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Protecting yourself

MagazineJuly 1994 (Vol. 5 Issue 4)Protecting yourself

With so many possible sources of man-made EMFs, both inside and outside the home, to which no generation of human beings before us has ever been exposed, the best course of action is prudent avoidance

With so many possible sources of man-made EMFs, both inside and outside the home, to which no generation of human beings before us has ever been exposed, the best course of action is prudent avoidance. That means observing a few safety measures to avoid excessive exposure.

Increase your intake of antioxidants. Professor Gerald Scott, of Aston University and a world authority on free radicals, has argued at the Yorkshire Enquiry (see: EMN & VDU News, 1992; 3(5-6): 6-8) that powerline EMFs increase free radicals in the body. Other research has also shown that EMFs can reduce the pineal gland's production of melatonin, another powerful antioxidant, thus helping cancers develop. Free radicals are highly reactive molecules produced in the body, which, if not controlled, as is normally the case, can lead to the development of various illnesses, including cancer. They are scavenged by the substances known as antioxidants, among which are vitamins A, C and E.Eating lots of fresh green vegetables and fruit would help the body fight any harmful increase in free radicals caused by EMFs. Vitamin/mineral supplements may also be useful, although megadoses should not be taken without consulting an experienced, qualified nutritional therapist.

Measure the fields in your home, especially in the bedrooms. The bedroom is probably the most important room in any home to assess, which is why it is nearly always preferable to have an independent monitoring performed or test it yourself by hiring or buying a magnetometer. Besides the consultants named in this article, Powerwatch, a pressure group headed by Neil Mayhew, another independent consultant, can assist with monitoring and advise on the use, purchase or loan of instruments (Orchard House, High Common, Beccles, Suffolk NR34 8HW).

Your local area power company will certainly offer to come out and test. However, they will only do so during the weekday and will not leave dataloggers or instruments for testing through the night. This can be a critically important time to monitor because the use of cheap electricity after midnight, especially in rural areas, can cause magnetic fields in bedrooms to rise by as much as threefold from just after midnight till the early hours of the morning, as Alasdair Philips has shown (EMN & VDU News, 1992; 3(3-4): 6-11). This can occur even if power is not being used by the household itself but is being consumed by other houses on the same circuit to the local substation. This fact alone renders their few spot measurements made during the day totally unrepresentative and inadequate.

Power companies have also been known to divert current to other circuits before taking a daily reading, thus reducing the levels measured.

Re-position your furniture to minimize exposure. Based on such a survey, you can re-position beds, etc, and, where possible, sources of EMFs. Magnetic fields can penetrate almost anything and are very difficult to shield unlike electric fields, which can be shielded by walls, trees, etc. Thus you should avoid locating beds or chairs near significant domestic sources of EMFs, such as electricity meters or TVs.

As a rule of thumb, allow at least six to eight feet from such sources, especially for positioning of beds. Research also indicates that the fields from bedside radio alarms,whether electric or battery driven, are such that it is advisable to place them at least two feet from the head. Electric blankets should be switched off before going to sleep. Don't plug in adapters or battery packs for tape recorders or computers near your bed.

Consider moving. If a significant amount of the fields are shown to originate from a nearby overhead power line, there is little you can do except move. If the EMFs are very high, the local power company may be prevailed upon to help reduce them, given the amount of negative publicity they are receiving over this issue. If you do live near electricity generating sources, make sure your children sleep in the furthest room in the house from it. Make sure no power line runs directly under your property.

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