Lead – Creating Awareness

lead poisoningLead Poisoning Prevention is Better than Cure

When I first began assessing buildings for health hazards, I was dumbfounded to discover leadlighting (aka stained glass in the US) still used lead. Yes, despite the known risks, lead is still used for leadlighting!

My concerns:

  • Anyone creating leadlight glass products would have a higher than usual exposure to lead
  • Many houses have leadlighting throughout, especially the “Golden Age” homes – so these doors and windows are quite accessible to children and pets
  • As well, older leadlighting can begin to break down, so lead levels in house dust can be elevated

Lead tastes sweet (so I am told!) – which is why so many children suck on paint chips.

Recently I created three images for the Volcano Art Prize – run by LeadSafeWorld.

“Test Your Soil”

Lead can easily contaminate our soil – from traffic dust, breaking down paints, and even through the water (lead-based solders, or water collected from a roof that has lead flashing).

Message: if you are planning a veggie garden or a chook run, it is recommended that you have the soil tested first.


A very fashionable paint look at the moment is the “distressed look.” More often than not, this is deliberately done. However, peeling paint on older buildings very likely contains lead – and then sanding is definitely not recommended.

Message: if you have an older building, either test the paint for lead OR encapsulate it by adding layers of paint and be sure never to sand it.

“Look Up!”

This image was designed to help people remember that lead dust, amongst many other contaminants may be found in the roof/ceiling void.

Message: Before any renovation, even the installation of downlights, have a member of the Australian Dust Removalists Association (ADRA) remove the dust from your ceiling void safely.

Prevention is better than cure!

Please help create awareness. Lead poisoning is not as uncommon as it should be.

If you have any concerns – please feel free to get in touch.

#lead #leadpoisoning #testforlead

Sick Building Syndrome: Is Your Workplace Healthy?

“Sick Building Syndrome” is a term that has been around for a few decades to explain how and why people are affected by their buildings. As a building biologist, I am frequently assessing the health of buildings (whether they are sick or not) and how they may impact upon the health of the occupants – be that at home or at work.

Guest author Jennifer Bennett discusses sick building syndrome in relation to the workplace.

Sick Building Syndrome: Is Your Workplace Healthy?

Does it sometimes seem like everyone in your office is coming down with something?

Are you and your colleagues constantly coughing and sniffling, or complaining of headaches, dizziness and nausea?

Or perhaps you’re just really tired all the time?

And yet, when 5 o’clock rolls around and you’re on your way home, you start to feel a lot better.

You might be thinking that you just hate being at work!

Could it be more..?

However, there may be something other than burnout or a bad bout of the flu to blame.

If you’re experiencing odd symptoms that disappear when you go home, your building may well have a case of Sick Building Syndrome.

This is a somewhat mysterious condition that causes general feelings of ill health in occupants of a building, including headaches, aches and pains, skin irritation, fatigue and shortness of breath.

The precise causes of Sick Building Syndrome haven’t been identified, but the general consensus is that it’s a symptom of environmental problems within a building.

People first started reporting Sick Building Syndrome in the 1970s, when economic pressures and oil embargoes forced architects and engineers to design more airtight office buildings to cut energy costs.

As a direct result, indoor air quality drastically worsened, as polluted air became trapped in buildings rather than being recirculated outside.

Chemical pollutants such as VOCs and biological contaminants such as mould then gradually rose in concentration, resulting in the health problems in employees that we now call Sick Building Syndrome.

Poorly designed ventilation systems also resulted in uncomfortable temperatures and high humidity levels, which can further encourage mould growth.

What is the Impact?

A poor working environment doesn’t just have health implications – it can also have a profound economic impact on businesses.

Sick Building Syndrome drastically reduces productivity, with poor indoor air quality estimated to cost employers around $15 billion a year in worker inefficiency and sick leave.

It’s also been noticed that Sick Building Syndrome is most common in open plan offices, and it’s unlikely to be a coincidence that employees in open plan offices also take on average 62% more sick days than those in cellular offices.

It’s clear that something needs to be done.

This infographic…

Paint Inspection have designed this infographic to tell you everything you need to know about this important topic.

Covering everything from the symptoms and causes, to the costs to businesses and some actionable solutions, we’re sure you’ll leave this blog feeling more equipped to deal with your unhealthy office building!

