How to Reduce Electromagnetic Field Exposure

By Marilee Nelson |

featured image: How to Reduce Electromagnetic Field Exposure
When we think of "tossing the toxins," most of us think of chemicals in our environments and our foods, such as pesticides, air, and water pollutants, VOCs, SVOCs, etc. However, some of the most pervasive misunderstood and underreported toxins come from everyday electronics and home wiring. They're called EMFs, or electromagnetic fields, an invisible type of radiation emitted from natural and artificial sources. 
If you've heard of EMFs, you may be aware of the potential side effects of high-frequency fields from cell phones, personal devices, WiFi, and 5G. But different types of EMFs come from many sources, including home wiring, power lines, hairdryers, the sun, cell phones, blenders, wind turbines, x-rays, air travel, airport body scanners and metal detectors, alarm clocks (especially digital alarm clocks), televisions, ovens, baby monitors, microwaves, heating pads, house alarms, and all types of electronic and wireless devices. The difference lies in their frequency, wavelength, and energy, which are arranged in order of magnitude to make up what is called the electromagnetic spectrum.

A Crash Course In The Electromagnetic Spectrum

This spectrum is essential to understand as not all EMF radiation is harmful to humans. The problems we face today are due to the sheer volume from EMFs from all ends of the spectrum that we are bombarded by daily.
At one end of this spectrum, we have radio waves, which have the longest wavelengths and the lowest energy. Then come microwaves, infrared waves, the visible spectrum (light, colors), ultraviolet (UV) radiation, X-rays, and finally gamma rays, which have the shortest wavelengths and the highest energy. Except for the visible spectrum (light and color), infrared energy (heat), and ultraviolet radiation (through sunburn) most of these energies can be neither seen nor felt, but our bodies are surrounded and affected by them when we make use of their power. 
The introduction of cell phones, cordless phones, and wireless technologies, which are high radio frequency transmitters, combined with the frequencies emitted from AC fields, radio, and TV broadcasting stations expose us to a level of electromagnetic radiation that is unparalleled in history. Already there are red flags that suggest we should take the precautionary principle1 and therefore limit exposure as much as possible. Take note, the Europeans, Australians, and Israelis  are already taking preemptive actions banning WiFi in schools and libraries!

The Health Implications Of EMF Exposure

According to his biography, Nikoli Tesla, one of the early inventors and innovators of electricity, suffered a variety of symptoms that many experts now believe were the result of excessive EMF exposure. Today, more and more people are reporting physical, mental, and emotional effects of overexposure to a wide variety of electromagnetic fields. Studies on the health implications of EMF exposure are linking high-frequency EMF exposure from cell phones, smart devices, WiFi, etc. to the following health conditions2 ,3 ,4 ,5 ,6 
  • Cognitive difficulty
  • Behavioral problems
  • Asthma
  • Sleep problems
  • Immune system suppression
  • Cancer
  • ALS
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Mental health issues including depression, anxiety, etc.
  • Disrupted microbiome
It's also important to note that children seem to be at greater risk as their brains absorb significantly more EMF radiation than adults (yet one more reason to delay and keep computer and device time to a minimum)7 .

How To #TossTheToxins - EMFs That Ride On Air

It is not possible to avoid ALL EMFs in the modern world. Therefore, our goal is prudent avoidance -  reduce exposures that are within your control as much as you can. Even very simple  no-cost changes in habits can significantly lower your exposure. Choose what you can do right away and know that each action taken can help to reduce your load. 
For this #TossTheToxins category, we will first focus on reducing exposure to electromagnetic fields that ride on air - radio frequency (RF) fields referred to by some people as high-frequency fields or Tech Toxins. These include WiFi, cell phones, electronic devices, computers, Smart Meters, smart devices, bluetooth, etc. 
The importance of  Tossing and Reducing these RF toxins in the home can’t be emphasized enough. Many times people will be concerned about a nearby cell phone tower, but when measurements are taken, it turns out the high readings are from devices within the home.  There are so many simple things you can do from removing Alexa out of the bedroom to moving the Wi-Fi router out of your work area.

Consider a Radio Frequency (RF) Meter

Using an RF meter as an aid to accomplish the steps below enables you to clearly identify  “hot spots” in your home. With a meter you can make sure changes taken actually reduce your exposure. Guesswork is removed and you have a valuable tool for measuring high frequency fields.   
  • Safe and Sound Meter - This is an inexpensive, but reliable, easy to use RF meter that can help you pinpoint areas of concern.
  • Safe and Sound Pro -  consumer friendly and highly regarded by professionals as a very accurate, reasonably priced meter with a light and sound signature. 

Steps You Can Take!

