Grahame’s Guide to Technopathic Stress
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What is Technopathic Stress?
Technopathic stress is a very new phenomenon that has only arisen in the last ten years or so as a result of our addictive love affair with gadgets and technology. Most people in the Western world now live in a complex electromagnetic soup of radiation. Broadly speaking, this can be divided into pulsed radio-frequency fields from mobile phone masts, cordless phones in the home, Wi-Fi networks and other microwave-based technologies; and power-frequency fields from transformers, power lines, electrical items in the home etc. Many scientific studies, particularly from Europe, now suggest that prolonged exposure to these fields can affect the immune system and cause serious health problems. More and more people are finding themselves suffering from electro-hypersensitivity. Because of the relative newness of the phenomenon, long-term research is still lacking. However, many countries and organisations in Europe and elsewhere have recommended or already adopted much lower levels of exposure than the UK.
The science bit
The accepted exposure levels for radio frequency EMFs (microwaves) are based on their thermal effects on body cells – i.e. the level at which the water molecules in the body start to heat up, just as your microwave oven heats food. Limits are set far below these levels, based on an ’average’ power density. Below this level, it is claimed that there is no biological effect on the body. However, the pulsed microwave signals used in digital communications have peak pulses many times higher than these average levels and are modulated several times a second (DECT cordless phones can have peak levels 100 times higher than their ‘average’ level). There is growing evidence that biological effects still occur; in simple terms, cell membranes are over-stimulated (stressed), which disrupts their natural cycle of nutrient absorption and toxin elimination leading to a build-up of toxins within the cells.
At a psychological level, the pulse frequencies are in some cases very close to our natural brainwave frequencies, and this may ‘entrain’ our brain waves into unnatural rhythms, causing sleeplessness, depression and other psychological problems. I have certainly observed myself that I have trouble sleeping in the presence of Wi-Fi and DECT telephones.
The effects of power frequency EMFs have been well documented as we have lived with them for longer and few would deny that there is a connection between high voltage power lines and childhood leukaemia; and we know that over-exposure to ultraviolet radiation causes skin cancer. There has been less documentation on the electric and magnetic fields emitted by many domestic appliances, and the effect these have on electro-sensitive individuals.
For more detailed information, please watch this 20-minute video of a talk given by Dr. Martin Blank to the Commonwealth Club of California in November 2010 detailing the proven biological effects of pulsed non-ionising microwave radiations:
What can we do?
It is still possible to maintain a technological lifestyle by following some simple steps, as outlined herein. In particular, it is important to minimise your exposure to technopathic influences in the bedroom, as this is where you are likely to spend the most time, and it is during sleep that the immune system repairs itself. The hazards are arranged in roughly descending order; i.e. at the top of the list, many people will notice effects; at the end of the list only a few highly sensitive people will notice effects. This is not meant to be a scientific document; think of it more like a ‘risk assessment’ for the home, school and office environment. Scientific data is available via the websites listed at the end if you want to research things further yourself, and I encourage you to do so. To paraphrase the TV show ‘Brainiac – Science Abuse’:
We read the research so you don’t have to – and please; DO try this at home!
November 2009 (but frequently updated)
|DECT CORDLESS PHONES|
• Phone base stations transmit high levels of microwave radiation all the time, even when not in use. The relative power density is higher than having a mobile phone mast outside your house.
• Handset power levels are similar to a mobile phone.
• Same frequency range as 3G phones and Wi-Fi.
|• Use a normal wired landline phone.
• If you really must have cordless, use a ‘low radiation’ model. I recommend the Siemens Gigaset range (look for ‘Eco Mode PLUS models) http://gigaset.com
|WIRELESS INTERNET (Wi-Fi, wLAN, WiMax).|
• Similar problems as DECT phones. Power levels fluctuate depending on amount of data being transmitted, with larger files requiring higher power; but there is always a carrier signal being transmitted. Again, the relative power densities are many times higher than any nearby phone mast.
• Data transfer rates are nowhere near as high as a good wired LAN.
• Data security and interference issues.
• Wi-Fi enabled laptop power levels similar to mobile phone handsets.
