Betty W. Phillips, Ph.D., Psychology
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Is there a Stress Monster lurking in your house? Bedroom? Kitchen?

 

Is there a Stress Monster lurking in your house? Bedroom?  Kitchen?

 

A few days ago I found a stress monster in my bedroom. I thought I had chased all of them away! We do have to be extra vigilant against these nasty monsters because they can sap our health and energy. Did my stress monster have beady eyes, fangs, claws? No, it was a breaker box in my closet! Now you're wondering if Phillips is off her rocker. Not yet anyway; read on about  electromagnetic fields.

 

Recently the US President’s Cancer Panel sounded an alarm about the urgent need to monitor electromagnetic energy exposure. The 2007 BioInitiative Report compiled by an international group of scientists documented serious concerns about exposure to these frequencies, concluding that existing public safety standards are completely inadequate to protect health. Short-term effects of electromagnetic pollution have been shown to disrupt energy levels, compromise the immune system and trigger stress responses and insomnia. Longer term exposure has been linked to increased risks for conditions such as leukemia, heart disease, cancer, brain tumors, Alzheimers, depression, asthma and diabetes.

 

I've noted in previous articles that modern society increasingly ignores the characteristics of the human body as it evolved over millions of years as a part of the natural environment. Technology has far outstripped the scientific research necessary to prove which advances are helpful or harmful to us. Of major concern to me and to readers of this column are the effects on stress, depression, anxiety and brain functioning. I rather like having a brain that works! You may also.

 

Concerns studied over time have included problems with electrical towers, microwaves and cell phones, and now include the entire EMF (electromagnetic field) and EMR (electromagnetic radiation) environment. VLF (very low frequency) signals called "dirty electricity" or "electrosmog" are increasingly generating concern. You can't see, hear or feel most of these frequencies, but they definitely effect the human body and mind,

 

Your body operates in harmony with the electromagnetic signals generated by the earth and solar system. Since wireless technology expanded in the 1990s, we are continually exposed to complex and unnatural interference. Many of us in Chatham County live in the countryside. Surely we are protected by nature? Not at all. As soon as you push a button on your TV, the picture appears. In other words, all the TV, cell phone etc. signals are coursing through the air inside and outside your country home. Your walls have wiring and you have appliances in your home.

 

You may have noted some information in the media about EMF problems but few definitive statements about the hazards to your health. Why? Your cells aren't manufactured by a major corporation, they can't be sold, nor do they fund research studies, nor do they pay for ads or media coverage. Medical systems don't trade or profit from healthy cells. But you care about your cells!

 

How can you protect yourself? You must reduce your exposure to these influences. Your first step will be purchasing (or borrowing) equipment to measure these fields. You can find a selection of meters at http://emfsafetystore.com/#meters’.  Then you can play detective with your meter. Your next step is to limit exposure as much as possible. You can move appliances, put others on power cords to turn them off easily (including the ready lights) and consider replacing or discarding high EMF sources. You may be wondering about the stress monster in my closet. My meter registered high magnetic frequencies in my bedroom closet not too far from my bed. My high EMF refrigerator backs up to my bedroom wall. I am taking action. I can't move these, but I have ordered protective materials. Walls do not block transmission of these frequencies. Pay special attention to protecting your bedroom. EMF frequencies have clear effects on insomnia and stress. Your body needs to recuperate and rejuvenate during sleep, not be assaulted by these unnatural transmissions.

 

You will want to access additional information about protecting yourself from EMF damage. You can start on my website, www.BettyPhillipsPsychology.com , where my Advice Line article of the same title discusses these issues in more detail and provides many references to assist you. If you want just one reference now, you can access http://emf.mercola.com/sites/emf/default.aspx. It's not easy to banish the stress monster as he appears in many different disguises.  I wish you happy hunting!

 

 

THE REST OF THE ELECTROMAGNETIC STORY

 

This article provides additional information about electromagnetic effects on the human body (including of course the brain/mind.) Effects from "electrosmog" are important to understand and attempt to control. However, I do not want you to become even more stressed when you read about this issue. The first step is understanding the problem. I will be pointing out simple steps everyone can take, usually without much expense. I will also be describing additional steps you can take when you have the time and funds to buy books, meters and shielding materials. In most cases there is a time lag before exposure to electronic pollution effects your health, so you have time to study the issues and make necessary changes. It has been shown that electromagnetic and radio frequency pollution clearly cause increases in the stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisone, so we are well advised to pay attention to this issue. In future articles in the Chatham County Line and on this website, I will be describing other approaches to protecting and increasing the body's healthy energies.

