Is EMF sensitivity a real thing?

SB_1108

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I’ve always read about EMF sensitivity in ME and Lyme patients but I’ve never believed it was a real thing. However I’m having a new “symptom” that I feel may fit that description and I wanted to get people’s thoughts on here.

At night when before I go to sleep I turn my phone on silent mode and put it on the floor next to the bed. If I receive a text message or call, I will still be woken up even though the phone doesn’t ring or make any noise. I wear earplugs and I can’t see the screen from my bed so it’s not like it’s too bright?

This has happened probably 50 times over the last six months or so and it’s not an isolated occurrence. It wakes me up every single time. Isn’t this the craziest thing ever... I feel absolutely insane telling this story! I guess I just need to turn the phone off but I was just hoping someone had an explanation?
 

nanonug

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At night when before I go to sleep I turn my phone on silent mode and put it on the floor next to the bed [...] I can’t see the screen from my bed so it’s not like it’s too bright?
The eyes are very good at adapting to low light conditions. In these conditions, very small changes in brightness, particularly if those changes come from blue(ish) sources, will be detected. If what is happening to you was happening to me, I'd do the following:
  • Completely turn my phone off during the night
  • Find a way to induce a deeper level of sleep
 
Yes, EMF sensitivity is a real thing. I've developed it lately and have been doing research on it.

When you get a call or text, the phone emits a much higher level of EMFs as it communicates with the cell tower.

The EMFs lessen production of melatonin, which is a sleep neurotransmitter.

Also, the light could still be waking you up, unless you're wearing an eye mask and totally blocking out all light.

So you could try two tests to figure out what is happening - one where you wear an eye mask with the phone in the room as you're doing it now, and another one where you turn off or remove the phone to test for EMF sensitivity.
 

lafarfelue

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Governments manage infrastructure that emits EMF in a way that recognises that EMF has an effect on the human body (eg. based on rates of cancer in populations that live close to high powered electricity lines, distance that people/dwellings are permitted to cell phone relay towers). There's a lot going on in the air around us and I wouldn't discount the idea of individual EMF sensitivitY.

There's also theory about the mental/psychological disruption that even a switched off phone creates when kept in the bedroom during sleeping hours. It effectively a device that our brains are geared to want to interact with, no matter whether it's off or not. It might be a good exercise to keep it outside of the bedroom to help with sleeping anyway.
 

confetti11

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I personally don't think there's any way for sure to know it's not harming you, especially for the sensitive. I turn my wifi off at night (trying to go back to being hardwired), turn my phone off at night and recently rejected a smart meter be put on my house. I've been told those are the three biggest culprits.

It effectively a device that our brains are geared to want to interact with, no matter whether it's off or not.
This really explains my obsession with my phone in general from a psychological perspective. I'm alone (lonely) a lot and at least my phone interacts with me--sort of.
 

Wishful

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EMF energy might reduce melatonin production, but given the low power levels, I can't believe that it's enough to cause immediate waking.

Experiment one: cover your phone with a light-blocker (cloth, bowl, whatever) to see if it's the light that triggers your waking.

Experiment two: place an EMF screen (aluminum foil will do) between you and the phone, to block microwave energy from the phone reaching you. If you block it between the phone and the tower(s), you won't receive any calls.

Experiment three: leave the phone in the same place, but turn it off. Then see if you still wake up frequently. This experiment would be far better if it was double-blind, but that would require an assistant to place the phone in a closed box, and you'd have to note the time that you believed that the phone woke you.

My guess is that the light of the phone is enough to wake you. Just block the light from it.

My other guess is that if someone believed that they really had EMF sensitivity to nearby phone power levels, it wouldn't hold up to a proper double-blind test.
 

Sundancer

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an acquaintance of me has it. I'm sure she has ME but she does not want to knw about it, she's tired, burnout and psychological problems. that is what she says herself.

