I Feel an EMF Headache Coming On!

DN Staff

October 23, 2009

4 Min Read
I Feel an EMF Headache Coming On!


“EMF (electromagnetic waves) are everywhere, in your home, office, car … all electronic equipment radiate them. In addition, radio stations, cell phones, satellite communications also operate via EMF waves. Some products that generate EMF are computers, hair dryers, heating pads, microwave ovens, and cell phones, and many more. Some common symptoms of EMF exposure are headaches, fatigue, nausea, eyestrain, and overall lack of energy.”

The paragraph above is posted on the Toolsforwellness.com website, which offers a plethora of products for EMF protection including pendants and watches. Plus they’re stylish, too! In fact, plenty of websites offer devices to protect your home and office, your car, even your pet. Because you know if your pet hedgehog is acting a little weird, it just has to be the result of harmful EMF!

Feeling a little tired and a headache coming on, I thought I would consult with Daryl Gerke, an EMI expert and co-owner of the consulting firm Kimmel Gerke Associates, which specializes in Electromagnetic Interference and Compatibility, before I rushed online to order my own personal protection devices. Since he’s been consulting on EMI issues for the past three decades, I figured he’d be the first one to drape himself with these products if they do indeed have any therapeutic benefit.

He explained that concern over EMF issues dates back 20 or 30 years ago, when researchers did one of the first epidemiological studies on the impact of 60 Hz power lines on cancer rates. Nothing was ever proven, though, and Gerke says he believes that one study even suggested you might live slightly longer if you were born and raised under a power line!

Gerke ran into a fellow engineer at his church in Minneapolis who was doing consulting at the time for the Electric Power Research Institute, who had become a kind of clearing house for information on the topic. “So I said to him, “Okay I’m being asked about this stuff all the time, is it or is it not a problem?’” says Gerke. “He told me, ‘We’re spending millions of dollars to research this, and we’ve seen nothing that suggests there is any correlation.’”

As for the emissions from cell phones, computers, and other electronic devices, Gerke says he’s seen nothing to suggest that there is any direct cause/effect relationship. Further, he says, the FCC and OSHA have established safe levels of EMI fields, and these levels are basically well beyond what most of us are exposed to.

“Maybe if you’re standing next to the antenna on a high-powered radio transmitter or climbing on the tower you could get in that range, but most of us never see those levels. The emissions that you get from a computer are millions, maybe even billions times lower than what you would get near a radio transmitter. And even there, the main concern is the cumulative effect,” he says.

Gerke has actually done measurements for the Forest Service after concern was raised over the possibility that workers at a fire watch tower with antennas on the roof could be frying their brains up there. “It was actually kind of a fun project,” says Gerke. “We went and waved the magic wand and–nothing. There wasn’t enough power.”

At this point, the idea that an EMF protection bracelet would get rid of my headache was beginning to sound more and more unlikely. And then, Gerke delivered his final verdict:

“I am an engineer, and in spite of all the scientific studies, no threat has been proven. And even if there were a threat, I don’t think this kind of jewelry is a solution,” says Gerke. “Some of the terms used to market this stuff, like “Diode Jewelry for EMF Protection,” are just amazing. In fact, if you think about it, diodes would probably aggravate the problem since they kind of splatter energy all over the place.”

In the end, Gerke thinks the biggest threat these devices pose is to - Ding! Ding! Ding! - other devices.

“And as far as fields go,” he says. “The one I worry about more than anything is the gravitational field. Jump off a bridge or a building and it will suck you right down to the ground.”

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