August 11, 2020
Perhaps you have eliminated pesticide-ridden produce, processed foods, and vegetable oils from your diet. You train hard to maintain optimal health and build lean muscle, but also incorporate smart recovery tactics such as cold therapy and foam rolling. You get most of your vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants from a wide variety of whole foods, and also supplement intelligently to fill in the gaps.
But when was the last time you checked in on the health of your home?
According to Dr. Russell Foster, head of the Nuffield Laboratory of Ophthalmology and the Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute at the University of Oxford, “From the year 1800 to 2000, we’ve gone from 90% of people working outside to less than 20%. In a very short space of time, we’ve gone from being an outdoor species to spending most of our time in dim, dark caves.” If that isn't alarming enough, given the current pandemic and ensuing worldwide lockdowns, the amount of time people are spending in their homes has surely risen substantially over the past few months.
So it only makes sense—now more than ever—that the health of your home be given as much consideration as the food you eat, your fitness regimen, and the supplements you take. What exactly is a “healthy” home, you ask?
Using non-toxic products to clean with, investing in a good air purifier, and filtering contaminants like chlorine out of your water is a good start. However, even if you home is spick and span with air as fresh as the Swiss Alps and water purer than a melted iceberg, there still remains an insidious health hazard lurking in your home that's growing more powerful by the day and is responsible for many modern-day ailments such as headaches, anxiety, fatigue, sleep disturbances, and beyond.
I'm referring to electromagnetic frequencies (EMFs), and in today's article, you'll discover what exactly they are and whether or not they're all doom and gloom, the science on the health risks associated with EMF exposure, how they interact with your body, and simple, affordable, and proven methods for mitigating EMF exposure inside and outside your home.
What Exactly Are EMFs?
According to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, EMFs are “invisible areas of energy, often referred to as radiation, that are associated with the use of electrical power and various forms of natural and man-made lighting.”
EMFs are broadly separated into two categories: ionizing and non-ionizing; and, as you'll see in the chart below, are not all detrimental to your health.
Ionizing refers to mid- to high-frequency radiation which can lead to cellular and DNA damage with prolonged exposure. Non-ionizing refers to low to mid-frequency radiation that is generally perceived as harmless due to lack of potency, but as we will discuss, may actually be dangerous for your health. A good example of this is sunshine, which is safe, beneficial, and necessary in the proper amount, but can also lead to sunburn and skin damage with too much exposure.
The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies EMFs as possible human carcinogens, or class 2B—meaning they might transform normal cells into cancer cells. This was based on the association of cell phone use with a malignant type of brain cancer called a glioma. More recent research from the National Toxicology Program recently showed very clearly that cell phones are actually a class I carcinogen, just like X-rays, meaning known to cause cancer.
These studies exposed the entire bodies of mice in 2G and 3G radiation sources. Although our bodies are larger and have smaller exposure areas to our cell phones, we’re now constantly exposed to 4G and, even more frightening, 5G—which I cover in this podcast with Dr. Joseph Mercola.
Then there's the fact that our bodies come into far more contact with EMFs than that from our cell phones.
The United States alone is wired with half a million miles of high-voltage power lines, and for wireless communication, we depend on over half a million microwave links. We also have tens of millions of broadcasting transmitters flooding our airwaves, use over thirty-five million electromagnetic devices (and that number is increasing at an exponential rate), and plant ourselves in front of hundreds of millions of video and television screens.
EMF radiation is the by-product of this explosion of electronic technology. It’s a form of environmental pollution that’s emitted by millions of domestic appliances, military installations, industrial machines, computers, broadcast and communications transmitters, and all other electrically powered devices.
Even worse, all metallic objects—including electrical circuits, telephone wiring, water and gas pipes, and even the metal objects we carry on our bodies, such as keys, watches, and jewelry—can act as antennae that collect and magnify these energy waves. This creates a compounding effect that significantly alters the natural balance of your body’s biochemical energy patterns. When you’re constantly bombarded in this manner by EMF waves, it can distort your internal cellular communications and cause cellular damage.