• Wireless headsets, games consoles, Bluetooth-enabled devices and many other gadgets use this same system, albeit at lower power levels. Game consoles like the X-box and Wii transmit microwaves even when switched off.
• Some Wi-Fi routers act as ‘femtocells’ for other mobile phone or Wi-Fi users and may be transmitting at high levels without your knowledge.
• Newer 3Gs iPhones have this function built-in and other ‘smartphones’ are likely to follow suit.
|• There is really no need to have Wi-Fi in the home, school or office environment.
• If your existing wireless router is close to where you use your computer, connect to it directly using a standard Ethernet (LAN) cable. Depending on the make of router, you may be able to disable the wireless transmission, either by a switch or through the control software; but in many cases you may have to replace the entire unit to get rid of the Wi-Fi.
• If you need to extend your network and cannot install a wired LAN, you can connect your router to a dLAN system that sends the data through your existing house wiring through a special mains plug. You connect your computer in the other room using a similar wire and plug. This is not only more secure than Wi-Fi, the data transmission rates are many times faster, and the system is relatively cheap and very easy to use. There are several systems available – see http://www.devolo.co.uk/ or Netgear Powerline for examples.
• If you cannot replace your Wi-Fi router, at least make sure you switch it off at night. Connect your computer peripherals through an energy-saving demand switch that will automatically kill the power when the main computer is shut down.
• Do you have a BT Home Hub 2? Be aware that these emit both Wi-Fi and DECT phone signals, whether or not you have the hub phone option, and that you cannot disable the DECT signal. The only option is to replace the router. Newer Hubs have dual-band Wi-Fi only but this can be disabled via the control software.
• The UK government is insisting that we should all have so-called ‘Smart Meters’ installed, at an estimated cost of 12 billion pounds.
• These devices will transmit pulsed Wi-Fi type signals around the clock, and could possibly be linked together to provide local area wireless networks, increasing the radiation exposure for everyone.
|•Despite what utility companies may tell you, there is no legal obligation to have one of these meters fitted and you are quite within your rights to refuse one.
• See the Stop Smart Meters website for more information and help on this subject.
|EXTERNAL PHONE MASTS|
• Unless you have direct line-of-sight view of a mobile mast, the microwave power density levels in the home are likely to be much lower than those from DECT or Wi-Fi as much of the radiation will be absorbed by intervening buildings.
• In theory, the power density is designed to be highest between 50-200m from the mast; but this is rarely the case in practice and hotspots can arise at closer distances.
• In dense urban areas, check for microcells on the front of buildings. These often look like unmarked burglar alarm boxes painted to match the building, but will have cables entering the underside of the box.
• Picocells are even smaller transmitters used inside shopping centres and other public areas.
• Petrol station signs and church spires often conceal mobile transmitters, and some are even disguised as trees in rural areas!
• TETRA (Airwave) masts look like conventional aerials with four paperclip-like nodules on the side.
• The circular drum-like structures on some masts are tight-beam point-to-point microwave links used to transmit data between masts, and are not a problem unless you are directly in the beam.
|• Find your local masts at http://www.sitefinder.ofcom.org.uk – this will show the location of all local masts and microcells as blue triangles; and give details of the mast operator, transmission system, height, and power density levels. Note some mobile operators (T-mobile) are currently opted out of this scheme so information may not be up to date.
• Stone walls absorb much of the radiation; however windows do not.
• Newer double-glazing with thermal protection film (Pilkington K) can absorb over 90% of the radiation. (but the frames may not).
• If you need to take additional precautions, screening materials, window films and carbon paint can be bought via www.emfields-solutions.com.
|MICROWAVE SMOG from neighbouring properties (DECT phones, Wi-Fi etc)|
• These are unlikely to be a problem unless you live in an apartment block or a terraced house with shared party walls.
|• Party walls can be screened with carbon paint, metallic foils etc. See www.emfields-solutions.com for suitable products.
• Some building insulating materials with aluminium coatings can be very effective and are relatively cheap, but make sure it is real metal, not a plasticised layer. Cover joints with foil tape to ensure conductivity.
