Home detox - reduce electromagnetic radiation

The home environment is vital for our health and wellbeing, but did you know that most houses are rife with dangerous levels of electromagnetic radiation? David Goding investigates.

Opening the door to your home after a busy day brings sweet relief and the promise of imminent comfort as you kick back and adjust to a night in the slow lane. But just because you’ve closed the book on the day, doesn’t mean your house has too. In fact, this is your home’s busiest time as lights and appliances are flicked on and wireless technologies bounce from living room to home offices to bedrooms. So, as you settle in for a quiet evening, you’re actually surrounded by a buzz of electromagnetic radiation.

“There are so many things wrong with our homes,” says Patrick van der Burght, from Geovital Academy, an organisation that carries out detailed home assessments that look at minimising electronic pollution and in-house radiation.

“We walk through the living room, the kitchen, the home office, the bedroom and show people how easy it is to be exposed to low-level radiation. These are radiation exposure levels often far under the government limit yet, even at these lower levels, they can have serious health effects. Radiation from mobile phone towers can be a constant source of irritation. Even the wiring inside walls with nothing plugged in produces electric fields, which we find coursing through 90 per cent of people while they’re lying on their bed.”

Van der Burght argues that accumulative exposure can have serious health risks, affecting fertility and the unborn baby, compromising the immune system, depleting energy levels and impeding recovery from illness, including cancer.

“Anything under 1000 milliGauss (mG) of electromagnetic radiation is acceptable by the government but there’s loads of research that shows biological effects at far less than that. Only two mG blocks melatonin in its natural anticancer action and 1.6 mG doubles the chance of sperm abnormalities.”

The good news is if your house doesn’t lie in a dangerous electromagnetic field from an outside source, it won’t cost a fortune to reduce your exposure levels.

“You don’t need to be paranoid about it,” says van der Burght, “you just need to get smart about it.”

Let there be light
It’s often the first thing you turn on when you get home and the last thing you turn off before you go to sleep at night. The light switch. Some homes have dozens of them. But not all lights were created equal and many emit harmful radiation if you happen to be in the wrong place for a length of time.

“Energy saver globes – especially the fluorescent types with the coiled element – produce both low frequency and high frequency radiation. The low frequency is not too much of an issue unless you’ve got it in a reading light right next to you, but the high frequency can travel quite a distance, is absorbed by the body, and is hard to get away from” says van der Burght.

“I usually recommend that people get rid of their energy saver light globes and replace them with either an old fashioned globe – which are getting harder and harder to get but you can buy them from overseas – or non-dimmable LED lights.”

When it comes to creating mood lighting, dimmer switches and touch lamps are the worst solution possible.

“Dimmer switches are almost always bad news,” says van der Burght. “As soon as you ‘squeeze’ power you start to get more radiation being produced. When you turn them on they produce an electromagnetic field that starts from the switch, buzzes around that cable to the light and if that light is on the other side of the living room, you can have the whole living room exposed to an electromagnetic field.

“We recommend you get an electrician to remove the dimmer component and turn it into a basic on-off light.”

Getting to know your appliances
It’s been the controversial elephant in the kitchen for years, and for good reason. The microwave is just about the worst appliance you can get for leaking radiation.

“When we do an assessment, I sometimes get a person to put a glass of water in the microwave and turn it on,” says van der Burght. “Two seconds later the radiation starts. On our instrumentation the lights go up and a noise starts – you can hear the radiation. And then I walk away from the active microwave and in house after house I’ve got to get at least eight metres away to get out of the red zone.

“If you have to use it, press the start button and run away like you’ve just thrown a hand grenade. Keep children out of the kitchen when it is on and certainly never watch your food cooking.”

Other appliances produce radiation but you’re not likely to be standing next to them long enough to be overly concerned.
“A dryer or rangehood or washing machine or dishwasher produce radiation but you don’t tend to stand in front of it for half an hour,” says van der Burght.
The common electrical item that many people are exposed to for hours every night is the clock radio.
“I recommend replacing the clock radio, which is always drawing a current, with a battery-operated alarm clock,” says van der Burght. “You really don’t want any electrical equipment active in your bedroom.”

The wireless effect
Wireless technology neatens things up by eliminating all the wires that clutter your space, but it comes at a price.

“High frequency radiation comes from mobile phone towers, Smart Meters, wifi systems in your house and your neighbour’s house, cordless phones, mobile phones, bluetooth, baby monitors all that communication-related stuff that needs to travel a distance,” says van der Burght.

“There are a lot of countries that give warnings, especially to pregnant women and children, to stay away from wireless technology.”
Van de Burght recommends using wired technology where possible, including wired keyboards and a wired mouse. But, he adds, not all new technology is inherently bad.

“New flat-screen monitors and TVs are typically very good when it comes to radiation,” he says. “They don’t emit much at all in contrast to the old-fashioned tube TV which produced an enormous field of radiation.”

Sleeping on it
The bedroom is probably the most important area to clean up. This is where you recharge your batteries, so you want to avoid recharging anything else at the same time. Top of the list of things not to do is keeping a mobile phone by your bed.

“You don’t want a mobile phone next to you and you certainly don’t want it charging,” says van de Burght. “They send out signals that your body doesn’t understand. At the very least it stresses the body and causes exhaustion and fatigue.

“Just leave your phone on the coffee table. If it rings, you’ll hear it. Get out of bed and get it. Or, even better, turn it off.”

The other option is to invest in a shielding pouch for your mobile, which blocks high-frequency signals.

Not far behind the mobile phone in terms of potential harm is the bed itself. Electric blankets, coiled springs and metal bed frames can turn your place of slumber into a giant electromagnetic antenna.

“Even when the electric blanket is turned off, it’s still attached to a live wire in the wall and the electric fields jump across,” says van de Burght. “You’re drawing these electrical fields to you.

An electric blanket is basically a mat of electrical wires just like a spring-filled mattress. You’re attracting radiation to you.

“If you put a compass on top of your mattress, you’ll often see it change direction because the coils work up a magnetic quality to them. We usually advise people to move away from spring-filled mattresses. There are loads of alternatives around.”

Lastly, make sure your bed doesn’t back on to a meter box outside, particularly if it’s one of the new Smart Meters.

“Smart Meters should be uninvented,” says van de Burght. “We get a lot of calls from people who have become symptomatic after a Smart Meter installation. They’re horrible things and you don’t want to be sleeping anywhere near one.”

Moving house
When buying or building a house, you have the luxury of either creating a healthy home from scratch or making sure you’re not buying into a problem you can’t fix.

“Electromagnetic fields from overhead or underground power cables running up and down the street is the one type of radiation that you can’t shield against really,” says van de Burght. “It’s very sad when you’ve just bought a house and excessive levels are there because you can’t fix it.”

Van de Burght suggests purchasing a piece of equipment called a trifield meter, which measures electromagnetic fields.

“Buy one and keep it in the family; they can be very useful. In my opinion, when you’re looking at houses, anything over 0.8 mG and you should turn around, walk away and forget about it.”
When building, there are numerous ways of creating a clean environment, including installing automatic off switches that cut the power to a circuit when not in use. Solar panels should also be installed in the appropriate part of a house.

“Solar panels produce a pumping electromagnetic field while the sun is out,” says van de Burght. “At night this disappears. So it’s a wise idea to position solar panels away from areas where you spend a lot of time during the day.”

NEXT: 9 tips for a healthy home>>


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