Is anyone in your house dealing with health issues that just won’t go away no matter what foods you eat, which supplements you take, or how many practitioners and therapies you run through?
Based on the extensive evidence base and reinforced by the volume of anecdotal stories I’m hearing, it’s worth trying this:
Shut off your WiFi.
I just did. I flipped the switch on our router.
And then my family freaked out because it disabled our internet… so I had to turn it back on again. But a Verizon rep helped me to banish WiFi in 30 seconds. No worries; it’s just as easy to get it back. (Netgear, Linksys, Belkin router instructions and try “admin”/serial # for username/password.)
Our abode is now wireless-less. The only way we access the internet at home is with a wired connection. Yes, it means that my iPad and my son’s Kindle are now rendered, uh, less functional. “TOTALLY USELESS,” stormed my 13 year-old. (See below for wired iPad hack)
Here’s my thought process and some of the research I reviewed before flipping the switch. It got me so worked up that I wrote an open letter to Apple’s CEO last week.
The body is electric.
Toni Bark, MD recently introduced me to Robert Becker’s fantastic book The Body Electric: Electromagnetism and the Foundation of Life. Our cells communicate with each other via bioelectrical signals and EMFs, which help to regulate important biochemical processes. It’s important for our internal electromagnetic field to stay in balance. When we are exposed to some types of radiation:
- it affects biophysical events around cell membrane receptors
- it causes biochemical changes within the cell
- it impacts cell to cell communication
All of these things can change the way our body works and make us sick.
“I don’t have radiation in my home!”
WRONG. And there’s a lot more than I realized. Electromagnetic radiation involves:
- Anything with an electric field around it, including power lines
- Anything with a magnetic field, including an electric source or an engine/motor
- Anything that delivers or communicates with a wireless signal
Sources of residential radio frequency radiation (RFR) include:
- WiFi routers and streaming devices (in 73% of households)
- Wireless smart meters (in 40% of households and climbing)
- Tablets and mobile phones, when in use and on standby mode
- Bluetooth enabled devices, including earpieces, printers, mice, keyboards, and the set up in our cars
- Wearable tech (i.e., Google Glass, Apple Watch, Fitbit)
- DECT cordless phone base stations
- Baby monitors, the Nest Thermostats, and smart appliances
- Microwave ovens, when in use
- Video game consoles and wireless remotes (read the Playstation, Wii, and Xbox warnings). Hmmm, ever notice how kids seem so strung out after playing?
WE ARE BATHED IN RFR
Even more radiation exposure is coming our way as Americans demand ever greater connectivity. Ad-supported WiFi is here (Boingo). Schools and libraries are veritable hot spots. Parks and your favorite stadium, too. President Obama’s goal is to connect 99% of students to high-speed broadband including robust WiFi in every classroom within five years. As more materials are pushed online, imagine the radiation generated by, say, 20 children per classroom, 3 classrooms per grade, 6 grades per elementary school, all wirelessly accessing curriculum on their iPads in the same building at the same time.
As if the above exposures weren’t already overwhelming, we must also consider power lines, motors, and our many appliances — TVs, HVAC systems, refrigerators, electric ovens, bedside electronic radio-alarm clocks, power supplies, voltage converters, stereos, fans, wired computers and laptops, monitors, and compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) — plus ionizing forms of radiation exposure via the soil, water, vegetation, air travel, x-rays, and medical devices. (We’ll address some of these in a future post–they’re a different kind of problem.)
Cumulatively, it really starts to add up. So… is WiFi safe?
Radiation is harmful, especially to children.
The CDC retracted its precautionary health warning about cell phone radiation just ten weeks after publishing it on June 9, 2014. Other government agencies are no help:
“No one knows for sure [what level of radiation is safe]. This question is of ongoing interest to scientists and researchers… an average of one in four people develops some form of cancer.” [Environmental Protection Agency]
“There are no specific standards for radiofrequency and microwave radiation issues.” [U.S. Department of Labor]
But scientists forge ahead. This excellent paper by Andrew Goldsworthy, PhD provides a plausible biological mechanism explaining the seemingly disparate health effects of non-ionizing radiation from allergies to cancer due to cellular membrane leakage.
