EMFs and in particular RF-EMFs are radiofrequency electromagnetic fields which are transmitted from devices like mobile phones. The roll out of the 5G network will greatly increase our mandatory exposure to this radiation. This has sparked some extremists to make irrational and unfounded claims about 5G: suggesting there is a link between it and the coronavirus pandemic. This has led to the vandalization of 5G towers and assault of telecom engineers around the world, which is unacceptable behaviour.
But are the extreme views of a few extreme conspiracy theorists muddying the waters and detracting from genuine concerns? There is a growing number of scientists and researchers who think so. In 2017, 390 scientists and medical doctors from various member states appealed to the EU to halt the 5G roll out until a full scientific evaluation could be carried out of the potential negative health effects which include cancer, genetic defects and neurological disorders, amongst other things. The appeal has now been signed by 407 scientists and doctors and continues to be ignored by the EU.
The UK government assures us 5G poses no risk to public health.
But there is growing concern that results are being skewed by industry funded research. We know that this has happened in the past: for years studies into the dangers of tobacco on human health was covered up by the industry. There is an increasing concern that the same may be happening with EMFs.
For example, this paper found that, on review, independent studies found a statistically significant link between EMF exposure and childhood leukaemia, while industry funded studies did not. The review also found evidence for increased risk of adult leukaemia as well as other cancers.
And according to this paper, official government advice around the world is based on a report produced with conflicts of interests and found to be inaccurate and misleading.
What are the potential risks?
The concern about 5G is that it will greatly increase our mandatory exposure to this radiation, and we don’t yet know what the health implications of this will be.
Some of the main concerns for human health are:
Increased Cancer Risk
The World Health Organisation classifies RF-EMFs as a group 2B carcinogen which means they are ‘possibly’ carcinogenic to humans.
Mobile phone use has been linked to risk of brain tumours, as discussed for example in this study.
This paper reviews studies into various potential harmful effects of EMF exposure including neurological issues like headaches, sleep disturbances, dizziness, impaired learning and memory loss.
This Australian study found a link between the installation of smart meters in people’s homes and an increased reporting of neurological symptoms including insomnia, headaches, tinnitus, fatigue, cognitive disturbances and dizziness. Smart meters work by emitting strong WiFi signals in pulses to appliances in the home. The majority of the participants did not report previously being sensitive to EMF exposure prior to having a smart meter installed.
Fertility rates have been declining over the past few decades and EMFs could be one contributing factor as discussed here. A particular issue may be the fact that mobiles are kept in pockets close to genitals and laptops are used for long periods on the lap.
Impact on children
I am particularly concerned about the impact of EMF exposure to children: they are potentially at greater risk due to their brain tissue being more conductive and the fact their nervous systems are still developing, as discussed in this study. I regularly see very young children glued to their parents’ mobiles and tablets for long periods of time, and parents texting while holding their babies with their mobile right by the baby’s head. Bluetooth baby monitors, left on all night very close to the baby’s head, are also popular.
What can we do about it?
There’s not a lot we can do about the radiation we are exposed to all around us. But there are steps we can take to protect ourselves.
Cut down on screen time
Many of us spend an inordinate amount of time looking at phones, tablets and computers. The easiest way to reduce your EMF exposure is simply to cut down on screen time which will also benefit your health in other ways too! Try to encourage your children to reduce screen time too.
Opt for wired over wireless
Using a PC with a wired internet connection is safer than using laptops and tablets connected to WiFi.
Opt for Zoom over mobile phone calls
We are all now becoming accustomed to different ways of communicating, both in and out of work, through tools like Zoom, Microsoft Teams and WhatsApp video calls. This is great as it avoids holding mobile phones right next to our heads. Prop up the device at arm’s length rather than holding it in your hands or on your lap. And if you are taking a call through your mobile, could you put it on speaker so that it is away from your head? If not, at least hold the phone as far away as possible.
Consider where you keep your phone when not in use
Do you really need to keep your mobile in your pocket all day? I often see people sitting with their mobile phones resting on their lap when not in use; try instead to leave it at arm’s length. And when you go out, could you put it away in your bag or even leave it at home?
Invest in a shielding cover
If you do spend a lot of time on WiFi emitting devices, consider investing in a special cover which shields at least some of the radiation. I like Wave Wall and Safe Sleave, and I use their products myself with both my tablet and mobile phone. They make a range of products including protective cases for mobiles and tablets, and protective lap desks for laptops. These are good if you do need to keep your mobile in your pocket all the time, perhaps for work.
Make your bedroom technology free
Keep computers, tablets and mobiles out of the bedroom to help you sleep. If you must have your phone by your bed, turn it on Airplane mode and please don’t keep it under your pillow! Many people have Fitbits on them all the time to monitor their sleep, don’t do this, while it may seem useful to know your sleep pattern, it may be what’s disrupting your sleep in the first place!
Don’t install a smart meter and uninstall it if you have one
These are powerful WiFi devices that pulse EMFs long distances across our homes and have been linked to health issues as discussed above.
Get into nature
Lots of studies have found that this is beneficial to our wellbeing and having a break from EMF exposure can add to this. Switch your mobile phone off and enjoy some peace and quiet.
Try grounding exercises
This may sound a bit wacky, but studies (like this one) have actually found that grounding (connecting to the Earth’s surface by walking barefoot) can have all sorts of positive effects on health including reducing pain and inflammation and improving sleep. In summer you can try getting your toes between the grass for 20 minutes a day. You can also buy special grounding mats so that you can ground at home or while you sleep.
Eat the rainbow
One of the ways EMFs cause harm in the body is through the creation of free radicals. Antioxidants help to neutralise free radicals in the body. Ensure you are having an antioxidant rich diet by eating a range of vegetables and fruits of as many different colours as you can. Contact me to find out more about how optimising your diet can help.