts with a personal story first.
Out of curiosity, being a downtown household we purchased an EMF meter (TriField meter) to check out our home and exposures. What we found was entirely shocking at the time, although the more I read about EMF’s (electromagnetic fields), I think our findings are extremely common.
A TriField meter measures electrical, magnetic and radio frequency. In our home, the Radio Frequency (RF) measurements were the most notable. This is the frequency of radiation from cell towers, Wi-Fi, cell phones and Smart Meters, among others, which has exponentially increased over the past decade. Take a look outside of your home in all directions and see the cell towers – on telephone poles, clustered on the top of buildings, at the corners of buildings so they are more hidden. The image above is the view looking south from my 10th floor balcony. The cluster of towers are about 1.5 blocks away.
We found RF levels higher than our device could measure along one entire wall of our unit, and this wall is in my children’s bedroom. The levels decreased as we moved towards the doorway, but stayed at least 10x and sometimes 300x higher than the rest of our home. Our balcony levels are also higher than the device can measure at the railing. Both of these locations have a clear view of that cluster of cell towers 1.5 blocks away. We are on the 10th floor, and the cell towers are slightly higher than us, but pointing at the building. It appears that the south side of the building is absorbing the RF, as levels are significantly lower throughout the rest of the unit, except next to the east facing windows, where they are still moderately high.
After spending a couple of weeks just feeling sick about the findings, and the fact that my children have lived in this bedroom for years now, I took action to look at what we can do (short of moving) to reduce the RF in our home. We opted for EMF-blocking paints which quite simply gather the signal and then ground it so it is not transmitting as highly into the living space. We painted the entire south-facing wall of our unit (where location 1, 2 and 3 are in the image) with 2 coats of a black, EMF-absorbing paint (Woremor brand), and when grounded appropriately found a very significant drop in EMF signals! We moved the beds to the lowest frequency area in the room (area 5 in the picture), and the RF measurement is currently as low as the rest of our home in this spot. It is still a little high near the south wall, so we do not have any beds, chairs or desks against this wall. Below you can see a quick chart of how high the readings were to begin with in this room, and how effective the paint was at reducing them. For reference, a good / low reading is less than 0.1 mW/m2.
I honestly don’t think that it is only downtown dwellers who are affected. It all depends on how close you are to cell towers or power lines. I do suspect however that living on an upper floor of a condo or apartment building may cause increased levels of Radio Frequency because you are closer to the actual cell towers on the roofs of buildings.
What are the health implications of EMF’s
Unfortunately, we are so far behind on understanding the health effect of EMF’s, especially the long-term impacts in children. This is a very brief summary of the research available – most of it relates to increased cancer risks, effects on male fertility and neurological impact.
- International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified RF-EMF’s (radio frequency electromagnetic field) as possibly carcinogenic to humans (1)
- Increased risk of brain, vestibular nerve and salivary gland tumors are associated with mobile phone use. There are also concerns related to leukemia, breast cancer, thyroid and testicular cancer (2)
- RF-EMF exposure is seen to impact male reproduction – lowering sperm motility, and increasing production of reactive oxygen species leading to DNA damage (3)
- RF-EMF exposure as cell phone use is shown to increase headaches, affect sleep patterns and change EEG (4)
- Additional research shows statistically significant impact with tremor, dizziness, memory loss, loss of concentration and sleep disturbance due to RF-EMF exposure (5,6)
There is also an interesting link between environmental mold and EMF’s. It appears that electromagnetic radiation induces mold and yeast growth (7), and exposure to both mold toxins (mycotoxins) and EMF’s tends to greatly increase symptoms of illness.
My suggestion is that if you’re feeling generally unwell – fatigue, mood swings, headaches, neurological symptoms (ear ringing, dizziness, headaches, poor concentration and sleep struggles, I would highly suggest that you buy or borrow a meter to check. We used a “TriField Meter”, but there are others such as an “All-in-1 EMF Meter” or ones that are specific to radio frequency.
How to Check Your Home:
Taking measurements is actually quite simple. Turn off your Wi-Fi first – this causes high RF pulses (measure it afterwards though – it will motivate you to unplug at night!)
Areas to check:
- Perimeter of your home (inside along the walls) – which walls or spaces are hot spots.
- If you’re in a house, pay attention to the wall near your Smart Meter.
- Then measure areas you spend the most time – bed, couch, desk, kitchen, computer
- Check your wearable devices – watches, etc. Some have very high RF and others not so much.
- If you have any metal dental appliances (braces, wires), implants or metal amalgams, measure next to your mouth to see if the frequency goes up (some materials amplify RF signals).
If you find any extremely high levels, look outside – can you see a cluster of cell towers? If you’re downtown they’re everywhere, but you will see areas that are more concentrated, or pointing in one direction.
What can you do about EMF’s?
PAINTS AND SHIELDING:
- EMF blocking paints a a very effective way of blocking RF from outside coming into your living space
- Other shielding materials – curtains, window film, blankets, bed covers, laptop desks are available.
(There are local companies that specialize in this).
- Turn off your Wi-Fi at night.
- Even better, consider using ethernet cords rather than Wi-Fi
- Don’t wear a device while you sleep and keep your cell phone out of the bedroom.
- Keep devices like cellphones and tablets away from your body when not in use.
- Unplug as much as possible in your sleeping space.
- Adjust where you spend the most time in your home.
- If you’re considering a move, bring a meter to check Radio Frequency and EMF’s in potential homes.
If you suspect that your health may be affected by EMF’s, please discuss with me in your next appointment. We can explore tools and strategies to improve your living environment, support your neurological system, and find resources such as environmental consultants to assist you. I believe it’s important to take a proactive stance on this issue, and just like chemical sensitivities, foods sensitivities and medication reactions, there will be some people who are much more sensitive than others.
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