EMF Safety

(This page is under construction.)

I often have people ask me about things I’ve learned regarding health effects of technology that emits electro-magnetic frequencies (EMFs). So I added this portion of my site as a quick reference for those who are interested. It has taken me years to learn what I have (often the hard way) about what to watch out for and how to counter it. Here are the things I wish I had found all in one place when I first started learning about the dangers of EMFs.

I won’t go into much detail explaining the science of the health effects or how EMFs work, since there are other sites that explain that already. (See the Useful Links section below.)

My Story

As a quick overview of my own journey, I discovered I was sensitive in late 2020 when, frustrated at an increasingly severe stretch of headaches, brain fog, insomnia, I remembered hearing about the wife of a friend who had electro hyper-sensitivity (EHS), and I experimentally unplugged all the many smart home and Wi-Fi devices around my house. The physical relief was instantaneous and extreme.

I’ve spent years now experimenting with myself, finding what does and doesn’t cause what symptoms. My main symptoms are headaches. But also gut irritation, red spots on my skin, insomnia, restless leg, inability to focus, and blood sugar sensitivity.
I am a bit unusual in that my symptoms are exacerbated by a genetic disease I have that causes low blood phosphorous. When my phosphorous is low, my EHS is worse.

Admitting that one could have EHS can seem daunting, but learning about it has been such a gift from God to me. Now that I know, and have learned how to avoid EMFs, I can sleep again. I’m not in constant pain. I can eat normally without overloading my blood sugar or worrying about my gut.

Through my experiences some of my family members have found relief from milder EHS symptoms they’ve had as well. I suspect that very many of us are affected in ways we just never notice. (It’s hard to tell how something affects you if you’re surrounded by it 24/7.)
So my advice to everyone out there is: have an open mind.

Useful Links

I don’t necessarily agree with or endorse everything said on any of these sites, particularly when it comes to political views or particular products they might support, but I have found these sites useful for education purposes:

Types of EMFs to Avoid

There are 3 broad types, in the order of priority for me with my own health: (each person can react to these slightly differently though)

  • Radio Frequencies (RFs): More broadly a label referring to any kind of long-distance wireless transmission. (such as cell signal, 3G/4G/5G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, actual radio, etc.)
  • Magnetic Fields: The short-distance field that radiates from any flow of electric current. (such as from power lines, computers, motors, etc.) Magnetic fields are very hard to block compare to the other two types.
  • Electric Fields: The short-distance field that radiates from any voltage source, regardless of active current. (power lines behind walls, extension cords, computers, etc.)

Each of these types comes with its own battles to avoid them.

Radio Frequencies (RFs)

My Symptoms

  • Most Wi-Fi and cell signals:
    • Rapid-onset dull headache, which typically eases quickly once the source is removed (depending on how intense the exposure was)
    • Insomnia
    • Increased blood-sugar sensitivity
    • Fuzzy thinking / inability to focus (including suddenly losing a train of thought as soon as someone nearby starts using a phone, regardless of whether I knew at the time that they started using the phone)
    • Home Wi-Fi typically additionally feels like a tingling/burning sensation around the surface of my scalp. Sometimes the skin on my head puckers up like goose bumps and this seems to lead to hair thinning. Sometimes my beard will also start itching. Exact symptoms depend on the type of Wi-Fi device and the proximity/intensity.
  • Some Wi-Fi and cell signals:
    • Coughing or constricted throat
    • Heart fluttering
  • Some 5G phones and towers:
    • Sudden and very sharp pain in different parts of my head, near the surface or behind the eyes. (While driving, I can often tell the direction of a tower from which part of my head feels the pain. The pain moves as I drive or rotate my head.) With some phones (it depends on the model), I can tell when a friend is about to receive a text notification because of the sharp, brief, ping that I feel as the phone receives the text. (The data transmission is typically a second or two before the phone alerts its owner with a notification.)
  • Bluetooth:
    • A particular kind of medium-sharpness headache, a bit deeper feeling than typical cell signal and longer lasting even after the Bluetooth source is removed.
  • Some Bluetooth and Radio devices:
    • With some devices, symptoms are not immediate but grow gradually, such as with a wireless home theater speaker system, in which I might not notice the headache at first but by halfway through a movie the headache has grown to be very intense, making it hard to concentrate on anything. HAM radio antennas will often cause this same kind of headache more instantaneously. This kind of headache typically will last up to 24h after the source is removed, and is resistant to acetaminophen, but sometimes is slightly alleviated by taking electrolytes.

