EMF radiation and your health (Part II – minimizing risks)

In the previous article we discussed how exposure to electromagnetic radiation may be potentially very dangerous for your health.  In this article we will talk about devices that emit the highest level of EMF and how to minimize risks associated with using them.

Believe it or not, electromagnetic fields can be harmless – and even beneficial, in certain cases.  For instance, research indicates that pulsed low-frequency EMF radiation may help in improving bone density, bone marrow stem cell production, treating inflammatory diseases, fractures and wounds and in many other applications (isn’t this another evidence that EMF, generally speaking, can, after all, have non-thermal effect on living cells?).  However, powers and frequencies used in therapeutic applications are very different from those found in consumer devices (and, of course, in therapeutic applications you are not exposed to them 24/7).  Most of such consumer devices utilize frequency bands that have been associated with health risks – and, considering a wide range of those frequencies (when you count in both the carrier and modulating waves) used across a multitude of EMF-emitting devices using different standards and protocols (Bluetooth, Zigbee, NFC, Wi-Fi, Z-wave, Thread, GSM, DECT, etc. ), it becomes clear that, for a typical urban environment, your exposure to potentially dangerous levels of electromagnetic radiation on a daily basis may be truly enormous.

This article will help you take necessary precautions to minimize your exposure to microwave radiation from all of those devices as much as possible.

Electrohypersensitivity (EHS)

What deserves a special mention is the fact that there is a group of people that exhibits increased sensitivity to even the smallest power densities.  This sensitivity (generally referred to as electrohypersensitivity, or EHS is often not just something you may be born with.  Similar to how many people develop allergic reactions with continuous exposure to allergens, electrohypersensitivity may actually develop in otherwise healthy individuals as a result of continuous exposure to EMF fields.  These symptoms may actually worsen with time (and, conversely, subside after removing or significantly minimizing that exposure).  In other words, people who have not been known to be hypersensitive may become hypersensitive after continuous exposure to elevated levels of microwave frequency radiation.

People with EHS are affected to a much higher degree by EMF fields with lower power densities than people without EHS can withstand with no apparent effects.  People with EHS exhibit such symptoms as headaches, memory and concentration problems, immune deficiencies, depression, fatigue and many more – and the only solution for them may be relocation into zones that are completely free from any exposure to any electromagnetic frequencies.

While these cases may be extreme and, allegedly, not very widespread, remember that continuous exposure to high levels of electromagnetic radiation can make you hypersensitive even if you previously were not – this can make your life very miserable.  So it makes sense to reduce your exposure now, before these things start happening.

Devices that emit the most EMF radiation

Let’s look at devices that you may be using on a daily basis that generate the highest level of EMF radiation. You should very seriously consider either fully eliminating them from your daily routine or, at least, implementing countermeasures to significantly minimize your exposure.

Wi-Fi routers

Just a few years ago, wireless internet was a luxury.  The average wireless speed available to most mere mortals back in the year 2000, for instance, was only about 2-6 Mbps (megabits per second), supported by the then-typical 801.11b protocol beaming the wireless signal at frequencies close to 2.4GHz.  Today, rapid development in wireless protocols and the prevailing 802.11ac wireless protocol have pushed speeds to several gigabits per second (Gbps) and by about 2019, the new 802.11ay standard promises speeds around 100 Gbps at a frequency of 60GHz.  To reiterate, this means 60 billion oscillations per second.

Frequencies aside (wireless B or wireless N standards, for instance, may both utilize the same frequencies), to enable transmissions at longer distances (or through walls of buildings, which partially block Wi-Fi signals) at higher frequencies, more and more powerful wireless devices have been developed.  As you would recall from Part I, it’s not just the frequency that determines whether a tissue can or cannot be penetrated – it is also the power density.  Waves with higher frequencies, while having less interference with other EMF signals, have more difficulty penetrating through physical barriers.  So, typically, to increase the range of Wi-Fi, you have to increase the power of the Wi-Fi signal, which modern Wi-Fi routers (and other Wi-Fi network devices, such as Wi-Fi extenders) generate or re-transmit.  Problem is, a most powerful electromagnetic signal that can penetrate through walls, floors and ceilings to give you a better range can also penetrate quite deep into your body – and at such high frequencies wreak havoc on your cellular functions.