 

BACKGROUND. A few definitions are needed, here and later in the article. I will be referring to AC and DC electrical power. DC power involves a steady flow of electrons in one direction. Batteries are a source of DC power. This country has chosen to use AC power in which the electric charge changes direction and strength periodically, 60 times per second, or 60 Hz, while European countries use 50 Hz. (Hz as a symbol for hertz which just means cycles per second.)

 

The human body has its own electrical and magnetic systems which are involved in ALL aspects of bodily functions. The human central nervous system utilizes electric energy pulses typically measured in a few millionths of a volt. Even chemical functions in the body are electrically mediated because they involve electrons at the molecular level. The body has an internal  DC system of acupuncture points and energy meridians which have been verified experimentally. The internal DC system reverses polarity during sleep when the body is rejuvenating itself. The body also has its own magnetic system. All areas of the brain have been found to contain magnetite with the highest concentrations found in the membrane that covers the brain. The human body is used to functioning within the earth's natural electromagnetic field. The soil continually emits electrically charged particles called ions. The earth generally has a negative charge and the atmosphere has a positive charge so that electrons travel skyward. Electrical earth fields are background voltage and static DC fields. The Earth's electromagnetic field is measured below 10 Hz.  The earth’s atmosphere contains other natural parts of the electromagnetic spectrum including visible light energies. The earth is protected from harmful cosmic rays by the magnetosphere.

 

Generally speaking, therefore, our bodies are composed of swirling positive and negative electrical particles designed to be in equilibrium and balance with each other and with the natural world. As described above, all living cells are reliant on bioelectricity for life's most basic metabolic processes. Artificial electromagnetic exposures do not resonate with natural body processes. They have intensities, signaling characteristics, pulsations and waveforms that do not exist in nature and which misdirect and confuse our cells in many ways.

 

Other aspects of the human body must be considered in understanding EMF effects. These effects are different for different parts of the body. Many of the effects are more pronounced in three areas of the body (brain, eyes, testes) although this does vary according to the type of electromagnetic field.  EMF effects are of serious concern for the developing fetus and child, and so extra protection must be provided for pregnant women and children. As previously mentioned, the greatest concern, care and protection must be provided in the sleeping area.   If electromagnetic stress is produced all night, the natural functions of the sleeping body, rejuvenation and recovery, will be interrupted with consequences of insomnia, stress, anxiety and depression, then longer-term effects in terms of decreases in immunity and increases in illness and chronic diseases.

 

You have read about the dangers of exposure to heavy metals and toxic chemicals. At a cellular level, electrosmog produces a similar stress response referred to as "oxidative stress" when toxins are not allowed to leave the body. Research has shown that microorganisms internal to your body and external microorganisms such as mold generate increased levels of neurotoxins when stimulated by EMFs. Brainwave patterns and neurological functions are also impaired. One study showed 600 times more neurotoxins generated from mold in a high EMF rather than low EMF environment.

 

I was led to this topic through my concern about stress. Research has discovered a potentially ominous effect of EMF which is subliminal stress. We are used to thinking of stress as an emotional response, but it is also a biochemical and hormonal state, not always a conscious emotional state. Prolonged chronic stress is detrimental to all anatomic systems. With EMF exposure, the body may show a stress response but then appear to adjust. Careful research into bioeffects will show that continuing EMF exposure can induce a subliminal stress response. When EMF exposure continues, hormone and immune levels are compromised even though you are no longer aware of this developing problem. Finally the immune system may become exhausted and unable to rebound, further exposing the body to infections and malignancies. Additionally, EMF exposures have a sensitizing effect so that you will become more sensitive to these problems over time.

 

