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Reducing Your Family’s Exposure to Man-Made Radiation in the Home

 
TYPES OF EMFs
 
There are four specific EMF types in the average home—magnetic fields (MFs), electric fields (EFs), dirty electricity (DE) and radio-frequency/microwave radiation (RF). Each of these is a unique type of man-made non-ion­izing radiation; that is, they are not otherwise part of the natural environment.
 
MAGNETIC FIELDS
 
Let’s start with magnetic fields, which occur whenever electricity is flowing. MF strength is proportional to current use. Therefore, the more electricity being used, the greater the MF. When a home is wired properly (according to the National Electrical Code), MF from the wiring will be minimized in the home. Nevertheless, there will inevita­bly be strong MF near certain appliances when they are in use.
Similar to other forms of man-made radia­tion, the fall-off over distance is considerable. This means that creating a little distance from the source of the radia­tion results in considerable reduction of the field strength. For example, the MF around an electric toaster in use is significant, but just three to six feet away, the levels return to the ambient level of the home. The duty cycle—how often an appliance is in use—is another consideration.
 
All forms of man-made radiation pass easily through most building materials. Therefore, you’ll want to be aware not only of what you see in the room you’re in, but also what is on the other side of the wall. Similarly, keep in mind potential radiation sources on the floor above and below a specific location. Keeping your distance from the sources of man-made radiation, particularly in areas where you spend the most time (such as bedrooms, home office or reading area), will have a con­siderable effect in reducing radiation exposure. Prioritize sleeping areas as the most important, with the idea of creating a more natural environment for the body’s nighttime repair and maintenance.
 
Note that electric blankets are appliances, and they generate mag­netic fields. Remembering that distance is the greatest factor in radia­tion avoidance, you really can’t get any closer than being in contact with an electric blanket. Get rid of the electric blankets to reduce your MF exposure.
 
ELECTRIC FIELDS
 
If you’ve ever seen a modern home under construction, you know that there’s an enormous amount of wiring in each wall, in the ceiling and sometimes in the floor. Electric fields emanate from all of this wir­ing, including extension cords and power cords; the field strength is proportional to voltage, not current. This means the EF from all the wir­ing in your home is at full strength whether or not you have anything in your home turned on. However, electric field strength varies from place to place in the home. The closer your loved ones are to electric wiring, the greater their EF exposure.
 
In your high-use areas, you want to keep your distance from the wiring, power cords and extension cords as much as possible. Again, we begin with the sleeping areas. In newer homes, assume strong electric fields in every wall, and even stronger fields in the corners of the room. A solution is to push your beds out of the corners of the bedrooms and more toward the center of the room, and the further toward the center, the better. I know, it looks funny—but let me take this opportunity to ask: Do you want to follow what everybody else is doing, or reduce exposure to man-made radia­tion? We’re living in an upside-down world in so many ways. Following the crowd will result in higher and higher levels of exposure to man-made radiation.
 
Let’s look at electric appliances in the sleep area—there should be none near the beds. Use a battery-powered clock if you need a clock next to the bed. Don’t run extension cords near the bed.
The family room is also a high-use area for many people. The best position for your favorite reading chair is away from the corner of the room to minimize electric fields. If this is not possible, pushing it out even eighteen inches toward the center of the room will make a big difference. Swag lamps generally create a large EF. For this reason, it may be best to consider a different kind of lighting near your favorite chair.
If your favorite reading chair is an electric-powered recliner, you need to consider how to reduce your exposure because you’re as close as can be to a continuous EF (the wiring within the chair) and an intermittent MF (the motor that powers the recliner). The electric-powered recliner may be “convenient,” but a manual recliner is a better choice.
 
THE COST OF CONVENIENCE
 
Sometimes, it’s hard to change a habit, particularly when there is a perceived ben­efit that you are unwilling to do without. People are often willing to suffer increased man-made radiation exposure for two “benefits”: convenience and amusement. Convenience is a compelling luxury, but in the electromagnetic realm, it often comes at a cost. The same goes for amusement—there are many ways to amuse oneself, but at what cost?
 
Consider television. Televisions can be remarkably powerful sources of all four types of man-made radiation. For the least exposure, the best option is to get rid of your TV. The second-best option is to place the TV far away from loved ones and enjoy it from a distance, keeping in mind that the smaller the screen, the fewer magnetic and electric fields.
 
By plugging your entire home entertain­ment system (including the TV) into a switched outlet (an electrical outlet controlled by a dedi­cated light switch), you can completely elimi­nate electric and magnetic fields until you’re actually using these appliances. If there is no switched outlet, choose a power strip that has a little onboard switch to control all the compo­nents plugged into the strip. Keep it turned off when not in use.
 
If your home office is a high-use area, you will want to keep peripherals (such as printer, fax or scanner) as far from your work area as possible, with none of the power cords near your body. You can use the same switched out­let or switched power strip technique to keep all peripherals switched off until needed. Push your desk out from the corner and position it at least eighteen inches from the nearest wall.
 
DIRTY ELECTRICITY
 
The third type of man-made radiation in the average home is called dirty electricity. DE consists of a host of itinerant frequencies and voltage transients not needful to the delivery of electric power for your appliances. As these itinerant frequencies and transients travel through your home’s wiring, they modify the EF surrounding the wiring in novel ways— creating an even more unnatural electromag­netic environment.
 