That’s why power density measured in direct vicinity of modern Wi-Fi routers is incredibly and mind-blowingly high.

We have discussed power densities (measured in mW/m2 or equivalent units) in Part I – and while some authorities (mostly those that have a huge conflict of interest in this matter) suggest that brief exposures to ridiculously high levels of 10000 mW/m2 are harmless, most research done around this subject indicates that biologically safe levels are actually around the 0.1 mW/m2 range – for sleeping areas, the maximum exposure is even less – around 0.01 mw/m2 range.

Sceptical about these recommendations?  Fine, give it a “reasonability” buffer, with a factor or 10, if you wish – and then look again at the table of reported effects for each power density.  In fact (while absolutely not recommended) you could even somehow set your tolerance at 100 times higher levels than recommended above (at 10mw/m2) – and you would likely still be very far off from actual power densities for your Wi-Fi router – because typical power densities for modern routers are around 500 mw/m2.  To reiterate – this is 5,000 times the recommended amount.

Below is the picture of an actual measurement we took with a simple (but effective) EMF measurement device in the direct vicinity of a D-Link Wi-Fi router:

EMF radiation from wi-fi router

The meter is showing 459.1 mW/m2 – this is about 500 times the levels considered safe (and we have measured bursts up to 700 mW/m2). This is not a problem with a specific brand, specific model or configuration.  This is a problem for the whole protocol, across the board.

How to protect yourself from Wi-Fi router radiation

  • The best possible protection is not to use Wi-Fi. While this sounds impossible (most portable devices these days are designed to use Wi-Fi to connect to the outside world), there may be alternative solutions for pretty much any device.  So, use a regular modem that doesn’t double as a Wi-Fi router with a wired Ethernet connection.  Investigate your internet provider beforehand – some of those devices offered with your internet subscription might need additional tweaking to turn the Wi-Fi functionality off.  Moreover, with some of them, Wi-Fi can be turned on or reset remotely by the provider.  All other things equal, go with the provider that offers the Wi-Fi modems allowing you to tweak the settings.
  • The above may sound very inconvenient, but keep in mind that most portable devices that provide access to the internet can still be used in wired mode. Most laptops have Ethernet cable jacks and even such devices as iPads can be used with special adapters in wired mode.  Yes, this sacrifices portability and convenience, but may potentially save your health.
  • Where you cannot get around eliminating Wi-Fi altogether, make sure you minimize your exposure by switching it off at times you are not using it. Many router models offer the ability to set a schedule that controls when the router is on or off (set the schedule to keep it off during the night in any case) – failing that, use a simple timer switch and plug your router through it.
  • Under no circumstances should Wi-Fi routers be installed in bedrooms, period.
  • When shopping for a Wi-Fi router, pick a model that allows you to control output power. Most of today’s models output way too strong of a signal for the space they are used in.  Some people use very strong Wi-Fi routers in tiny apartments, when the devices that connect to the router are, literally, just several feet away.  This is a total overkill – in those cases, power densities (and, thus, potential harmful impact) can be minimized by lowering the transmission power of the router through its settings.  Use the lowest power you can get away with;
  • Do not use any Wi-Fi repeaters, signal extenders, or anything of this sort – while this promises even coverage and strong signal, in most cases this is unnecessary. Even if your house is big and you have “dead zones” – this is totally OK.  The cases where you need coverage in every nook and cranny are extremely rare – it’s much better to be limited in areas where you can use your devices wirelessly than to be bombarded with EMF radiation from every angle everywhere you go.
  • Keep in mind – these measures target your own home setup. When you are in the office or a café (or any one of a million of locations using Wi-Fi routers) – you have no say.  Some setups are better than the others – so, perhaps, test the areas you spend the most time in using an EMF measuring device (see “EMF meters” below) and stick to those that have relatively safe EMF levels.

Cordless home phones

You might think that GSM cellular phones (discussed below) would top the list of the most dangerous EMF radiation sources – but before we talk about cell phones, we want to bring your attention to the dangers of another device that vast majority of people consider a safe alternative.

We want to talk about regular cordless home phones.  And what you will learn might be a shocker, because cordless home phones may actually be much worse than cellular phones.