So Why Are EMF Dangers Up For Debate?
The FCC adopted its radiofrequency radiation exposure limits in the 1990s based largely on research from the 1980s. A 2019 press release from the FCC explained that the FCC was reaffirming and maintaining these limits:
“The available scientific evidence to date does not support adverse health effects in humans due to exposures at or under the current limits…” and “no changes to the current standards are warranted at this time.” – Jeffrey Shuren, Director of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health
These guidelines are based on thermal effects of exposure, but the fact is EMF exposure does not require flesh heating for the aforementioned ill-effects to manifest. In fact, there are over 500 studies that have found harmful biologic or health effects from exposure to RFR at intensities too low to cause significant heating. The FCC guidelines also do not take into account long-term health effects, like how the incidence of meningioma, a non-malignant brain tumor, is increasing in the U.S.
The FCC guidelines have likely not been updated due to the financial conflict of interests with the telecommunications and electronics industries. It would be extremely expensive to admit the negative health effects and then make the necessary changes to mitigate modern human exposure. The U.S. government itself does not recognize EMF risks while several other countries are moving to limit or ban WiFi in schools due to the recognition of its risks. Environment minister Céline Fremault halted 5G network installation in Brussells, citing difficulty measuring radiation exposure from the new technology and proclaimed, “The people of Brussels are not guinea pigs whose health I can sell at a profit. We cannot leave anything to doubt.” A French study found that the vast majority of cell phones emit radiation that far exceeds the European allowable limits.
Most cell phones pass as compliant because testing does not require direct contact with the body and radiation exposure is allowable with a small distance between the phone and body, despite this not being how most phones are used. Where do you keep your phone? I'm guessing directly against your body in your pocket, bra, etc. (This is a big no-no, by the way, but you'll learn more on how to protect yourself below) Therefore, these limits and tests are irrelevant and not protecting you. In 2017, the Phonegate Alert report, devoted to exposing phone misinformation and scandals, found that 90 percent of all cell phones in the world exceed acceptable radiation standards.
How EMFs Interact With Your Body
You are a bioelectromagnetic being, meaning your body runs on electricity and emanates an electromagnetic field. This means external electromagnetic fields can interact with, and disrupt, your bodily functions—think defibrillator shocking a human heart back to life.
Of the many theories explaining how non-ionizing radiation causes biological damage, the theory of Martin Pall, Ph.D. seems most plausible.
According to Pall, non-ionizing radiation activates voltage-gated calcium channels (VGCCs) that then release calcium from outside the cell inside. The pathophysiological effects are produced largely through excessive calcium ion signaling that results in excessive nitric oxide (NO), superoxide, peroxynitrite, free radical formation, and consequent oxidative stress.
Many studies suggest that it is the peroxynitrite-mediated mechanism that leads to the rise in oxidative stress markers and damage to your DNA. Peroxynitrite not only creates carbonate free radicals that damage DNA, but also modifies tyrosine molecules in proteins to create a new substance, nitrotyrosine, and nitration of a structural protein. These changes from nitration are visible in human biopsies of ALS, atherosclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, myocardial ischemia, and septic lung disease. So, as you can see, EMF exposure can damage many bodily systems.
Because biological damage from EMFs is triggered by activation of your VGCCs, tissues with the highest densities of VGCCs are at greater risk of harm. Bodily tissues with the highest concentration of VGCCs include the brain, testes, nervous system, SA Node (the “natural pacemaker” of your heart), and the retina.
When VGCCs are activated in your brain, they release neurotransmitters and neuroendocrine hormones. Elevated VGCC activity in certain parts of your brain has been shown to produce a variety of neuropsychiatric effects. The most common consequences of chronic EMF exposure to your brain are:
- Autism (One of my longtime mentors, Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt, has linked autism in children to excessive EMF exposure during pregnancy.)
There are several other chronic diseases that have been growing rapidly in prevalence since 1990, as shown in the chart below. This study links peroxynitrite to four categories of disease that have exploded: autoimmune, neurological, metabolic, and inflammatory.
