Raising Awareness about Electromagnetic Pollution
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Posted by: Dr. Mercola | February 16 2011 | 8,936 views
Electromagnetic pollution is a concern for everyone. Increasing news coverage, studies, and even new legislation are all helping educate the public on radiation risks.
One of the foremost experts in electromagnetic pollution is Camilla Rees. She has devoted herself to making people aware of the threat of electrosmog and bringing the problem into the public consciousness.
She has packaged EMF education for distribution to audiences including Congress, state legislatures, health practitioners, patients, schools, businesses, and parents.
Many experts in the field of reducing electromagnetic pollution praise and appreciate the work Camilla has done.
A two-part profile of Camilla Rees and the work she has been doing, originally published in Explore! Magazine for health professionals, has been linked below. You can read about her journey, the growing problem, and the possible solutions. According to the articles:
"[Rees says,] 'This is a species issue ... There is early evidence there may be a link between EMF exposures and autism ... We know radiation is affecting our DNA and jeopardizing the health of future generations. There is research from many countries now showing dramatic decline in sperm count from exposure to cell phone radiation ...
I really don't think it's possible, when you know the disturbing truth, to stop caring -- to stop wanting to support life.'"
Electromagnetic Health -- Part 1 (pdf) January 2011
Electromagnetic Health -- Part 2 (pdf) January 2011
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
Do the words "electrosmog," "dirty electricity," "electrical pollution," and "electrohypersensitivity" mean anything to you? If not, mark my words, they will one day soon.
The threat of numerous forms of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) to human health is becoming increasingly clear, and thanks to champions like Camilla Rees, the dangers are beginning to permeate the mainstream media.
I highly recommend you read through the two-part article linked above when you have a few minutes, as it provides an intriguing overview of this global health issue, including how Rees is working tirelessly to bring this issue to the forefront of not only the media but also government, health practitioners, schools, businesses and parents' agendas.
Her web site, www.ElectroMagneticHealth.org, is a tremendous resource of EMF knowledge and if you're new to this subject it's an excellent starting point. You can also watch this video of Camilla Rees presenting an overview of the heath dangers of excessive exposures to microwave radiation from wireless technologies.
As she told Explore! Magazine in the above article, it's necessary to get the word out about the serious health impacts of EMFs as we are already being exposed at unprecedented levels, whether we like it or not:
"The issue wasn't being covered in the media, and we needed to sensitize journalists and governments to its importance.
Despite the extraordinary influence of the telecom industry on global governments; significant telecom ad revenue received by media outlets resulting in disincentives to cover cell phone and wireless hazards; and the fact that consumers really like a lot of these new communications technologies …
I still trusted that with consistent, credible scientific and medical information delivered to those who could influence change, that we could open up peoples eyes, and once people understood the seriousness of the human health consequences, the right things would eventually be done to protect public health. This was my hope."
Why We Urgently Need More Awareness about Electromagnetic Pollution
We currently exist in an environment that has never before occurred in nature, one that is teeming with varying levels of electrical pollution, or "electrosmog."
This comes from obvious sources like radiofrequency communications -- cordless phones, wireless devices, cell phones and cell phone towers -- as well as the wiring in your walls, electrical outlets, extension cords, lamps, and other electricity sources.
For instance, you could be impacted by power lines to your home that run underground near your sleeping area. Or your cordless phone base station could be giving you health troubles even if it's in another room.
A wireless router in your kitchen or bedroom, or your habit of visiting a "hot spot" for free WI-FI every morning could also be problematic -- even wireless baby monitors and your wireless printer are part of the pervasive "electromagnetic soup" to which we're all now exposed.
As Explore! Magazine author Eve Greenberg, M.A. wrote:
"B. Blake Levitt, Former New York Times writer and author of "Electromagnetic Fields, A Consumer's Guide to the Issues and How to Protect Ourselves, and Editor of Cell Towers, Wireless Convenience? Or Environmental Hazard?" explains in Rees' book, "Public Health SOS: The Shadow Side of the Wireless Revolution" that
"... It turns out that most living things are fantastically sensitive to vanishingly small EMF exposures. Living cells interpret such exposures as part of our normal cellular activities (think heartbeats, brainwaves, cell division itself, etc.) The problem is, man-made electromagnetic exposures aren't "normal". They are artificial artifacts, with unusual intensities, signaling characteristics, pulsing patterns, and wave forms. And they can misdirect cells in myriad ways."