Modern technology has introduced many variations of electromagnetic frequencies into our neighborhoods and homes, generally without much consideration of the effects on our lives or research to define positive and negative consequences for the human body. This statement will of course be debated by the companies which produce and profit from these technologies and continue to assert that these products are safe. It should also be noted that consumers have not pressed for careful research. We derive pleasure and enjoyment from the convenience of these technologies and would prefer to believe they are safe so that we do not have to change or give them up. Now you're thinking that you've seen media reports about research supportive of the safety of these modern technologies. Here is the inside story about this data. EMF safety standards have been defined by the government and industry according to the extent of heat (thermal) damage to the body. The measurement used has been the SAR (specific absorption rate) which is a measure of power absorbed by the body. The greater the SAR, the greater the thermal damage done to the body. However, thermal damage is only one possible problem resulting from EMF exposure. The rest of the story is that electromagnetic frequencies have multiple effects on the human body, disrupting the natural balance between the body and the electromagnetic fields of the earth. These effects are beginning to be measured scientifically, and research is increasingly documenting additional damages to the body other than thermal damage. Officially, however, agencies such as the FCC proclaim current technology as safe. On what basis? The 1996 FCC safety guideline for EMF exposure was solely designed to protect a 6 foot 185 pound man from tissue heating during a short six minute exposure.  The FCC thermal heating guidelines apply to the whole body, not to sensitive body parts such as brain and eyes which are known to be more easily harmed by EMF exposure. Obviously the so-called safety standard is extremely limited and does not even address ongoing and cumulative EMF exposures which are the subject of this article.

 

This article is intended to be helpful to you in understanding this issue rather than just reading a review of scientific studies. Suffice it to say, the research is there to suggest that we have a problem. "According to the BioInitiative report... we live in an invisible fog of EMF which 30 years of science, including over 2000 peer-reviewed studies, shows exposes us to serious health risks such as increased Alzheimer's disease, breast cancer, Lou Gehrig's disease, EMF immune system hypersensitivity and disruption of brain function and DNA."

 

Magnetic effects are of most concern to the human body rather than direct electrical effects. Why is this? We know that strong electrical fields such as those produced by lightning can produce deadly effects. The voltage in lightning strikes has been measured between 10 and 120 million volts, as you can see far greater than the electrical potential of the body operating at a few millionths of one volt. However, other than these very strong electrical currents, the human body is generally a good conductor of electricity which allows electricity to flow through it. There are some electrical bioeffects due to resonance effects of small contact currents, but this will require further research.

 

While electrical currents are measured in voltage potentials, the magnetic fields we will be discussing here are usually measured in milligauss (mG).  The major concern about magnetic fields is that these fields are deeply absorbed into the human body;  the human body has a magnetic permeability resembling that of air. The rapid cycling of alternating currents in our AC power produce strong magnetic fields. When magnetic fields are absorbed into the human body, they produce eddy currents different than those caused by electric fields.

 

Electromagnetic frequencies are also defined in terms of wavelength and ionizing/nonionizing radiation. Most of this discussion will be concerned with the nonionizing part of the spectrum which we deal with on a daily basis. A 1995 report from the National Council on Radiatopn Protection recommended a national public exposure limit of 2mG for cancer prevention, a level whcih has been widely exceeded since that time. Most of the appliances we will be discussing are defined as "extremely low frequency (ELF)" because they are found at the lower part of this electromagnetic spectrum. Next would be radio wave frequencies (RF) used in wireless communication, then microwave frequencies, and finally infrared radiation. The nonionizing/ionizing spectrums are separated by visible light, with ultraviolet radiation, x-rays, gamma rays and cosmic rays all in the ionizing category.

 

 

The book "WARNING" by Ellen Sugarman, 2004, Miriam Press, contains a distressing story of years of suppression of negative information about EMFs.  She marked 1973 "as the beginning of a trend on the part of the military, the power companies, and at times, even the government, to engage in a massive cover-up in order to keep people from learning that exposures to the ambient electric and magnetic fields produced by everyday 60-Hz power systems might be dangerous to their health."(p.47)  Sugarman documents this assertion in detail. For example In 1990 a recommendation by the Environmental Protection Agency that EmFs were a probable carcinogen was suppressed!

 

INFORMATION SOURCES. By this time you are tired of introductions and definitions and are wondering about your cell phone and microwave oven.  Before we get to those, I do want to introduce you to sources of information. This field is relatively new and the information is not widely disseminated in contrast to that of manufacturers who claim product safety. You can skip this section and come back to it later when you decide if you want to pursue additional information about electromagnetic effects. I want you to know this because I am a psychologist not on electrical specialist, and I have had to spend a good deal of time to become educated by these sources. You may want to check into them yourself. A classic book " Electromagnetic Fields: A Consumer's Guide To The Issues And How To Protect Ourselves," by B. Blake Levitt, was first published by Harcourt Brace in 1995 and published by iUniverse in 2007 with the new introduction. The book provides a comprehensive background and analysis of EMF issues. The most recent book I have found on this issue written for consumers is "Public Health SOS: The Shadow Side of the Wireless Revolution" by Camilla Rees and Magda Havas, Wide Angle Health, 2009. Their website, http://electromagnetichealth.org/  is a constantly updated source of information and sells some products at http://emfsafetystore.com . The site  www.electricalpollution.com contains up to date information about "dirty electricity."  Another website www.safelivingtechnologies.ca/home.htm  contains safety information and recommendations and sells some equipment. Another website  www.lessemf.com is an EMF Safety Superstore and sells a variety of meters and protection products. Start here when you are looking to purchase meters and protection equipment. The site http://buildingbiology.net  contains general information handouts and provides EMF courses for professionals.   As I mentioned in the Chatham County line article, Dr. Mercola’s website contains an EMF section which provides carefully researched and up-to-date information on a variety of topics. You can ask questions on this website which are answered from time to time by his expert, Vicki Warren. Other books in production include "Disconnect: The Truth About Cell Phone Radiation," by Devra Davis and can be pre-ordered for release in late September. Books scheduled for later release include "Dirty Electricity" by Sam Milham and "Zapped," by Anne Louise Gittleman discussing both cell phones and electronic pollution.