Let’s look at specific ways you can reduce the DE you may be generating within your home. First, choosing the wrong electrical appliances will increase DE within your home. With a “dirty” appliance, the more power used (watts), the more DE is produced. “Clean” appliances produce far less DE, or possibly no DE. Note that even low-wattage appliances can create significant DE if there are many deployed throughout the house.
 
Let’s look at two categories of appliances and consider how to reduce DE with prudent selection and deployment. First, careful choice of lighting helps maintain a low level of DE. Replacing LED and fluorescent lighting with traditional incandescent lighting, where appro­priate, will make a big difference. Please pay attention to safety issues like wattage and heat dissipation. I like full-spectrum incandescent bulbs for general use as they create zero DE, have no flicker (or less noticeable flicker) and provide a more natural spectrum of light.
 
Chargers for various electronic devices adversely affect DE and should be left unplugged unless in use. A nice solution is to create a charging station in your home by plug­ging all your chargers into one or two power strips and then controlling the power to the strips with a dedicated switch. Put your charg­ing station far from high-use areas and charge devices at a time when people are not sleeping.
When purchasing new appliances, favor appliances with electric rather than electronic control systems. Any type of microprocessor in an appliance will necessitate a DC power supply, which will increase DE.
 
How to reduce EMF exposure in your home:
 
RADIO-FREQUENCY AND MICROWAVE RADIATION
 
The final area of focus is on radio-fre­quency and microwave radiation. The abbreviation “RF” is used for this entire category, including both radio-frequency and microwave radiation. RF is the Trojan Horse of this age— it appears to deliver something desirable, but at an invisible and almost unimaginable cost.
RF comes from devices within the home that emit this form of man-made radiation: baby monitors, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth devices, portable phones, cell phones. All of these are intentional emitters of man-made radiation. If you’re concerned about your family’s exposure to man-made radiation, the best and most obvi­ous solution is to eliminate the use of all such technologies within the home. If you’re not yet willing to give up intentional emitters of radia­tion, then focus on their proximity to loved ones and their duty cycle.
 
Let’s start with baby. Wireless baby monitors are typically positioned close to baby, and they emit man-made radiation constantly—twenty-four hours a day. Because of its close proximity, the baby monitor is perhaps the most significant radiation exposure for a young child. The benefit of a wireless baby monitor may be convenience, but is it really worth the radiation expo­sure? Instead, consider the time-honored traditions of keeping baby close and being attentive, which involve no radiation exposure.
 
In terms of prenatal RF exposure in the home, smartphones and tablets are some of the biggest dangers to you and your child. Resting a cell phone or tablet on your pregnant belly maximizes exposure to baby. It’s also important to know that a cell phone may radiate continuously, even when you’re not using it. Admittedly, cell phones and tablets are powerfully addictive and difficult to give up. As with all RF devices, the apparent benefits center around convenience and amusement—but is it worth the radiation exposure? Because they’re also generally close by even when not in use, the radiation exposure is maximized.
 
If you can’t yet eliminate the cell phone entirely from your life, then try this: have a traditional landline phone installed in your home. When you arrive home for the evening, initiate forwarding from the cell phone to the landline; then turn off the cell phone and don’t switch it back on until you leave the home. With landlines, it is important to use a traditional wired phone because wireless (cordless) portable phones can emit a continuous field of RF twenty-four hours a day.
 
If your life isn’t complete without tex­ting and social media at home, these can both be accessed through a wired (not wireless) computer.
 
Replace Wi-Fi connections with wired connections. Wired connections are faster and more secure; they also use less power and, most importantly, they don’t emit microwave radiation. Use cat 7e-shielded wiring to reduce electric fields.
 
Replace Bluetooth connections with more appropriate solutions. Wireless speakers may be replaced with wired speakers. Likewise, you can replace a wireless connection to your printer with a wired connection. Remember that the closest sources of radiation are far more potent than distant sources—so, replace wireless headphones and ear buds with wired headphones.
 
For those with hearing aids, note that Bluetooth hearing aids may emit continuous microwave radiation. If you want less radiation exposure, you can either turn off the Bluetooth in your hearing aids or choose a model without Bluetooth.
 
If you have a microwave oven, stop using it. It may look like they’re made to keep the radiation inside, but they often fill the home with microwave radiation when in use. Note that if you have an RF meter and it doesn’t show radiation leakage from your microwave, it’s possibly the wrong type of meter. Microwave ovens also produce a strong MF. There are better ways to warm or cook food without exposing loved ones to micro­wave radiation.
 
Next Steps to reduce EMF exposure in a house
 
All of the above are things you can do without getting an EMF consultant involved, measures that will provide a strong foundation for future reductions in exposure to man-made radiation. By following the suggestions, you can measurably reduce exposure to man-made radiation in your home.
 
Once you have the foundation out­lined here in place, there are some exciting advanced remediation techniques possible. These more advanced techniques can dra­matically reduce RF from radiation sources external to your home (such as cell towers or a neighbor’s Wi-Fi), dramatically reduce DE levels throughout the home and dramatically reduce EF exposure. Please consider getting a professional involved when implementing more advanced techniques.
 
Article adapted from Weston Price Foundation.