Home Buying Considerations for RFs

  • Cell towers are the primary source of RFs that you don’t control. So find a home that is as distant from cell towers as practically possible.
  • The higher your elevation, the more you will tend to pick up transmissions. Walking up a set of stairs to a 2nd floor can make a big difference. Prefer a ranch-style home without an upstairs. A basement is a great place for a home office. (The earth is a great insulator.)
  • Watch out for neighbors with HAM Radio antennas on their homes. One home I considered buying was great inside, but stepping outside was instantly unbearable due to a pair of neighbors with large antennae on their roofs.
  • Older homes with thick stone walls can be very nice for blocking outside RFs. I was once visiting a friend who lived in an old house like this (the interior walls were stone, close to a foot thick in places.) Though he had Wi-Fi and smart home devices, I could barely feel it, since the interior walls blocked the worst of it.

RFs You Can Control

  • Cell Phones:
    • Turn off cell signal (especially at night or when driving), turn off Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Internet Data when not needed (this also saves battery).
    • Try to turn them off at least an hour before bed, so your body has a chance to wind down from the exposure and actually sleep soundly when it’s time to sleep.
  • Home Internet:
    • Get a router/modem that allows you to turn off Wi-Fi. (I own an old router that lets me do this and which still works with Spectrum or AT&T. Finding such routers that work with mainstream ISPs can be tricky though.)
    • Use wired (ethernet) connections for all your internet needs when possible. (Many modern smartphones let you connect to the internet through their USB charging port. You just need an ethernet/USB adapter. Check if your phone model supports this.)
  • Smart Home Devices
    • These all rely on RFs in some form. (Usually Wi-Fi.) Just don’t use them. Period.
  • Medical Devices
    • If you can, avoid “smart” medical devices or implants, such as hearing aids or sleep apnea machines, that can connect to the internet or to your phone wirelessly. Or turn off their wireless capabilities if you can. (It is very ironic that many sleep apnea machines regularly transmit data wirelessly, since insomnia and sleep apnea are common symptoms of EMFs.)
  • Audio/Video Systems
    • Use headphone cables instead of Bluetooth for playing audio on speakers.
    • Similarly use physical cable connections for video.
    • Avoid HDMI cables for video when possible – it tends to emit a lot of RF static (which can also interfere with your audio quality or can cause dropped video transmissions, making the HDMI connection seem unstable). Higher-quality insulated cables can be okay though.
  • General Electronics:
    • Avoid devices that have only 2-prong power plugs instead of 3-prong grounded plugs.
      • The ungrounded energy is typically released in the form of RFs. Any switching-based power supply will release RFs, but it’s worse for ungrounded devices.
      • In these instances, the whole device and anything plugged into it can become a transmission antenna for its RF, making it hard to block or avoid. For example, a computer can transmit its electric static along any USB devices plugged into it, such as a keyboard, and then the keyboard will broadcast RFs. Routers can similarly transmit along their ethernet cables, which can then transmit into a connected computer and from there into a keyboard. Adding a ground connection along this chain can reduce RFs immensely, though it might not eliminate everything.