About the Author

Jennifer Bennett is the Content Writer at Paint Inspection, a UK-based coating inspection and surveying company.

Want to learn more about how you can create a healthier workplace?
Book a call so we can create a plan for you. >>

Lead Poisoning Prevention Week of Action

Lead Poisoning Prevention is Essential

This last week of October recognises the risk of lead poisoning in our lives – this is international Lead Poisoning Prevention Week of Action.

Lead was the cause of the downfall of the Roman empire and it has been recognised as the cause of German composer Ludwig van Beethoven health problems, loss of hearing and early death.

Yet lead abounds in our daily lives – primarily from its previous use in petrol, but also in paints, water pipes, leaded crystalware, lead-light/stained glass, sinkers, ammunition, and potentially even in the imported painted toys that your children may have. The LEAD Group (2012) also point out that it can also be found in flashing (an important consideration if you drink rainwater collected from your roof), kohl eye and lip pencils, old metal toothpaste tubes, radiation shielding in hospitals, some PVC products, leadshot, painted pre-1970 furniture, road marking paint, painted china and so on.

Given that most of us spends more than 90% of our time indoors, it is always important to consider potential hazards.

Another important point is that lead is sweet – so children and animals may lick, suck on or even consume paint.

I had a quick chat about Lead Poisoning Prevention with Elizabeth O’Brien from The LEAD Group, which you can watch here.

The Silent Epidemic

Elizabeth O’Brien took part in the 2016 Environmental Sensitivities Symposium. Here is an excerpt from her chapter in the 2016 Environmental Sensitivities Symposium: Text Book.

Even though most of us have never been tested for lead and therefore have not been diagnosed with lead poisoning, we are all exposed to lead in the modern world, and every microgram (millionth of a gram) of lead and even every molecule or atom of lead, does damage in the body.

If you have other risk factors (for example, family history) for any of the huge range of health effects of lead there’s virtually no chance that lead will be identified as one of the contributors or causes (Vella et al, 2014). Also, unless you suffer overt lead poisoning – an extremely high dose acute lead poisoning, the symptoms of typical modern chronic lead exposure may not show up until years, or decades, later.

Thus lead poisoning is known as “the silent epidemic.”

Therefore, the number one action that you can take today, is to organise a test with your doctor to assess your blood lead level. Obviously zero is the goal, but The LEAD Group advocated taking action to reduce exposure if your result is not below 1 microgram/decilitre.

Signs and Symptoms of Lead Poisoning

In Babies and Children

The Mayo Clinic (June 2014) list the following symptoms of lead poisoning

In newborns

  • Learning difficulties
  • Slowed growth

In children

  • Developmental delay
  • Learning difficulties
  • Irritability
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Sluggishness and fatigue
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Hearing loss

In Adults

According to the Department of Health and Human Services (2016) list out the following signs and symptoms (for adults and children), but do point out that “some children or adults may not have any symptoms at all.”

Symptoms of acute lead poisoning:

  • Muscle pains
  • Fatigue
  • Abdominal pains
  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Coma

Symptoms of chronic lead poisoning:

  • Irritability
  • Lack of energy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Learning disabilities
  • Behavioural problems
  • Poor school performance
  • Poor coordination
  • Impaired growth

In Dogs

Dr Becker (1997-2016) lists the following signs of lead poisoning for dogs:

  • loss of appetite
  • colic (pain, inflammation, gas or discomfort in the colon)
  • vomiting
  • diarrhoea
  • constipation
  • anxiety
  • hysterical barking
  • jaw champing
  • salivation
  • blindness
  • problems with coordination and movement
  • muscle spams
  • convulsions
  • abnormal posture from severe muscle spasms
  • pressing the head against a wall

Please consult your vet immediately if you notice the symptoms.