WiFi
  • Move your router away from bedrooms and high traffic areas.
  • WiFi interferes with restorative sleep - suppresses melatonin production.
    • Good — turn off WiFi at night. Use a remote control switch.
    • Better — turn on WiFi only when needed.
    • Best - Use the internet via a wired connection instead of using wireless WiFi.
Cellphones/Smartphones
  • Prioritize people not phones. When in the company of another person, focus on interaction with the real person before you. Put your phone down.
  • All cell phones come with a legal disclaimer warning that the mobile is not meant to be placed directly against the head or the body.  Use your speakerphone instead.
  • Keep your phone fully charged. When a cell phone’s signal strength is weak or blocked, it emits more radiation.
  • Do not use your cell phone when charging
    • Cell phone chargers emit AC electric, AC magnetic, and dirty electricity.
    • Unplug charger when not in use
    • Charge cell phone on a solid surface
  • Cellphones generate EMFs even when you are not using them.
    • Turn airplane mode on
    • Turn Bluetooth and WiFi off. 
    • When carrying a cell phone or in, turn Airplane mode on and Bluetooth and WiFi off or consider a faraday bag
    • Cell phones should not be placed close to your body or in pockets.  Studies show reduced fertility and damaged sperm when cellphones are placed in pockets or against the body.
  • Be mindful. Limit cell phone use as much as possible.
    • Good — Use air tube headsets when you do talk on your phone. 
    • Better —Use speakerphone mode when possible.
    • Best —Text message — this exposes you to the least amount of EMFs.
  • In the bedroom
    • Keep electronics out of the bedroom.
    • Cell phones and the bedroom
      • Do not charge your cell phone at night while sleeping. Charge your phone early in the evening, during the day, or in the morning when you get up.
      • Good — At the least, put your phone on Airplane mode and disable Bluetooth.
      • Better — Do not sleep with your cell phone, computer, or device next to your head or in the same room. 
      • Best — Get a landline for your home.
        • Take your cell phone out of the bedroom
        • Have your calls routed to your landline at night.
        • Instead of your cell phone, use the landline when you are home.
        • Use speaker phone on your landline when possible.
  • In the car
    • Limit the use of  your cell phone or other electronic devices in the car.
    • Field intensity increases in the car
    • Consider a cell phone antenna for your car. 
  • Download music, videos, books, games, etc. View or listen with Airplane Mode On and Bluetooth and WiFi off.
  • Take a family break from cell phones and electronic devices at the dinner table.
Cordless Phones 
    • Emit as much or more radiation as cell phones.
    • The charging station constantly emits radiation. 
    • Ideally, remove all cordless phones and replace them with a wired landline. 
      • In the meantime, remove batteries and unplug cordless phones at night and use them only when needed.
      • Don’t forget to disengage the charging station. The phone base emits high levels of radiation 24/7 throughout the home!
Laptops and Portable Devices
    • Get your laptop and all portable electronic devices off your lap.
    • Place them on a table.
    • Charging your laptop
      • Two prong plugs do not ground the laptop and create very high electric fields. Charge devices and then use in battery mode to avoid high fields.
      • Laptops should be grounded with a three-prong plug while being charged; otherwise, electric fields are elevated.
      • If you do have to be on the computer while charging, 
        • use the three-prong plug computer charger
        • make sure your outlet is grounded
        • Purchase circuit tester from hardware store to test ground at outlet – both amber lights need to be lit.
  • Use your laptop in battery mode - not plugged in and charging.
  • Keep hands off the laptop to reduce exposure to electric fields
    • Use an extended wired keyboard. 
    • Use a wired mouse. 
    • Hardwire your devices to an Ethernet connection. There are adapters for most devices.
  • Disable WiFi and Bluetooth modes on laptop and devices.
  • Avoid keeping your computer in the bedroom
Microwaves
Smart Meters 
    • If you have a Smart Meter, call the power company and ask to have it removed. If you don't know what you have, inquire.
    • If your area still has analog meters, notify the power company by email that you do not want a Smart Meter at your address. Put a note on the meter with the exact instructions. If they replace it by mistake, they will have to remove it for free.
    • The right to "opt-out" and keep your analog meter or have a Smart Meter removed is in effect in most states. 
    • States charge varying monthly fees for opting out. 
    • There is a nationwide movement to fight for analog meters and the removal of this extra fee. For now, the fee is worth it. 
Miscellaneous
    • Hardwire your printers and disable the wireless sensor embedded in the printer. Call the manufacturer for instructions.
    • Skip smart TVs, speakers (echo devices - Alexa), appliances, toilets, etc., and if you already have smart devices, contact the manufacturer to disable the "smart" wireless function.
    • Put wireless devices on a power strip and cut the power when not in use. Some still produce radiation when plugged in, even if you turn the device off.
    • Avoid  Bluetooth technology (especially in the car).
    • Avoid wireless fitness devices and smart watches. This is an unnecessary exposure. At least turn off Bluetooth and WiFi or take it off when not exercising.
    • Avoid sleep tracking apps that will disrupt your sleep and pose a risk to your health8 .
    • Avoid wireless earpieces in favor of a wired earpiece.
    • Avoid wireless headphones and use a wired headset.
    • Gamers should use wired controls and disable the wireless feature.
    • Avoid virtual reality or augmented reality wireless headsets, use wired ones.
    • Avoid video and digital baby monitors. Check out low-EMF options here. 
    • Avoid Smart WiFi diapers, pacifiers, and other wireless baby devices.

Remember The Goal: Choose What You Can Do Right Away And Start There

No matter how you slice it, the topic of reducing EMF exposure is a big one. But that doesn’t mean it has to be overwhelming or impossible to accomplish. Again, choose what you can do right away and continue on from there, knowing that every step you take makes a positive difference.
Where should you start? Not sleeping with your phone in your room, making dinner a device-free time, and turning off your WiFi at night will all have a significant impact on lowering your EMF exposure right now.
Then next week (or next month), you may decide to move your WiFi to a less busy location in your home, stop using your phone in the car, and maybe even inquire about having your Smart Meter removed. And if you’re really feeling inspired, look into wiring up your Internet connection, phones (yes you can!), and other devices. Our friends at TechWellness make this easier than you’d think with their “How to Hardwire” step by step guide and Easy Hardwire Internet Kit.
When it comes to health, it’s small steps taken and committed to over a long period of time that have the greatest and most lasting impact.
Need some support from other EMF-health-conscious people? Join the Branch Basics community on Instagram @branchbasics. See you there!

Marilee Nelson

Marilee Nelson is an Environmental Toxins expert who has spent nearly 30 years advocating for the chemically-sensitive and chronically-ill. She is a Board Certified Nutritionist, Certified Bau-Biologist and Bau-Biology Inspector and specializes in Food As Medicine. She has helped thousands of families and individuals identify, heal and recover from toxic exposures and is on a mission to revolutionize the way American families view their health.