Dirty Electricity: Reducing Your Exposure
by Heather Rothbauer Wanish
Many people are not familiar with electrical pollution. And, of those that have heard of this type of pollution, many people do not fully understand its causes. Unfortunately, electrical pollution is not something that can be seen nor touched. In fact, electrical pollution is difficult to detect because most people are not even aware of its existence. Because of the difficulty in recognizing this type of pollution, it is critically important for people to educate themselves about the causes of it and what to look for in your environment.
According to DirtyElectricity.org, normally occurring incidents from everyday electrical use, electrical and magnetic fields (EMF), earth currents and transients, and high frequency noise are sources that cause electrical pollution. While pollution can come from any one of these causes, it is often a combination of these various sources.
Electrical pollution, a less-well-known type of electromagnetic field, is oftentimes known as “dirty” or transient electricity. Prevention.com explains the dangers of this “dirty” electricity: “transients are largely by-products of modern energy-efficient electronics and appliances — from computers, refrigerators, and plasma TVs to compact fluorescent light bulbs and dimmer switches — which tamp down the electricity they use.”
What does this mean for individuals exposed to this type of electricity? According to Prevention.com, the manipulation of this electrical current can cause a “wildly fluctuating and potentially dangerous electromagnetic field that essentially charges up the electrons in every cell of your body”. This can lead to insulin difficulties, immune system responses, and other physical reactions.
While people enjoy technology and the convenience of appliances, it is also necessary to protect yourself against electrical pollution and the items that may cause it. According to environmental consultant Cindy Sage, there are several steps everyone can take to reduce exposure to electromagnetic fields from a variety of sources.
First, avoid wireless devices when possible. Based on Prevention.com’s advice, utilize wired technology instead of wireless devices. If you still choose to use WiFi for its convenience and ease of access, only plug in when needed and disconnect when not in use. Another important tip is to keep the router as far as possible from frequently used spaces or from bedrooms within your home.
Next, choose LED or incandescent light bulbs and avoid compact fluorescent bulbs that emit higher levels of dirty electricity. Simply choosing a different type of light bulb can limit your exposure to electrical pollution and can be a safer choice within your home and work environment.
Thirdly, keep away from the circuit breaker. According to Prevention.com, main electrical and circuit breaker panels give off high EMF within three to four feet. Circuit breakers should be kept as far as possible from areas of the home where much time is spent.
Choose a landline telephone. For many people, a landline telephone is a thing of the past. However, corded landline phones have much less radiation than mobile phones. This means not having a mobile phone attached to you at all times; choosing to place a landline phone in your home may help alleviate some of the electrical pollution risk.
If you do choose to utilize a mobile phone, eliminate the use of a headset. To significantly reduce the amount of radiation received, users should use the speakerphone and keep the phone away from their heads. As stated on Prevention.com, using a wireless headset, along with the phone, can combine to exceed current safety limits. If you must use a cell phone, try using text messaging rather than phone calls. Typing on your phone is better than placing a call and having the phone near your head for an extended period of time.
And, if you try to use your cell phone when service is spotty, you are actually increasing your risk of radiation and electrical pollution. When the phone has a weak signal, it increases the power to a maximum, adding additional radiation to the user and those around the user. Keeping your mobile phone in your purse or in your briefcase is another smart option. Once the object is beyond three feet, the electromagnetic field exposure greatly diminishes. If you still choose to make lengthy phone calls with your cell phone, alternate which ear you use to listen with to the conversation; this simple tip allows for the exposure to be spread out.
For those that like to get work done and sit with their laptop on their lap, you may want to reconsider. EMF experts suggest only placing the laptop on your lap when you are using battery-based power. And, stay away from the computer when it is charging; otherwise, your hands are close to where the battery is recharging.
While it can help reduce electrical pollution, unplugging what you are not using can also save your electrical bill. Anything that is plugged in, even if it is not in use, still emits an EMF. Unplugging appliances, electronics, alarm clocks, and other items will reduce EMF exposure in your home.
Finally, if you suspect your home may have high levels of electrical pollution, contact your utility company — many of these organizations can conduct a survey to determine if you have unsafe levels. If, in fact, you discover high levels of EMF, you can install filters that plug into electrical outlets.
Given that all of us rely on electricity and technology, albeit to various extents, the bottom line is that everyone needs to educate themselves about electrical pollution. By being diligent with cell phone use, appliance usage, and computers, we can all make informed decisions regarding this silent pollution threat.