The negative effects of EMF don't end there. EMF has been attributed to a plethora of ailments, including:
- Lower Sperm Count – Studies have linked low-level electromagnetic radiation exposure from cellphones to an 8 percent reduction in sperm motility and a 9 percent reduction in sperm viability.
- Asthma – This study followed 626 children for 13 years. It found that magnetic fields greater than 0.3 mG (average) during pregnancy increased the child’s risk of getting asthma by age 13. It showed the greater the dose, the greater the issues, with every 1mG increase in EMF resulting in a 15% increased rate of asthma in the children.
- Salivary Gland Cancer – This study reported that 22 hours a month or more of cell phone use resulted in people being 50 percent more likely to develop parotid gland cancer than those who used cell phones infrequently or never.
- Brain Cancer – Several studies have concluded that cell phone use over 10 years causes increases in brain cancer, specifically a 2.4 times greater risk for acoustic neuroma and 2 times greater risk for glioma. The incidence of brain cancer and central nervous system tumors has significantly increased in all children, adolescents, and young adult age groupings from birth to 24 years in the United States. Brain cancer is the number one cancer in adolescents aged 12-18 in the United States.
- Lymphatic Cancer and Bone Marrow Cancer – Researchers studied records of 850 patients who had been diagnosed with lymphatic and bone marrow cancers. They found that people living within 300 meters of a high voltage power line for extended periods (particularly in childhood) were up to five times more likely to develop these diseases later in life.
- Miscarriage – This study found that EMFs from electrical appliances like vacuum cleaners, hairdryers, and food mixers significantly increased the risk of miscarriage.
- Suicide – This study examined 5000 electricity utility workers who were exposed to extremely low-frequency EMFs in comparison to a control group of the same size and found that the rate of suicide was double that of the control group. They found young workers to be particularly susceptible to the effect.
- Behavioral Problems In Children – A study of 13,000 mothers that compared children born of mothers who used cell phones during pregnancy to mothers who did not, children born of mothers who did experienced a 49% increase in behavioral problems, 35% increase in hyperactivity, 34% increase in peer-related problems, and 25% increase in emotional issues.
- Impaired Neurobehavioral Function In Children – Children attending a school near 500 kV HVT lines were shown to have poorer performance on computerized neurobehavioral tests for visual retention and pursuit aiming compared to children attending a school that was not in close proximity to HVT lines.
- Cognitive Function – In a 2009 study, 48 right-handed male subjects performed a spatial working memory task that required either a left-hand or a right-hand response while being exposed to one of two standard GSM cell phones placed at both sides of the head.The average response time of the right-hand responses under left-side exposure condition was significantly longer than those of the right-side and sham-exposure groups averaged together. Exposure duration also had an effect.
- Headaches – In a study of 114 women and men, the number and severity of migraine headaches were correlated significantly with the use of mobile phones and Wi-Fi.
- Stress, Depression, and Anxiety – In a study of 132 power plant workers, EMF had a direct and significant relation with increased stress, depression, and anxiety.
- Circadian Rhythm Disruption – ELF-MF and radiofrequency electromagnetic field have been shown to possibly influence circadian rhythm function due to changes in melatonin and cortisol secretion caused by exposure.
- Sleep – One study found that daily occupational EMF exposure was positively associated with poor sleep quality. This study found that exposure to extremely low-frequency electromagnetic field (ELF-EMF) among electronic equipment repairers induced oxidative stress and affected sleep quality. The mean level of serum melatonin was significantly reduced compared to controls. The mean level of malondialdehyde, an indicator of oxidative stress, was significantly higher than controls. And sleep insufficiency was higher among the EMF exposed group. Magnetic field exposure was associated with a significant reduction in the duration of slow-wave sleep (sleep stages III and IV) as well as an increase in sleep disturbance, despite the exposure level being lower than permissible limits.
Sadly, children—who don't know any better and seem to be some of the heaviest users of smartphones and tablets these days—absorb more microwave radiation from things like cell phones and WiFi than adults due to their more absorbent brain tissues, thinner skulls, and smaller size.