 

You might want to take a look at: www.naturalnews.com/023307_EMF_reading_cell_phone.html.  The author felt that several articles he read on EMF problems were too extreme but decided to check them out with his gauss meter, finding that he agreed with the conclusions about the dangers of electromagnetic pollution in the household.

 

PROTECTION AND MEASUREMENT. I will be organizing the next sections according to the wavelength definitions of the electromagnetic spectrum beginning with the so-called "extremely low frequency"  60 hertz appliances, automobiles, then "dirty electricity," continuing on with radio frequencies (mostly wireless transmissions), equipment at the microwave frequency (cell phones, microwave ovens, MRIs), then infrared radiation, and ending with x-rays and CT scans in the ionizing category.  I will also be discussing meters and possible shielding strategies. 

 

If you are concerned about EMF effects on you and your family but do not have time or financing to pursue your own research, you should read through this section and adopt strategies to move anything electrical as far away from you as possible and/or move yourself away from operating equipment. As previously mentioned, the bedroom is most important.  Keeping electrical equipment away from your brain and eyes is a major consideration. Whenever possible or feasible, substitute batteries for electrical power. Whenever possible or feasible, avoid wireless technology in favor of wired. Unplug appliances when not in use; you can also plug them into power cords and turn off the cord. Realize that simply turning off an appliance in most cases does not shut off the power. To maximize your health, take other steps to detoxify and improve your immune system. People with EMF sensitivity very often have food, mold and chemical sensitivities, and can be treated for all these issues. Pay attention to research as it is released in the coming years.

 

 ELF (60 HZ) APPLIANCES.  You'll need to make decisions about the various electric appliances in your homes and workplace areas. Since these electrical fields are low frequency, your main concern will be the magnetic charges emanating from these appliances and their proximity to your body, especially to your brain and especially in sleeping areas or areas where you spend a lot of time. You will want to use some kind of gauss meter;  you can choose a meter from one of the technology stores listed above. I have a Trifield meter whose primary use is measuring the magnetic field. It is easy to use and measures the magnetic intensity from any direction. Most ELF meters should not be held in your hand but should be placed on a nonconductive holder such as dry wood. You will be able to see how far the magnetic field extends and whether you can avoid the effects. Be aware that these fields travel through walls, so you will want to measure the effects if a sleeping or sitting area is on the other side of the wall.

 

Electric blankets and heating pads are of great concern because they are kept close to the body for long periods of time. Some manufacturers claim to sell electric blankets which do not generate harmful electromagnetic radiation although they do generate electric fields when they are plugged in. Electric toothbrushes, hairdryers and shavers can generate high frequencies close to your head. Even though the period of use may be brief, there is no research to suggest that cumulative brief exposures are safe. The EMF Super Safety store sells a low EMF hairdryer. I thought a battery operated toothbrush might be better than my electric, but this was not the case.  Blenders generate strong magnetic fields. In some cases you can turn on the blender and quickly move away while it is operating. Again, your meter will let you know which distance is safe. If you look around your home, you will see many electric devices, clocks, stereos, speakers, touch lamps, exercise equipment and so forth. In many cases you can move them away from your body or use the battery power. I was surprised to find that my treadmill generates an extremely high magnetic frequency, although the frequency is less in the upper body area. As treadmills are usually used for longer periods of time, you would have to decide if the health risk due to the exposure is worth the health benefits from the treadmill. My choice is to jog or run outside.  Study the frequencies emitted by your televisions and computers and be sure to sit or work at a safe distance. Avoid using laptop computers on your body. Laptop battery power is preferable to wired. Also see the section on radio frequencies, because many of these appliances are wireless enabled and contribute additional electromagnetic pollution. Refrigerators, stoves and cooktops generate substantial EMF fields. You should avoid these fields while working in the kitchen. Don't stand for a long time looking in the refrigerator or watching food cook on the stove, but move away to a safer distance. The cool down fan from your oven may generate more EMFs then when cooking. Automatic cleaning cycles for your oven generate very high EMF frequencies. Your garbage disposal generates high EMF frequencies.  Check out the EMF emissions from your vacuum cleaner and decide when you can use a broom or nonelectric cleaner. You should check your lamps for EMF frequencies, especially lights or reading lamps used close to your head.