• Foil-backed plasterboard can also work well.
• The hazards of excessive use have been well documented.
• Particularly bad in children, where the skull has not attained its full thickness.
• Wired earpieces act as aerials and channel the phone’s microwaves straight into your ear, so they do not reduce your exposure as much as you think.
• Bluetooth headsets use the same pulsed microwave frequencies as Wi-Fi; although the power levels are lower, you still have a microwave transmitter in your ear.
• Mobiles used in ‘home phone’ systems have afemtocell base station that may be transmitting data for other users (see Wi-Fi).
|• Minimise microwave exposure by keeping calls short, or send text messages instead.
• Keep your phone in a handbag or briefcase, away from your body.
• When making a call, do not hold the phone to your ear until it starts ringing. The phone transmits at maximum power whilst it is connecting to the network; the power level drops dramatically once connected. This single act alone will reduce your microwave exposure by roughly 90%.
• Use speakerphone mode if possible. Alternatively, use an air-tube headset. A ‘normal’ wired headset is not advisable as these can act as aerials and actually channel more microwaves from the phone directly into your ear. Air-tube headsets are available in wired and part-wired (Bluetooth) versions from EMFields-solutions.com.
• Don’t try to use the phone in an aircraft or lift. The microwaves cannot easily pass through the metal skin so the phone is transmitting at maximum power.
|POWER FREQUENCY EMFs|
• The main culprits here are magnetic fields from transformers, such as bedside alarm clocks, phone chargers, laptops and other gadgets. These generally look like large plugs, or sometimes they are in a separate power supply unit.
• If the item doesn’t have a visible transformer either in the plug or a separate PSU, it probably has one inside it. Beware of items like bedside clocks with internal transformers.
• Electric fields from cables in or behind walls, or under floors in apartment blocks can also be problematic.
• High-voltage power lines immediately outside the building.
• Electricity substations immediately outside the building.
• TVs and computer screens – the older cathode ray tubes can give off high levels of EMFs, particularly from the rear of the unit. More recent CRTs are better shielded, and newer flat screen LED types give off much less radiation.
|• With all EMFs, the Inverse Square Law applies – power levels fall off very quickly the further away it is. Either move the item, or move yourself.
• Keep transformers at least 3 feet away if you can; especially bedside clock radios with internal transformers.
• Don’t site beds against a wall if you know there are any power cables behind it. That includes your electricity meter! Check outside walls for street lighting cables or other municipal power lines attached to the wall.
• If you have a small substation immediately adjacent to your house, there isn’t much you can do about it except try to keep beds as far away as you can; but one at the bottom of the garden shouldn’t be a problem, (although the field can be carried by underground water veins).
• High voltage overhead power lines – a safe distance is at least 25m for 11kV lines (usually carried on wooden ‘telegraph poles’ with transformer boxes mounted on the pole at the edge of the property), and 250m for 400kV lines (the biggest metal pylons).
• A much greater danger from overhead power lines is from air ionisation causing carcinogenic pollution particles to stick in the lungs.
|DIGITAL WIRELESS BABY MONITORS|
• These modern units use exactly the same technology as DECT cordless phones, with the same attendant problems – i.e. continual high levels of pulsed microwave radiation.
• Wireless video monitoring systems have the same problems. These also cannot be used where there is Wi-Fi because of interference.
• Models with cordless sensor mats transmit high power densities of microwaves right into the cot and are best avoided.
|• Use a wired monitor, or a system that uses the mains wiring to send the signal to another part of the house.
• Older analogue models are also good but should be kept at least 2 feet from the baby’s head. These are still available.
|MOTION DETECTORS in burglar alarms|
• Older systems used infra-red detectors, which are fine; but newer systems use microwaves, again with the same attendant problems as DECT and Wi-Fi.
|• Try to use a system with infra-red detectors.
• Disable the motion sensors when not needed.
• Generate high levels of electric and magnetic fields.
