As a citizen of the wireless age, you're swimming in invisible pollution. Electromagnetic fields (EMFs) are reaching alarming levels. But you can take back control of your health. Ann Louise Gittleman shows you how to detox your surroundings, device by device and room by room, in this fascinating excerpt from her book Zapped.
Consider your typical day: If you’re like most people, it probably starts in front of your coffee maker
and toaster, ends as you set the alarm on your cell phone, and involves no end of computers and gadgets, televisions and computers in between.
We’re being zapped: Today 84 percent of Americans own a cell phone, 89 million of us watch TV beamed in by satellite, and we can’t sip a cup of coffee at our local café without being exposed to Wi-Fi. The very electronic innovations that have changed our lives
are also exposing us, in ways big and small, to an unprecedented number of electromagnetic fields. Invisible pollution surrounds us twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, interrupting our bodies’ natural flow of energy
. And for some, that pollution has reached the point of toxicity, causing fatigue, irritability, weakness, and even illness.
I don’t believe that cell phones — nor their towers — are ever really going to go away
, even if they do pose a significant public health challenge from RF pollution. But, there’s good news on the horizon. You can significantly minimize your exposure and the secondhand RF “smoke” to which you expose others by doing just a few simple, common-sense things:
Choose a cell phone with a low SAR rating. SAR stands for specific absorption rate, which measures the strength of a magnetic field absorbed by the body. If you don’t have your instruction manual, which is where that number should be (but isn’t always), you can find SAR listings at the Federal Communications Commission website
or you can request SAR information from the manufacturer or your carrier.
Put them on speaker.
Anything you can do to keep the cell phone as far away from your head as possible will reduce the energy or power level because the farther away you are from the antenna, the lower the signal. For example, if you hold it two inches away, the signal is about a quarter of its original strength. At four inches away, it’s about one-sixteenth as strong. Whenever possible use speaker phone mode or a hands-free kit with a wireless air tube nearest the earpiece.
Use your words.
Text whenever you can — it limits the duration of your exposure and keeps the phone farther away from your head and body. A phone with a keyboard rather than a typical phone pad makes texting much easier (though you may never get as good as most teens who say they can text blindfolded). When you text, don’t keep the phone in your lap, however. There have been an increasing number of studies that have found damage to sperm vitality and motility in men who keep their cell phones in their pockets.
Make it a habit to turn the phone off
when it’s not in use or to switch it into offline
, standalone, or flight modes, which turn off the wireless transmitter but still allow you to use the phone or PDA for everything except making and taking calls or browsing the web or e-mail.
Make the switch.
If you absolutely must place the phone against your head (and I definitely don’t recommend this), switch ears regularly while chatting on a cell to limit prolonged exposure on one side, which has been linked to increased risk of brain tumors and salivary cancers on the side of the head where the phone is usually held.
Avoid tight spaces.
Don’t make or take calls in the car — which thankfully is becoming increasingly against the law because it creates distractions — in elevators, trains, buses, or underground. First, your cell has to work harder to get a signal out through metal, so the power level increases. And on top of the more powerful signal, any metal box like the car or an elevator will also cause the waves to bounce around, creating in effect a resonance chamber, boosting their intensity.
Keep an eye on the bars.
Don’t use your phone when the signal is weak or when you’re traveling at higher speeds in a car or train; this automatically boosts power to maximum as the phone attempts to connect to a new relay antenna.
Ride the quiet car.
Many trains have so-called quiet cars where cell use is prohibited and phones must be switched off so they don’t disturb other riders. It’s your best bet for traveling without overwhelming secondhand exposure to RF radiation.
Keep it short.
A cell phone isn’t what you want to use to catch up with an old high school buddy. If your conversation is going to be long, use a landline. One study found that after two minutes, the brain’s electrical activity can be altered for at least an hour. If you’re one of the roughly one in six Americans who are cell-only, think about getting a landline too, and use the cell only when necessary. Remember, brain tumor risk starts at a relatively low level of cumulative lifetime exposure.
Spend even less time on our PDA.
Wireless devices such as the BlackBerry, iPhone, and Treo produce higher Extremely Low Frequency (ELF) electromagnetic field transmissions than cell phones because they rely on the energy from batteries to power up things like e-mail and Internet connections and color displays. Experts recommend never carrying the device in a pocket, keeping it at a distance in the office, and avoiding use when pregnant because some studies have shown an increased risk of miscarriage when a woman is exposed to 16 mG of ELF (the PDAs the researchers tested had emissions up to 975 mG).
Dial, then stretch.
Don’t place the cell phone on your ear while your call is connecting — that’s the time the phone is sending out its strongest signal.
Keep the cell out of the bedroom.
Specifically, don’t sleep with your cell near your head
. Remember, EMFs can reduce your body’s production of melatonin and with it a powerful free radical scavenger that can protect your cells from the DNA damage that can lead to cancer and other disease.
Excerpt from Zapped: Why Your Cell Phone Shouldn't Be Your Alarm Clock and 1,268 Ways to Outsmart the Hazards of Electronic Pollution, available wherever books are sold, reprinted with permission from the author. Copyright © 2010 by Ann Louise Gittleman.