Today I’m going to focus on the EMFs in your home, why they can be a problem, and what you can do to dramatically reduce your exposure.
You can’t see them, you can’t smell them, but they’re everywhere. I’m talking about EMFs–the electromagnetic fields emitted from electronic devices.
What are EMFs?
EMFs stands for “electromagnetic fields” which come from electricity. EMFs occur around electronic devices like computers, cell phones, and other commonly used electronics.
Why Reduce EMF Exposure?
EMFs wouldn’t be a big deal if they were totally harmless. But research is mounting that EMFs are linked to health issues most of us want to avoid.
Here are some reasons to be concerned:
- Children born to women with high exposure to EMFs during pregnancy are more than twice as likely to develop asthma. (source)
- EMFs may cause suppressed immunity. (source)
- Sperm exposed to EMFs lost motility faster and had more DNA damage than sperm that wasn’t exposed. (source)
- Long-term exposure to EMFs is linked to Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. (source)
Now, I don’t promote health scares, wearing aluminum foil hats, or living in a cave. I know we’re all (basically) normal folks who want to live (basically) normal lives.
What I do believe in is doing what you can–making simple changes that add up to make a big difference. I think of EMFs the same way. So here are the top sources of EMFs in your home, and what you can do about them (without throwing out all your electronics!).
Top 5 Sources of EMFs in Your Home
Pretty much every electronic device in your home emits EMFs anytime it’s on or connected to a power source. However, certain devices are more risky sources of EMFs because they emit higher levels or because they are used close to the body where EMF exposure will be much higher. Here are some top sources of EMFs at home:
Laptops are a huge source of EMFs in most homes, not only because they emit high levels of EMFs (especially when using WiFi or hooked up to a power cord), but also because of where we use them: on our laps! This makes laptop computers a chief concern if you’re worried about EMFs. Read more about laptop radiation in this post HERE.
Solution? Use a laptop shield like this one from DefenderPad when you use a laptop on your lap (I keep my DefenderPad shield with my laptop at all times so I never forget to use it!). This is the best way to keep the EMFs off your body while you enjoy the convenience of using a laptop. To further reduce your exposure, you can also turn off the WiFi if you’re not using it, and unplug the power cord, too, if you can.
2. Tablets and eReaders
Ten years ago no one imagined we’d be reading all our books, sending all our emails, and playing a game called Angry Birds nonstop on a device the size of a greeting card. Tablets and eReaders are becoming hugely popular, but they have the same problem as a laptop: they emit EMFs and are always used very close to the body. I find it particularly concerning that children today play with touchscreens like tablets more than toys. This definitely wasn’t a problem 20 years ago!
Solution? You can actually use a DefenderPad laptop shield under your tablet or eReader to reduce EMF exposure. Turn off WiFi on your tablet and eReader when you’re not using it, and don’t use the device while it’s plugged into a power source. Consider cutting back on the time you spend using these devices if you can. UPDATE: DefenderPad also offers shields for more devices now! Check them out here.
3. Cell Phones
Cell phones have been the subject of serious concern when it comes to EMFs because we use them all the time, and always right next to our heads! The proximity to your head (and therefore, your brain!) is a huge concern, but so is the common practice of carrying your cell phone around in your pocket, right next to reproductive organs (remember that study on how EMFs damaged sperm cells?).
Solution? Distance yourself from your cell phone when you can. Set it on the desk instead of leaving it your pocket. Turn it off when you don’t plan on using it. Make calls on speakerphone or with an ear piece instead of holding your phone right next to your ear all the time. UPDATE: DefenderPad also offers shields for more devices now! Check them out here.
4. Personal Care Electronics
This one surprised the heck outta me. According to WHO (World Health Organization), hair dryers and electric shavers are top sources of EMFs in the home, mainly because they are used so close to the body. (source)
Solution? Limit your use of these devices if possible (I know, I know). As far as I know, if you’re going to use them, there aren’t a lot of ways to reduce your EMF exposure (although a battery powered electric razor might be a better choice).
What does your refrigerator and your alarm clock have in common? No, this isn’t a riddle–they both emit EMFs. So does pretty much every electric appliance in your home, like your toaster oven and your stereo and your television.
Solution? I’m not going to ask you to trash all your electronics (I’m really not!). But it might pay to take a few measures of caution when it comes to how much time you spend in close proximity to all these appliances.
My first suggestion is to start in the bedroom–after all, you probably sleep there for 7-9 hours a night, right? Do you sleep right next to an alarm clock radio? Maybe move it across the room. Avoid using electric blankets in bed (or sleeping with your cell phone under your pillow, now that you mention it).
Anywhere you spend a lot of time in your home is where you can think about moving electronics and appliances just a little bit further away (the difference between an inch away and ten inches away is a big deal according to this WHO report).
Recap about EMFS
Okay, so here’s the short version of quick ways you can reduce your EMF exposure at home:
- Use a laptop shield when you use your laptop on your lap (I use this one from DefenderPad)–don’t forget you can use it under your tablets and eReaders as well.
- Turn off your Wifi when you’re not using it.
- Don’t use laptops, tablets, eReaders or cell phones while they’re plugged in.
- Make calls on speakerphone or with an earpiece if you can.
- Create a little distance between you and your electronics at home–especially where you spend a lot of time (like in bed).
How do you feel about EMFs? Do you take any steps to reduce your exposure?
More Healthy Home Articles:
- The Healthiest Cookware: What is Toxic and What is Safe
- 35 Natural DIY Cleaning Recipes for a Naturally Clean Home
- 10 Ways You Can Use Lemon Juice Instead of Toxic Chemicals for Health, Cleaning and Beauty
- How I Finally Got Back to Cooking at Home with Joy
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Elizabeth is the founder of The Nourished Life and has been writing about natural living for 12 years. Her work has been featured at Shape, Bustle, and Mother Earth Living. Her mission is to help you lower your stress levels and find fun ways to become happier and healthier. Read more about Elizabeth here.