As I shared in last week’s post, children absorb up to ten times more radiation than adults. Thinner skulls and higher water and ion content facilitate penetration. Here are a few peer-reviewed studies from the extensive scientific literature (emphasis mine):
“[Microwave] irradiation induced a significant decrease in sperm count and sperm viability… these adverse reproductive effects suggest that chronic exposure to nonionizing MW radiation may lead to infertility via free radical species-mediated pathway.” – Free Radic Res. 2014 May;48(5):511-25
CANCER AND NEURODEGENERATIVE DISEASE
“The evidence is strongest for leukemia from electricity-frequency fields and for brain tumors from communication-frequency fields… association with other diseases as well, including neurodegenerative diseases.” – Rev Environ Health. 2008 Apr-Jun;23(2):91-117
“[O]ur results are consistent with an early effect in carcinogenesis (initiator) by analogue mobile phones, and both an early (initiator) and late (promoter) effect by wireless phones of the digital type.” – Int J Oncol. Dec 2013; 43(6): 1833–1845
In 2011, the World Health Organization classified RF electromagnetic fields emitted by wireless communication devices an IARC Group 2B Possible Carcinogen. Other 2B agents include DDT, dry cleaning chemicals, lead, pesticides, and engine exhaust. Many are rightfully concerned about IARC 2B substances, including California Public Schools [p126]. Why not this one?
Even more alarming, a team of veteran scientists published a 2013 paper in the peer-reviewed Pathophysiology journal arguing that the actual proper designation would be Group 2A Probable Carcinogen should the WHO revisit its classification. Other 2A agents include ultraviolet radiation A, B, C and cytotoxic chemotherapy agents such as cisplatin and nitrogen mustard.
BRAIN, SPINE, AND NERVE DAMAGE
“[E]vidence… suggests an association between RF-EMF exposure and either myelin deterioration or a direct impact on neuronal conduction… The most vulnerable… those in utero through to at least mid-teen years, as well as ill and elderly individuals.” – J Toxicol Environ Health B Crit Rev. 2014;17(5):247-58
People are suffering terribly.
- The first accommodation has just been made in a U.S. public school system for a teacher with microwave sickness. She reported that students were bleeding from the ears and nose but the school refused to file incident reports (video testimony).
- Teachers and students in La Quinta, CA started succumbing to vague symptoms then cancer at a rate three times higher than expected due to “dirty electricity” (EMFs), as reported by NBC News.
- A tween started vomiting, suffering headaches and insomnia, and stopped growing after his school introduced its iPad program. His mom, Yifan Wang, homeschooled him for a year and then arranged for him to skip a grade to avoid the iPads. She has worked in the wired and wireless telecom industry since 1985: “I know firsthand how technologies, if misused, can cause irreversible and even deadly harm.” Yifan has two Master’s degrees in electrical engineering and holds two patents.
- A Silicon Valley exec and his medical doctor spouse started getting intense headaches, heart palpitations, tinnitus, and insomnia after a bank of wireless smart meters were installed directly below their bedroom. Jeromy Johnson is now a safe technology advocate.
Recommendations for fearless parents
If we’re waiting for industry, medical, or government leaders to take action, we could be waiting a very long time. Industry will spend up to protect current cultural practices. It takes doctors 17 years before research evidence changes clinical practice. Our government denies the dangers. Parents need to be proactive.
For an extra nudge, read what the insurance industry thinks about future EMF-related claims risks (hint: this is squarely on their radar, more highly rated than drug resistance, cyber attacks, and emerging infectious diseases).
The following suggestions are not for the faint of heart (even squeaky clean celebrity moms find it challenging). WiFi devices are totally integrated into our lives and habits. It will require standing up to the people in our homes and changing the way we communicate with each other and the outside world.
- Buy or rent an RF meter to measure radiation levels in your home and wherever else your kids spend a lot of time. Click here to buy the basic Cornet ED78S. Email email@example.com to buy or rent the more advanced Acoustimeter for up to -20%.
- Check AntennaSearch to see if there’s a cell phone tower or antennae near your home. Warning: this is upsetting. Since the info may not be up-to-date, Jeromy recommends walking around your neighborhood with your RF meter.
- Use corded landlines. DECT cordless phone base stations can generate ten times more radiation than the typical internet router.
- Connect laptops and desktops to the internet via Ethernet cables.
- Try this simple hardware solution for a “wired” iPad from a retired Motorola scientist.
- Don’t allow a wireless smart meter to be installed in your home. A family member just had hers ripped out. The utility charged $75 to remove it and levies an extra $10/month to send someone to read the meter.
- Turn Airplane Mode ON and WiFi and 3G/4G OFF.
- Ask children to place iPad on the table (not in hands or on the lap).
- Download apps via a wired connection.
- Install your WiFi router away from primary living and sleeping areas.
- Don’t carry wireless devices on your body.
- Don’t use devices when you have a poor signal.
- Increase the physical distance of the phone from your brain. Use an “Air Tube” headset, the speakerphone feature, or a “Cell Spacer.”