What was the last time you saw or used a corded phone?  Probably a very long time ago.  Of course, cordless phones are fantastically convenient – as long as the receiver unit is charged, you can move around your home for hours, doing chores and talking at the same time, not restricted by the length of a phone cord.  In fact, having started at 900Mhz several years ago, these units have graduated to 2.4Ghz band (again, around the same frequency band as most wireless consumer devices) and much higher power that now allows you to use your phone at quite a distance from its base station without experiencing signal loss or interference – such as when you are working in your backyard or garage.

But you do remember what signal strength and penetration depends on, correct?  That’s right – higher power!  And power densities close to a cordless phone’s antenna (which, incidentally is the piece closest to your head when you talk on the phone) are absolutely astronomical:

EMF radiation from cordless home phone

Yes, that is 1,827 mW/m2!

The receiver is not the only piece that emits radiation – the base station actually transmits the signal constantly, regardless of whether the phone is in use or not.

The worst (and in a lot of times – the most prevalent) type of cordless home phones are those that utilize the DECT technology.  Unlike older, analog models of cordless phones, DECT phones typically transmit pulsed radiation at high frequencies and high powers, comparable to or higher than mobile phones.  With DECT phones, the base station typically transmits non-stop, 24/7 (only a few newer models can be set up in such a way that base station transmits only during a call) – and the range of that powerful electromagnetic field differs from one model to another.

How to protect yourself from cordless phone radiation

  • The best thing you can do is – switch to a corded phone. Yes, this is not always convenient, but – especially for longer conversations – this really is the absolute best approach.  You rarely need to have long conversations that require you to move around (if you do – perhaps you need to revise your habits, as even using corded phones for long periods of time may expose you to strong magnetic fields, the strength of which varies with each model.
  • In rare cases where the above is not feasible, avoid using the cordless phone receiver for anything other than very brief conversations. Instead, use the speakerphone functionality away from the receiver or the base unit.  The strength of microwave radiation (and, in case of  corded phones – the strength of magnetic fields) decreases with distance;
  • Once again, you might need to actually measure EMF emitted by cordless home phones using an EMF meter to pick a model that gives you the lowest reading (mostly likely it will still be high in absolute terms) – that’s after digging through technical specifications to find a phone that has less transmission power.
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Mobile (Cellular) phones

There is a reason why cellular phones do not come first in this list, as surprising as this may sound.  In contrast to Wi-Fi routers, cellular phones are typically not used around the clock and, compared to cordless home phones, they do not even emit that much radiation.  This, however, doesn’t make them less dangerous – and the level of risk depends a lot on how you use them.  In fact, there are claims that many cell phone manufacturers actually own patents on technologies that allow reducing cell phone radiation – a surprising development, given that the industry typically declares cell phones safe for use.

While there are several cellular communication protocols in the world, the most popular is GSM – with voice-communication frequencies ranging from 380Mhz to 1900Mhz (depending on a band) – so most mobile phones these days communicate at one or several frequencies within that range.  This, however, is not the full picture – most smartphones are also able to transmit and receive data at frequencies up to 2700Mhz (or 2.7Ghz, comparable to home Wi-Fi frequencies).

In addition, your smartphone probably supports Bluetooth – this protocol also uses frequencies in the 2.4Ghz range.  Perhaps it also supports the NFC (ever used your phone to tap and pay for purchases?  This is NFC), which operates at 13.56Mhz.  And, most probably, it is Wi-Fi-enabled to conveniently access internet through wireless routers at Wi-Fi frequencies between 2.4 and 5Ghz.  So at any given point in time, your phone might be showering you with a multitude of electromagnetic waves at different frequencies – often while being in a very close contact with your body, where the power of those electromagnetic waves is the highest.

EMF radiation from a cell phone

How to reduce EMF radiation form a cellular phone

Let’s get one thing straight – your phone communicates by using electromagnetic signals.  So any device, contraption, protective case, or sticker (yep, those are marketed, too) that promises to reduce EMF radiation cannot do this by definition without cutting off or significantly reducing its range.  You can, of course, enclose your phone in a Faraday cage to protect yourself from all EMF it might emit, but it would then become a useless paper weight, as you would not be able to use it for any communication.  So there is no easy way to reduce or eliminate EMF radiation from a cell phone other than reducing or eliminating the cell phone use itself.

