The Many Conveniences of the 21st Century Digital Age May Come with a Price
Don’t get me wrong. As a “technology nerd,” I don’t know of too many people who have more of a love of things electronic than I do. I am what people call an “early adopter” when it comes to the latest digital gadget, whether it be for enjoying audio and video, accessing the internet, or achieving an endless list of amazing things that this technology can do. Indeed when I look back on the changes of the last 50 or so years, my life today in many respects bears little resemblance to my life of yesteryear. Recently, though, I have begun to consider that there may be a downside to all this new technology.
I am not alone in this consideration. The evidence of this is mounting rapidly.
Magda Havas, PhD
Associate Professor, Environment & Resource Studies, Trent University, Canada.
Expert in radiofrequency radiation, electromagnetic fields, dirty electricity, and ground current.
“Radio frequency radiation and other forms of electromagnetic pollution are harmful at orders of magnitude well below existing guidelines. Science is one of the tools society uses to decide health policy. In the case of telecommunications equipment, such as cell phones, wireless networks, cell phone antennas, PDAs, and portable phones, the science is being ignored. Current guidelines urgently need to be re-examined by government and reduced to reflect the state of the science. There is an emerging public health crisis at hand and time is of the essence.”
I practice medicine that deals with chronic, complex illness, and my approach involves investigation for the root causes of illness with the goal of eliminating the root causes and reversing the harmful health effects. Over the years that I have treated folks, I have encountered a steady increase in the incidence of many diseases associated with inflammation. Others are seeing the same phenomenon. In fact, these diseases are sometimes called the epidemics of the 21st Century. They include diseases like asthma, autoimmune disease, autism, arthritis, sleep disorder, obesity, infertility, cancer, and a number of others that are thought by many scientists and healthcare providers to be associated with the progressive environmental changes that our world is experiencing since the beginning of the industrial age (especially the past 50 years since the “digital revolution” began).
What is ElectroSmog anyway? It is a catchy term that has been coined to represent a number of different sources of electromagnetic fields (EMF), electromagnetic radiation (EMR), magnetic fields associated with high voltage power lines, microwaves (RF) associated with radio/TV antennas, and cellphone towers, electrical transients and harmonics (dirty electricity) in our home electric wiring, direct current electric and magnetic fields (DC), ground current, and extremely low-frequency EMF (ELF EMF). There is no disputing the fact that the annual rate of introduction of these energies into our local environment has been exponential and continues to grow at an astounding rate.
When one considers the rate of growth per 1,000 population of these diseases of the 21st Century, there are any number of different candidate causes that have been incriminated to play a role. Global temperature change, increases in chemical pollution of the air, food, and water (even our oceans), progressive destruction of undeveloped lands (urban sprawl), world-wide global travel with the attendant transmission of communicable diseases, emerging antibiotic resistance of disease-causing germs (so-called superbugs), nuclear emissions, and electrosmog. Probably all of these factors play a role to a greater or lesser degree. Electrosmog, more than the others, seems to most closely match the rate of growth in terms of the amount of exposure compared with the increased amount of disease per capita.
Samuel Milham MD, MPH
Medical epidemiologist in occupational epidemiology. The first scientist to report increased leukemia and other cancers in electrical workers and to demonstrate that the childhood age peak in leukemia emerged in conjunction with the spread of residential electrification.
“Very recently, new research is suggesting that nearly all the human plagues which emerged in the twentieth century, like common acute lymphoblastic leukemia in children, female breast cancer, malignant melanoma and asthma, can be tied to some facet of our use of electricity. There is an urgent need for governments and individuals to take steps to minimize community and personal EMF exposures.”
Can we have both the modern technological advances of the 21st Century and still be protected from ElectroSmog? The answer is a definite YES. In fact, other countries are way ahead of the United States in terms of creating standards and regulations intended to allow technological progress while still protecting the health of the population. See the Austrian Medical Association listed below.
So what can a person do? It all starts with a healthy awareness and appreciation for the problem. The internet abounds with a wealth of useful information for those that seek it. Evidence is mounting that the most cost-effective way to reduce adverse health effects is avoidance of exposure. There are any number of service businesses coming into existence whose mission is to measure the home or work environment for levels of potentially harmful exposure and to assist with measures to reduce or eliminate these exposures. Follow-up testing can verify the effectiveness of these interventions. Changes in symptoms may be rapidly appreciated. There are also a number of easy and low-cost measures that one can take to reduce exposure. Since the issue of ElectroSmog is somewhat technical, bringing in an environmental consultant can be well worth the limited expense to avoid unnecessary expense, to avoid taking unnecessary measures, and to maximize the beneficial outcome.
Here are a few solutions that are easy to do and yet can significantly reduce ElectroSmog exposure:
- Use cell phones as little as possible. Studies have demonstrated that biological effects occur when holding the device against your ear 30 seconds into making or receiving a call. Use your cell phone to take messages and use a corded landline to make calls.
