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I’m aging myself, but I remember when microwave ovens first came out and were all the rage. Last night’s leftovers? Hot tea? Popcorn? Suddenly, life was so much better! That is… until the scary stories started to emerge and absolutely killed my bliss.
At first, the tales were all about kids forgetting to take the metal fork off their plate before zapping it. Then we heard about styrofoam cups melting into their parent’s reheated coffee. But the scariest stories were definitely about the ovens that were leaking actual microwaves and cooking people. Were the tales real or urban legend? A bit of both, it turned out. And the same goes for today’s technology.
What would our lives be like without cell phones, laptops, and tablets? I ditched my microwave oven more than a decade ago in favor of traditional pots, pans, and kettles. But my electronic devices? Never gonna happen!
Still, I do worry about the EMF radiating from these devices. And like a lot of folks, my concern is growing with the advent of 5G networks and our desire and ability to connect absolutely everything through wifi and bluetooth.
I recently read a book, called Radiation Nation, and interviewed its co-author, Daniel DeBaun to better understand the risks of EMF and learn how we can protect ourselves. A former engineer for tech companies like AT&T and Bell Labs, Dan is a globally recognized leader in EMF protection technologies and is the founder of DefenderShield, which I’ve profiled in a separate article.
Q&A with DefenderShield Founder, Dan DeBaun
SHERYL (Greenopedia): Dan, I read Radiation Nation this weekend and finished it in a single session. Thank you for making the information relatable and easy to understand. I also appreciate that you skipped the scare tactics. A lot of folks become overly dramatic when talking about EMF, especially when the topic of 5G or smart meters comes up. You chose to use a completely neutral tone and you cite facts and studies to get the information across – without any of what you refer to as “gobbledygook”.
DAN (DefenderShield): Thank you. When we wrote the book, we didn’t write it for the EMF researchers and doctors, we wrote it for the layperson who doesn’t have an engineering background, so we wanted to be as basic as possible, yet as factual as possible. And yes, EMF really is a sensitive topic and there is a lot of gobbledygook out there. It’s easy to pray on people’s fears by selling them technology that is supposed to protect them. But you have to back it with hard evidence to prove the technology actually works. Ours is lab tested and we’ve posted the results on our website.
SHERYL: I’m obsessed with removing chemicals from my life and several of my articles are geared toward folks who suffer from multiple chemical sensitivities (MCS). Through my research, I’ve learned there is also a growing population who are sensitive to electromagnetic frequencies (EMF) and the symptoms look an awful lot like MCS. What do you make of that?
DAN: It’s true. I speak to a lot of patients who suffer from electromagnetic hypersensitivity and nearly all of them are chemically sensitive as well. It’s no coincidence. Electromagnetic radiation is as much a toxin as a volatile organic compound. I always say that a cell is a cell and it doesn’t create a different response to one toxin than it does from the other. So it’s not at all unusual that you see identical responses to chemicals as you do to EMF.
SHERYL: EMF refers to a broad spectrum of frequencies and not all of them are present in our personal devices. When it comes to our mobile phones, laptops, and tablets, what should be concerned with?
DAN: There are three EMF frequency ranges we encounter with our devices.
- ELF (extremely low frequencies) are emitted by the circuitry in the device.
- RF (radio frequency) is emitted by the signals going to and from the cell phone towers, as well as by wifi and bluetooth signals.
- We also have blue light, which is the visible spectrum of light that emanates from our screens.
SHERYL: When we absorb chemicals into our bodies through food and skin care products, or we inhale environmental contaminants, our bodies process these toxins and eliminate them. What does our body do with the different types of EMF we encounter from our devices? Do we somehow hold onto it, as we would store toxins in our liver or fat cells? Or does it just magically dissipate? Where does it go?
DAN: Each of these three spectrums of EMF interacts differently with our body. RF typically doesn’t go more than an inch into our body and, when it does, it looks for a path to ground. If you’re standing on a grounding pad, for example, it will go right through you. But it can still do damage along the way.
RF emissions heat the water between our cells. I hear people with electromagnetic hypersensitivity say, “I put a cell phone to my head and I can feel it burning.” It’s literally cooking the cells. It’s a slow cook because of the low power level, but that’s essentially what’s happening. Those who aren’t hypersensitive to the RF can’t feel its warmth as easily (if at all) as those who are hypersensitive, but it’s happening whenever you put your cell phone directly to your ear.
Under constant influence, the exposure can mutate our cells and damage the DNA of our soft tissue. Women who store their cell phone in their bra have reported cysts in that exact spot. Men and women of all ages are cautioned to not keep their phones in their pockets, because it can create issues with fertility or birth defects by mutating his sperm and her eggs.
ELF is different. It doesn’t travel through our body (to ground) as quickly as RF does. The lower frequency can penetrate our tissues more deeply, but it loses steam (dissipates) as it does. There is a debate regarding RF and ELF. I consider both equally as damaging. Both can weaken and disrupt the cells.
Healthy immune systems can handle this disruption fairly well, but an already-compromised immune system will have more trouble. And here’s something to consider: our bodies are more mineral deficient than ever before. We get our minerals from the food we eat and our food gets its minerals from the ground. But our soil is so deficient today that our food lacks the minerals that our bodies need to support our immune system. Add to that the fact that we’re constantly inundated with both chemical toxins and EMF, it’s not hard to see why and how so many of us suffer from compromised immune systems.