• If you sleep with these on, you are exposing yourself to these EMFs for hours at a time. This constitutes chronic exposure.
|• Do not sleep with blanket switched on. Warm bed beforehand, then switch off and unplug the blanket before getting into bed.|
• A recent phenomenon caused by radio-frequency signals being carried on home wiring and re-radiating around the building.
• Surges and spikes caused by devices like fridges, boilers, fluorescent lights etc. You can often see or hear these manifest as interference on TVs and radios
• Continual high-frequency RF signals from compact fluorescent lights, dimmer switches etc.
• Microwaves from DECT and Wi-Fi being carried to other parts of the building in the same way.
|• Ferrite cores can be fitted to power leads, overhead light cables etc. to eliminate the surges and spikes and stop the cables re-radiating. Most sensitive electronic equipment will already have one of these fitted on the power lead to prevent equipment damage –they look like little beads on the cable. Available from EMFields-solutions.com
• Fit surge protectors to computers and sensitive equipment.
• DE filter plugs are available from EMFields-solutions.com – these contain capacitors to ‘soak up’ the extraneous RF in the mains. Generally two or three of these will be sufficient for the entire house.
You will also need to buy or hire a DE meter to check levels, or book a consultation.
|SPRING MATTRESSES AND BED BASES|
• These can cause serious problems by amplifying and re-radiating microwaves and other EMF’s. The springs can act as waveguides and focus the EMF’s into tight beams.
• The metal springs also distort the natural geomagnetic field and can produce hot spots.
|• Use wooden-framed beds and mattresses without springs.
• Water beds are usually OK if the heater pad is not directly underneath the body and the frame is non-metallic. If you’re worried, switch it off at night – but remember to switch it back on again!
|DESK LAMPS AND COMPACT FLUORESCENT (CFL) LAMPS|
• Many low-voltage halogen and CFL desk lamps have transformers in the base.
• Some using unshielded compact fluorescent lamps can also give off high levels of ultra-violet radiation.
|• As before, try to keep the base unit containing the transformer as far from you as practical – ideally at least 3 feet.
• Don’t sit close to ‘bare’ CFLs (where you can see the tube) unless they have an additional diffuser glass envelope, which will absorb the UV.
• A whole area of research in themselves for the detrimental effect they have on foodstuffs.
• High levels of power frequency EMFs given off at close range.
• Microwave leakage around the door seal and through the glass door may be sufficient to cause problems in sensitive individuals. Try putting your mobile phone inside and then calling it to show that they are not 100% shielded.
|• If you really can’t live without one, ensure that you do not stand close to it when in use.
• Check for leakage regularly
Several of our members can survey your property using professional scientific instruments to accurately measure levels of exposure.
Please get in touch if you would like a consultation.
References and resources
http://www.powerwatch.org.uk For the most up-to-date scientific research on all technopathic stress issues.
http://www.emfields-solutions.com The Powerwatch shop also sells screening materials and you can buy or hire measuring equipment.
http://www.tetrawatch.net Researching and campaigning against TETRA (Airwave).
http://royriggs.co.uk Roy is a dowser and geobiologist, his site has lots of good information about technostress.
http://www.hese-project.org International monitoring site.
http://wiredchild.org UK charity campaigning to reduce childrens’ exposure to EMF’s.
http://stopsmartmeters.org.uk/ UK pressure group and informative site campaigning against the introduction of Smart Meters.
http://www.emfs.info/ Excellent and informative site on all aspects of power-frequency EMFs; includes an overhead power line field calculator.
The Powerwatch Handbook, Alasdair & Jean Philips, Piatkus, 2006
Water, Electricity and Health, Alan Hall, Hawthorn, 1998
EMF and Microwave Protection for you and your family, Alasdair & Jean Philips, Powerwatch 2003
The Invisible Disease, Gunni Nordström, O books 2004
Safe as Houses? David Cowan & Rodney Girdlestone, 1996
Dirty Electricity, Samuel Milham, MD, MPH, Rising Star 2010
Earthing, Clinton Ober, Stephen T. Sinatra MD, Martin Zucker, Basic Health Publications, 2010
A Basic Guide to Technopathic Stress, Grahame Gardner, Western Geomancy 2015