 

Most experts suggest shutting off the electricity in your bedroom during sleeping hours which can be accomplished manually by turning off the breakers or automatically with a demand switch. The demand switch can be purchased through the Safe Living Technologies website. The process is complicated and the demand switch must be installed by an electrician. You can e-mail questions to this website and they respond promptly. If your fuse or breaker box is located in your bedroom or a living area, you can shield the box with material purchased from one of the websites although the metallic shielding material is quite expensive. Experts suggest sleeping in beds without metal parts and keeping metal away from the sleeping area. You also will want to avoid running electric extension cords under beds, chairs and couches.

 

AUTOMOBILES.  You might want to check your car for exposure to EMF and RF emissions, especially when you are able to choose a new car. One source of exposure to high frequencies in gas cars are the spark plugs as the high frequencies travel on car wiring. Car stereos and speakers can cause problems as they are close by the driver. Mobile radar units may broadcast radio frequencies. A satellite communications system can transmit RF radiation. I was not a happy camper when I checked the magnetic emissions in my car: 15 mG in the center, 10 mG in my lap but only 2 mG at my head.

 

"DIRTY ELECTRICITY."  This term is used to describe high frequency electrical pollution or power surges that are generated on 60 Hz wiring due to increased use of modern technologies and radio frequencies. The condition of the electricity is referred to as "power quality." The more the electricity deviates from 60 Hz, the poorer the power quality and the more dirty electricity. There are many possible sources of dirty electricity. Loose electrical connections, trees touching power lines,  radio frequencies on the power lines and dirty electricity through your transformer are some possible sources of dirty electricity. Dimmer switches, halogen and fluorescent lights generate dirty electricity in the house. Dimmer switches can be replaced by three way adjustable switches, and incandescent lights do not generate dirty electricity. Plasma TVs are another source. Dirty electricity or ground currents can enter your home through your plumbing. It is recommended that you work at your kitchen sink wearing rubber gloves and standing on a nonconductive mat. Your plumber can install a PVC pipe between the house pipes and the water/sewer system which has become an alternate return path for electricity. Unfortunately energy-efficient appliances have become a source of dirty electricity. Solar panels use DC/AC converters that produce dirty electricity, sometimes at high levels.

 

The good news about dirty electricity is that you can purchase a meter to measure dirty electricity (Stetzer microsurge meter) and install Graham/Stetzer filters to reduce levels in your house. The bad news is that this process is expensive. The average home needs 20 filters and each filter costs $35. After I looked at some of the high levels of dirty electricity in my home and work, I did install these filters throughout my home and in my Forest Garden office with great success in lowering the electrical readings to healthy levels.

 

RADIO FREQUENCIES/WIRELESS TECHNOLOGIES.  Our airwaves have become increasingly polluted by transmission lines external to our homes as well as the wireless technologies we are bringing into our homes. I'll start with the area in which we have more control, our households. Radiofrequencies pulse through the air around us.  We do not sense their presence even though they interrupt the intracellular transmissions of our body and our circadian rhythms. You can purchase a RF meter although they can be difficult to use. I have a Zapchecker 185 which gives me an idea of the location of RF frequencies but is not a direct measure of the intensity. I have taken action to dismantle most of the wireless technology in my home. Even after I disabled the Wi-Fi router between our computers, I found that my TV and printer were wireless enabled and that my computer mouse was wireless.  Even if your printer is hardwired, it also may have a wireless component broadcasting RF. If you have a baby monitor, most of these transmit continuously well into the megahertz range, even those that transmit on the wiring. You may be able to use a hardwired intercom system.  Experts advise avoiding using a wireless security system, as hardwired systems are available. I was able to keep my garage opener and gate opener as I found that they do not transmit high RF frequencies.