- Choose a cell phone with a low specific absorption rate (SAR) rating, although it’s no guarantee of safety.
- Text instead.
- If you must use devices in a vehicle, install an externally-mounted antenna so RF radiation is not amplified (the “Faraday cage effect”).
- Forward your cell phone to your landline when possible.
- Use Skype as a cell phone substitute.
- Watch out for secondhand radiation. Ask guests to power down.
- Take special care of your bedroom. Flip the breakers at night, except the refrigerator (it’ll lower electric bills, too). At a minimum, unplug everything you can and don’t sleep with your cell phone.
- Does your child really need a cell phone? The Russian National Committee on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection recommends waiting until age 18, and UK Chief Medical Officers say age 16.
- Put off purchasing the Wii and other WiFi devices (average 7 per WiFi household).
GROUND AND BLOCK
- Walk barefoot (or wear leather soled shoes), lay in the grass or sand, and hug a tree. Roll your eyes all you want; it works!
- If you live near a cell phone tower or in an apartment complex, make or buy a bed canopy to reduce EMF pollution: pyramid, single bed, double bed canopies.
- Slide a Defender Pad under your laptop or tablet.
- Pregnant women might want to investigate the Belly Band or Belly Tee. Give baby extra protection with the Belly Blanket or Nursing Cover.
- Hire a “building biologist” or another type of indoor environmental consultant.
- Find a parent group to host a presentation and discussion. Share studies and news stories. Screen one of the movies listed below.
- Ask friends if they’ll join you in delaying a cell phone purchase for their kids.
- Ask your child’s school to join other schools in implementing a WiFi ban.
- Tell Apple CEO Tim Cook to take this seriously.
- Advocate for radiation-free zones in public areas. Wireless radiation is the new invisible threat; the “secondhand smoke” of the 21st century.
There’s a lot of corporate and institutional “maneuvering” behind the scenes. The LA Unified School District’s iPad scandal gives you a taste of it. The best chance we have to compel industry to make safer products is for us to wield our purchasing power. Please share your stories and suggestions. We can’t do this alone.
The author thanks Yifan Wang, Jeromy Johnson, and Devin Evert for their assistance and the benefit of their extensive research.
WEBSITES / BLOGS
- BioInitiative Working Group
- ElectromagneticHealth.org and 2013 Children’s Health Expert Panel
- EMF Analysis
- EM Radiation Research Trust
- EMF Safety Network
- Environmental Health Trust: Schools and Safe Technology
- National Association for Children and Safe Technology
- No Radiation for You
- SafeMR.com (Joel M. Moskowitz, PhD)
- The Baby Safe Project
- WiFi in Schools
- Wired Child
- American Academy of Environmental Medicine (EM / RF: Effect on Human Health)
- Children’s Health Expert Panel: Cell Phones & Wi-Fi―Are Children, Fetuses and Fertility at Risk? (Mercola.com)
- Invisible Threat (Vitality Magazine)
- Medical Advisory: WiFi and Children’s Health (SafeinSchool.org)
- Parents for Safe Schools flyer (SafeinSchool.org)
- Radio Frequency (RF) Fields: Possibly, Probably, or Definitely Carcinogenic — The Evidence Mounts Towards the Latter (SmartGridAwareness.org)
- Top “Safe” Cell Phones That Aren’t Safe (DrFrankLipman.com)
- Why I Don’t Have a Cellphone by a tech CEO (Huffington Post)
- Why We Should Be Using Wired Networks in Schools by Katharina Gustavs
BOOKS / FILMS
- An Electronic Silent Spring: Facing the Dangers and Creating Safe Limits – 2014
- Black on White: Voices and Witnesses about Electro-Hypersensitivity, The Swedish Experience – 2005
- Disconnect: The Truth About Cell Phone Radiation, What the Industry Is Doing to Hide It, and How to Protect Your Family by Devra Davis, PhD, MPH – 2011
- Full Signal Movie (review) – 2010
- Mobilize Movie – 2014
- Overpowered: The Dangers of Electromagnetic Radiation (EMF) and What You Can Do About It – 2014
- Resonance: Beings of Frequency Movie – 2013 (Facebook and youtube)
- Take Back Your Power: Investigating the “Smart” Grid – 2014
- The Invisible Disease: The Dangers of Environmental Illnesses Caused by Electromagnetic Fields and Chemical Emissions – 2004
- WiFi in Schools: The Facts – 2012 (18 minutes)
- Zapped: Why Your Cell Phone Shouldn’t Be Your Alarm Clock and 1,268 Ways to Outsmart the Hazards of Electronic Pollution – 2011
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