If you don’t believe the safety levels set by the bodies overseeing communication standards (we wouldn’t – at least because the safety of mobile phones is set based on measuring Specific Absorption Rate, or SAR, that is self-reported by manufacturers, measured using simulation plexiglass-and-fluid models and considers only thermal effects), here is what you can do:

  • Bad reception requires more power from your phone to maintain signal (it also drains your battery quicker, too) – this, in turn, increases power density of electromagnetic waves. As a result, you get exposed to more EMF radiation;
  • Which brings us to the next point – get the phone as far away as possible. Do not carry it in a pocket right next to your body unless it is on airplane mode with all communication turned off.  If you need to make a call – use wired (not Bluetooth!) headsets.  Wired headsets allow you to keep the cell phone farther away from your body – however, it makes a lot of sense to invest in good quality (i.e – more expensive) headsets with a well-shielded wire (unfortunately, in most cases, it’s hard to predict which one is well-shielded so the only way to find out is to actually measure EMF at the headset level using an EMF meter).  If the wire is not well-shielded, it acts as an antenna for radio waves and carries them directly to your head.  While the exposure is probably still less than from a cell phone at your ear, those of you who are especially concerned, can either use headsets that carry the sound to your ears using analog “air tubes” (which essentially function similar to medical stethoscopes  and, thus, lacking metallic wires do not carry EMF signal) or use other measures to reduce such exposure – like clip-on ferrite beads that block high frequency electromagnetic waves traveling along the headset wire;
  • Because your phone may transmit and receive information at different frequencies, different protocols and different power levels at the same time – make sure you are using only what you actually need at the moment to at least reduce this cumulative impact. If you are not in an area that supports Wi-Fi – turn off Wi-Fi.  If you are in an area that supports Wi-Fi – keep Wi-Fi on and turn off Cellular Data.  If you are not using wireless headphones (you shouldn’t be using those) or your car’s hands-free calling functionality – turn off Bluetooth.  If you are just listening to some music – keep it in airplane mode (especially if you carry it on your body).  It may be a bit tedious to switch these on and off, but don’t let added convenience create more health risks;
  • Better yet – do not use your phone unnecessarily. Perhaps brief exposures involving very short phone conversations or occasional text message or some internet browsing would not kill you  – but far too often have we seen people on their unlimited cellular plans spending literally hours at a time, chatting on the phone just because they can;  Remember, this is a high-frequency high-power EMF emitter that you are holding millimeters from your brain;
  • At night, your cell phone should be either fully off, or on airplane mode – especially if you keep it by the side of your bed. Very few potential emergencies can justify keeping your phone on when your sleep – when you do, make sure it is as far away from your bed as possible.  Preferably in a different room;
  • In Part I you saw that EMF radiation penetrates much further into kids’ brains than it does into the brains of adults. This is not excuse for adults to use cell phones more – rather, a reminder that kids, with their brains not fully developed, have no business using cellular phones.  Unless they are in the woods – they will never get lost or stranded.  Teach them to use payphones and give them a few coins.  Schools, camps – and pretty much any location in any city – all have phones they can use in case of emergency.  Peer pressure be damned – keep kids away from cell phones as much as possible.  Their social skills would develop better, too, when they actually get involved in face-to-face interactions, instead.

Smart Meters

Perhaps some of you are fortunate to live in communities where electric meters used by utility companies are old-fashioned and require someone to physically come by to take a reading to report your use.  If so – you are one of the lucky few.   At some point, someone decided that it would be a great idea to have your power meter transmit information directly to the utility company – typically, through a series of re-transmissions through a network of neighboring smart meters, across the whole community to the community transceiver tower erected by the utility company) so that nobody had to come.   So smart meters – that, along with the information on how much power you used, can transmit information on the pattern of your use (you know, when you cook, when you have guests, when you are home, etc.) and allow the utility company to remotely cut you off – took the cities by storm.  Electromagnetic storm, that is.

