Thanks to modern technology many of us are living in a sea of electromagnetic pollution. Philip Weeks explores the potential health risks, and the steps you can take to reduce your exposure.


When Lisa came to see me she was suffering from a lot of common complaints. At 36 she had chronic insomnia, fatigue, ongoing viral infections and depression. However, what marked her as a little different was that she was a therapist who was having a lot of good treatment by a number of practitioners and nothing seemed to be really working. She was not making any tangible progress even though she had been detoxing and taking homeopathic and herbal medicine.

When I undertook bio-resonance testing on her it was difficult to get clear readings. This can happen when there is a complicated health picture but also because disturbances in the body have their own signals. These signals create a lot of ‘noise’ in the body, with the presence of the different discordant frequencies. Essentially, cells communicate with each other through subtle electromagnetic signals of their own. When this is disturbed, disease arises.

With testing, the overwhelming factor was that she was suffering from some kind of electromagnetic overload. She worked for a telecommunications company and used a mobile. Week days were spent in an office full of computers, and at home she had Wi-Fi (wireless internet connection). Lisa didn’t think that her electromagnetic field exposure was any more than anybody else’s. It was only when she hired a number of machines that test levels of electromagnetic pollution that she realized she had a big problem at home.

In her home she could view 18 different Wi-Fi connections from neighbours whose connections were spilling into her home. She also found that there was a radiation hot spot from the local mobile phone mast in her bedroom.

Essentially, all of the external radiation of ‘electro smog’ was undermining her core level of health. As high electromagnetic fields – or EMF’s – are such a new phenomenon, the human body doesn’t recognize what they are. People can come down with viral-like symptoms or unexplainable health problems. I believe the immune system thinks it has been infected and reacts as it would to a continual viral, bacterial or a toxic onslaught.

Some people need to substantially reduce their exposure to EMF’s for a period of time in order to get back into balance. Lisa took a number of steps to achieve this. She ditched the Wi-Fi at home, switching her internet access to a wired connection. She then immediately got a wire mesh which went around her bed, a lot like a mosquito net, until she got the house sorted out. This screened out the EMF’s almost completely from where she was sleeping. Within a few days she started to feel better and within a week her sleep greatly improved.

She used anti-EMF paint on the walls where most of the radiation was getting in. It usually contains zinc, which blocks electromagnetic signals from penetrating walls. This blocked the majority of the radiation coming from the neighbours’ Wi-Fi. She then got a window net for the bedroom to block the residue of the mobile phone masts.

After eight weeks she felt she was making a recovery. She was not as prone to viral infections and was at last sleeping well and feeling more energetic.

I used a number of herbal remedies to help her body make the adjustment necessary: burdock and yellow dock to help the deep immune system, and bugleweed and Siberian ginseng for toxins and radiation. ‘Chel-8’, although primarily for heavy metal poisoning, is very effective for reducing electro-sensitivity and helps cells communicate with each other. Twelve months on, Lisa is in very good health and still does regular detoxification and follows a good diet. However, she is conscious about the level of electromagnetic exposure in her home and workplace and keeps it as low as possible.

The inconvenient truth

Most of us will have heard of the many concerns regarding EMF’s. There are researchers in the field who have established compelling links between overhead cables, pylons and illness. Many people living near mobile phone masts suffer from symptoms of tiredness, depression, immune deficiencies and increased mental health issues – symptoms which subside when they reduced their exposure by moving house or by implementing EMF protection measures.

Dr. George Carlo is a public health scientist who headed the first multi-million dollar research programme funded by the cell phone industry. After six years, his research discovered very alarming discoveries linking mobile/cellular phones to serious health problems and diseases. On submitting his findings to the industry, he was discredited and his research ignored by the very people who paid him to carry it out. He came to certain conclusions regarding how EMF’s cause damage (however, Wi-Fi is a newer area that urgently needs more research):

  • Cell membranes become damaged and harden. Cellular respiration is reduced, resulting in inefficient cellular nutrient intake and detoxification. Free radical concentration within the cell can dramatically increase, leading to DNA damage.
  • Disturbed intra- and inter-cellular communication. This results in impaired organ function.
  • Blood-brain barrier can become inefficient, potentially risking toxic chemical uptake into brain tissue.
  • Cellular death with an increased likelihood of disrupted cell production, potentially increasing the number of malignant cells.

Professor Lawrie Challis is on the committee for mobile phone safety research in the UK, funded by the government and related industries. Because of the incredibly small number of studies into levels of exposure to Wi-Fi in schools, he is highlighting the potential growth of health problems in children. His main concern is children using a laptop while using Wi-Fi, and he had this to say on the subject:

“With a desktop computer, the transmitter will be in the tower. This might be perhaps 20cms from your leg and the exposure would then be around 1% of that from a mobile phone. However if you put a laptop straight on your lap and are using Wi-Fi, you could be around 2cms from the transmitter, and receiving comparable exposure to that from a mobile phone.

