EMF Exposure – Understanding How You Can Reduce Your Exposure

EMF Exposure – Understanding How You Can Reduce Your Exposure

EMF is a sneaky thing – because you can’t see or smell it, it is often not considered.

When people are exposed to EMF, they can get a variety of symptoms. With regards to radio frequency electromagnetic energy (RF EME), the officials that set the exposure standards only recognise “thermal effects” – so set the standards to below the level at which tissues are heated.

EMF Exposure Standards Are Too High

I firmly believe that there are many health/biological effects that occur well before this level. I believe that the exposure standards are way too high, especially when IARC (the International Agency for Research on Cancer) recognise radio frequency EME & ELF AC magnetic fields as “Category 2B” (this means that they recognise that these types of EMF are possibly carcinogenic to humans).

There is a growing body of research from scientists (including retired ones!) that not only shows that certain types of EMF result in the body reacting in a certain way, but also are becoming more able to explain how and why these reactions occur.

Symptoms from EMF Exposure

Common symptoms from EMF exposure, based on my observation and interaction with hundreds of clients over the years:

  • headaches and migraines (especially unexplained)
  • poor sleep, including vivid dreaming
  • waking feeling unrefreshed
  • low energy
  • pain, including sciatica
  • grinding teeth (bruxism)
  • ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • poor concentration

Reducing your EMF exposure is important – not through gadgets and stickers, but through turning things off, switching to safer options, and making choices about when and how you use technology.

This is one of my favourite areas to work with people on. Why? Because often, simple changes to behaviour can significantly reduce your exposure.

At Eco Health Solutions, my team and I assess radio frequency electromagnetic energy (RF EME), ELF AC magnetic fields, ELF AC electric fields and dirty electricity.

EMF Exposure in the Home

Here are the top 5 sources of EMF that my team and I commonly see in homes:

1 The meter (smart or otherwise) and the fuse box on the bedroom wall

2 Power boards under the bed

3 Mobile phones and devices (sometimes even found under pillows!)

4 Cordless phones

5 Wi-fi

Reducing your exposure is important – and since our homes are our castles, they are also our safe havens.

Workplaces can expose staff members to extremely high levels of EMF – without realising it!


EMF Exposure in the Workplace


Here are the top 5 sources of EMF that my team and I commonly see in workplace:


1 Cordless headsets

2 Wi-fi

3 Mobile phones and devices

4 The “IT hub”

5 A “spaghetti” pile power cords under the desk


Given most people spend a good 8 hours at work, it is important to reduce your personal exposure as much as possible.

Electric Fields – the Importance of Measuring Them

Electric Fields – VITAL to measure

Electric fields are an important part of an EMF audit.

In an nutshell, extremely low frequency (ELF) AC electric fields are present where there is any household wiring or any appliances plugged in. They exist where there is a potential.

You can read more about the science behind ELF AC electric fields here. The focus here is on the importance of assessing them.

I measure ELF AC electric fields

There are a pinch (not even a handful) of people who actually measures and assesses ELF AC electric fields. I am part of this small group and have assessed these since graduation. This is one of four EMF areas which I assess. I also assess ELF AC magnetic fields, high frequencies and “dirty” electricity.

Most EMF audits only cover ELF AC magnetic fields and high frequencies – half of what we assess!

ELF AC electric fields is NOT assessed by measuring body voltage. Body voltage gives an indication of exposure when someone is laying on their bed… that is all. ELF AC electric fields need to be measured with specialised equipment – as the fields are incredibly easy to influence. This means that if I put a meter in or very near the field, it will change. If I enter the field or move very close to it, it will change. (You can read more about the concept of earthing mats – which are all about managing this form of EMF here.)

The Wisdom of Those Sensitive to EMF

ELF AC electric fields emanate from the wall. People who are electromagnetically sensitive position their bed in the centre of the room. I have seen this time and time again when assessing their places. Their beds are well away from all the walls.

As well, they often turn circuits off – which can reduce the fields.

Case Study

Recently, I was called to complete an Essential Audit for a client who was primarily concerned about EMF. One of the biggest concerns was the smart meter – as is often the case.

Like with all audits, an emphasis is placed on where a person spends time.

So, I completed each of my layers of assessment, including my 4 levels of EMF testing.

Level 1: high frequencies – due to the position of the smart meter. Areas where the client spent time were well within Building Biology Guidelines.

Level 2: ELF AC magnetic fields – again, these were well within acceptable levels as per the Building Biology Guidelines.

— This is where other EMF audits stop —

Level 3: “Dirty” Electricity – levels here were up to 7 times higher than the goal, so needed to be addressed.

Level 4: ELF AC electric fields – the levels were mind-blowing!

Building Biology Guidelines state (using a potential-free probe) that levels of ELF AC electric fields should be below 1.5V/m. The levels I measured were above 50V/m.



I was able to advise my clients on the best course of action for their situation. I gave them both immediate steps and a longer term solution.

As you can see, if only two levels were completed, the advice would have been that the area is safe.

Clearly, having assessed 4 levels of EMF, it is unsafe. As such measures needed to be taken to ensure the safety of my clients.

What Does the Science Say?

Very little – but enough! 

The biggest focus of research over the last 40 years has been on ELF AC magnetic fields and high frequencies.

ELF AC electric fields are difficult to measure.


However, Maes (2015, 3) states that,

“studies show that long-term exposures of only 10 V/m increase the risk for childhood leukemia, cancer and other health problems.”

Cech, et al

Cech, et al (2008) studied the impact of ELF electric fields on pregnant rats: “By vectorial addition of the electric current densities, it could be shown that under worst case conditions the basic restrictions recommended by ICNIRP (International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection) guidelines are exceeded within the central nervous system (CNS) of the mother, whereas in sole field exposure they are not.