Utility companies do not limit this to just electric power meters – some water and gas meters are also being converted into smart meters with RF transmission capabilities.  All of these communicate at frequencies between 900Mhz and 2.4Ghz – but, most importantly, this is happening at power densities often 100 times those of cell phones.  Here is a typical reading:

EMF from smart meters

Depending on the model used, the data may be wirelessly transmitted to utility companies as meter reading, time sync signal, mesh network management signal, etc. – all in all, sometimes, up to thousands or even hundreds of thousands times per day!  And it’s not just your smart meter that does this – it’s also every smart meter in your direct neighborhood.

These smart meters may operate at various power densities (sometimes, at astronomical levels of 40000 mw/m2 in the direct vicinity (read this report) (1 μw/cm2 = 1mw/m2)

In addition, certain electronic components installed in smart meters (that step down AC current to low-voltage DC current, which allows them to function) produce sharp high-frequency spikes of RF radiation on a constant basis.  Because smart meters are installed at the base of the grid connected to a house the wiring in the house itself works as amplifying antennas to dissipate all that radio frequency – this is called the “dirty electricity” effect.

There is probably no need to explain why all of this is bad, but if you need specific information – this Australian study discusses health effects of wireless smart meters.  You can also look at this rebuttal of the industry’s claims that smart meters are safe (this rebuttal was endorsed by more than 50 international medical doctors and researchers).

You can even watch a video of how red blood cells are affected (i.e. – damaged) by non-thermal non-ionizing microwave radiation from wireless smart meters.

How to minimize the effect of EMF radiation from smart meters

So what can you do to eliminate the risk from smart meters, if your house has one?  Unfortunately, short of moving into a neighborhood that doesn’t have them (those are a rare find these days) – not too much, as, while opting out of having one installed may be an option in very few communities, the majority is installed without requiring your consent.  Some simple steps to reduce the impact would include:

  • Making sure your bedroom is not directly behind the wall where the smart meter is installed outside. RF radiation is bad generally, but even worse in areas where you sleep.  As power densities decrease with distance, the more of that distance (and physical walls) you put between yourself and a smart meter – the better;
  • You can use a Faraday cage (also called Faraday shield) that fully blocks electromagnetic fields. These range from pricey commercially available enclosures) to cheap DIY solutions and are, by far, the best way to eliminate harmful electromagnetic waves from any device.
  • Another solution is to shield just the wall behind the smart meter to stop the most powerful waves from penetrating into your home behind that wall – this can be achieved by using an EMF shielding paint or EMF shielding mesh.

 

Microwave Ovens

Here is a device the sole purpose of which is actually to emit electromagnetic waves.  Microwave ovens, which operate within a narrow range of frequencies (around the same popular 2.45 Ghz level), concentrate radio-frequency emissions in the center of the oven (where your food typically is) and heat food by causing dipolar water molecules present in most foods to rapidly vibrate, which generates heat. Microwave ovens are supposed to be shielded to block the EMF from escaping the oven and cooking someone close by.  Tiny holes at the front of your microwave door that make it possible for you to see what’s going on inside the oven are significantly smaller than wavelengths involved in microwave cooking, so the theory is, microwaves cannot escape.  Or, rather – that they would not escape too much: US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) actually permits leakage of such microwaves at power densities of up to 5 mW/cm2 at the distance of approximately 2 inches from the oven and states that “This limit is far below the level known to harm people.”  Keep in mind that it’s actually 50,000 mW/m2 (!) and, having read Part I, you might come to a different conclusion, because, in reality, this is an insane amount of RF radiation.

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Even if you don’t spend hours glued to the glass at 2 inches away, however, these devices may not be as well sealed as you might think.  We tested a working microwave with an EMF meter at about 3 meters (10 feet) away (which is, probably, further away from the device that a typical kitchen allows) – and the reading showed about 18-20 mW/m2.  Still within the “official” limits above, but way higher than would be considered safe. Obviously, meter readings at closer distances showed even higher numbers.

These measurements are confirmed to be very typical – the brand, price or size of the microwave does not matter.  The readings we are reporting here were from a well-known brand and a relatively expensive model.

Those who think the only harmful effect of microwave ovens is thermal (and, thus, if you are not feeling the heat, you are OK) should search YouTube for “microwaving lightbulbs”, which will clearly demonstrate how microwaves can produce electricity sufficient to turn on lightbulbs without any power supply – just imagine what these fields can do to your living cells (once again, re-read the article on the effect of EMF on voltage-gated calcium channels).