- Cell phones emit radiation even when you are not making a call. For this reason, wireless communication devices should not be carried against your body. Cell phones kept in pockets should be turned off.
- Do not let young children use cell phones at all, or restrict their use to emergency situations only.
- All microwave ovens leak RF radiation when they are in use. Replace microwave ovens with safer appliances such as a toaster or a conventional electric or gas range and oven.
- Do not let a child use a cordless home phone. These can be replaced with a hard-wired corded landline phone.
- Replace all DECT / digital cordless phones, which emit high levels of RF radiation even when idle, with corded landline telephones. Corded landline telephones have low EMF emissions and are a good alternative.
- Avoid cell phone use in a car unless you are using a roof-mounted external antenna. Without this, the RF signals from your cell phone will intensify because of multiple reflections from the metal surfaces of the car. Remember that cell phones emit RF radiation even when they are not being used to make a call.
- Many children’s games use wireless technology. Disable the wireless component if possible and replace it with a cable. Verify that RF emissions have ceased with an RF detector or RF Meter.
- When using a notebook/laptop or a computer use a hard wired network connection. Settings to disable the wireless connection are found in Network Settings on a PC or AirPort on a Mac. Once disabled, verify that the device has ceased emitting RF by using a RF detector or RF Meter.
- Replace wireless internet routers with hard-wired units. Some wireless router models allow the user to shut off the wireless component and convert it to a hard-wired unit. To ensure that RF emissions have ceased test with an RF detector or RF meter.
- Do not use compact fluorescent or any low voltage lighting technologies. CFLs emit high levels of electric fields and magnetic fields. Do not use compact fluorescent lights (CFL) or any low voltage lighting technologies. CFLs emit high levels of electric and magnetic fields. Incandescent light bulbs or 120-volt halogen bulbs are a safer alternative.
- DVDs / VCRs, electric clock radios/alarm clocks, stereo systems, heating pads, electric blankets, and water beds must be unplugged to cease electric and magnetic field emissions. During sleeping hours, remove or unplug electronic devices located in the sleeping areas.
We all need to do our part to protect ourselves and our families from the adverse health effects of environmental degradation associated with the interaction of “human progress” with our world. This is the only world we have at least for the foreseeable future!
Electromagnetic absorption in the human head and neck for mobile telephones at 835 and 1900 MHz
Gandhi, O.P. Lazzi, G. and Furse, C.M.1996
Source: IEEE Transactions on Microwave Theory and Techniques, Volume: 44; Pages: 1884-1897
Magnetic field exposure and long-term survival among children with leukemia
Foliart, D.E. Pollock, B.H. Mezei, G. Iriye, R. Silva, J.M. Epi, K.L. Kheifets, L. Lind, M.P. Kavet, R. 2006
Source: British Journal of Cancer, 94 161-164
Extra low frequency electric and magnetic fields in the bedplace of children diagnosed with leukemia: a case control study
R.W Coghill; J Steward; A Phillips1996
Source: European Journal of Cancer Prevention, 5 (3) (153-158)
Environ Toxicol Pharmacol2016 Sep;46:183-7. doi: 10.1016/j.etap.2016.07.016. Epub 2016 Jul 26.
Effects of dietary green tea polyphenol supplementation on the health of workers exposed to high-voltage power lines.Zhang Y1, Zhang D1, Zhu B1, Zhang H1, Sun Y1, Sun C2.
Rev Environ Health 2016 Sep 1;31(3):363-97. doi: 10.1515/reveh-2016-0011.
EUROPAEM EMF Guideline 2016 for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of EMF-related health problems and illnesses Belyaev I, Dean A, Eger H, Hubmann G, Jandrisovits R, Kern M, Kundi M, Moshammer H, Lercher P, Müller K, Oberfeld G, Ohnsorge P, Pelzmann P,Scheingraber C, Thill R.
Guideline of the Austrian Medical Association ( ) for the diagnosis and treatment of EMFrelated health problems and illnesses (EMF syndrome) Consensus paper of the Austrian Medical Association’s EMF Working Group ( AG-EMF) Adopted at the meeting of environmental medicine officers of the Regional Medical Association´s and the Austrian Medical Association on 3rd March 2012 in Vienna.
About Wally Taylor MD
Dr. Taylor practices integrative medicine at Forum Health Austin in Austin, Texas. After obtaining a general medical doctorate degree from University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas he completed a general medical internship and residency training in head and neck surgery ENT and allergy. After 20 years of service in the US Army Medical Corps and practice in Colorado and Texas he founded Texas Integrative now Forum Health Austin where he now offers a functional holistic approach to disease which treats the entire individual instead of each separate symptom. He has found more satisfying results using this Systems BioIndividualized approach. He has a focus on the role that environmental stress and toxins play in the health of his patients.
His motto is “Health and Wellness from Head to Toe”.