#lead #leadpoisoning


Becker, Dr K (1997-2016) Signs and Symptoms of Lead Poisoning in Dogs (online) Viewed 25 October 2016. Available at http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2016/06/16/lead-poisoning-dogs.aspx

LEAD Group (4 June, 2012) Sources of Lead (online) Viewed 25 October 2016. Available at http://www.lead.org.au/lasn/lasn006.html

Mayo Clinic (10 June, 2014) Lead Poisoning: Symptoms (online) Viewed 25 October 2016. Available at http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/lead-poisoning/basics/symptoms/con-20035487

O’Brien, E “Save Lives by Testing for Lead” in Curran, L (2016) 2016 Environmental Sensitivities Symposium: TextBook Building Vitality, Melbourne

Department of Health and Human Services, State Government of Victoria, Australia (2016) Lead Exposure and Poisoning (online) Viewed 25 October 2016. Available at https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/lead-exposure-and-poisoning

Sick Building Syndrome – What Does it Mean?

What is a “Sick Building”?

Have you heard about “Sick Building Syndrome”?

This is where the occupants of a building are sick because of something in a building where they spend time.

What makes people sick are known as “environmental stressors” – environmental hazards that place a stress on our immune system.

This can be anything from water damage and mould, to indoor air quality, to electromagnetic fields. It may be from components of the building itself, such as lead. Or even from the land where the building was erected – a form of “geopathic stress.”

In Australia, this term is somewhat understood, but far less people really understand what “Building Biology” is.

An Interview

When I began this career, I was an active committee member of my professional association. In my time as President, Nicole Groch from LivingSafe.com.au interviewed me about “building biology.”

Here is a snippet of it:

You may have heard of someone using a Building Biologist to check out their home for radiation, mold and sick building syndrome, but you really are not exactly sure what it is they do and who they are….

I personally have hired a Building Biologist to come out and measure the EMF from the Smart Meter in our home and I am very glad I did. It wasn’t just the smart meter that was the problem. It was also our transformer base study lamps, that we were using as bedside lamps and high EMF hot spot was found in our bedroom from an unearthed water pipe running under the floor. Thanks to the Building Biologist we were able to correct these hazards.

So what is a Building Biologist?

In a nutshell, a Building Biologist is a person who has been trained to assess the potential health hazards of a building or built environment. We adopt the Precautionary Principle, that is, if something hasn’t been proven to be safe, then we err on the side of caution and aim to minimise exposure or risks.

… Read it all here.

Another Interview

As well, I chatted with Nicole Bijlsma about Building Biology, the changes in the field, and what is required of a Building Biologist.


#buildingbiology #environmentalsensitivities

revised 20/4/20

Lead Reducing Your Exposure

Lead tends to be ubiquitous…

Lead tends to be all around us – thanks to the lack of knowledge and understanding about its health effects.

Sources of contamination include:

  • lead paint
  • windows with leadlighting
  • petrol/fuel
  • smelting
  • fertilisers
  • slag from industry used as soil or landfill
  • dust in ceilings and wall cavities
  • solder on water pipes
  • fishing tackle/weights

What Can You Do?

Choosing a Home

Firstly, if you can avoid it – do so.

If you are looking to buy or rent a home that is near industry, please reconsider.

Renovating, Remodelling or Repainting

Make sure you test for the presence of lead in paints before any renovations or repainting. (If you missed this step, test it right away.)

Lead test kits are available from paint and hardware stores.

If you are doing any of these activities, then make sure you are wearing a disposable tyvek suit, gloves and a P1 respirator. Also be sure to keep pregnant women, young children and pets out of the way – lead poisoning can be deadly.

There are some more tips in the video below.

Babies, Children and Animals… Some Great Tips:

All three spend a lot of time on the ground, so make sure the following become part of your daily routine.

  • Introduce (and enforce) a no-shoe policy – this will prevent lead dust from entering your home
  • Wash paws and feet if they have been outside where there is possible lead contamination
  • Make sure you wash hands before every meal AND before (and after) toileting
  • Wet dust and mop your home, including sills and ledges – use sugar soap or detergent
  • If there is lead dust, then using a 3-bucket system*, as advocated by the LEAD Group
  • Ensure your vacuum cleaner has a HEPA filter, or is cyclonic
  • Consider where the painted toys are from – choose ones from Australia
  • Where there is bare soil, create barriers in play areas – such as mulch or play mats to prevent contact
  • Wash toys, dummies and so forth regularly

And a video

Here is the 3-Bucket System recommended by The LEAD Group.


I personally don’t like Step 5. Instead, I suggest finding another safe way to dispose of the water – ask your local council.

An alternative would be to clean with Bamboo Microfibre Cloths and dispose of them.

