A man drove his car into that pond next to a busy downtown road nine years ago.
Last fall, someone finally noticed his car.
He was still in it.
Now every time I walk or drive by that pond (which is daily since it’s at the end of my street!) I marvel at how many times I looked right down at it and never in a million years would have guessed that an entire vehicle was submerged there.
Sometimes, we can’t see what’s right in front of us, especially if we don’t know where to look or what we’re looking for.
Do You Think Smoking is Dumb?
The doctor who delivered my husband was smoking a cigarette at the time.
Welcome to the world, little guy!
If that made you cringe like it does me, think how much the world has changed since then. How much norms and knowledge have changed.
We love the old Little Miss and Little Mr. books like the one containing the page shown above. When I read that one in particular to my third graders, which described the bird as clever, they all called the author’s bull:
How can he say that bird is clever and show him smoking a cigar? That’s totally not smart at all…
Touché. Good point, O wise youngsters.
Isn’t it amazing how in a few short decades (copyright of the book was 1976 and 82 and this happened in 2004) the norms can shift so radically? In the 70s and 80s, people really didn’t understand how harmful smoking was. And I’m sure as studies began to point to what is now obvious to us, people resisted. They disagreed.
They remained stuck in their habits because they couldn’t see it causing harm.
I worry that WiFi will be that way someday.
Andrea Fabry of It Takes Time and I first started talking EMFs last summer and she wrote this fabulous guest post about WiFi in schools and its impact on children. I thought and thought about that post, but I never did anything about it in the schools.
I did make some tweaks at home, and I began to invent some new habits that would reduce my own family’s exposure to electromagnetic fields. But I wanted to know more, and Andrea and I started chatting again. When I asked her to meet me for an interview to share with you all, she said:
I believe this is the elephant in the room when it comes to our health and we are playing with fire with our kids. I am beyond passionate about this and am grateful you took the chance to address the topic.
And with that, here’s our interview:
If you can’t view the video above, click here to see it on YouTube.
I completely understand that life is busy and that you may not have the time at this exact moment to watch the full video (we kept it short – only 27 minutes!). So if you’ve only got a few minutes, here are the things you’re going to want to check out.
1:55 – What “EMF” stands for and what it does.
2:55 – How EMFs are different from X-rays and an interesting tidbit about alternating currents.
4:31 – Do experts think EMFs may hurt our bodies? Andrea references this report by the BioInitiative. She also describes some of the discussed potential carcinogenic impact highlighted in the report.
Note: updated after a very helpful comment!
The World Health Organization classifies EMFs as a class 2B carcinogen. From the report referenced off the WHO website: “a category used when a causal association is considered credible, but when chance, bias or confounding cannot be ruled out with reasonable confidence.” In other words, the statistics of it aren’t conclusive — but there is some evidence of causation.
8:03 – How distance and intensity of EMFs can make a difference.
9:36 – You won’t believe her describe her experience with her meter as she ran home tests!!!
10:07 – Andrea tells us about something crazy that you’ll find in the fine print of your phone’s owner manual.
12:18 – A recommendation for women on where to carry your phone.
13:55 – Time to play a little Devil’s Advocate and ask the question we’re all wondering. What good will it do for me to turn off my phone’s WiFi because I’m swimming in a sea of waves from my neighbors, my coworkers, my internet router running in the background… So will any of this really make a difference? Check out Andrea’s response… and the results she found on her meter just by turning ONE thing off.
An Easy Way to Reduce Your Kids’ Exposure to EMFs
16:57 Don’t we all want to reduce our kids’ exposure to EMFs? Put tablet devices on airplane mode when they use them. Turn off the WiFi, Bluetooth, and other data. Andrea pulls out her meter and does a live screen test – and you can see the difference between the iPad signal being on and off. She shows the difference on the meter in real time!! (*Note: The unit of measurement on the meter is mW/m2. While there is much debate about safety limits, the BioIniative 2012 recommends a 0.03 mW/m2 upper threshold for safety, well below the levels we see when the iPad is on.)
19:53 – Science can sometimes get things wrong. It wasn’t that long ago that people smoked in hospitals, in cars, around their kids – and it was encouraged as a healthy habit. Now we know so much more about the risks involved. What we will say in thirty years about our WiFi exposure? Will we just look back and wince at what we’re doing now?
20:58 – Andrea talks about the VERY FIRST change she made and how to turn off your router without having to flip any manual switches (or having to remember to do it).
22:01 – WiFi, Bluetooth, Cellular… which ones do I need to turn off?
23:56 – If you’ve only got three minutes, these are the three to listen to. Get a list of practical steps you can do RIGHT NOW to limit your EMF exposure without spending a penny.
- Getting phone farther away from you when using it (speaker phone)
- Not carrying the phone on your body, but putting it in your purse or on your counter.
- Get the phone out of your bedroom at night.
- Turn router off at night.
- Turn off WiFi, Data, and Blue Tooth on your devices when not in use.
Do This One Thing
24:31 – This is the ONE change that can make the biggest difference. If you want to take a baby step in reducing your EMF exposure, you can do this. Turn your router off at night. Put it on a timer so it’s off between the hours of midnight and 5am (because as I learned from my Sleep Series, you shouldn’t be on your blue-screen devices during that time anyway). And if you don’t believe Andrea that turning off the router can make a difference in your EMF exposure, buy your own meter here (or search for the same brand, updated version) and begin testing your own house.
EMF Action Plan
Robyn over at Green Smoothie Girl has prepared an EMF Action Plan with 10 tips to decrease your family’s EMF exposure. She shares how to measure the EMF in your home, and then stop it from impacting your family’s health, mood, and focus.
Employing these tips will literally “recharge your battery!” and protect your children’s sensitive, developing brains.
Grab your free EMF Action Plan, and check off all the “easy, free, and really expensive” items in a day or two.
Is WiFi Really All That Bad?
Maybe. Possibly not. But I really do prefer to err on the side of caution. And major organizations are beginning to come forward with research and information:
- The World Health Organization classified radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B) in 2011.
- Martha Herbert is an Assistant Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School, as well as a Pediatric Neurologist. Her research suggests a profound connection between wireless radiation and neurological issues.
- See more sources and a video of a Cornet meter spiking in a public high school here.
There are enough things in the world to worry about most days, so I’m trying not to get all stressed out over this. But I kind of see carcinogens flashing out from cell phones and tablets when kids pick them up, and I want to know more.
My Wireless is Off on my Phone as Much as Possible
A lot of folks avoid having their wireless on because it’s always searching while they’re traveling and burns down the battery. Me? I put my phone in airplane mode so I can avoid EMFs, for better or for worse. It’s an easy enough thing to do, and it really may make a difference. More on that in my post about my Republic Wireless phone…most phones should just turn off WiFi and cellular data, but my phone won’t allow that right now which is dumb…
Just because I can’t see what happening doesn’t mean that it’s not real, and as much as I’d like to think the Internet age has brought us nothing but sunny days and a walk in the park by a pond…I know there might be something startling hiding just beneath the surface.
And thirty years from now, I want to say I was one of the smart ones.
Read more about EMFs:
- Green Smoothie Girl: Is EMF Making You Sick?
- Is Wi-Fi in Your Child’s School? A Parent’s Guide to Taking Control