 

Cordless phones are a major source of RF pollution.  Most people love cordless phones because of their convenience but do not realize the dangerous consequences of using these phones. Almost all cordless phones are now DECT phones. The base station of the DECT uses digital pulse signals and operates continuously even when no phone is in use. The transmission power is approximately 250mW and the pulse signal emits approximately 100 Hz all in addition to the higher radiofrequencies emitted. The power radiates throughout most of a household. Unlike the base, the DECT phone only transmits during a phone call. After measuring 100 Hz at my ear level, I decided to throw away my cordless phone and switch to a corded phone with headset and a long cord (which is actually fairly convenient). It is possible that you have an old model of an analog cordless phone, 900MHz, with much lower transmission power (10mW) and no known biological effects from either the phone or the base station. These have been phased out and are almost impossible to find now.

 

Another source of RF pollution can be related to the density of your neighborhood. In areas with closely spaced homes or apartments, neighbors using Wi-Fi and other wireless systems can affect the RF level in your home. People with scanners can sometimes pick up their neighbors cordless phone conversations, indicating that the RF signals are traveling further than you may believe.

 

Radio, television, cell phone and areawide Wi-Fi or Wi-Max towers, transformers and transmission lines can be powerful sources of RF transmitting in all directions from the antennas. Obviously these signals reach into your home as evidenced by the fact that you can turn on your radio, television or cell phone and have immediate access to the services. The frequencies are pulsing throughout your home continuously even though you are not aware of them. With so many inside and outside sources of RF, the origin and control of these transmissions can be difficult to understand. The website, www.antennasearch.com, will provide detailed information on all antennas near your home, even in rural Chatham County. (Actually I have terrible to nonexistent cell phone reception at my home. After learning about electromagnetic pollution, I'm now happy about this fact.  I can use my wired telephones and avoid the RF from cellular towers.) Citywide Wi-Fi or Wi-Max systems are of grave concern to experts related to very serious health concerns to humans, animals and nature. Due to the 24/7 nature of these systems, there is no down time to rebalance from the electromagnetic interference with the body. You do need to know that devices such as radios and satellite dishes are receivers, not transmitters, and therefore do not broadcast RF. Although televisions are receivers, they have other sources of electromagnetic fields in addition to RF. Wireless cafés and stores can create "hot spots" with concentrated wireless energy. Stressing your body with RF while digesting food is said to be particularly ill advised. If wireless services are available on an airline, the RF and other frequencies from high altitudes are much more concentrated than on the ground. Electrical power lines are sources of electromagnetic pollution, but the levels drop off quickly with distance from the lines. They do contribute to airborne pollutants, however.

 

Power, gas and water meters at your home are being replaced by "smart meters" to "efficiently" transmit information to the company without needing to use meter readers who walk onto your property. These changes have likely been made without your consent. In most cases these meters transmit powerful RF signals not only to the meter readers as they drive by but also to the company at a distant location. Transmitting smart meters can cause overexposure to RF by putting high frequencies on home and building wiring. I have been attempting to secure technical data from Progress Energy as to the meters on my property.  I have received some information but I am requesting more.  I did find out that the meters are continuously transmitting every 30 seconds 24/7! I'll add updayes when I receive them. The energy companies can use  hardwired alternatives. It is difficult to measure RF outside because of the interactions with electrical lines and towers as well as other meters and wireless technologies used in your neighborhood. I do not know if Progress Energy will provide me the information I need or give me a chance to opt out to these meters. As all my neighbors have these meters, I am not sure of the effect of their meters on my property. It is certainly stressful to feel that we are in under the influence of electromagnetic pollution with little to no control over their influence on our properties. There are some shielding fabrics that can be used for curtains, but they are very expensive and I am uncertain as to their level of shielding.

 

MICROWAVE FREQUENCIES. Experts are concerned about the cumulative effects of exposure from cell phones, wireless technology and microwave radiation. Radiofrequency induced heating occurs rapidly, penetrates deeply and creates internal hotspots that can result in tissue damage before the overall body temperature increases. The brain is particularly susceptible to the occurrence of these hotspots. The main objectively measurable hazard of microwave radiation is injury to the eyes because the eyes do not have an adequate vascular system for the exchange of heat. Cataracts and other eye disorders may occur.

