At some point, all of us have probably heard one or two ridiculous health scare stories. One year you hear someone say tomatoes will give you cancer, and the next it’s that living near an airport can cause lung disease. Whether these claims are real or not isn’t so much the concern, it’s just that, at some point you simply can’t spend all your time worrying.
If I came around and told you that your wifi signal was damaging your DNA, you’d probably shrug me off too, huh?
Well, long story short, I’m here to convince you that this crazy claim is not so crazy.
My name is Keenan Eriksson, and in April of 2017 I came down with mysterious chronic disease. I was already well-versed in health at the time, known by many of my friends as their go-to guy for fitness, nutrition, or biohacking advice.
After I became sick, however, I had to deep dive and truly become an expert. I entered into the world of biohacking, consuming hours of content by leading health experts like Ben Greenfield, Dave Asprey, Anthony Diclementi, and Dr. Daniel Pompa, to name but a few.
One of the most surprising discoveries was that all of these people are concerned about electro-magnetic frequencies, or EMFs. Many prominent health experts believe that EMF exposure may be a driving factor in the increase of chronic disease and cancer. EMF exposure is the new smoking, so-to-speak.
My goal in this guide is to teach you what kinds of EMFs are out there, teach you how they damage our biology, and educate you on what to do to protect yourself.
What are EMFs?
If you don’t want to know about what EMFs are, and just want to find out how they hurt our biology and what we can do about it, you can skip this section. However knowing the material here will give you a better understanding of the many types of EMFs, which in-turn will help you better avoid exposure
EMFs are electro-magnetic frequencies that are given off in a variety of forms by electronic equipment. These include radio frequencies (RF,) Magnetic Fields (MF,) Electric Fields (EF,) and Dirty Electricity (DF.)
each of these types of EMF have been linked to specific health effects, have specific sources, and can be reduced or avoided with specific strategies.
- Cordless phones 900 MHz
- Smart Meters 900 MHz to 2.4 GHz
- Smart Phone (3G/4G/LTE) 710 MHz to 2.7 GHz
- Wifi 2.4 or 5.8 GHz
- Microwave Oven 2.45 GHz
- 5G (next generation of networks) 3.85 to 71GHz
- Bluetooth devices 2.4 to 2.485GHz
Here’s an interesting tidbit. Notice that many of these devices use the same frequency that your microwave uses to cook food (though at much lower power.) That’s some food for thought, no pun intended. Radio frequencies also include AM/FM radio signals, TV, wireless, and satellite.
- Chargers for electronics
- High voltage power lines
- Electrical panel
- House with faulty wiring
- Electric current on water or gas pipes
Any electric current that runs through wire or a metal object creates an electro-magnetic field. The strongest fields are located at point sources, like transformers, electric panels, and electric meters. Luckily, the field drops in strength rather quickly over distance, but being near point sources for long periods of time can be problematic.
Transformers are locations where electric current is converted from the Alternating Current (AC) electricity of a wall socket into the Direct Current (DC) electricity that devices need to run properly. These locations create a strong magnetic field, and this includes anywhere that you have something plugged into the wall.
- Household wiring
- Power strip
- Ungrounded electronics
- Cords & chargers
- Lamps & lighting
Electric fields are created by, well, electricity, and are proportional to the voltage of that electricity. If you imagine an electrical current as a hose pouring water, the area of the water coming out of the house would be the magnetic field, whereas the water pressure inside the hose would represent the voltage. Anywhere that voltage exists, there is an electrical field.
This means that even when electronics are turned of, such as lamp you have plugged in or a power strip that is not on, there is still an electrical field proportionate to the electricity inside the wires.
Your body acts as an antennae for these electric fields and absorbs them. It is akin to getting a constant low-grade electric shock at all times, and in the long term this can become problematic. In fact, biohacker and fitness expert Ben Greenfield discusses that when he lived in a house near powerlines as a kid, he and his brothers could shock each other year round due to the strong electric field they lived in.
- Fluorescent light bulbs
- Chargers for electronics
- Solar panel inverters
- Dimmer switches
- Smart televisions
Normally electricity inside a wire is supposed to oscillate at a frequency of 60hz (in America. In Europe the frequency used is 50hz.) However many electronics operate by interrupting this frequency. Many light bulbs operate by turning on and off at high rates. We cannot detect that the light is actually flickering at a rate like 120 times per second for a dimmer switch, we just see that the light is less bright.
The reason for this phenomena is often energy efficiency, and compact fluorescent light bulbs essentially turn on and off 20,000 times per second.
The effect of this, however, is that instead of your electricity staying at a stable 60Hz like it is supposed to, it is constantly jumping around at frequencies of 300Hz to 10MHz. These spikes of high frequency electrical fields are harder on our biology than constant streams.
