Lately we’ve been hearing a lot of questions about the safety of cell phones, but nobody seems to have a clear answer about the issue. Wireless technologies are moving along so quickly that there has been relatively little testing for long-term health implications before they hit the market. What we know is that, just like any wireless device, cell phones emit radiation. What we don’t know is whether or not the levels they emit are harmful.
I went to home health expert Mary Cordaro to get some straight talk about cell phones and other wireless devices. She believes that there have been too few studies done on people exposed to radiation from wireless devices. What’s more, most ofthe studies that conclude that wireless technologies are safe have been sponsored by the cell phone and technology industries – not exactly impartial third parties. That’s why she and many non-industry scientists and citizens want to see a sustained, truly independent research program by neutral parties (like a government agency or non-profit) – people who can advocate for the users without an interest of their own to protect. That might seem idealistic, but a girl can wish.
In the meantime, independent scientists continue to find evidence that there could be some biological effects related to exposure to radiation emitted from wireless devices (known as RF and other household EMFs). These include possible links to headaches, autism, ADD and perhaps even cancer.
Despite the potential risks, the wireless world we live in can make it difficult, if not impossible, to avoid the threat altogether. However, Mary suggested some steps we can take that can help to minimize the risks. In my opinion, each of us has to decide how to balance these measures with the demands of our daily lives, but awareness is the first step. So, here are Mary’s suggestions:
Talk on speaker. As much as possible, keep the cell phone away from your hands and body.
Limit conversations as much as possible. One type of radiation called the heat effect can be eliminated completely by keeping the phone away from your head. But German scientists found that another type, called non ionizing radiation, radiates out from the cell phone about 20 feet, although the highest levels are closest to the cell phone. When a cell phone is ringing, the levels of RF are particularly high, so avoid carrying your cell phone on your body if possible.
Turn off your computer wireless router each night. You can also put it on a timer. Make sure the router is placed as far from your body as possible in your home or office (at least 6-10 feet), including your desk, or anywhere else in the home or office that you or your family spend time. For best protection, eliminate wireless and, instead, hard wire your computer connections with ethernet cable.
Unplug. At the very least, keep wireless devices out of the bedroom, and unplug anything electricalas much as possible.
Avoid using cordless phones or baby monitors that are labeled as “DECT” or “Gigahertz”. These put out a signal similar to cell phones, and they emit radio frequency EMFs 24/7, even when they are turned off. Ideally these should be avoided altogether. If you use a landline, the best option is hard-wired phones. If you must talk on a cordless phone, try a 900-megahertz model from Fry’s and limit your conversations.
Test your home. Hire a professional to determine the levels of radiation from EMFs, where they are coming from, and how to make the corrections. This is especially important if you have small children, suspect you may be EMF sensitive, or have other health concerns. It’s important to note that you cannot easily test for radio frequency EMFs with meters, unless you are a professional with a great deal of training and expensive equipment, contrary to what you might read about meters that are marketed and sold to the general public for that purpose. I have to admit this whole topic overwhelms me and it’s expensive and frustrating, but I think it’s important.
Inspect before you buy. Before you buy or rent a new home, consider scheduling a comprehensive environmental inspection. Some highly skilled environmental inspectors, including those called building biologists, test not only for EMFs, but also for mold, chemicals, and other contaminants, as well as heating and AC systems. This way, you can avoid purchasing a home with a problem that is too expensive, disruptive or not feasible to fix, such as outdoor power lines, or a serious chemical or mold problem.
Locate the closest antennas to your home. Not everyone has the flexibility to choose where they live in proximity to cell phone antennas. But, again, it never hurts to be aware. This site can tell you the locations of antennas in your area. New antennas go up all the time, so while the site is updated periodically, it might not have every single antenna in your town. However, it will give you a rough idea of proximity. The rule of thumb is that a cell antenna that’s at least 1/3 mile from your building will usually not be emitting high levels into your space.
Get educated. It’s important for everyone to stay up-to-date on the most recent studies about wireless technologies. Luckily, there are experts working to make this information available to the public at no cost on the Internet. Below are some great resources containing more information:
This all makes my head hurt a little – I wish things could just be simple. I want to just live in a tent near a beach! But, I know this is important in the world we live in. I try not to get to crazy about it, just be informed and do the best I can.
Thanks to Mary for this great overview of the situation! If you have questions, want environmental home inspections, consulting and EMF inspections for radio frequency EMFs (as well as low frequency AC EMFs from household wiring, appliances and power lines), feel free to contact her via her blog or at 818.766.1787.
What do you plan to do to reduce EMFs in your home?
The health section is proudly sponsored by Kaeng Raeng natural cleanse. Make sure to check out their 3 or 6 day vegan detox programs here:
photo credit: wanelo.com