How To Create A Low-EMF Healthy Home
Finally, here's some good news. There are actually plenty of steps you can take to minimize EMF exposure, not only in your home but also beyond the confines of your soon-to-be EMF-free abode.
Most of what I'm about to share with you is free or inexpensive, and easy to implement right away.
Here are 10 simple steps you could get started on today to make your home safer:
- Connect your computer to the internet with an ethernet cable rather than WiFi. Avoid wireless keyboards, printers, and other accessories. If you don’t have an ethernet port, you can easily pick up an adapter on Amazon.
- Turn off your WiFi whenever possible. This is especially important for sleep. You can use a wall timer to automate this process so that your WiFi shuts off at, say, 10 pm every night then turns back on in the morning.
- Turn off the electricity to your bedroom at night to reduce electrical fields from the wires in your wall. I know this next suggestion may not be plausible for everybody, but I take it a step further and turn off the electricity to my entire house at night via a master kill switch (save for my refrigerator and a few other appliances that must continue running). Another option—which I discuss with building biologist Brian Hoyer in this podcast—is to paint your bedroom with shielding paint. You can learn more about that by contacting Brian here.
- Avoid microwave ovens, as they may be the highest EMF polluters in your home. Consider replacing with a steam convection oven, which will heat your food as quickly and far more safely.
- Avoid any “smart” appliances such as TVs, ranges, ovens, laundry machines, dishwashers, and more. Avoid baby monitors that are not wired.
- Don’t use Bluetooth headphones, speakers, watches, or other wearables. If you have to, most will typically have a “Bluetooth off” switch. You can do your syncing when your wearable isn't attached to your body.
- Refuse smart meters on your home. If you already have one, add a shield. (Some of these have been shown to reduce radiation by 98 to 99 percent.) For more on smart meters, and what to do about them, check out this podcast.
- Always keep your cell phone in airplane mode when in your pocket (if you must keep it in your pocket). It can still emit some signals in airplane mode, so for sleeping, it's best to keep it far away from your bed or in a case such as the DefenderShield (use code BEN to save 20%) or a Faraday bag.
- When talking on your phone, use speakerphone and hold it 3 feet away from you. Or, even better, drastically reduce your time on the phone or use a wired connection.
- Replace compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs with incandescent bulbs. Ideally, remove all fluorescent lights from your house. Not only do they emit unhealthy light but, more importantly, they will actually transfer current to your body by simply being close to the bulbs.
Once you've EMF-proofed your home and taken steps towards reducing EMF exposure from your electronic appendages, you may want to consider investing in some of the following EMF-mitigating foods, supplements, and clothes.
Nrf2 is a biological hormetic that upregulates superoxide dismutase, catalase, and all the other beneficial intercellular antioxidants that are necessary to deal with the increased free radicals that come with EMF exposure. Nrf2 lowers inflammation, improves mitochondrial function, and stimulates mitochondrial biogenesis.
Nrf2-boosting food compounds include sulforaphane from cruciferous vegetables and broccoli sprouts, foods high in phenolic antioxidants, long-chained omega-3 fats DHA and EPA, carotenoids (foods with bright red, yellow and orange hues), sulfur compounds from allium vegetables (garlic, onion, leeks, chives, scallions), isothiocyanates from the cabbage group, and terpenoid-rich foods (lemon and lime oil, sumac, rosemary, oregano, basil, and other aromatic green herbs). You can also activate Nrf2 by fasting and performing high-intensity exercises that activate the NO signaling pathway.
Certain spices may help prevent or repair damage from peroxynitrites. Spices rich in phenolics—specifically cinnamon, cloves, ginger root, rosemary, and turmeric—have exhibited some protective effects against peroxynitrite-induced damage.
The following supplements have also been shown to reduce the effects of EMFs:
- Magnesium – Naturally blocks calcium channels and can help reduce the effects of EMFs on your VGCCs. Most people are deficient in magnesium, so don’t be afraid of taking up to 1 to 2 grams a day.