#lead #LEADGroup #ecohealthsolutions

Book a Hidden Hazards Hotline Call
with Lucinda to discuss your concerns. >>

Endocrine Disruptors – Endocrination

“Endocrine disruptors” “BPA” “DANGER”

Endocrine disruptors are everywhere!

Our modern lives are filled with things that make our tasks easier. No longer do we have to put up with unsightly wires. We can get a tan in a salon. We can spray on and wipe off dirt in our homes. Babies even come from test tubes.

There are many aspects of our modernity that have not been proven to be safe – for human use, in our environments, and for our planet.

Often it takes a while for problems to develop,
thus PROVING something IS UNSAFE later is not always appropriate.

What are they?

The endocrine system is the hormone system – it regulates our development, the way we cope in the world, our ability to heal and more.

BPA was one such chemical that hit the headlines in the last few years. BPA is one of many endocrine disruptors. (BPS is the alternative that many plastic-product manufacturers are now using instead because it is so similar… It is also similar to BPA in its ability to disrupt hormones!)

The World Health Organisation has recognised them as possible or known carcinogens… but there is more to life that having or not having cancer.

If our hormones are interfered with during pregnancy, we may or may not develop normally.

For many years now, animals  have been studied in the wild, and it has been noticed that an alarming number of males of many species does not develop properly… and this applies to humans.

Some of the changes include undescended testes, hypospadias (where the hole of the penis is on the side, not the tip), where young women discover that their fertility issues are because genetically they are male, and so on!

As well, they can play a role in obesity – and some are called “obesogens.”

This is a space to watch with a keen interest as things are changing/revealing themselves rapidly.

You can watch more in this documentary by #StéphaneHorel


If you want to discover more about these and other products we use in our daily lives that can adversely affect our health, then join us in our Detox Your Environment Inner Circle.

endocrine disruptors

Non-Stick Pans – Should You Stick With Them?

The introduction of non-stick pans has allowed us to use less oil in our cooking, which is great. It is also easy to clean, make it a “tool of choice” for kitchen staff.

However there are a number of concerns about these products.

Non-Stick Pans: History

I love to understand why and how things come about, so here’s the story on non-stick pans.

Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE)

Back in 1938, there was a fellow by the name of Plunkett who was working for a chemical company. His job was to make refrigerants using tetrafluoroethylene gas. He noticed the canister registered empty before it weighed empty, so, he cut open a canister and discovered a slippery white waxy coating lining the inside of the tin. In 1945, the Teflon trademark was registered for PTFE.

By 1948, it was being used by DuPont in their marine products. In 1954, the wife of an engineer urged him to use the product he was using on his tackle (“Teflon”) on her cooking pans ~ and thus was born the first Teflon coated cooking pan! In the US, Marion Trozzolo had been using Teflon on scientific utensils, and in 1961 marketed the “Happy Pan.”

Perfluorooctanic Acid (PFOA) (aka C8)

The story isn’t so interesting here, just that 3M began using it in 1947 and DuPont in 1951. In 1999, the US EPA began investigating the toxicity of it, which resulted in 3M phasing it out. Not only is it used in non-stick pans, but waxed papers, dental floss and tape, stone, tile and wood sealants, and textiles products, particularly outdoor clothing.

eco health solutions health


PTFE pyrolysis is detectable at 200oC (392oF) – which means it begins to break down from heat.

Studies have documented bird deaths from PTFE at 202oC (396oF), with reports of bird deaths from non-stick cookware being heated to 163oC (325oF). Interestingly, it is the degradation by-products that are lethal to birds and can cause flu-like symptoms in humans.

In 2003, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) petitioned the US government to have warning labels on products with non-stick coatings.

In terms of the temperatures I am talking about, this will give you a better guide:

Meat is usually fried from 204-232oC (399-450oF)

Smoking point for many oils is 260oC (500oF) – but safflower and avocado oil have a higher smoking point

Empty cookware that is heating can exceed this


PFOA persists in the environment – meaning that it does not breakdown. It is toxic and carcinogenic to animals. In 1961, DuPont was aware that it was causing hepatomegaly (enlargement of the liver) in mice fed with PFOA (Arneson 1961, Clapp).

