Surveys show the average American spends anywhere from seven to 12 hours in front of a screen every day.
Computers. TVs. Cell phones. Tablets. Laptops.
Negative impacts of excessive screen time have been well documented: difficulty sleeping, neck and back soreness, and increased risk for obesity, anxiety and other conditions.
One potential impact has not received as much attention, though – electromagnetic fields. EMFs are invisible areas of energy often associated with electrical power, lighting and electronic devices. People typically assume EMFs are harmless until they hear an alternative name – radiation.
Electronic devices are generally considered safe because they emit low levels of EMFs. However, 12 hours of screen time daily hardly qualifies as a low level. In addition to electronic devices, we are exposed to EMFs through Wi-Fi, power lines, microwaves, Bluetooth devices and home appliances.
Effects of EMFs on the Body
For generations, researchers have been studying the physiological impacts of behaviors and habits with detrimental impacts on our bodies. It’s well-known that smoking, alcohol use, overexposure to the sun, poor nutrition and lack of exercise can contribute to poor health.
Researchers do not have decades of research studies examining EMFs. That long-term data simply is not available because technologies are still developing. However, physicians can attest that damage from EMFs is cumulative. A long day or week in front of the computer does not necessarily trigger health problems. However, repeated exposure over a lengthy period – weeks, months and years – is a cause for concern.
EMFs cause damage at the cellular level. The human body contains free radicals, which are molecular species that can remove electrons from healthy cells. Free radicals are not dangerous when balanced by antioxidants that neutralize the impact. EMFs can interrupt that balance. When that happens, free radicals start damaging electrons, an oxidation process that prevents cells from doing their jobs. Oxidation damages tissues and cells and can even alter DNA. Oxidative stress has been connected to Cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Diabetes, cardiovascular conditions, inflammatory disorders, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Asthma, and reproductive issues.
Limiting and neutralizing exposure to EMFs
In today’s connected, digital society, it’s impossible to eliminate all exposure to EMFs. Limiting and neutralizing exposure is relatively easy, though, by making certain lifestyle choices:
• Dieting: Consume food with ample amounts of antioxidants, including broccoli, spinach, carrots, avocados, kale, spinach, blueberries, raspberries and pecans.
• Grounding: Walking outside barefoot, sitting in the grass or swimming in fresh water infuses the body with stabilizing ions.
• Stashing: Keep electronic devices away from the body while not actively using them, including cell phones, earbuds and smartwatches.
• Unplugging: Turn off or unplug the home Wi-Fi while not in use and keep all electronic devices away from the bed while sleeping.
Although EMFs surround us, we can take charge of our health and keep our bodies safe. Until we know more about the long-term effects of EMFs, it cannot hurt to take steps to avoid them.
As always, please consult with your physician prior to making any substantial lifestyle, health or nutritional changes.
About the Author
Rona Tagalog, ARNP, is a board-certified family nurse practitioner at Naples Center for Functional Medicine. For more information, please visit NaplesCFM.com or call 239-649-7400.