Your guide to healthy living ...

Radiation Exposure

Radiation is everywhere ... modern technology that emits radiation is so pervasive - such as cell phones and power lines. We've accepted these things as a way of life. But the real problems come in when we're in very close proximity to a source that's emitting strong radiation. Our natural instincts don't kick in to protect ourselves against a threat that we can't see our touch. Research studies contain some alarming findings on the effects of radiation exposure. Long-term exposure to cell phone radiation can cause anything from brain cancer to tumors, behavioral problems, sleep problems, leukemia, migraines, vertigo, and the problems don't end there. Children especially are vulnerable to radiation. 

Beyond Organic conducted its own test of common household items, armed with a gaussmeter (a specialized device that allows you to take actual measurements of EMF emissions). Some of this will surprise you. For purposes of this test, the "Danger Zone" is set at 3 milligauss or mG (where prolonged exposure can cause disease) and "Exceeds Scale" is anything over 100 mG.

The tests performed validate others' findings with smart phones. While EMF was expected, it was somewhat surprising just how much EMF is produced by laptops. It gives credence to the recommendation not to rest it on your lap. Using a docking station will keep you a safe distance from the base unit. The old CRT TV's are believed to be high in radiation. As you can see below, LCD TV's are manageable. The results show it's also best to keep your distance from microwaves, blenders, electrical boxes, and ... believe it or not ... alarm clocks. I'll be the first to admit I like to slap the snooze button and doze off to sleep again. But it's worth setting it across the room.

Some other items that were not tested but can be expected to produce high EMF emissions include:

  • Motorized equipment
  • Electrical appliances
  • Inside airplane cabins
  • Near floorboard of cars
  • Power lines
  • Cell towers
  • Electrical blankets
  • Cordless home phones, particularly the DECT phones (0.055 W/kg)
  • GPS
  • Wireless computer accessories
  • WiFi networks (0.81 W/kg, but usually exposed to lower levels unless you keep your laptop on your lap)
  • Baby monitor (0.077 W/kg)

Some sources are seemingly unavoidable. But the more you can reduce your constant exposure, the better your health! Our results .............

- Smart phones
Not detected: 2 in (on standby)
Danger Zone: on contact
Max: >5 mG (on contact and in use; med to high spikes on establishing call)

- Laptop computer
Not detected: 1 ft
Danger Zone: 2 in
Max: >100 mG on contact

- iPad
Not detected: >6 in
Danger Zone: 4 in
Max: >100 mG on contact

- AC wall adapters
Not detected: 2 ft
Danger Zone: 1 ft
Max: >100 mG at 6 in

- Flat screen LCD TV
Not detected: 1 ft
Danger Zone: 3 in
Max: 4-8 mG on contact

- Microwave
Not detected: 1.5 ft
Danger Zone: 6 in (not in use)
Max: >100 mG at 2.5 ft

- Blender
Not detected: 5 ft
Danger Zone: 3 ft
Max: >100 mG at 2 ft

- Electrical box/ circuit breaker
Not detected: 9 ft
Danger Zone: 3.5 ft
Max: >100 mG at 1 ft

- Alarm clock
Not detected: 1 ft
Danger Zone: 9 in
Max: >100 mG at 3 in

Cell Phone Radiation
If you've been using cell phones since they first came out, chances are the Motorola Brick has you glowing in the dark by now. Some people who've used cell phones for 10+ years are showing signs of brain cancer. Next at risk would be those who use smart phones. Phones such as the Droid, iPhone, and Blackberry top the list. Phone radiation levels used to be measured by their SAR value. This is no longer a requirement of the FCC, leaving consumers with little information to evaluate cell phones based on SAR levels. What about headsets? Are wired or Bluetooth headsets going to reduce your exposure? The answer is yes ... as long as you don't keep your phone on your person.

These days it's tough to get by without the wireless technology we've come to depend on. But unfortunately it's finally catching up with us, so protect yourself. Turn off or don't use those wireless devices except when you need it. You can also check out the radiation safety accessories on the RF Safe website. If you'd like further information on this topic, visit EWG's Guide to Safer Cell Phone Use.