How to protect yourself from microwave ovens

  • As usual – the best way to protect yourself from any leaking microwave radiation is to stop using microwave ovens. Yes, they are convenient and fast – but when it comes to your health, this is not a good compromise.  Heating up food may be as efficient on a fry pan, in a regular toaster oven or a steam toaster oven (there are good countertop varieties available from several manufacturers).
  • If you absolutely must use a microwave oven – get as far away from it as possible (leave the kitchen altogether) when it’s on. Power densities drop off with distance, so the more of it (and a few walls) you put between yourself and this device – the better.  Never stand right in front of it, no matter how safe manufacturers declare this to be.
  • If possible, and if you are at a stage when you are about to buy one (and refuse to stop using it altogether) – try turning them on and checking how much they emit with an EMF meter (see “EMF Meters” below). Different microwaves may leak different amount of electromagnetic radiation (the price, in this case, is not an indicator of anything, you need to test to be sure) – so pick the one that emits the least;

Baby monitors

The same technology that is used in cordless home phones (DECT) is often utilized in baby monitors.  These video- and audio-transmitting devices present a huge risk to a developing brain – especially if used as intended (i.e. the transmitter is typically placed very close to a baby – like inside a crib).  Depending on a model, these transmitters can shower anything in their direct vicinity with up to a hundred times higher levels of EMF than those considered safe (typical measurements read between 30 mw/m2 to 100 mw/m2) and can even go into multiple triple digits.  The receivers also emit EMF, albeit at lower levels.

How to protect babies from EMF-radiating baby monitors

  • Once again, for the best possible protection – just don’t use them. It’s not the end of the world.
  • If you must use a baby monitor, only stick to low-EMF models. There are a few possible solutions: use wired models (there are those that can be connected using Ethernet cables – make sure their Wi-Fi transmission is turned off), stick with analog monitors (older models that only offer audio and no video) that only transmit at around 49Mhz range – and position then as far away from babies as practically possible, or use only those models that use motion/voice activated transmission – these devices do not transmit constantly, but only when they detect sound/motion.  None of these solutions would be as safe as just not using a baby monitor, but they definitely help reduce the exposure.

Laptop Computers

As you read in Part I, unfortunately, whereas you can shield against electric fields, you cannot shield against magnetic fields—they go straight through metal, including lead. The only way you could protect yourself against it is to completely encase the source and ground it, using a so-called Faraday cage.  The only consolation is that the strength of magnetic fields drops off rapidly and exponentially with distance.

One of the strongest generator of magnetic fields (and microwave radiation) is a laptop.  Certain models of laptop computers may be another high energy source of both electric- and magnetic fields – your lap (close to your vital organs) is, in fact, the worst place to put these devices.  You cannot effectively block magnetic fields emanating from a laptop, so the best strategy is to use it while it is away from your body (on a desk, etc.).  The results of some measurements show that devices that are plugged into a power source (as opposed to those used purely on battery power) may actually generate magnetic fields up to a hundred times stronger – but this evidence is inconsistent and sometimes contradictory (most probably – because this would depend a lot on the quality of shielding in a power cable, grounding, individual device model and other factors.

Laptop safety recommendations

  • Use wired keyboard and mouse (this is good even with a desktop, to minimize the amount of wireless radiation those peripheral devices would emit otherwise);
  • Use wired Ethernet connection for network access;
  • If not using the internet, turn your laptop’s Wi-Fi functions off
  • Check your laptop with a gauss meter to see whether magnetic fields are the strongest when it is plugged in or running on battery power. As mentioned above, the results here may be inconsistent and depend on how well the charging cable is made, whether it is properly shielded, grounded, etc.
  • If you are using a laptop with a docking station (or just connect a wired keyboard and mouse) – an added protection from magnetic field can be provided by specially designed EMF-protection pads placed over the laptop.

Remember that the BioInitiative Report recommends that safe limits for EMFs should be set around 1 milliGauss (0.1 microTesla) limit .

EMF Meters

Because of infinite variations between models and technologies utilized – and because electromagnetic frequencies are invisible to the eye – the best way to determine EMF levels in your living areas and around devices you use is to use an EMF meter to actually measure them.

