I rarely leave home anymore without my cellphone. I like knowing that my children and my friends can always find me and I can do business for Greenopia no matter which time zone I am in. Because I spent most of my life without a cellphone I’m also aware how distracting it can be so I make conscious efforts to turn the ringer off when I’m in the presence of other people and I periodically go on retreats to remind myself how good it feels to connect with myself and nature.
We’re all pretty aware of how technology has the potential to distract us. Most of us know that our cellphones emit radiation that are health concerns and while no one really knows what the long term effects of holding a mobile device to your ear will do, many studies are already pointing to the dangers. The World Health Organization has classified cell phone and wireless radiation as a “class 2B Possible Human Carcinogen.” There was also evidence in those studies that showed long term users of cell phones had higher rates of brain cancer on the side of the head they used to hold the phone. But the part of the conversation that has yet to be fully addressed is the WIFI itself and the radiation that produces.
The concern of EMFs and WIFI came to my attention when my friend Sabine El Gemayel directed a movie called Generation Zapped. EMFs which are electro magnetic fields and are a form of radiation have always occurred naturally in the environment as a result of the build up of electric charges, say after a thunderstorm, but they have never been man-made until recently and we have never been exposed to them at the level we are now seeing. When we hold a cellphone to our ears, EMFs are emitted. When we put a cellphone in our pocket, EMFs are emitted. When we sit a laptop on our legs, EMFs are emitted. The amount of radiation from these EMFs that penetrates our bodies is now a quintillion times greater than it was ten years ago!
It’s not just your cellphone
As we more towards a more interconnected society with products such as Alexa or Google Home we are inviting more WIFI into our lives and consequently more EMFs. Even if you’re not asking Alexa to turn on the TV or using your Belkin WeMo app to remotely regulate the temperature of your home, if you haven’t turned off the WIFI, radiation is being emitted into your surroundings. The move towards the Internet of Things in which all of our devices “talk” to each other over WIFI connections suggests increased unresolved health concerns.
Read the fine print
If any of us took the time to read the instruction manual on our cellphone, which few of us do, we would see that the manufacturers and the FCC are aware there are potential health dangers. There are warnings specifying safe distances to hold laptops, cellphones, smart meters and even baby monitors from the body!
Easy steps you can take to minimize your risk
I’m not going to suggest giving up your technology or moving into the woods, although some days that does sound like a nice idea but I am going to offer some easy things you can do to minimize your exposure. For instance, you can turn off your WIFI when not in use. As I’m typing this on my laptop, I can touch my WIFI menu and pull down a prompt that says turn off WIFI. For those who want to go the extra step you can put the WIFI for your entire home on a timer that turns it off at night.
Studies have shown that radiation disrupts our sleep, many of us will notice when we lose our electricity how quiet it is at night. I don’t even keep my cellphone in my bedroom, preferring instead to rely on my good old landline but if you must, keep it at least two feet away from your head.
Another easy thing you can do to minimize exposure is switching your phone to airplane mode when not in use. These things might not sound like they can make a big difference, but if we take the small steps to live with a green heart, together we’ve created some positive change.