2012 studies have linked PFOA exposure to kidney cancer, testicular cancer, ulcerative colitis, thyroid disease, hypercholesterolemia and pregnancy-induced hypertension (Nicole, 2013). It is thought the general population is exposed to it via stain resistant treatments, carpet cleaning liquids, house dust, microwave popcorn bags, water, food and some PTFE cookware.


PFOA is recognised as being carcinogenic, toxic to the liver, toxic to the immune system, and as being an endocrine disruptor (particularly thyroid) (Lau, 2007). As well, it alters fat metabolism and oxidative stress.

New Generation

The new pots and pans are making a range of claims. Collecting adequate data from the companies was a tad difficult, so the following represents information gathered from websites, and where assumptions have been made, I have made it clear.


Woll have a video to show the manufacturing process.

There is no mention of PTFE or PFOA, but I assume from what they have said, that these are not used in creating this surface.

They use “diamond crystals” to create their non-stick surface. These are not really diamonds, but titanium dioxide (TiO2 CAS 13463-67-7). My research showed that titanium dioxide has the potential to react with aluminium (used in Woll cookware) and other metals at high temperatures resulting in a “violent or incandescent reaction” (you can read this in the MSDS here: http://www.chemicalbook.com/ProductMSDSDetailCB0461627_EN.htm). What constitutes a high temperature is unclear.

My other concern is that it appears that Titanium Dioxide Type 4 is used in cookware, and this is in the form of nanoparticles.

Due to the current lack of understanding of the safety of nanoparticles, I must err on the side of caution and not recommend this product.

eco health solutions fresh


Stonedine claim to be free from PTFE and PFOA. Two big ticks for these.

I really struggled to get meaningful information from the company to my specific questions – I really only had a staff member cut and paste information from their website that I had already read.

Stonedine says that the surface of their products “actually contains real stone particles that are directly bonded to the aluminium then fused to a 1/8 inch thick ferromagnetic stainless steel base plate…”

What I understand of this is that aluminium makes up some of the cooking surface.

I assume, because it has not been stated and I could not get answers, that the stone surface is something at least similar, if not the same as Woll’s.

Again, I would not recommend this product based on the information that I currently have – namely the nanoparticles of titanium dioxide and the aluminium on the cooking surface.


These pans are claimed to be PFOA-free. Here’s a quote direct from their site “FlavorStone™cookware is manufactured using the latest advances in technology and design.  FlavorStone™ cookware is highly durable and is designed to last as long as the tough sapphire gemstone that inspired its name.”

In terms of more helpful information, it has, “multiple layers of water-base [sic] non-stick coating” and has an aluminium alloy core with a stainless steel induction base.

It sounds like the aluminium is not in contact with the food – which is a good thing.

However, there does not seem to be enough information provided about what the non-stick coating is.

I have trawled through their site and manuals, and have come to the conclusion (an assumption) that the surface may in fact be PTFE. This is based on the care instructions which are very much focused on temperature, and the durability seems less than the two mentioned above – suggesting that the surface is quite different.

eco-health-solutions natural

My Recommendations


  • Good old-fashioned stainless steel pots and pans win hands-down for me.
  • If you have a problem with nickel, you can get a form of stainless steel that is 18/0 (ie 0% nickel). SolidTeknics have a range (Nöni™) which are stainless steel and nickel-free
  • Ceramic cookware, such as Silit Silargan
  • Wrought Iron, such as SolidTeknics Aus-Ion™ Satin range

Other options:

  • Pottery pots and pans (where the glazes do not contain lead);
  • Enamel pots and pans


We haven’t really focused on this at all here, but I do need to say very clearly, that I do NOT recommend silicone bakeware. Also, please avoid baking sheets and bags as these are coated with silicone.

What I do recommend is:

  • Borosilicate glass;
  • Glass ceramics – such as Corningware; and
  • Traditional pizza stones.

