Electromagnetic Fields, Mold, Total Body Load and Your Health

by Dr. Susan Tanner, MD

Sensitivity to electromagnetic force or fields has been joked about on almost every platform, from comedy shows to many traditional medical forums.   Those individuals who feel that they are particularly sensitive to electrically charged magnetic fields are often ridiculed or told that they are hysterical.  If anything, the concept of EMF sensitivity is even less understood than multiple chemical sensitivity, about which we have written and referred to on this newsletter in previous articles.

Looking at the biomechanics of the problem of EMF sensitivity, however, can explain much and offer some logic in evaluating this challenging condition.  First, all of us must realize that we are “electric”.   Our bodies and our physiology function in a series of electrically charged protons and electrons which all have their own energy fields.  The most obvious example of this is heart rate and rhythm.  When the electrical balance of the heart is disrupted or unregulated, symptomatic or fatal events can occur. The need for defibrillator devices to “shock” the heart back into normal electrical rhythm is an example of this concept that everyone can understand.  Further, determination of life itself is often made by the detection (or lack thereof) of electrical activity in the brain.  And, when a person’s brain has “faulty wiring” or an imbalance causing severe depression or bipolar disorder that does not seem to respond to other interventions, electroshock therapy may be used for their treatment.

Concerns Over Electromagnetic Fields Are Not New

There have been multiple concerns written through the years about the presence of high voltage wiring in neighborhoods, particularly near school systems with developing children, with the association between the proximity of the wiring and the stimulation of the formation of brain tumors.  Electric blankets have long since been warned against in pregnant women.  There is a strange dichotomy, therefore, in recognizing that these potential dangers exist and then discounting symptoms of those who experience physical effects when exposed to certain frequencies.  It is my opinion that when we discuss the impact of the environment on health and wellness, then electromagnetic forces must also be considered as part of that body load.

An Environmental Medicine Approach to EMF Sensitivity

As a practitioner with training in environmental medicine, I take detailed histories on each and every patient. This includes use and exposure to various electrical fields.  Here is an example:

“Mary”, a 45-year-old woman, came in with multiple systemic complaints.  She had extreme fatigue but most troubling to her was a “buzzing” and vibration in her entire body.  She felt as though she was trembling, but no movement was visible to others.  She was dizzy and headache-y, and her balance was off.  Her environmental history revealed that significant moisture in the crawlspace under her home had caused a robust mold overgrowth, with mycotoxins entering the home through the floor joists.  She had the mold professionally remediated and felt somewhat better but not completely well.  Upon further questioning, her symptoms were made much worse when she worked in her home office on her computer.  There were times when the buzzing in her body became intolerable.  An environmental home inspector, with the use of a gauss meter (a device for measuring the strength of a magnetic field and the direction of a magnetic field in positive/negative), found very high amounts of EMF in this particular room.  Further investigation revealed that the outlets had never been properly installed when the home was built resulting in “dirty electricity” or electrical pollution in that room. “Dirty electricity” is defined as unusable electromagnetic energy that is created by interruptions in the flow of normal 60 Hertz AC power.  These interruptions cause voltage spikes or surges, as well as frequency variations also called “high frequency voltage transients” that combine to form complex and potentially harmful electromagnetic fields. Thus, the dirty electricity further compounded by the increased use of screens of electronic equipment and devices, upon which we have all become quite depended, this author included, seemed to be causing Mary’s symptoms. Now that she had clear evidence of the “cause” of her symptoms, Mary got to work having her outlets properly grounded, decreasing the number of screen products and used, and time spent looking at/using screens and remarkably improved.

EMF Exposure Does Affect Your Health

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) through their EMF Project, they state “EMF exposure now occurs to varying degrees to all populations of the world, and the levels will continue to increase with advancing technology. Thus, even a small health consequence from EMF exposure could have a major public health impact”.

