Living with EMF Sensitivity in a 5G World
With wireless carriers making the move to the more powerful and faster 5G, so too should we be concerned about its effects on our health. Specifically, electromagnetic fields (EMFs) that are given off by cellular devices that include cellular phones, mobile phone masts, cordless phones, and WI-FI routers, may be a source of adverse health effects such as depression, anxiety, impaired memory, aches and pains in the muscles/joints, palpitations, and fatigue. Sensitivity to
these EMFs is known as electromagnetic hypersensitivity syndrome (EHS), and even though telecommunications giants claim that faster 5G is safe, there are some who say “not so fast” and for good reason.
The idea that EMFs may cause health issues is not new. EMFs have been linked to electric power generation, such as power lines criss-crossing through neighborhoods around the world. There are two types of EMFs: Non-ionizing, which emits low-level radiation that is thought to be harmless, and ionizing that emits high-level radiation with the potential to cause cellular and DNA damage. Microwave ovens and early models of televisions were once thought to give off harmful radiation as well (do you remember mom telling you “don’t sit too close to the TV” or “don’t stand by the microwave when it’s on?”). Today, these appliances, as well as computers, MRIs, power lines, and smart meters are “non-ionizing,” and thought to be harmless. However, those with EHS have a different viewpoint.
Many people who have EHS claim that non-ionizing EMF exposure is the cause for their physical and psychological symptoms. Reports of non-ionizing EMF exposure that link it to medical conditions has been documented, 1-3 with an increasing amount of people reporting similar experiences that parallel the growth of cellular and digital technology. 4
What of the 5G that is currently being touted as “harmless” and a faster way to communicate? This technology will pair “millimeter waves” with the microwaves that have been a part of cellular technology from 2G through 4G. The 5G technology will require cellular antennas every 100- 200 meters, which will expose people to the millimeter radiation. This exposure may affect the nervous system, the immune system, and cardiovascular system. Additionally, new technologies will be used with 5G that include multiple inputs and outputs known as MIMI, as well as beam-forming phased arrays. While these terms sound like science fiction, they are real and may result in an increase in issues for people with EHS.
What should someone with EHS do about EMFs and the rise of 5G technology? First, look at the amount of sensitivity that you have. The amount of sensitivity may be due to a certain range of frequencies, such as one person reacts to radio waves and microwaves from cell phones and WI-FI, while another is triggered by fluorescent lights and house wiring. Still others become photoreactive to light in general. Symptoms of EHS often resolve when the trigger is eliminated—simply unplugging appliances and turning off lights may help. Shielding with special cases for your phone or tablet may help block the radiation they emit; reducing the amount of
time spent on these devices may also be beneficial. Considering keeping your phone away from you during sleep. You can also use an EMF measuring device that can identify areas where radiation is high (such as if you are near a cellular tower) and help you plan for how long you will spend near it.
1. Belpomme D, Campagnac C, Irigaray P. (2015). Reliable disease biomarkers
characterizing and identifying electrohypersensitivity and multiple chemical sensitivity as two etiopathogenic aspects of a unique pathological disorder. Reviews on Environmental Health, 30(4), 251-271.
2. Pall ML. (2015). Microwave frequency electromagnetic fields (EMFs) produce
widespread neuropsychiatric effects including depression. J Chem Neuroanat, 75, 41- 53.
3. Belyaev I, Dean A, Eger H, Hubmann, et al. (2015). EUROPAEM EMF Guideline
2015 for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of EMF-related health problems and illnesses. Reviews on Environmental Health, 30, 337-371.
4. Hedendahl L, Carlberg M, Hardell L. (2015). Electromagnetic hypersensitivity–an
increasing challenge to the medical profession. Reviews on Environmental Health,