Steps You Can Take Today To Reduce EMF in the Home
My work as an electromagnetic field (EMF) consultant involves helping families reduce their exposure to man-made radiation in the home. The greatest reductions can be achieved for clients engaged in new home construction, where permanent shielding strategies are integrated into the design of the home. However, clients who are purchasing an existing (unshielded) home also contact me to mitigate the unique EMF challenges presented by the home under consideration. The bulk of my work, in fact, deals with making an accurate assessment of the EMF environment within existing homes and creating a custom remediation plan to address the EMF challenges specific to a given family, home and neighborhood.
If reducing your family’s exposure to man-made radiation is important to you, you can do no better than have a local experienced professional help you through the process. But what if you’re not in a position to hire a professional just now? Are there steps you can take on your own to reduce your household’s EMF exposure—perhaps things that will provide a foundation you can later build upon under the guidance of an EMF professional? The answer, emphatically, is yes!
In this article, I offer suggestions of steps everyone can take to reduce their exposure to man-made radiation in the home. All of these techniques are low- or no-cost, and none require the purchase or use of specialized meters. Note that a comprehensive EMF assessment of a home would examine both self-generated EMFs—those you generate within your own home—and external EMFs generated outside your home, such as by smart meters,1 cell towers, overhead power lines, a neighbor’s Wi-Fi or SpaceX satellites. However, this article deals exclusively with self-generated EMF. This is the place to begin; we need to stop radiating ourselves and then teach our neighbors how to do the same.
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. Each must be measured using specific meters and techniques. Remediation strategies are also unique to each specific type of EMF.
The micro climate is a critical factor. The choices you make in your tolerance of wireless technologies and proximity to radiation sources are the most important factors controlling your micro climate. This explains why two houses built adjacent to one another, built by the same builder using similar materials, can have different EMF profiles.
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. I prioritize sleeping areas as the most important, with the idea of creating a more natural environment for the body’s nighttime repair and maintenance.
With these factors in mind, it is evident that you would not want to put baby’s bassinet under the main electric panel or a sub-panel if your goal is to minimize exposure to MFs; remember, too, that such a panel could be obscured or in an adjacent room on the other side of the wall. Likewise, don’t put baby’s bassinet near your electric range, water heater, refrigerator or an electric generator. In fact, don’t put it near any appliance with a large motor (such as a washer, dryer, treadmill or heat pump). This is not an exhaustive list, but you get the idea. The more power (watts, not volts) an appliance uses, the larger the MF surrounding that appliance when in use. The worst offenders are the appliances with the highest duty cycle (that is, the ones more often in use).
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.
Nor is it just baby’s sleep area that needs to be secured in the manner outlined above. Keep sleeping areas for all loved ones in your home far from the exposures listed. Then, look to other high-use areas where you spend four or more hours per day. Once you’ve reduced MF exposures in your high-use areas, you’re ready to move on to the next challenge—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. Over and over, I see people 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.
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. I use the abbreviation “RF” 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.
Again, 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.2 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?3 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.4 It may look like they’re made to keep the radiation inside, but when I measure exposures at clients’ homes, I often find that they 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 I have outlined, you can measurably reduce exposure to man-made radiation in your home.
Note, too, that the Wise Traditions diet consistently promoted by the Weston A. Price Foundation can help protect your cells from potentially damaging EMF effects—including foods such as pastured egg yolks, red meat, raw dairy products and homemade, long-cooked bone broth.5
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, as I’ve often seen more harm than good result from inappropriate selection or installation of remediation techniques.
- Worthington A. How dangerous and expensive became “smart”: an expose of the “smart grid.” Wise Traditions. 2014;14(4):29-43. https://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/environmental-toxins/smart-meters-not-so-smart/
- Teller M. Children’s love affair with tablets: neither cute nor harmless. Wise Traditions. 2019;20(1):46-51. https://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/environmental-toxins/childrens-love-affair-with-tablets-neither-cute-nor-harmless/
- Does short-term exposure to cell phone radiation affect the blood? Wise Traditions. 2014;14(4):19- 18. https://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/does-short-term-exposure-to-cell-phone-radiation-affect-the-blood/
- Teller M. Debunking the myth that microwave ovens are harmless. Wise Traditions. 2019;20(3):46-51. https://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/debunking-the-myth-that-microwave-ovens-are-harmless/
- Schuette K. Electromagnetic radiation protection from the kitchen. Wise Traditions. 2014;15(4):52- 55. https://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/environmental-toxins/electromagnetic-radiation-protection-from-the-kitchen/
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Summer 2022🖨️ Print post