Nearly every day lately a new topic for concern is brought to my attention. It can be very hard to sort fact from fiction, to determine- is this topic something to worry about and will it cause my family harm? In areas where I have some expertise or have done research I can more easily discern which sources to trust, but that can be difficult when topics seem to require in-depth knowledge or specialization.
My newest area of concern has been the health impacts of electromagnetic fields and electromagnetic radiation (EMF and EMR). I’m talking about the fields put off by things like cell phone towers, power lines, microwaves, wireless internet and Bluetooth devices. Admittedly, I don’t know a lot about electrodynamics, but with recent reports saying mobile phones are more dangerous than smoking or asbestos and that wi-fi may be harming children in schools, it’s hard not to pay attention.
Once I made the leap into this new area of interest, I discovered there’s a lot to take in, more than I had initially realized. I joined an online discussion group to get a feel for the topic, as I find people with a passion for a subject are often the best sources of research. They are most likely to be up on the latest discoveries, try experimental treatments and post all the news articles, a veritable fount of information as good as any RSS reader can provide.
Before joining the discussion (albeit from the sidelines) I had no idea that there were people in the world with extreme electrical hypersensitivity, meaning exposure to the local cell phone towers or the neighbors wi-fi may be keeping them up at night or causing them physical distress. These people are often told they are crazy, that it’s all in their heads and there is no scientific basis for their problems. Still they are frequently experiencing the effects to the point that it’s severely disrupting their lives. Real or no, some have even gone to the point of uprooting their families and forming their own communities to get away from the electrosmog. They’re fighting community wi-fi installations, opposing the construction of cell phone towers and otherwise going to great lengths and expense to shield themselves from something they believe is causing them harm.
Meanwhile all over the world studies are being undertaken to determine the true safety of these technologies. Many suggest there are reasons for concern and that potential health implications to humans from EMR include things like cancer, miscarriage, cataracts, brain tumors, leukemia, auto-immune and neurodegenerative diseases. There’s credible evidence to suggest EMR hazards are threatening wildlife in great numbers — especially frogs and insects. Even low frequency electromagnetic fields have shown the potential to severely disrupt life. Still other studies do not show a true problem and suggest it’s nothing more than an enviro-scare
There are definitely some conspiracy theories and crackpot cures floating around the web, but also a lot of truth in what is being said. I can’t help but sympathize with those who feel that their concerns are being dismissed and that if only the topic could get some attention by the right people it might bust wide open. I haven’t concluded how to handle EMF exposure in our home, but I’m leaning towards the prudent avoidance approach advocated by the EPA.
Sometimes I wonder why I started down this path, researching topics like this until all hours of the night. Then I remember; his tiny body is sleeping between us now. I just hope I’m not irreversibly harming him with my wi-fi.