 

Cell Phones.  After looking at the data, I can assure you that cell phone use can be dangerous to your mind and body. You're probably wondering about this conclusion because the media continues to report information that cell phone use is not dangerous or that the scientific data is inconclusive. It is true that more careful research needs to be conducted. The data will need to be collected over time as it may take 10 to 30 years for a cancer to develop. When the data is finally collected, it may be too late for some people. However there is now a great deal of data linking increased risk of cancer with cell phone use. For example, a review of 11 long-term epidemiologic studies published in the journal Surgical Neurology revealed that using a cell phone for 10 or more years approximately doubles the risk of being diagnosed with a brain tumor on the same side of the head where the cell phone is typically used. A recent Interphone study partially funded by the mobile phone industry has revealed the manipulations by this industry to whitewash the results. A news release from the Mobile Manufacturers Forum reported that the study "provides significant further reassurance about the safety of mobile phones." Interestingly, the report on the study was delayed for four years and a news embargo was placed on study participants. The report finally issued downplayed results of a doubled risk of brain and other cancers by stating that the elevated cancer risk only applied to "heavy users of cell phones." It turns out that the data was collected from 1999 to 2004 and "heavy" use was defined as about two hours a month! Today that would be light usage. A commentary on the interphone report which was endorsed by 40 leading international EMF scientists detailed design flaws of the study which excluded many types of brain tumors and even excluded people from the study who had already died or were too ill to be interviewed!

 

EMF experts suggest that children and adolescents be banned from cell phone use because of the risks to the thin skulls of children and developing brain. A two-minute cell phone call can alter brain function in a child for an hour. Experts recommend only emergency use of cell phones by adults. Whenever possible, they recommend use of wired telephones at home and work. When cell phones are not being used, they should be turned off as they continue to pulse for signal reception even when not in use. Cell phone use during the day has been shown to disrupt sleep at night. They should never be left on at night in the bedroom. Experts recommend keeping the cell phone as far away from the brain and other parts of the body as possible, using speakerphones. Recent experiments show impact of cell phones on the brain at a distance of more than 1 meter! The experts do not recommend ordinary wired earpieces. Although these earpieces do remove some radiofrequencies from the brain area, RF is emitted along the length of the cord which is generally touching or close to the body, and so the body is irradiated more with an earpiece them without. Bluetooth earpieces are not recommended because they are always on and also because they emit RF into your ear. The only wired earpieces that are recommended are made with shielded wire and a pneumatic tube. Even so the phone must be held as far away from your head and body as possible. Other metal objects in the environment such as eyeglasses, jewelry, metal furniture, etc., may create hazardous hotspots. When the phone is carried in a pocket or belt holster, radiation exposure to abdominal organs is still occurring and dissipating internally into the body. Experts recommend never using the cell phone unless telephone reception is good. The weaker the reception, the more power your phone must use to transmit and the more radiation it emits into your body. The experts recommend against using cell phones while driving because a cell phone puts out even more RF power at that time. When the car is moving, the phone must continually be reconnecting with antennas, the phone has to put out higher signals to transmit out of the metal and windows, and the radiation is amplified by internal reflections within the car.

 

Microwave Ovens. Concern about microwave ovens is related first to the high electromagnetic and radio frequencies and finally to the damage to the food that is being heated. A microwave oven puts out magnetic fields even when the oven is off but plugged in and very high frequencies during use as well as radiofrequencies which can cover a large area of up to 30 to 40. Most microwave ovens also leak microwave frequencies. A recent study examined the effects on the heart of the 2.4 GHz radiation emitted by wireless routers and microwave ovens, showing "unequivocal evidence" that microwave frequencies cause "immediate and dramatic changes in both heart rate and heart rate variability" at levels well below the federal guidelines. If you continue to use microwave ovens, experts recommend leaving the room during their operation. Fortunately we can use cooktops, stoves, regular ovens or small countertop ovens which do not emit radio frequencies and are safer than the microwave ovens.

 

Microwaves heat food by causing water molecules in the food to resonate at very high frequencies, millions of times per second, creating molecular friction. This unusual type of heating causes changes in the chemical structure of the food or beverage. You have probably noticed that microwave heating is uneven. Microwaving creates new compounds not found in humans or in nature, called radiolytic compounds. You may have read that microwaving causes carcinogenic toxins to leach out of plastic and paper containers and into your food. Microwaving does distort and deform full blood products. One woman even died in 1991 after receiving a transfusion of microwaved blood. There have only been a handful of studies on the effects of microwaving food, generally finding that the process damages the nutritional value of the food.  For example, one study found that microwaved broccoli lost up to 97% of its antioxidants, while conventional steaming of broccoli lost 11% or less of its antioxidants. There is also some evidence of gene damage and carcinogens found in microwaving. It has been found that salmonella bacteria can survive in some cold spots that are not fully cooked during microwave heating. Microwaving breast milk appears to compromise its immune fighting abilities.