“Children are much more sensitive than adults to a number of other dangers, such as pollutants like lead and UV radiation, so if there should be a problem with mobiles, then it may be a bigger problem for children. Since we advise that children should be discouraged from using mobile phones, we should also discourage children from placing their laptop on their lap when they are using Wi-Fi.”

Recently, a lawsuit was filed in a suburb of Chicago by parents against a school on the grounds that exposure to Wi-Fi could potentially cause neurological damage to their children. Lakehead University in Canada has banned the use of Wi-Fi networks over fears about possible links between EMF’s and cancer. In the UK, many teachers and parents are pressing for a total Wi-Fi ban in schools.

Until it can be proved the technology is safe, pupils are being used as “guinea pigs in a large-scale experiment”, according to the Professional Association of Teachers (PAT). Regarding general EMF exposure Professor Ross Adey, a researcher on EMF’s, concluded from his studies that they can:

  • disturb the immune system and reduce the number of white blood cells available to kill tumour cells
  • contribute to disturbed foetal development and psycho-sexual development
  • increase miscarriage risk
  • accelerate growth in existing cancer cells
  • affect the central nervous system and the brain in ways which affect stress sensitivity

We are going to have an ever-increasing exposure to the electromagnetic field as technology plays a larger part in all of our lives. Mobile phone masts are gradually connecting the world’s population and alarmingly, many cities are proudly boasting complete Wi-Fi coverage for their residents. So at the moment at least we are all bathing in a certain amount of electromagnetic smog. I personally think the further we get from nature, the more we are going to run into problems. In my view, it is not healthy to be paranoid about factors beyond our control. But it is healthy to take reasonable steps to limit the risks as much as we can.

How to lower your electromagnetic load

  • Limit your mobile phone use. Text messaging at least avoids direct brain exposure. Talk on your mobile/cellular phone only when necessary, and keep the call short. If possible, use it on speakerphone mode and switch off when not in use.
  • Don’t keep your mobile phone in your pocket or next to your body all day. Men should be particularly aware of the potential effect on fertility.
  • Avoid using cordless phones and use a regular wired analogue one.
  • If you choose to have Wi-Fi in your home, at least disable it when not in use.
  • Better still, have a wired internet connection with a special dLAN adaptor which will turn your home’s circuitry into an extension to your computer network, allowing you to access the web from any electrical socket in your house.
  • Rent machines to test for microwaves and EMF’s so you can identify the hot spots in your place of work and at home. Homes and bedrooms should have electric fields of lower than 10 V/m (volts per meter) and AC pulsed magnetic fields below 100 nT.
  • If you are a parent, talk to your child’s school about not using Wi-Fi because of its questionable safety. Many parents I know have successfully changed the school’s policy on this.
  • Avoid obvious EMF exposure such as electricity sub-stations, overhead pylons, and microwave ovens.
  • Some EMF exposure is unavoidable, but at least ensure that your sleeping area is as free of it as possible. Electric alarm clocks can sometimes emit very high EMF’s. Avoid using your mobile as an alarm clock or having it in your bedroom at night, and avoid having a TV in your bedroom. Wooden bed frames are the best. Avoid electric blankets.
  • Fluorescent lights produce more EMF’s then regular bulbs. Energy-saving bulbs are fluorescent and contain mercury so their alleged environmental benefits are questionable.
  • Amalgam fillings produce their own electrical current; those without fillings are a lot less likely to suffer from electromagnetic stress than those with a mouth full of fillings. My website has number of articles on this issue.
  • Anything that promotes healthy cellular respiration will support your body, such as clean or ideally alkaline water, skin brushing and any activity that promotes lymphatic drainage, such as rebounding. High antioxidant intake (ideally through superfoods and fresh fruits, vegetables and their juices) also has a protective effect. Walk barefoot on grass and spend some time outdoors everyday. Finally, it is helpful to promote healthy melatonin production by ensuring your bedroom is as dark as possible at night.

Online resources has a large resource of information on EMF’s and you can also hire machines to test levels in your house and buy the screening paint The Human Radiation Effects Group – a resource concerning the environmental factors linking childhood leukaemia and EMF’s. manufactures Chel-8, which is what I use with patients who are suffering from electromagnetic-related conditions.

Philip Weeks is a master herbalist, naturopath and licensed acupuncturist. He sees patients from all over the world at his clinics in Hereford and London. For more information see or telephone 01342 265565.

This article appeared in the Spring 2008 issue of Get Fresh! magazine.