Energy was the topic at the most recent Institute for Functional Medicine conference in all forms. And this included a form of energy that often feels like the elephant in the room – electromagnetic frequency (EMF) energy. Today, significantly more so than even four years ago, we’re surrounded by EMFs from cell phone towers and WiFi. And the phones are getting more powerful than ever, which also means that the radiofrequency (RF) energy they’re emitting is stronger than ever.
There is an ongoing debate about whether cell phone usage causes cancer, including brain cancer. According to the FDA and the World Health Organization, there is no definitive data to link radiofrequency from cell phones to negative health outcomes. There are studies; however, that were presented at the meeting that conclude otherwise. Here are a few of the findings:
- A study published in Brain Research found that prenatal exposure of 900 MHz of EMF for 60 minutes/day during the entire gestation period resulted in a decrease in numbers of pyramidal cells in the rat brain hippocampus.
- Researchers from Gazi University in Turkey found a significant increase in oxidative DNA damage and lipid peroxidation in non-pregnant and pregnant rabbits exposed to 1800 MHz of radiofrequency radiation for just 15 minutes/day for seven days.
- A study in PLoS One exposed purified human sperm in test tubes to 1800 MHz of EMF-RF in a range of specific absorption rates (SAR) and found with increasing SAR, greater mitochondrial DNA damage, reactive oxygen species, reduction in motility, and death compared to unexposed sperm.
- Research published in JAMA found that spending 50 minutes with a cell phone turned on and against the ear significantly increased the rate of glucose metabolism in the brain. The significance of this is not yet clear; however, the results do indicate that our brains are sensitive to RF-EMF exposure.
There are a number of precautions you can take to limit your exposure to the potential damaging effects of RF-EMF energy:
- When on the phone, keep it at least 5/8th of an inch from your ear (this is also stated clearly in the iPhone User’s Manual), with the antennae turned down towards your shoulder. Better yet, wear a wired hands free device for phone calls.
- Limit phone calls and text instead, and if possible, limit texting too.
- Avoid carrying your phone in your pocket or in your bra (which evidently many women are doing!). Carry it in a purse or bag to get some distance from your body.
- Put your phone on airplane mode when not in use to stop the signal when you’re not using it. Keep it away from your bed, especially in active mode. And if possible, turn it off at night.
- Don’t allow your children to play with your phone. Skeptical or not, it took decades to determine that cigarette smoking caused lung cancer. The cells that are the most vulnerable are those that are rapidly growing like stem cells, spermatocytes, neuronal cells and embryonic cells. And children of course are now being exposed to RF-EMF from day one, while many of us were adults when the technology became common.
I’m not ready to give up my phone, I’ve grown too attached to it. But I’ve been using many of the suggestions above to lower my risks. And at times when I’m feeling frazzled, I walk away from all technology for a short time and it helps too.