Ways of Shielding Against RFs

  • Aluminum Foil:
    • This old classic works well, especially the thicker it gets.
    • If I’m travelling and there is a Wi-Fi router in my room that I can’t turn off, I have a old aluminum lid from a catering tray that is much thicker than classic foil and does a very good job of blocking signal when I wrap it around the device.
    • You need to be thorough in shielding to properly block something. Think of how visible light is blocked when you put a shade in front of it. A lamp shade blocks the direct view of a light bulb, but it doesn’t stop a room from being lit up by ambient light that bounces around behind the shade. (And a thicker shade blocks more light from diffusing through it.) If you imagine that the device you’re trying to block is a light source, and your shield would not stop the ambient light effect (assuming your shield is thick enough to avoid diffuse RFs passing through as well), then your shielding is probably not enough.
  • Shielding Paint:
    • This can be very useful, but also very expensive. I have had great success using a couple coats of YShield HSF54 paint on walls to block Wi-Fi from neighbors. (It’s a high VOC paint though, so wear a VOC-rated mask when applying the paint.) The paint needs to be grounded though:
      • To ground the paint, you don’t need to add a special grounding box to your wall or plug into an outlet. You can ground the paint to an outlet underneath the socket cover. This makes it so that you’d never notice the wall was shielded to look at it, and it doesn’t use up an outlet socket.
      • Apply a horizontal strip of copper tape along the base of the wall you want to shield before you apply the paint. Pick a wall power outlet you want to use for grounding, and remove the wall plate, and pull out the socket. Run a strip of copper tape from the exposed ground wire down the wall to your horizontal paint strip. (Be sure to leave enough slack for the socket to be pulled out and in of its wall box.) Then apply the shielding paint over the wall and the tape. (Be sure to leave an inch or two around outlets and lights unpainted so that their electric field doesn’t transfer unnecessarily into your shielding paint and make it into an antenna.) If you want to paint more than one wall at once, you can continue the copper paint around corners to adjacent walls. Just be sure that every flat surface you paint has at least one strip of copper tape along its length that is connected to a ground wire.
    • Be mindful of how good your house’s grounding is though. If your home does not have good grounding, then plugging your shielded wall into the grounding wire could end up causing your wall to become an antenna for the electrical grounding discharge of your home’s various appliances. In this case, you might be better off not grounding your shielding paint. (It would then act like a giant aluminum foil wall. In this case, be extra careful not to shield a room on opposite walls, so that you don’t create an echo chamber. An echo chamber that lets any amount of RFs in will repeatedly bounce those RFs off opposite walls and end up making your exposure worse than you might otherwise get. A grounded shield can partially absorb RFs that hit it by contrast and divert that energy to the ground.)
  • Shielding Curtains / Blankets:
    • You can get fabrics laced with metal fibers that can be decently good at blocking RFs. This can be especially useful for window curtains. (Shielding paint can shield a wall, but it can’t block what comes through a window.) Many people find good success in embedding this fabric inside a bed quilt also to block most of what comes through the walls while they sleep. There are also bed canopies you can get to shield your bed, but these can be pricey. You will want to ground these fabrics when possible to get the best shielding.
  • Scams to Avoid:
    • Avoid any product that markets itself as something that negates RFs, such as a ring you stick to your phone or wear on your body, or a crystal or precious metal you keep near you. There is no good science behind these devices. Their vendors will often use scientific-sounding language to make them sound legitimate. There will often be many people who genuinely believe in these products when they try to sell them online. But there is no known principle by which these can work.
    • It is always possible that there is some principle scientists have not yet discovered. Perhaps there are some of these devices that simply shift the resonance of RFs in your body to make the health effects less dangerous. But in this case, it still does not stop your body from being exposed – it only reduces your ability to feel it. This could potentially then be worse for you in the long run, like wearing sunglasses while looking at the sun can damage your eyes worse if it causes you to look at the sun more.
    • Also avoid devices that similarly market themselves as negative interference devices, which broadcast RFs to drown out or negate the ambient RFs. Any cancellation effect from negative interference is going to be limited to a small location relative to the device, and it will make RFs worse everywhere outside that location, assuming that the device actually does cancel anything out at all. (Some very expensive products out there have been shown to not even do that.)
    • Avoid shielded clothing: The market is full of these. Beanie caps, shirts, underwear, you name it. Shielded cloth can be very useful for blankets or for wrapping around phones, but anything that is touching your body is, well, touching your body, That makes you part of the same circuit as the shield. Even if it blocks some RFs from hitting your insides, unless the shield is electrically grounded, the electric field from the shield itself as it blocks RFs will not be good for whatever body part is touching it. (See the section on electric fields.) Plus, a beanie cap might end up actually amplifying any RFs into your head, like a satellite dish.

Magnetic Fields

(under construction)

Electric Fields

(under construction)

Other pricier remediation options include getting electrical filters to attach to the wall circuits to reduce the fluctuations caused by things plugged into your outlets (which can also reduce pollution that comes in from neighbor houses who are on the same grid as you or from smart meters). A good electricity filter for the whole house is the Satic Power Perfect Wire-In. It might be close to $1k though. (You can find distributors who might have discounts. Check ebay also.)

Turning off unnecessary devices can go a very long way to reducing EMF. One practice in particular we’ve done in our house is actually turning off the circuit to our bedroom from the panel, so that there’s no field at all from the walls while we sleep. (No filters needed for that!) We then use a battery-powered fake candle for a night light as needed.

Usually one can figure out the sources of EMF in a house without needing a meter once you know what to look for. But a meter can be useful too sometimes to track down sources that aren’t obvious or to let you know about sources from outside the house. (A smart meter is sadly one of the biggest culprits, and it’s hard to avoid those. Many states let you opt out of a smart meter for a higher monthly fee, but not all states do. There are still neighbor meters we can’t do much about, but they are further away and distance makes a big difference.)