#nonstick #cooking #healthyfoodprep

UPDATED: 16 December 2019


Arneson, Gerald J. (November 1961) “Toxicity of Teflon Dispersing Agents” DuPont, Polychemicals Department, Research & Development Division, Experimental Station

Clapp, Richard; Polly Hoppin, Jyotsna Jagai, Sara Donahue “Case Studies in Science Policy: Perfluorooctanoic Acid” Project on Scientific Knowledge and Public Policy (SKAPP)

DanozDirect (2014) FlavorStoneTM(multiple related pages) viewed online at http://www.danozdirect.com.au/flavorstone/

Lau C, Anitole K, Hodes C, Lai D, Pfahles-Hutchens A, Seed J (October 2007) “Perfluoroalkyl acids: a review of monitoring and toxicological findings” Toxicol. Sci. 99 (2): 366–94

Nicole, W. (2013). “PFOA and Cancer in a Highly Exposed Community: New Findings from the C8 Science Panel” Environmental Health Perspectives 121 (11–12)

StoneDine (n.d.) Stonedine (multiple related pages) viewed online at http://www.stonedine.com/

The Chemical Book (2008) Titania (13463-67-7) viewed online at http://www.chemicalbook.com/ProductMSDSDetailCB0461627_EN.htm

Woll Cookware (2014) Woll Cookware (multiple related pages) viewed online at http://www.woll-cookware.com.au/

photo credit: Marty Harrington on Unsplash

Use Your Laptop or Device Safely: How to Reduce Your EME Exposure


Device-use (tablets, laptops and smart phones) has skyrocketed since I first wrote this post back in 2014. They not only are used widely but dominate the lives of many.

The rampant use of devices is apparent when looking about. So many people walk down the street glued to their device. Somehow they manage to avoid colliding with power poles and people.

It has become such a problem that we have new phrases, like “Digital Detox” as part of our vocabulary, now.

With my work as an Indoor Environmental Health Consultant, I get a range of enquiries from people about different things. One of the biggest areas of questioning is about reducing exposure to electromagnetic energy (RF EME).

The most asked question is, “How can I use my laptop or device safely?”

There are three types of EME exposure associated with laptops and devices which will be discussed below.

Let’s cover a bit of the scientific background so it makes more sense.

AC Electric Fields – ELF

The electric fields emitted from many household appliances fall into the category of Extra Low Frequency (ELF). Electric fields are created where there is electricity under pressure. This means that any wiring connected to a power source, can emit an electric field.

Further, a buildings’ wiring can have an electric field even when there are no appliances plugged in. Electric fields can occur when an appliance is plugged in and not in use.

I always recommend people to unplug cords from power points when they are not in use.

Electric fields are also proportional to voltage and they decrease with distance from the source. Therefore, keeping away from appliances that are plugged in can reduce exposure.

Common sources include power lines, household wiring, lighting, and smartphone chargers. As well as all appliances, including, hair straighteners, irons, kettles, electric blankets, electric ovens, electric hot water systems, slab heating…

ELF electric fields have been associated with Electrical Hypersensitivity Syndrome (EHS), also known as Electrical Sensitivity (ES). This condition can manifest with some or all of these and other symptoms:

  • skin symptoms (a feeling of itchiness or biting, redness, a burning sensation)
  • eye symptoms (redness, dryness, pain)
  • poor concentration, and
  • dizziness.

Some other health effects that have been associated with ELF electric fields include:

  • sleep disturbances,
  • fatigue,
  • headache,
  • ringing in the ears (tinnitus),
  • and a constant feeling of a cold or flu about to start but not eventuating.

AC Magnetic Fields – ELF

Magnetic fields exist in nature. This can be seen when the field of the earth causes the compass needle to point to north.

However, it is with man-made magnetic fields that we are mostly concerned.

Magnetic fields are created when an appliance is switched on. That is, it directly relates to a current being drawn. This is why I always recommend clients turn off any appliance that is not in use at the wall.

Magnetic fields arise from the motion of the electrical charge (WHO, 2012). This is especially the case in alternating current (AC) as the electricity changes direction frequently.

Common sources of ELF magnetic fields are the same as for Electric Fields.

There is a large body of evidence that links ELF magnetic fields with biological changes. Possible health effects, according to Professor Adey, include:

  • a reduction in the immune system,
  • abnormal foetal development,
  • changes to cell growth and development,
  • changes or interruptions to the brain and central nervous system

Other linked or suspected health effects include breast cancer, miscarriage, depression and suicide.

Radio frequency electromagnetic energy (RF EME)

On the electromagnetic spectrum, radio frequency electromagnetic energy (RF EME) is between 3kHz and 300GHz. Here we measure the combined electric and magnetic fields and refer to this as electromagnetic radiation.