SHERYL: You mentioned a minute ago how deeply these signals can penetrate our body. How far can they travel from their source? In other words, how do we keep our distance?
DAN: ELF comes from the wiring in our wall, the motor in our refrigerator, the hair dryer, the toaster… they all emit a 60-cycle alternating current that dissipates as it travels out from the source. If you’re a little bit away from it, that’s good. And if you’re further away from it, you’re fine.
RF from our wifi router can travel up to a couple of hundred feet, bluetooth travels up to 30-feet or so, and cell phone signals can travel as far as 5 miles. Ten years ago we didn’t have all these transmitters in our homes, but today we do. A cell phone’s power will drop off significantly with distance. The real danger is when it’s against your head. In general, if you’re a foot away, 80% of the danger is gone and if you’re 4-feet away, then 98% of the danger is gone.
Similarly, the RF from a smart meter transmits at 1Gig. If it’s sitting on the side of your garage, 25-feet away from your living room, you don’t have to worry about it because by the time the signal reaches you, the power level is almost nothing. If it’s attached directly to your house, on the other side of the wall from your bed, different story.
And it’s not just our homes we have to think about. Kids are being bombarded by EMF in the classroom. Kids are even more vulnerable than adults because their bodies are still not fully developed and the impact can be greater to their brains and other soft tissue. If I put a meter in a wifi-enabled classroom today, the power can read all the way up to 5 watts. Even with the devices NOT touching their bodies directly, that’s still a constant load of 5-watts, 8 hours a day.
This ambient energy that was never in our lives before is now ever-present and our bodies are trying to adjust.
SHERYL: How are we affected by the blue light energy that emanates from our screens?
DAN: Without blue light, humans would be in trouble. It has been emanating from the sun since the beginning of existence, so it’s all part of our environment. What’s unnatural is that we’re constantly looking at these cell phone, laptop, and TV screens, all which emit energy within the visible blue light spectrum.
Also, you look at these screens at night before bed and wonder why you’re not tired. That’s because the blue light has been hitting your retina and disrupting your body’s natural circadian rhythm, so melatonin isn’t being produced at the levels it should. Your body expects blue light during the day when the sun is out. Not at night.
Besides the circadian rhythm, you can also experience dry eye and macular degeneration from constantly staring at computer screens all day. You’re getting headaches, you’re tired, you’re not feeling quite balanced. You need to protect your eyes and brain from blue light.
SHERYL: That’s actually a great transition to ask about the technology you’ve developed. How does it protect us from EMF?
DAN: For blue light protection, we have daytime glasses that block up to 50% of blue light emissions. Since our body is more accepting of blue light during the day (when the sun is out), this is sufficient. Our nighttime glasses block up to 99% of the blue light because you want to eliminate as much as possible after the sun goes down. With regards to our phone, laptop, and tablet protectors, we use several layers of fabric, each with its own conductive properties, to capture the full range of ELF and RF emissions.
SHERYL: Your laptop protector is only shielding the bottom of the laptop from the body. Aside from the blue light coming from the screen, is there any concern with EMF coming from the top or sides?
DAN: EMF is omnidirectional, meaning it radiates from the source in all directions, 360-degrees. But the emissions are greatly reduced as you move further from the source and even just a small distance makes a big difference. You don’t need to buy my laptop shield if you keep your laptop away from your body. I’m mainly concerned when it’s touching your body – and really just the lower parts (the reproductive system) because the radiation can affect sperm and eggs.
We’re less worried about the top of the laptop, because we don’t get cancer of the hands, for example. My concern with laptops and tablets directly touching the body increases when we’re talking about children, whose tissues aren’t yet fully developed and are more susceptible.
The same goes for talking with the cell phone directly against your ear, which is right next to the brain. Our shielding technology eliminates nearly 100% of the phone’s radiation. Or you can use our emission-free earbuds instead.
SHERYL: That’s helpful to know. I already go into a bit more about how those work in your brand spotlight, so we’ll keep the description more high level here. In closing, how can people protect themselves from EMF without buying your technology?
DAN: It’s not that hard, but we just don’t do it. I often talk about the bees in the room. Allergies aside, one bee won’t kill you, but a swarm can. The best way to fix your environment is to minimize the bees in the room. With your cell phone, you have bluetooth, wifi and the phone signal to/from the cell tower. If you’re not using bluetooth or wifi, turn them off. That’s 2 out of 3 bees you can eliminate from the room.
When you have a Roku box or an Apple box, plug it into the ethernet – don’t use the wifi. That’s simple to do and you get better performance, so why wouldn’t you? It’s all about minimizing your exposures, especially the constant long-term exposures that you should be most worried about.
With regards to smart meters on the outside wall of your home, If you put a piece of aluminum on the inside wall behind the smart meter, it will absorb the radiation moving in that particular direction. It may not look pretty to have a piece of aluminum hanging in the kitchen (or whatever room it is), but it won’t allow the emissions to penetrate into your home. (Don’t forget, the signal radiates out in all directions; you typically only need to block the part that’s entering your home.)
You can’t turn your smart meter off, but you can turn off your personal devices when you’re not using them. At home, I have my wifi router on a timer. It automatically shuts off at 10pm when I go to bed and comes back on the next morning when I’m ready to work. You should also switch your phone to airplane mode (or just turn it off) while you sleep.
SHERYL: Dan, this was great. Thanks so much for your time!
Check out DefenderShield’s Brand Spotlight to see how Dan’s technology works and learn more about easy steps you can take to can protect yourself and your family from EMF radiation.