How EMF Damages Biology
You may think it’s all fine and dandy understanding that all these electrical fields exist, but so what? No one has ever told you these things actually affect you, and so far, I haven’t actually given you any evidence. Wouldn’t you have heard about it by now?
Well, first of all, there has been a problem of research sources over the course of history. I won’t get too in depth on it, but basically, many of the studies on how EMFs affect our health have been funded by telecom companies who have a vested interest. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the data is all bad, but there is a stark contrast between the results of telecom funded research and independent research.
As reported in the book Overpowered by Martin Blank PhD, Some 27% of telecom funded research found implications on health due to EMFs, whereas 68% of independently researched studies found links between EMFs and health.
Furthermore, there are also many cases of researchers having getting fired (having their funding pulled) as soon as they were going to publish information that linked EMFs and negative health effects. Some examples of this include:
Allen Frey: 60’s researcher hired by General Electric. Demonstrated clearly that cell phone radiation can open up the blood brain barrier. Research work related to this topic was shut down after these findings.
George Carlo: Dr. Carlo is a strong advocate for continued research due to the dangers of EMF technology. However, he was originally hired as the head of $28.5 million dollar research program funded by the cell phone industry from 1993 to 1999. From 1999 onward he began to be discredited by the same industry.
So with this in mind, that research has been in some ways biased or stifled, what data do we have that implies that electronics could be dangerous?
DNA Damage and Voltage Gated Calcium Channels
One of the arguments against EMFs causing damage is that they are not a form of ionizing radiation (think x-rays, or Chernobyl) which damage DNA by breaking it as they pass through the body. However, EMFs do damage our DNA, and it appears that it is not a direct process.
A study in 2005 from the medical University of Vienna displayed breaks in the DNA and RNA of human fibroblasts due to exposure from 1800MHz cell phone radiation. There was no heat generated, leading researchers to believe that the DNA breaks were a downstream effect of other mechanisms affected by the cell phone.
This study was confirmed in 2009 by Blank and Goodman, as well as 10 other papers. Further, this effect seems to be 10 times greater in 3G phones compared to the old 2G networks, and it is likely that 4G and LTE compound this even further.
Dr. Martin Pall believes he may understand a prime mechanism behind the damage that EMFs cause to our cells. Within our cell membranes are Voltage Gated Calcium Channels (VGCC) which open and allow calcium into the cell in response to low electromagnetic frequencies (think 3hz.)
Low levels of EMFs can keep your VGCCs open for hours after exposure, and this excess calcium is incredibly damaging to the body. It’s complicated biology stuff, but this calcium is a form of highly reactive molecule known as a free radical. In particular, this calcium free radical can cause damage that is linked to Autism, DNA damage, cancer, you name it.
Here’s an interesting thing, the cells in our heart muscle have a high abundance of these calcium channels. Calcium blocker drugs, aka beta-blockers, are incredibly effective at treating heart rhythm problems. They have been proven to block the flow of calcium from our VGCCs. Could it be that EMF exposure is the culprit in the first place?
Pall has contributed dozens of studies on this subject in the last decade, but one in particular has been recognized as one of the top medical publications of 2013. You can also view his presentation in Oslo for an in-depth on the subject.
EMFs open up the blood brain barrier
Remember Allen Frey? The researcher mentioned earlier whose work was stopped for linking EMF exposure to causing leaks in the blood brain barrier? Well, here’s what that actually means.
Your blood brain barrier is a membrane responsible for keeping toxins and inflammatory compounds out of your brain. Pretty simple huh? Problems with the blood brain barrier have been linked to all manner of disease, and there are many potential causes. From food toxins to pesticides, there are many ways the blood brain barrier gets damaged.
Turns out that EMFs are one of them.
In Allen Frey’s experiments, he first injected fluorescent dye into the bodies of rats. Within some time, the fluorescent dye had spread to every part of the rats body except the brains, which is normal. Then he performed the same experiment on rats who had been exposed to 1.9GHz of radiation (similar to that of a cell phone) for two hours. Sure enough, the fluorescent dye had leaked into the brain, and as the story goes, Frey’s funding was pulled for coming to these conclusions.
I hope this has been enough to convince you that we should be at least concerned. For a more in depth guide, including more researched effects of EMFs including the negative effects on plants and animals, blood brain barrier problems, and the way EMFs negatively impact sleep, I strongly suggest buying the ebook The Non-tinfoil Hat Guide to EMF by Nic Pineault
What We Can Do About EMFs at Home
Wireless and electronic devices are all around us, all the time, so even if they are hurting us, how the h*ll do we actually do something about it? Fortunately, even though this technology is everywhere, there are key ways we can reduce our exposure and live healthier lives.