You generally cannot feel or touch EMFs and electricity in your environment, but it's becoming increasingly clear that your cells are indeed impacted. Illness linked to electromagnetic radiation exposure include (and this is only a partial list):
Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
Autism (early indications)
Immune system disorders
Stress and Mineral disruption
Increased blood-brain barrier permeability
In fact, in Dirty Electricity: Electrification and the Diseases of Civilization, epidemiologist Sam Milham, MD points out that the major diseases plaguing modern man -- heart disease, cancer, diabetes, etc. -- may be triggered by this prevalent, yet nearly entirely overlooked, cause.
After analyzing health demographic data going back to the early part of the 20th century, Dr. Milham showed that populations without electrification experienced less disease than in urban areas with electrification, and that rural death rates correlated with levels of electrical service for most causes examined. Conditions linked to electrification included cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and suicide.
Dr, Milham says the era of cell phones and WI-FI is really the 2nd major wave of electromagnetic exposure to humans, the first being the introduction of electrification in the early 1900s. Most of America was not electrified until 1956, which allowed Dr. Milham to do this important research comparing health statistics in urban areas, rural electrified areas and rural non-electrified areas, and allowing for the important discovery of the role of electrification in disease.
EMFs as a Root Cause of Illness
I often share details about the underlying causes of chronic illness. Poor diet, lack of exercise, emotional stress all of these are likely familiar to you. What may NOT be as readily apparent are the contributing factors to illness that you cannot see, feel or touch and frequently cannot easily avoid.
Environmental toxins largely make up this latter group, and EMFs are definitely among them. EMFs should be considered a harmful invader to your body just like any other environmental toxin, as they interfere with your health at the cellular and DNA levels.
As Rees said in Explore! Magazine, nearly 18 percent of U.S. GDP is from health care costs …
"What an incredible waste, if you think about this number, when so many illnesses could be prevented if people were warned about the root causes of illness. This includes everyday electromagnetic fields," she said.
"We'd have so many more human and financial resources to create a better society. It's really a travesty that we talk about 'prevention' without first acknowledging all of the sources of imbalance we are trying to prevent, including the environmental ones."
People living in most cities and suburbs are literally bathed in a variety of electromagnetic fields, microwave radiation and dirty electricity 24/7. If we refuse to address the potential hazards of this way of life, we may end up with a currently inconceivable health catastrophe on a worldwide scale.
Certain People are Especially at Risk
It is estimated that 3-8 percent of populations in developed countries experience serious electrohypersensitivity symptoms, while 35 percent experience mild symptoms, according to Dr. Thomas Rau, medical director of the world-renowned Paracelsus Clinic in Switzerland.
Dr. Rau also believes that 'electromagnetic loads' lead to cancer, concentration problems, ADD, tinnitus, migraines, insomnia, arrhythmia, Parkinson's and even back pain. You can listen to an audio interview with Dr. Rau on www.electromagnetichealth.org.
For people with Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity Syndrome (EHS), just walking into a coffee shop that is WI-FI equipped can be debilitating, triggering a wide array of symptoms including headache, fatigue, nausea, burning and itchy skin, and muscle aches.
Some students have to drop out of school or are unable to continue on to graduate programs once they become electrically sensitive, irrespective of their intelligence and capabilities. Even just briefly standing on line at the post office, or traveling on public transportation, can be a debilitating experience for some people, sometimes taking hours to restore balance.
Because the symptoms are subjective and vary between individuals, it makes the condition difficult to study, but with the work of Magda Havas, PhD, of the Environmental & Resources Studies Department at Trent University, Canada and others, acceptance is slowly growing and the real health effects of EMF are becoming harder to deny.
For instance, recent research from Dr. Havas revealed that a cordless phone base station placed about two feet from your head and plugged in for three minutes at a time can significantly disrupt your heart rhythm, leading to increases in heart rate, arrhythmias and other disturbances in heart rate variability.
This is among the most solid proof that the effects of EMF radiation are real, as are the symptoms that some people readily experience when they're around such microwave-emitting devices. The biological effects on the heart in the Havas study were found at .3% of the FCC exposure limits.
