Are smartphones and WiFi / Bluetooth Devices Biohazards?

I’ve heard claims of negative physiological effects of electro-magnetic radiation for years. I’ve never given the matter much thought, but I’m doing product research on a concept that has a side effect of reducing exposure to WiFi radiation. I did a bit of research, and I thought I’d share my findings.

I was surprised to find good arguments for and against. However, I found the arguments heavily weighted (like 90%) in the camp believing that there is no scientific evidence to support any causal relationship between ones’ health and exposure to electromagnetic radiation from contemporary products and services. The arguments in support of a direct connection mostly presented anecdotal evidence, but there is some scientific data to support the claims. They claim that there isn’t much unbiased research because most of the studies are partially of fully funded by stakeholders in the outcome – much like tobacco companies support of research on the health effects of tobacco in the 1960’s.

There are also a number of web sites that detail health problems attributed to electromagnetic radiation that are actually companies selling snake-oil products that make unabashedly ridiculous claims about the severity of the problem and how their gizmo, gadget or amulet will save you. (BioElectric Shield Company, WaveShield and SafeSpace are just a few examples).

Here’s a sneak peek at my surprise findings (they surprised me at least); if you feel that electromagnetic radiation from WiFi, cell phone and Bluetooth technologies has a negative effect on your wellbeing, then it does. You should take steps to minimize your exposure, and if having a “protection product” with no scientific evidence to support its professed benefits makes you feel better, you should have it. I believe this is psychologically good for you, and possibly physiologically good for you as well.

Researchers have labeled the phenomenon Idiopathic environmental intolerance attributed to electromagnetic fields (IEI-EMF), (Idiopathic meaning – relating to, or designating a disease having no known cause – I had to look it up.) A simpler term is Electrohypersensitivity or EHS. Symptoms include:

• Headaches
• Difficulty Sleeping
• Heart Arrhythmia/Palpitations
• Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
• Fatigue
• Depression/Anxiety
• Difficulty Concentrating/Forgetfulness
• Infertility
• Skin Rashes (facial redness)
• Vertigo/Nausea
• Reduced Immune System Function
• Cardiac, Nervous and Endocrine System Dysregulation

The most compelling presentation I found supporting EHS was made by Jeromy Johnson in a TedTalk, and his website Protect Your Family from EMF Pollution. Of the many sights arguing the against their even being a thing called EHS, I found a sight simply called EMF & Health, that presents a good deal of relevant research data. Another relevant article worth mentioning (because it influenced my conclusions), was in The Journal of Psychosomatic Research entitled “Are media warnings about the adverse health effects of modern life self-fulfilling? An experimental study on idiopathic environmental intolerance attributed to electromagnetic fields (IEI-EMF)”.

Here’s how I reached my conclusion:
1. No one argues that the electromagnetic radiation associated with today’s electronic equipment is good for you, they only argue that it won’t kill you.
2. My reading has convinced me that a small part of the overall population may indeed be hyper-sensitive to electromagnetic fields. And if that is true, there are probably people that are somewhat sensitive to EMF.
3. I found many of the claims by people afflicted with EHS symptoms to be creditable. I believe it’s correct to say it’s true because it’s true for them.

Lastly, if an unintended consequence of reducing EMF exposure involves unplugging WiFi, turning off mobile phones, and spending more time outdoors, I predict that any psychological and physiological benefits will be increased tenfold.

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