However, within the foetus the induced current densities do not comply with basic restrictions, either from single reference-level electric fields or from simultaneous exposure to electric and magnetic fields. Basic limits were considerably exceeded.”

Gok, et al; and Guler, et al

Two other studies were looking to explain the effects of AC ELF electric fields.

a) Effects in the brain and retina in pregnant rats (Gok, et al, 2016), and

b) Discover the effectiveness of antioxidants from AC ELF electric fields exposure (Guler, et al, 2009).

The premise can be made from the scope of the research is that there are biological effects in these different areas.

eco health solutions gadget


Research was done by Reiter (1993) into the effects of ELF electromagnetic field exposure and its effects on melatonin production.

Reiter concluded that the mechanisms remain unknown, but the effect exists.


Some findings were included in the BioInitiative Report, including:

Electric fields exert a force on electrons, and have been shown to stimulate protein synthesis in HL60 cells (Blank et al, 1992), E coli (Laubitz et al, 2006) and muscle in vivo (Blank, 1995).

(Blank, 2007, 9)

Despite the limited body of research, there is growing evidence that demonstrates health or biological effects within the body.

Thus the levels of all types of EMF should be as close as possible to nature. Else, they should fall within the no or slight concern categories of the building biology guidelines.

What Should You Do?

Book a call, so I can work out how best to meet your needs.


Blank, M (2007) BioInitiative Report: Section 7: Evidence of Stress Response (Stress Proteins): Health Risk of Electromagnetic Fields: Research on the Stress Response (Online) Available at http://www.bioinitiative.org/report/wp-content/uploads/pdfs/sec07_2007_Evidence_for_Stress_Response.pdf (3 February 2017)

Cech, R, Leigeb, N, Pediatitis, M (January 2008) Current Densities in a Pregnant Woman Model Induced by Simultaneous ELF Electric and Magnetic Field Exposure Phys Med Biol 2008 Jan 7;53(1):177-86. doi: 10.1088/0031-9155/53/1/012. Epub 2007 Dec 19. (Online) Available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18182695 (27 January 2017)

Gok, DK, Akpinar, D, Hidsoglu, E, Ozen, S, Agar, A, Yargiciglu, P (December 2016) The Developmental Effects of Extremely Low Frequency Electric Fields on Visual and Somatosensory Evoked Potentials in Adult Rats Electromagn Biol Med. 2016;35(1):65-74. doi: 10.3109/15368378.2014.987923. Epub 2014 Dec 11.

Guler, G, Turkozerr, Z, Ozgur, E, Seyhan, N (February 2009) Antioxidants alleviate electric field-induced effects on lung tissue based on assays of heme oxygenase-1, protein carbonyl content, malondialdehyde, nitric oxide, and hydroxyproline. (Online) Sci Total Environ. 2009 Feb 1;407(4):1326-32. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2008.10.050. Epub 2008 Nov 22.

Maes, W (June 2015) Questions About the Standard of Building Biology Methods and the Building Biology Evaluation Guide (Online) Available at https://buildingbiology.com/site/wp-content/uploads/sbm-2015-questions-english.pdf

Earthing Mats: Do They Really Work?

I get a LOT of enquiries about earthing mats.

Many people have heard or seen things about them.

Many are seeking them out to remedy their exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF).

A lot of the information out there is positive and reports the profound effects from using earthing mats.

What Is Earthing?

Earthing, in principle, is wonderful.

Earthing is about getting barefoot and walking on the earth… It is about grounding, releasing anything accumulated…

Having said that, it means walking on the earth without holding your smartphone, without using your bluetooth and without listening to music on your MP3 player.

Earthing is about getting barefoot and returning to nature. It is wonderful, it is soul-nourishing as well as beneficial.

How Does It Help?

Earthing doesn't solve EMF exposure problems – it simply helps to discharge what you have accumulated.

BUT… (You knew there'd be one, right?)

Earthing does not help when you are in electromagnetic fields.

I'll explain.

Our bodies are made of 60-80% water. This makes us excellent conductors.

All electricity seeks the shortest route to earth.

So, if you are using earthing mats, what happens is that electrical fields bend to pass through you as you are providing a direct and short path to earth.

It's like standing in the middle of a field during an electrical storm.


And Earthing Mats?

People claim that they are effective because they can demonstrate a drop in body voltage using a multimeter.

It is true that your body voltage reading drops however, you are actually increasing your exposure as more EMF is passing THROUGH you.

Imagine sitting on a chair next to a lamp that is switched on.

If you place an earthing mat underneath you, without changing anything else, your body voltage reading would drop.

But, you haven't changed anything, so the EMF has not lessened. It is still the same.

Now, instead of finding another way to earth, the fields will distort to pass through you and through the earthing mat to earth or ground.

So, what you have done by using an earthing mat is INCREASED YOUR EMF EXPOSURE.

What Can You Do Instead?

The very best thing that you can do is to get rid of the source of the EMF. The simplest way to do this is to turn off and unplug appliances that are not in use.

Apart from this, avoid spending time in the electromagnetic fields. Move the power cords away from where you are sitting, move your bed far away from the smart meter… Constant exposure to EMF can be a factor in the development of electrical hypersensitivity – and environmental sensitivity.

In terms of earthing (or grounding) safely, these are safer options.

1. Head to the beach, the park or your own garden… Take off your shoes and stand barefoot on the earth. Be mindful of what is near you, especially if you are in your garden – make sure that the hot water system or smart meter is not nearby, leave your phone and other devices inside…

2. Standing on a piece of aluminium foil short circuits the charges that you have accumulated – according to Dave Stetzer – a leader and expert in the field of dirty electricity.

My advice?

Spend time in nature without devices… enjoy the tranquility of it all.