Researchers have, in fact, found that there are a number of factors that influence the degree to which you may be affected by EMFs. For example, according to research by Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt, your physical body, such as your body weight, body-mass index, bone density, and water and electrolyte levels can alter the conductivity and biological reactivity to EMFs.
Heavy metals in your brain also act as micro-antennas, concentrating and increasing reception of EMF radiation. Likewise, any kind of metal implants and/or amalgam tooth fillings will significantly increase reception of microwaves, and the mircrocurrents from cell phones and other ambient fields. This is yet another major reason for having your mercury fillings removed by a trained biological dentist.
People who suffer from diseases that cause myelin loss, such as muscular sclerosis, Lyme disease, and other autoimmune diseases are also at greater risk of electro-sensitivity.
Children are also particularly vulnerable.Dr. Klinghardt has noted this radiation can easily flip certain genes in the mitochondria. If this gene sequence is altered in a pregnant woman, she can pass her damaged mitochondria on to her child. The child can then develop a mitochondrial disorder, which can include muscular atrophy and severe developmental problems.
While there are now EMF-Free Zones forming around the globe, such as in southern France, Spain and Italy, these areas are not yet widely available so virtually everyone is still exposed to EMF, even if they're hypersensitive to it. Or if people are severely hypersensitive, they often must go off and live in the mountains or very rural areas where it is easier to find refuge.
What is truly needed is a strong worldwide initiative that focuses on green buildings, green electronics, green IT and new energy technologies that acknowledge the health consequences of these technologies and take steps to effectively reduce them.
Today, much of the green movement is focused on reducing the carbon footprint without considering the biological effects of the new technologies employed, many of which are hazardous, such as 'green buildings' filled with sensors, solar panels installed without recognizing and filtering the dirty electricity generated, wind farms whose vibrations impact the neighbors' health, etc.
How to Protect Yourself From EMFs
An excellent first step, and one that Rees is particularly passionate about, is to test your home and work environment for EMF. The web site www.emfsafetystore.com offers a helpful summary of the various meters recommended to detect EMF and dirty electricity in your home.
If you find elevated levels of dirty electricity, filters and various shields are available to help neutralize them. And if the levels of RF are high, you can carefully shield with special grounded paints, fabrics for curtain linings, and plastic film for the windows (where much RF comes into the house). All of these can be found at www.emfsafetystore.com.
To further avoid EMF exposure, or for those who are especially sensitive, during the night when your body is trying to repair and rebuild:
· Turn off all the fuses at night that supply your bedroom. You can install a 'demand switch' at your bedside to make this very convenient.
· Shield your bed with a special metalized fabric canopy to protect yourself from harmful frequencies that can disrupt cellular communication.
· If you are constructing a new home or renovating one and the walls are being rebuilt you can install radiant barrier, which is a tough type of aluminum foil that will also very effectively screen out the EMF. This is what I did for my own bedroom.
· At minimum, move your bed so that your head is at least 3-6 feet from all electrical outlets. If you are constructing the walls you can put the wires inside pipes, which will virtually eliminate the fields that are generated in the room when the current runs through the wire.
· Turn off and unplug everything electrical in your sleeping area, including your computer, WI-FI, cell and portable phones.
· Sleep on a non-metal bed and mattress.
· Be aware that cell phones and WI-FI are not the only EMF sources you need to be cautious of. Essentially, most all electronics will generate EMFs, including the wiring in your home, electric alarm clocks, electric blankets, computers and lamps, just to mention a few.
For best results, avoid using electric blankets and electric heating pads, and unplug all electrical appliances when not in use. Even better, at night, turn off the fuses directly.
· Protect yourself from cordless phones. If you want to avoid the radiation you should switch back to a wired landline and ditch your cordless phone entirely.
If you must use a conventional cordless phone, be sure to keep the base station at least three rooms away from where everyone sleeps and where you spend the most time during the day. Or simply keep it off except in the limited circumstances when you feel you need to use it.
The base station of a DECT phone always transmits at full power, so this is not a device you want sitting on your nightstand next to your bed, on your kitchen counter or even on at all if it is not necessary.
· Protect yourself from cell phone dangers by reading my full list of tips to protect yourself from cell phone radiation (tips are near the end of the linked article).