Anyway, she sleeps real bad, so i asked about cellphone. She is a firm unbeliever but was so desperate that she was willing to try anything. So she put out the phone and slept that night somewhat better than usual. Then they set up an experiment. Her hubby was to handle her phone and put it on on or off, then laying it at the footend of the bed. Without she knowing. They kept that up for ten days. Result was clear. On the nights that phone was off her sleep was better.
( but still not good, and even though I'm moderate and she mild. the last months I sleep much better then she does. She now fiddling around with medication, and a psychiatrist that does not know what to do really...)
 
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I’ve always read about EMF sensitivity in ME and Lyme patients but I’ve never believed it was a real thing. However I’m having a new “symptom” that I feel may fit that description and I wanted to get people’s thoughts on here.

At night when before I go to sleep I turn my phone on silent mode and put it on the floor next to the bed. If I receive a text message or call, I will still be woken up even though the phone doesn’t ring or make any noise. I wear earplugs and I can’t see the screen from my bed so it’s not like it’s too bright?

This has happened probably 50 times over the last six months or so and it’s not an isolated occurrence. It wakes me up every single time. Isn’t this the craziest thing ever... I feel absolutely insane telling this story! I guess I just need to turn the phone off but I was just hoping someone had an explanation?
Yes it is a real thing. Put the phone in AIRPLANE mode. I recommend you to get the EMFields Acousticom 2 or Acoustimeter to test for radiation where you sleep.
 

junkcrap50

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There are several studies about EMF sensitivity. A lot of research comes from Sweden and the other nordic countries. You can search about it in Pubmed.
 

Wolfcub

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My advice for what it's worth is don't have any devices anywhere near where you sleep. Switch them all completely off before sleeping. My phone is switched off most of the time anyway unless I need it, am keeping on-the-line with someone for a reason, or am expecting a call.

I switched off wi-fi because I use ethernet cable. But I always switch off the router at the power socket before sleeping.

To check the reality of these EMFs get a cheap AM/FM radio, set it to AM and find some white noise between stations. Then take it round your house. Listen to the reality of those EMF interferences. They are bound to affect us. And not only us, but any animals we may have.

Your router will give such high interference, that it will be so obvious, even in different rooms of the house. My router gives off so many EMFs it is registering in my bedroom, through walls and floor and doors. Switched off -silence.
Same with phones, AC adaptors and laptops etc. AC adaptors give off a strange pulsing sound.
Switch off every gadget and sleep in electro magnetic silence.
 

Wishful

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When using an AM radio to detect EMFs, keep in mind that it's only picking up a narrow range of fairly low frequency signals (550 kHz to 1.6 MHz). You won't detect wifi emissions or cell phone transmissions or even 60Hz fields strong enough to vibrate tableware. You could have EMF emissions in the multi-kW range (enough to cook flesh), and your radio would be silent.

No, EMF emissions are not necessarily 'bound to affect us'. They can have an effect on biological systems in specific cases, but there's no reason for them to have a significant effect in general. That's basic physics and chemistry. The loudness of an AM radio is not an indication of effects on biological systems.
 

Wolfcub

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Sure there is more to it @Wishful but it does stand to reason that we have to be affected to some degree, as we are electro-magnetic beings ourselves. All living creatures are.
 

Wishful

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No, it doesn't stand to reason that we have to be affected. EM waves may interact with some molecules to a small extent, increasing the heat energy of the molecule very slightly, which isn't going to have a significant effect on a biological system. Yes, there are some cases where EM waves do have a significant effect: chlorophyll and retinal cells are two examples where the molecules do interact strongly and have a significant effect, but those are special cases. I'm unaware of any biological molecules that respond strongly to low-strength AM-band waves. Microwaves are more effective at transferring heat energy to molecules, so if there's enough energy to cause localized heating, it can break chemical bonds. That doesn't mean that low-level microwaves are able to affect chemical bonds (the energy doesn't accumulate faster than it dissipates).

Last night I thought of an example of the 'there must be an effect' belief. There was a quack medicine based on coloured light: beaming coloured light would heal diseases, melt tumours away, etc. People believed it because coloured light seems so magical that 'it must have some effect on the body'. Total nonsense (aside from retinal cells and the skin cells that create vitamin D), but it was strongly believed, even though there was no physical basis for it. Most people have poor understandings of electricity and magnetic fields, so those are also very popular for quackery; it's easy for ignorant people to believe that 'they must have an effect on health!!!'.