There any many meters available on the market, but make sure you do your research and read reviews to pick the one that is reliable, consistent and accurate.  The meter shown in photos in this article is Cornet ED85EXS that measures only microwave frequencies.  A similar model, produced by the same company – Cornet ED88T – can measure microwave frequencies as well as electric and magnetic fields around electric devices.  Other brands that have rave reviews include Gigahertz Solutions (rather pricey) and Trifield (this one doesn’t have a digital display, but rather an analog needle).

In the end – extreme sensitivity and accuracy only becomes an issue in scientific applications.  For the purposes of determining if the devices you use can be harmful, you don’t need extreme accuracy to 0.01 of whatever unit of measure you use.  Whether your Wi-Fi router actually emits 500 mW/m2 or 490 mW/m2 doesn’t’ matter much – any of the two measurements is still way too high.   So if you are on a budget and cannot afford a $300-$500 device – go for a more affordable model, as long as it is consistent in its measurements and does its job.  There are many of those you can find on Amazon or eBay.

Parting thoughts – and additional protective measures

Despite the industry actively trying to downplay the dangers of electromagnetic frequency exposure from modern consumer devices and declare them harmless (read this great summary to get a scoop on the myths and realities surrounding EMF), a large accumulated body of evidence suggests very much otherwise.

The unfortunate fact is that, in the modern world, it is virtually impossible to fully eliminate unwanted electromagnetic frequency exposure.  Even if you do not own the devices that produce EMF radiation, your neighbors (often – right behind your wall) very well might – as might the people with whom you are traveling to work, sitting in the same restaurant (or running the restaurant) or office (some studies show that even “second-hand” radiation from other people’s cell phones might be considerable, especially in certain environments.  So, unless you live in the middle of the forest and have no electricity – these risks will always remain.

But, while we do not encourage you to completely disregard and abstain from all modern technological developments, you may want to keep in mind that the destructive impact of the environment you create around you is very often cumulative.  You might think that a little cell phone use here and there would not do you any harm – but if you combine this with 24/7 powerful Wi-Fi routers running in your home, microwaves in your kitchen, wireless earphones you wear to listen to the music (while carrying a smartphone emitting at different frequencies in your pocket, millimeters from your skin) and all sorts of “smart” wireless devices showering you with EMF radiation from multiple directions – it might be only a matter of time before something starts going wrong.

Conversely, if you limit your exposure as much as you reasonably can (without forcing yourself to live in the 19th century) – some brief and occasional exposure to microwave radiation is probably not going to be enough to tip the scale.  That may be even more relevant if – through proper dietary, exercise and other lifestyle choices – you build up and maintain resilience and your body’s natural defense and recovery mechanisms.

Lastly – make sure you do not stress your cells more than you need to.  A healthy resilient body may have better ability to withstand harmful impacts of excessive radiation.  Of course this is not the case of testing your limits and seeing how far you can take this – but, generally speaking, an immune system that is properly tuned up (and not busy fighting some systemic inflammation, for example) and a body that gets enough nutrients would have far larger reserves to recover and repair itself, compared to the one that gets hammered by chemicals in processed food, lack of sleep, or poor diet.  Remember, one of the ways EMF radiation may impact your body is by activating voltage-gated calcium channels and through the resulting overproduction of reactive oxygen species.  So, in theory, to minimize damage to your cells, an increased consumption of anti-oxidants may be warranted if you are exposed to elevated levels of microwave frequency radiation (which most of us are).

The range of measures you can take to reduce your risks related to EMF exposure is pretty broad – some things (such as most of those discussed in this article) are easy to implement and cost virtually nothing.  Some (such as investing into expensive EMF-shielding fabric, film and bed canopies can cost a small fortune.  Is proper nutrition and stress-management a substitute for due diligence around the sources of electromagnetic radiation?  No, of course not – but all of these risk-mitigation factors (including proper nutrition) add up.  Remember how some studies implicated EMF in cancer promotion?  Even if you do not believe that EMF initiates cancer, reducing other factors that can initiate it would be a very reasonable approach.  So, sure, by all means, reduce as much EMF exposure as you can in your own home – and for the risks outside of it, which you cannot always control – at least take better care of yourself.