These techniques can be done by almost anybody for next to no cost.
First of all, reduce your use of electronics, especially wireless electronics, as much as possible when you are sleeping. Sleep is one of the most important bodily processes, and is the only time that our brain detoxifies. No, really, the glymphatic system in the brain washes out toxins using cerebro-spinal fluid, but only at night!
EMFs do interfere with sleep, and exposure even during the day will reduce your melotonin at night. Reducing your exposure while you sleep may be the most important time to lower EMFs.
Here are the quickest ways to hack your sleep exposure
- Put your phone on airplane mode. Even when your phone is not emitting a wifi signal, it is periodically searching for a cell tower signal. On top of that, most smart phones are also looking for blue tooth signals. Turning on airplane mode cuts off all of this. It’s still better to just leave the phone in another room or turn it off completely, but if you use it for guided meditations or have a sleep tracking app like I do, airplane mode is a great compromise.
- Unplug the wifi at night. Wifi is often one of the most powerful EMF signals in someones home, and when you’re sleeping, you’re not even using it. You can get really serious about cutting down EMFs and opt out of wifi completely by using landlines, but start by at least turning off the wifi at night. Pro tip, unplug game consoles during the night too. Xbox consoles constantly emit a powerful wireless signal in order to download updates, even when they are turned off. Make sure to unplug them entirely. Same goes for smart TVs.
- Unplug all electronics in your room. As we pointed out in the first section of this book, strong magnetic fields are emitted by plugged in electronics. When the AV current in the wall socket becomes a DV current in the plugged-in cord, it emits a field. To lower your exposure, make sure you unplug everything when you go to sleep. Pro-tip, check if your house has a circuit breaker for your room. Personally, I cut the power to the room I sleep in entirely and never turn it on. This also keeps me from staying up too late with lights on and getting too much blue light exposure, which is another factor in sleep problems.
Next, lower your general EMF exposure. If you can, continue to keep your phone on airplane mode throughout the day. Many people implement of scheduling, as one might do with their email. Set one or two times per day when you take your phone off of airplane mode to respond to messages and calls.
If necessary, let your friends and family know of this policy so they can be ready when you don’t reply right away. This tactic is often used as a productivity tactic by top performers anyway, so if you need to, just give them the excuse that you’re trying to become rich and famous.
Minimize your use of wireless. Even if you do not choose to keep your phone on airplane mode during the day, at least turn off the wifi and bluetooth. Even when you are not connecting, your phone is emitting a constant signal looking for wifi or bluetooth to connect to. Unless you are using the phone for that purpose, turn the feature off.
Unfortunately, apple phones no longer have a quick option for this. You must go into the phone settings menu and turn off wifi and bluetooth there. If you use the swipe-up menu, it just disables wifi and bluetooth but keeps emitting the signal.
Also, switch to 3G. Remember how we mentioned that 4G and LTE likely cause higher DNA damage? Well, many phones allow you to switch back to 3G in the settings. Personally, my iPhone 8 does not let me do this, but I can at least turn off LTE. Android phones should let you though, and I’ll be returning to them for my next phone purchase.
Increase distance and decrease time. Whenever using electronic devices, keep as much distance between your body and the device as possible. Put your computer on a desk, and not in your lap, and use speaker phone when taking calls instead of having your phone right next to your face.
This applies to other electronics as well, in the absence of having an EMF reader, your best bet is to stay as far away from your active electronics as possible. If you have the option of having the wifi router in your bedroom vs. upstairs on the other side of the house, you know which one to pick.
Use a grounded computer cord. Ever notice how computer cords sometimes have that third, straight prong? Well, that actually plugs into your house’s grounding system, which removes excess electricity by depositing it into the earth. Grounding your equipment lowers electrical fields, so if you have a 3 prong charger for your computer, make sure to use it to reduce the device’s electrical field.
Next Level EMF Reduction
If you have health issues or you think you may have EMF sensitivity, then you should consider taking things to the next level. Spending real money on lowering your exposure can definitely be worth it if you have a chronic disease.
First and foremost: Get an EMF reader. I recommend the ED88T from Amazon because it’s relatively cheap.
From this point, you can now measure the EMF in your house to some extent. Use your EMF meter to find out which rooms have the highest and lowest exposure, and see if you can discover why. Take readings a few feet from your electronics, and then unplug them and re-read.
Have a building biologist check your home: I know, I know, I just asked you to get an EMF reader and now I’m asking you to have someone else check your home. The reality is that one EMF meter cannot detect all forms of EMF. Further, you are not an expert, and there are places you won’t know to look. For a few hundred bucks, you can have a building biologist do a deep analysis of your home and give you powerful solutions.