- Molecular Hydrogen (save 10% with code GREENFIELD) – Studies show that molecular hydrogen acts as a therapeutic antioxidant that selectively reduces hydroxyl radicals and peroxynitrite, the free radical most linked to EMF exposure. You can also take molecular hydrogen tablets when flying to protect yourself from gamma rays. It is one of several tips I shared on how to minimize jet lag.
- Glutathione (save 10% with code GREENFIELD10) – Glutathione is an important cellular defense agent against oxidative damage. Studies have shown that glutathione levels decrease with EMF exposure and therefore should be replenished regularly.
- Quercetin and EGCG from green tea both stimulate Nrf2.
For full-body EMF protection, as Nicolas Pineault and I discuss, EMF-blocking clothing is becoming increasingly popular with plenty of options now available—including underwear to protect your most vulnerable parts as well as shirts, hoodies, and sleepwear. These EMF-blocking pants, which I discuss on my podcast with Luke Storey, while a bit spendy, are made of fabric that has been certified by Prof Pauli of the University of the German Military to shield 99% of mobile frequencies and 90% of 5G.
I have painstakingly taken all of the above steps to protect myself from EMFs and to create my very own “stupid” healthy home nestled in the Washington forest for me and my family.
We don't control our appliances, lighting, or doorbell from our smartphones, there are no LED lights, and screens are few and far between, we don't have a microwave, and don’t use WiFi. Over the years, I have stripped my home of every source of unnecessary EMF, and it has made a world of difference in creating a relaxing, safe haven for me and my family.
It can feel a bit “woo-woo” to go to such lengths to mitigate something you can't see, can't directly feel, and that the rest of the world is convinced isn't a threat. I challenge you to take the steps I've listed above and let me know what you notice. I'm confident you'll be pleasantly surprised with significant positive results.
And if you're not entirely convinced, or simply want to do some more research, check out the plethora of articles and podcasts I have on EMFs below:
- The Shocking Truth About You Getting “EMF’D”: 5G, Wi-Fi & Cell Phones – Hidden Harms & How To Protect Yourself
- Why Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs) Are Getting More Dangerous (Plus 11 Steps You Should Be Taking To Protect Yourself)
- The Intriguing Science Of Building Biology (Along With A Complete Analysis & Surprising Results From Ben Greenfield’s So-Called “Biohacked Home”)
- How To Reverse The Damage From Cell Phone Radiation, Hidden Sources Of EMF, The Best Way To Measure Your EMF Exposure & Much More With Dr. Joseph Mercola!
- The Non-Tinfoil Guide to EMFs: How to Fix Our Stupid Use of Technology (& The Real Research On WiFi Health, Cell Phones, Dirty Electricity & More!)
- How To Reverse The Damage From Cell Phone Radiation, Hidden Sources Of EMF, The Best Way To Measure Your EMF Exposure & Much More With Dr. Joseph Mercola!
- How to Protect Your Body from the Ten Hidden Killers in Your Home (Fully Updated Version).
- How To Defend Yourself Against Cell Phone Radiation (& Keep Your Laptop From Frying Your Body.)
- Is Bluetooth Radiation Dangerous?
Also, stay tuned for this Saturday podcast “Hunting Down EMF In Your Office, Bedroom, Gym & Beyond: Is Your Home’s “Dirty Electricity” Wrecking Your Sleep, Your Recovery, Your Health & More? The Official Ben Greenfield & Brian Hoyer Low-EMF Home How-To.” where Brian and I go through every square inch of my home hunting residual EMF.
If you want to take an even deeper dive into protecting your home from EMFs, check out this EMF Home Safety Masterclass by Brian and Luke Storey. Upon completion of this masterclass, you will be thoroughly educated on the various types and sources of EMF lurking in your home as well as cutting-edge mitigation techniques and tools. If you're someone who recognizes the importance of having a safe, healthy home environment but aren't sure where to get started, you definitely won't want to miss this! So anyway, you can sign up for that here.
What steps have you taken to mitigate EMFs and create a healthy home for your family? Let me know in the comments section below and leave any comments, questions, or thoughts you might have as well!