 

Ultrasound and Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Caution is being advised in the use of these tests, with only the most necessary tests being utilized. Ultrasounds should not be used just to look at a baby during pregnancy. Ultrasound devices use strong RF frequencies with deep penetration ability which can cause temperature elevations in both maternal and fetal tissue. The growing fetus will generally need more protection than the mother. MRI tests subject the body to static, then gradient magnetic fields before a rapidly pulsed radio frequency wave is introduced. MRIs were considered less dangerous than x-rays which use ionizing radiation, but this assumption has not been fully tested. MRIs generally last about 45 minutes of exposure to these frequencies, longer than x-rays. At least 20% of the people having MRIs experience severe panic and some lose consciousness, even when they have no previous history of claustrophobia. Some people experience short-term memory damage and other uncomfortable side effects such as vertigo, headaches, nausea and twitching after MRI tests.

 

INFRARED RADIATION. Infrared is used mostly for military and business purposes and less for household use. Infrared can be found just beyond the red spectrum of visible light and is most often felt as heat. Infrared pulses are emitted by TV remotes but only while the button is being pressed. Infrared spas are also used for heating but are thought to be safe.

 

IONIZING RADIATION: X-Rays and CT scans.  Because these tests utilize ionizing radiation which can cause body thermal heating, it has been known that these technologies can cause damage to the body. Nevertheless, the use of these tests has been escalating. For example in 1980 there were 3 million CT scans reported versus 70 million in 2007. While the amount of radiation in typical medical x-rays is quite low, concern is being expressed about cumulative damage. The National Academy of Sciences released a report in 2005 stating that even very low doses of radiation have the potential to cause a small increase in cancer risk. CT Scans (computerized tomography) increase the risk dramatically. An abdominal CT scan exposes you to on amount of radiation equivalent to 500 or more chest x-rays. PET (positron emission tomography) scans emit similar levels of radiation as CT scans. Virtual colonoscopies also emit high levels of radiation and can be avoided with the use of regular colonoscopies.

 

ADDITIONAL REMARKS.

 

This article has focused on the effects on the human body as discovered so far by research. Other aspects of the world include effects on plants, trees, insects and animals. Without these other inhabitants of the earth, the future of humanity is of great concern. The references I mentioned provide some information in these areas also. For example according to an expert in the SOS book, p 11, "EMF fields have also been implicated in the recent massive but mysterious disappearance of honeybee colonies essential for pollinating over 90 commercial crops. As Albert Einstein worried `if all bees disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would only have four years of life left.”  Luckily the bees have not disappeared, at least not the ones on my property, and many people are coming to the rescue of the honeybee.

 

The information in this article is distressing! The modern conveniences we all use do have some downsides. To counteract whatever distress you may feel after reading this article, realize that you will not be blindsided in the future when considering new purchases or adopting new technologies into your home. Also realize that you do have choices. You can continue to use all your equipment if that is your choice, although more cautiously as we have advised, to reduce your EMF exposure and/or over time you can study this issue more fully and continue to make adaptations to protect yourself and your family.

 

The message is, after consideration of the effects on you and your family as we have discussed in this article, we need to call for caution in adopting new technologies and demand careful research into the effects of electromagnetic pollution on the entire world.

 

UPDATE ON SMART METERS.  I spent a lot of additional time researching this issue. These meters can be placed on our property without our consent and subject us to radiating EMF fields. A supervisor from Progress Energy was very patient in answering my questions but determined to defend the program. The meters send out signals continuously, every 30 seconds, 24/7. They broadcast up to 3 to 5 miles away, as they can be read at that distance. The radiofrequency waves are transmitted out from the sides and front of the meter. The good news is that you have on alternative. The TotalMeter program was initiated years ago for people who did not want meter readers coming onto their property. You must pay $5.10 each month and they will replace your meter with a non-broadcasting meter. They will hook up the meter to your telephone line so they can call the meter to measure your electric consumption. I thought it might be fair to ask the consumer to pay for the meter only until such time as the cost of the new meter was satisfied. However that is not an option. Nevertheless, you may want to take advantage of this plan. You may want to inform your neighbors also, since you are receiving their RF transmissions as well as yours. 

https://www.progress-energy.com/assets/www/docs/company/meter-related-optional.pdf