Depending on who you use, they may even be able to check for mold toxicity and other overlooked health factors.
Your personal EMF meter is for testing new things and new environments. For example, if you’re traveling, check and see which side of the hotel bed has lower EMF readings. Sleep on that side.
Get a Faraday cage bed canopy. This option is a bit expensive, but very, very effective and a great choice if you think you are electrosensitive. Bed canopy Faraday cages are like mosquito nets that have EMF blocking Faraday cage technology.
This is one of the most surefire ways to protect yourself while sleeping. Be sure to get a cage that has a floor covering though. If you get one of these without the floor covering, EMFs can come up through the floor and be trapped with you inside the canopy. This can be especially problematic if you live above someone in an apartment building, as their wifi and EMF will all be coming up through the floor.
Here’s an example sold on Amazon.
Use shielding on your devices and in places of concern. There are many forms of EMF blocking contraptions available these days, and can be a good way of keeping EMFs out of your rooms. There are devices like the Defender Shield, which is a phone case that reduces EMF, and the same company’s other product: The Defender Pad, for blocking your laptop’s EMF from frying your nether regions.
Furthermore, using shielding material can be a great way to deal with concerning devices or EMF fields. For example, you could get some generic Faraday material and use it to cover walls or windows that give off high readings.
This is also a great way to deal with smart meters, which are installed on the outside of your home and give off powerful emissions. Aluminum foil is actually a great shielding material as well, and you can use it to effectively cut down emissions.
Finally, consider moving to a small town or at least further from the condensed city center. I know it seems drastic but if you have problems with EMF, getting out of big cities can be a good move. This isn’t so much because they’re bad right now, but here in the next few years, 5G networks will roll out in the major cities of the U.S.
As it appears right now, 5G will cause EMF exposure magnitudes higher than anything we are using right now. You know those airport scanners everyone got all freaked out about a few years ago? People were concerned because those TSA scanners use a very high frequency. However, they emit it at an extremely low power so it really isn’t a big deal.
What most people don’t know is that 5G networks are going to be using close to the same high frequencies, but you will be getting exposed to higher power outputs, and all of the time. Basically, imagine getting thousands of TSA scans per minute, all day long. I don’t know about you but I’m a bit concerned.
First off, let me just say thank you for sticking with me through this topic. I know it’s a controversial subject, and it can be a hard to wrap your mind around the idea that electronics might be hurting us. However most of the time we find a major health concern, such as the negative effects of tobacco or lead in our gasoline, the earliest warning signs appear 60 to 90 years before any action is taken.
There are many studies showing that EMFs are safe. There are also many that show that EMFs are harmful. For now, with how over-exposed we are, I think it is better to be cautious and try to truly understand that EMF exposure may be a serious health concern.
It may be a while before the government steps in and sets better safety standards, so until that time, it is up to us to try to navigate this issue as best we can.
Lastly, while there is much to be worried about with regard to EMFs, if you are currently healthy, don’t over-stress yourself about it. I do want you to be concerned, and at least consider implementing all the free measures to reduce your exposure, but if thinking about EMFs is going to make you paranoid, your stress may be more harmful to you than the EMFs.
On the flip side, if you are sick or not doing well, I think you absolutely need to educate yourself on EMFs and take strong action to reduce as much exposure as possible. One of the effects of EMFs that we did not discuss is that they prevent the body from healing as quickly. EMFs also prevent proper detoxification systems from working.
If you have a chronic condition, but live in a home with high EMF exposure, you might be doing everything else right in your life yet you won’t heal because you’re getting fried by your electronics.
You are the people who should invest in a building biologist, and consider moving to an area with fewer cell towers, etc.
I already mentioned it earlier, but if you want to learn more about EMFs, I strongly suggest getting the book Non-tinfoil Hat Guide to EMFs by Nicolas Pineault. It is an easy read and will leave you extremely well equipped to both understand and face this problem.
Resources & Links
- Overpowered by Martin Blank PhD
- Researcher Allen Frey, whose work was shut down in the 1960s
- Researcher George Carlo, concluded dangers of cell phones despite being the lead researcher of cell phone company funded research
- 2005 University of Vienna study showing non-thermal DNA breaks in human and rat cells via 1800MHz cell phone radiation
- Effect of 3G on DNA breaks 10x worse than 2G
- Martin Pall 2013 Study on Voltage Gated Calcium Channels being affected by EMFs.
- Martin Pall presentation in Oslo
- EMFs reduce melotonin and lower sleep quality
- ED88T EMF reader
- Non-tinfoil Hat Guide to EMFs by Nicolas Pineault
- Faraday cage bed canopy example
- Defender Shield EMF blocking phone case
- Defender Pad laptop pad
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Originally published on keenanerikssonfitness.com