Some of the most compelling data has been assembled through the research of Martin Pall, PhD.  His study published in the Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine in June 2013, began to explain, on a cellular level, what actually happens to explain the physical effects of EMF sensitivity.  To put it in most simplistic terms, EMF affects the charged calcium that regulates voltage channels between cells.  Of course, as with many opinions that challenge the status quo and scientific community in general, there were accusations from other scientists of “unfounded research”, “fear mongering”, etc.  The purpose of my article here is not to defend every aspect of his research or to say that all technology is evil, bad, or that we all need to completely avoid EMFs—a declaration that would be almost impossible in this day and age.  But what I DO want to emphasize is that exposure to frequent and/or excessive EMF, indeed, is part of the total body load. This fact cannot be discounted as we know that health and wellness flourish when this body load is decreased.

Mold, Mycotoxins, and EMF

Going back to Mary’s case, did the mold cause her increased sensitivity to the dirty electricity, or did the EMF problem cause her to succumb to the mold problems?  Researchers at Albert Einstein’s College of Medicine of Yeshiva University found evidence that certain types of fungi have the ability to use  radioactivity as an energy source for growth.  This is a huge discovery and may, in part, explain the increased number of mold-induced illnesses that we are seeing in patients. Along with poor building techniques, EMF may be somewhat to blame for our increasingly toxic indoor environments. The EMF frequencies in our homes could also contribute to our bodies’ susceptibilities to the ill effects of environmental mycotoxins, allowing them to easily cross the blood-brain barrier and disrupt our health in so many diverse and drastic ways. So, in Mary’s case, I strongly suspect that mold was the first culprit to her health decline, but its growth in the first place, and then her subsequent failure to completely improve was likely due to the magnified EMF issue in her home.

EMF Exposure and Disease

There is research that makes connections with EMFs to many different disease processes, including cancer, chronic fatigue, allergies, headaches, and more. In fact, most chronic illnesses can be linked to EMF in some way, shape, or form.  Environmental illness rarely has one single cause but is the culmination of multiple factors, including genetics.  Living intentionally, with the goal of reducing the load in every way possible is the recommendation for better health for us all and is absolutely necessary in anyone with chronic illness.

Protecting Yourself (Without a Tinfoil Hat) From EMF Exposure

I am not one to want to provoke fear, nor do I want to stick my head in the sand and ignore basic science and physiology and how it impacts health in general.  We live in a “wired” world, so what can reasonably be done?

  1. Eliminate mold, chemicals (in the form of artificial fragrances, pesticides and solvents) from the home environment. Be vigilant about this!!
  2. Reduce magnetic field exposure, especially in your home. This is complex, and can seem very daunting, but there are professionals in the field of Building Biology who can be consulted, or there are books and online resources you can read to get you started. At the very least, create an oasis in your bedroom for sleep, away from all devices during the night. This means no cell phones on bedside tables and no other Wi Fi-enabled devices in that space.
  3. Use shielding and certified EMF-reducing devices for computers and head pieces. The website of Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt refers to many of these. In fact, just doing a general search of EMF protection will give you a multitude of resources. Just make sure to be discerning and to look for scientific study for efficacy prior to purchasing anything for yourself or your home.
  4. Keep your internal body environment as healthy as possible with clean food, clean water, and clean air. Breathing clean air as much as possible is imperative! (We inhale about 11,000 liters of air per day—so making it clean is important!) In terms of mold, HERE is a great place to start.
  5. If you have specific symptoms present in certain locations in your home, have the electrical evaluated for improper grounding.
  6. Utilize cell- and immune-stabilizing supplements, like l-arginine, to mitigate the injury to the immune system induced by radiation. When administered routinely after exposure, arginine can lessen the immune system damage of EMF-type exposures. CellTropin is a wonderful homeopathic product that can be used up to 3 times per day, if needed.
  7. If you have done all of these things and continue to be ill or symptomatic, please seek the care of an environmental physician. There are other possible medications that may be beneficial, such as calcium channel blockers which may need to be prescribed.
  8. There have also been incidences in which certain metals used in dental restorations have increased sensitivity to EMFs, especially the use of multiple metals in opposition to each other…these along with acidic saliva can create an electrical gradient that is triggered by exposure to EMFs. A biologic dentist should be able to help you determine this if you suspect this problem.

This very strange, and often ridiculed malady of EMF sensitivity can be substantially improved or eliminated altogether with some rather simple and straightforward interventions.  It takes diligence, investigation and true commitment to health to lessen exposure, but I encourage you to take these steps for yourself and for your family. There is really nothing to lose, and arguably quite a bit to gain.

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