There is an ever-increasing range of sources for radio frequency electromagnetic energy (RF EME) as we move towards wireless technology.

As the race to “get rid of unsightly wires” continues, we are adding many layers of convenience to our lifestyles. Some of these “advances” include driverless cars, 5G and so on.

Sources include mobile phone towers, cordless telephones, satellite transmitters, mobile phones, tablets and i-pads, wireless games such as Wii and X-Box, many baby monitors, wireless computer accessories including printer, keyboard, and mouse, wireless internet connections, smart meters and so on.

Numerous health concerns have been linked with RF electromagnetic energy. These include:

  • disturbed sleep,
  • headaches,
  • learning difficulties,
  • concentration problems,
  • fatigue,
  • waking feeling unrefreshed,
  • anxiety,
  • depression,
  • muscle and joint aches and pains,
  • ringing in the ears,
  • hearing loss,
  • palpitations, and more.

As well, there have been some links made to brain tumours, epilepsy, blood pressure, and lowered immunity.

UPDATE (Jan 2020): As we speak, research is being done as the new technology of 5G is being rolled out.

What is evident is that there is not enough research that shows it is safe to use.

Some of the concerns centre around the fact that we will be utilising even higher up the electromagnetic spectrum, into the millimetre waves.

Millimetre waves do not travel very far, and cannot penetrate walls, however, they can penetrate our skin and our eyes. (Lower levels of RF EME can penetrate deeper into our bodies.)

How Can I Use My Laptop or Device Safely?

1. Laptops and devices have a massive advantage over the desktop computer, in my eyes

This advantage is that they can be used on battery. Anything that is plugged in uses AC power. AC stands for “alternating current.” Alternating current is where electricity passes back and forth through the wires. In contrast, a battery uses DC, or “direct current” – which only goes one way. In short, DC is safer than AC.

Unplug the charger and use your laptop or device on battery.

eco health solutions gadget

2. No matter what, I always recommend that you used wired connections – for Internet, mouse and keyboard.

This point is a bit of a 3-for-1 deal – I can’t just give you three tips!

Ultimately, this tip is about reducing your exposure to the radio frequency end of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Here’s the best things that you can do – get a keyboard and mouse that you can plug into your laptop. (Not all devices have this option, so I would suggest using a stylus instead of your fingers.)

Using the wired keyboard and mouse means that you have a greater distance from your laptop. This is always a good thing. It also means that you are not relying on a wireless (radio frequency electromagnetic energy (RF EME) connection).

Using a wired Internet connection is part of this solution.

Note that you will also need to turn off the Wi-Fi capabilities on your computer. Otherwise, it will constantly be searching for a connection. Leaving it on would then be defeating the purpose of using a wired connection) AND you will need to have a modem that does not have Wi-Fi capabilities.

Finding one can be a little tricky. I located some at my local office supply store. I got a modem that had no aerial and only worked via Ethernet connections. It only cost about $50.

So, swap your wireless bits and pieces for wired/cabled equivalents. 

3. Despite its name, do not EVER use your laptop or device on your lap.

We have already discussed the health implications above, and I have pointed out that distance is the key.

The other thing to think about is that by having it on your lap, it is close to your reproductive organs.

Science is only beginning to recognise and accept that there can be health effects beyond the thermal changes.

A bit of background information

When radar began to be used mid last century, the thermal effects of radiofrequency EME were recognised as problematic for health.

The thermal effects on the body have been used as the measuring stick for health effects. This is despite the fact that the vast array of associated health effects have nothing to do with tissues being warmed.

Therefore, never use your laptop or device when it is in contact with your body. 

There you have it – 3 tips to help you use your laptop or device more safely.

I hope you have found this information helpful. Please feel free to get in touch with me if there is more you would like to hear about.



As things have evolved, there are many laptop mats that shield from wireless technology (RF).


RF EME can bounce back off the mat. This can increase what you are exposed to. So if you are sitting over it, it can be a double whammy.

As much as it would be lovely to have a “magic pill” to protect us from RF…

The best and most reliable way is to not have it.

This is a stretch for many people, but would you knowingly put your health at risk?

Available in store now – all for shielding/reducing your exposure to ELF AC Electric Fields:

It is also important to consider connectivity – using an ethernet adaptor is key. Read more here.

Further reading: