EMFs and the Growing Problem of Electrosensitivity

There is little debate, our lives depend on electrical current to run conveniently and efficiently. The down side of all that convenience? The overabundance of electrical current that runs through every aspect of our lives can expose us to electromagnetic fields (EMFs).

15166765625_3199a234bf_zThere is concern that these EMFs can negatively impact our health. Though research, largely supported by industry, hasn’t given EMFs a pass,it hasn’t exactly held them accountable for adverse biological effects on our bodies. Clearly, we’re not likely to go back to kerosene lamps and cast iron wood stoves anytime soon. Still, an awareness of what EMFs are, where they lurk, and their potential impact on our health, seems in our best interest.

The level of exposure to EMFs is impossible to gauge.  Similar to fluoride, we’re exposed to EMFs everywhere. This overexposure means the dose is difficult to quantify. Invisible EMFs are everywhere in our environ
ment. They can be naturally occurring, or manmade. Anything from a thunderstorm, use of home and personal care appliances, electronic devices, power lines and more, all create EMFs.

EMFs are the byproduct of electrical voltage flow. According to the World Health Organization (WHO),

Electric fields are created by differences in voltage: the higher the voltage, the stronger will be the resultant field. Magnetic fields are created when electric current flows: the greater the current, the stronger the magnetic field. An electric field will exist even when there is no current flowing. If current does flow, the strength of the magnetic field will vary with power consumption but the electric field strength will be constant.

No one disputes that EMFs above a certain level can trigger adverse biological effects. But some researchers suggest the studies from 20 years ago are out of date with our current levels of chronic and daily exposure. They point out, older studies that indicate short-term exposure at levels present in the environment or the home are biologically harmless were conducted before our technological shift in lifestyle. Some researchers have concerns that our current lifestyle, with its chronic low-level exposure, can result in biological responses that negatively affect our wellbeing. Many individuals concur. Let’s face it, we’re all pretty much on one device or another all the time.

Because EMFs exist everywhere electricity flows, they pollute every aspect of our world. According to a 2007 controversial report, updated in 2012, from Bioinitiative Working Group   low level EMFs adversely impact our health. The 650-page report cites more than 2,000 studies on the toxic effects of EMFs from all sources.

It concluded that exposure to even low-level radiation (like that from cell phones), can cause a variety of cancers, impair immunity, and contribute to Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, heart disease, and many other ailments.

Its authors believe existing FCC and ICNIRP public safety limits do not sufficiently protect public health. The report notes,

  • EMF emissions at very low intensities can produce biologically active and ultimately harmful health impacts from pulsed radiofrequency and microwave radiation, as well as extremely low-frequency modulation of such wireless transmissions (ELF-EMF).
  • Children are more vulnerable and require special protections from chronic wireless emissions, during fetal development and throughout childhood growth and development.
  • Pregnant women are at risk for altered fetal neurological development with exposure to wireless emissions at common, everyday levels in the home and workplace.
  • Every single study of brain tumors that looks at 10 or more years of cell phone use shows an increased risk of brain cancer.

In fact in 2011, the World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer classified wireless radiofrequency as a Possible Human Carcinogen. The designation applies to low-intensity RFR in general, covering all RFR-emitting devices and exposure sources (cell and cordless phones, WI- FI, wireless laptops, wireless hotspots, electronic baby monitors, wireless classroom access points, wireless antenna facilities, etc.). Michael Persinger, PhD, a neuroscientist at Laurentian University who has studied the effects of EMFs on cancer cells says,

“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.”

If you’re concerned about what your exposure to EMFs could mean to your health there’s no shortage of tips on the internet designed to reduce your exposure.  For those who can’t reduce exposure there are, diodes and jewelry, designed to shield you from EMFs.

Of course, the most practical way to protect yourself is to apply the precautionary approach. Distance yourself from the source and keep exposure to EMFs As Low As Reasonably Achievable, a.k.a. the ALARP principle. The objective is to minimize EMF exposures to the greatest degree possible without significant economic cost and lifestyle disturbance.

Photo credit: Miikka

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