Electrosmog: The Invisible Pollution Hiding in Our Homes
For the health conscious individual, cultivating a more beneficial electromagnetic environment is becoming an important key to wellness. While natural cosmic electromagnetic energy may be beneficial, the manmade variety is found by doctors and scientists to be increasingly harmful. Where does this manmade energy come from? Most of us are surrounded by it in our very own homes: the electrical system emits both magnetic and electric fields; wireless devices harness radiofrequency energy to transmit data. These are forms of unnatural electromagnetic radiation, commonly called “electrosmog.” More and more, exposure to this form of pollution comes with alarming health consequences.
In some, electrosmog causes an allergic-type reaction, a condition known as electrical sensitivity. This condition affects a small, but ever-increasing population as electrosmog becomes more widespread. Onset of the condition may occur in conjunction with mold or chemical sensitivity or may be brought on through chronic exposure to unacceptable levels of electrosmog. The electrically sensitive person eventually becomes over-sensitized so that even very small exposures produce strong symptoms, making “normal” life difficult or even impossible.
The harmful effects of electrosmog, however, are not limited to the electrically sensitive. While severe electrical sensitivity may be relatively rare, electrosmog increasingly affects everyone’s lives. Few of us are able to escape the sea of wireless devices in public spaces. We might find Wi-Fi convenient for passing time with our phones or tablets, but it may affect the wider population in a more subtle manner, such as provoking anxiety.
And when we leave the reaches of the free Wi-Fi zone at coffee shops or bookstores and return home, chances are that home is far from being a safe haven from electrosmog. The number of wireless devices in the average American home abounds. Cell phones, routers, cordless phones, digital media players, video games, baby monitors and smart meters all emit their own signals, many of which we unknowingly experience morning, noon and night.
Why is it that this exposure to electrosmog is so constant? For a smart phone to get automatic updates of email or apps, it must constantly connect itself to the nearest cell phone tower. Smart meters emit signals in extremely short but powerful bursts of energy spread throughout the entire day. Streaming a favorite TV show wirelessly while you cuddle up in bed at night comes with a strong dose to frequencies that can interfere with the circadian rhythm, resulting in poor sleep quality.
As more individuals become aware of the dangers of electrosmog, alternative solutions become more readily available. Opt-out programs for smart meters have been established in some communities; routers with external Wi-Fi on/off buttons make it easier to disconnect; radiation lowering handsets help protect from cell phone radiation.
Health-concerned individuals can take steps to create a more healing environment: by using Ethernet cables instead of wireless to connect computers to the internet and digital media players, by turning off cell phones at night, by removing other sources of electrosmog from the bedroom to ensure a good night’s sleep.
While cell phone towers and electric pylons might be easy to avoid because of their obvious presence, other sources may not be visibly recognizable. Building biologists are equipped to test and measure electrosmog in the home and can offer solutions for a more healthful electromagnetic environment.
Kristina Carlet is a Building Biologist and LEED Green Associate based in Charlotte NC. Connect with her at biodwell.org.
Ways to Reduce RiskAlthough electromagnetic field (EMF) activity vibrates all around us, there are simple ways to reduce adverse health effects in daily indoor environments.
- Hardwire all Internet connections instead of using Wi-Fi.
- Power a laptop using a three-prong grounded plug and then plug in a separate, hardwired keyboard (this minimizes both the exposure to wireless radiation and the effects from the laptop battery’s magnetic field).
- Use a grounding mouse pad to minimize effects of the electric field from the computer.
- Don’t position any laptop or tablet computer on the lap.
- Don’t live within 1,500 feet of a cell tower.
- Use battery-powered LCD alarm clocks (not LED), keeping them several feet away from the body.
- Turn off all wireless devices before bedtime and generally minimize usage at other times.
- Be wary of a weak signal. Phones work harder and emit more radiation when the signal is weak or blocked.