Studies do find effects of EM radiation on the body, but generally at quite high field strengths: way beyond the emissions from an AC adapter, clock radio, etc. In my response about the AM radio as an EMF detector, I forgot to point out that it responds to very weak signals, way, way too weak to break chemical bonds. Using and AM radio to locate EM noise is good for finding 'energy vampires' in your house, but not useful for finding sources of genuine EMF health hazards.
 

Dan_USAAZ

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I do not have an opinion either way, but find this an interesting topic.

@Wishful, If I understand you correctly, you appear to suggest that (in most cases) for a biological entity to be effected, the EMF would need to be strong enough to create heat that breaks chemical bonds. Please correct me if I have misunderstood this point.

What about the effects of EMF on voltage-gated calcium channels? I believe there have been numerous studies on EMF and voltage-gated calcium channels. The work of Martin Pall comes to mind, but there have been many others. If I understand correctly, they are studying EMF at non-thermal levels (?). I assume this means EMF levels that do not create any impactful heat within the cells of the organism?

Would appreciate hearing your opinions on this, as you appear to have a better than average understanding of electricity and magnetic fields.

Thanks for any input.
Dan
 

Wishful

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The articles I've read on EMF on voltage-gated channels have all been very vague, with lots of weasel-wording: lots of 'may', 'suggests', 'possible'. Some talk about nanosecond pulses as if there's something magical about them. Mathematically, pulses are just collections of signals of different frequencies, so if a molecule does respond to 3.25 GHz signals, for example, a a fraction of the pulse's energy is at that frequency. So, nothing magical. The studies generally make me wonder about whether they take into account penetration of the EM energy through flesh. It's one thing to measure effects of energy focused on a few cells on a microscope slide, and another to apply that to an actual body.

In short, I haven't encountered any convincing evidence of significant biological effects of low energy EM radiation.
 

Wishful

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I'll check that book if it ever becomes available through my library system. I'm not desperate enough to buy it. I'm curious about what credible science is behind his claims.

What I haven't found is credible science about how EM fields affect biological systems (membrane channels, molecules). There should be some math behind it, such as: 'the calcium channel couples to x.xx MHz fields with 30% efficiency, developing y microvolts across the channel' or some such thing. If the evidence is just statistical measurements from an experiment tailored to show an effect, I consider it questionable. There is a bias to publish research that shows positive results, even if those results have to be carefully manipulated to show a positive result. I think there's also a bias, from both researchers and publishers, against publishing negative results. Scare science sells.
 
I'll check that book if it ever becomes available through my library system. I'm not desperate enough to buy it. I'm curious about what credible science is behind his claims.

What I haven't found is credible science about how EM fields affect biological systems (membrane channels, molecules). There should be some math behind it, such as: 'the calcium channel couples to x.xx MHz fields with 30% efficiency, developing y microvolts across the channel' or some such thing. If the evidence is just statistical measurements from an experiment tailored to show an effect, I consider it questionable. There is a bias to publish research that shows positive results, even if those results have to be carefully manipulated to show a positive result. I think there's also a bias, from both researchers and publishers, against publishing negative results. Scare science sells.
I agree, I would like to see some "how" data like you described.

There's probably a bias on both sides - the developers of cell phones and networks wouldn't want to be stopped by people having health effects. Of course, EMFs are much more than just cell phones. This is shaping up to be the new "tobacco" and probably won't be resolved for decades.

I checked my library, and it's not at my local system. They used to have interlibrary loan services, but those seem to have gone away. I'm making a suggestion for them to purchase the book.
 

Wishful

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I do have interlibrary loan, but the book isn't in the system. I'm not sure that I want to suggest that they purchase it if it's a nonsense scare book. I don't want to promote that kind of false information.

I guess no one publishes books about 'No, this isn't actually harmful'. My guess is that pretty much every book about potentially scary stuff is biased for scariness, because that's what sells.