What are EMF's and Why Should I Care?

What are EMF's and Why Should I Care?

Worried about your EMF exposure? Not sure what EMF’s even are?

EMF stands for Electromagnetic Fields. You may also hear the acronym EMR, or, Electromagnetic Radiation. When you break that down: ‘electro,’ ‘magnetic,’ ‘radiation,’ you see we’re talking about electricity and radiation. For our purposes here, we’re talking about the man-made electrical environment. In this modern era, we surround ourselves with electricity, electrical devices, and wireless communication devices.

So why should you care? You want to know about EMF’s because the science shows us that our electrical environment has a profound impact on our biology. If you want to learn more about the health impacts of EMF’s, see my blog post What Does the Science Say?

In this post, I’m going to break down what EMF’s are, where they come from, and where you might encounter them.

Though you might think the electricity in your home is a given, in fact, electricity is a young phenomenon. In reality, having your home ‘electrified’ has only been a standard for roughly 100 years (at least in the US). In historical terms, that’s a fraction of a second. Many places around the globe still do not have electricity, and I would argue that’s a good thing.

Though turning on a light with the flip of a switch is very convenient, it’s not without its problems. The issue is that the human body is electric. It functions by communicating via electrical signals. Have you ever felt better after consuming ‘electro-lytes’? Hmmm….ever wondered why? Electrolytes help the body maintain homeostasis and manage efficient cellular communication. This communication happens on a certain frequency, and when the body encounters ‘foreign’ frequencies from man-made sources, cellular communication becomes impaired.

So where do we encounter EMF’s? In the world of Building Biology, there are 4 main areas of concern: Radio Frequency, Microsurge Electrical Pollution, Electric Fields and Magnetic Fields. Let’s look at each one separately.

1. Radio Frequencies:
Radio Frequencies come from: Cell Phones, WI-FI, Bluetooth, Fitness Tracking Devices, Smart Meters, Smart Appliances, Smart TV’s (including Roku, Apple TV, and the like), Cordless Phones, Baby Monitors, Microwaves, Cell Towers, Radar, Tablets, Smart Pavement (yes, you read that correctly), and anything that communicates via wireless technology.

2. Electric Fields:
Electric fields come from anything that works with electricity. Our highest exposure comes from the wiring in our walls. Voltage gets pushed through the wires, and they can emanate several feet into the room. Anything that has a cord and is plugged in will create electric fields.

3. Magnetic Fields:
Magnetic Fields come primarily from point sources like your appliances or from wiring errors in your walls, power lines or from the neighbor’s water pipes.

4. Microsurge Electrical Pollution (MEP):
MEP is when the wiring in your walls contains frequencies other than the normal 60 Hz electrical current. The normal sine wave is altered, and there are ‘surges’ of electricity that emanate into the living space. Certain devices create MEP on your electrical lines: Plasma TV’s, Computers, Pool Pumps, Solar Panels, Utility Meters, Light Dimmer Switches, CFL Lightbulbs, and many other appliances.

Most of us don’t give any thought to electricity or the fields they produce. Why would we? We can’t see them, hear them, taste them, feel them or smell them. It’s easy to dismiss something that is essentially invisible to us. But, as we know with things like bacteria, fungi, air pollution, etc., just because we can’t see it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t impact us. This can be a difficult concept to grasp. If you need a visual, look at the chart below.

You can see that EMF’s are essentially part of the light spectrum. Visible light is an EMF (think ultraviolet and infrared). X-rays, gamma radiation, microwaves; they’re all EMF’s. As you can see, we’re pretty much surrounded by EMF’s all the time. This is not a good thing. Because they’re ubiquitous, we’ve come to think they’re normal. In reality, they’re not normal at all. Surrounding ourselves with electricity is about as far from nature as we can get.

By now you’re probably asking ‘If they’re everywhere, and they’re not good for us, then what can we do?’ The good news is that there are many ways you can reduce our exposure. The first step is to limit your use of wireless communications. While addressing electric fields, magnetic fields and microsurge electrical pollutions takes some guidance, you can immediately reduce your exposure of radio frequencies by disconnecting a little more often and relying less on your ‘devices.’ This means keeping your phone in airplane mode, unplugging your Wi-Fi, and not using a fitness tracker or Bluetooth devices. I realize this may sound frightening to you, but think of the possibilities: you might go outside, you might exercise, you could read a book, talk to your family, take a nap, make some art… I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather do any of these things than sit in front of a computer or stare at a screen.

The additional benefit of reducing your radio frequency exposure is that you’ll have less exposure to the oxidative damage done by EMF’s. This could lead to a reduction in many health symptoms and overall improved health. I call that a Win-Win!

If you want to take a deeper dive into mitigating all of your EMF exposure, see my blog posts at Wholehomeandbodyhealth.com.  Of course, if you really want to reduce your exposure and protect your family, hire a building biologist in your area to do an assessment on your home. The health benefits you will experience from reducing your exposure will be one of the best investments you’ll ever make. If you can’t find anyone in your area or you have more questions about EMF’s in general, please give us a call, we’re happy to help!