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Electromagnetic Radiation (EMF) and Autism – A Hidden Connection?

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Is There A Connection Between EMF’s and Autism?

I first became aware of the dangers of EMF when I was researching autism issues.  I’d heard things about EMF’s disturbing autistic children’s sleep on my GAPS yahoo group, and some people having good results with moving kids beds  away from electrical outlets, or off the wall that had the refrigerator or TV on the other side of It (e.g if the bedroom was adjacent to the kitchen).  I thought it was all “interesting” but we didn’t have that type of set up (all bedrooms upstairs in our house) and B. didn’t really have sleep issues, so I didn’t think much of it.

Then, I read on Dr. Mercola’s site about some guy named “Dr. Klinghardt” who happened to be an autism expert.  Doctor Klinghardt is of German descent (so he sounds like the Terminator in all his videos) and he has some very interesting YouTube videos of his lectures relating chronic diseases like Lyme Disease (which he suffers from) to autism, and other chronic illnesses.  He asserts (vehemently) that all these diseases are worsened by the electro magnetic radiation and if you don’t address electromagnetic activity in your house, and child’s environment, he won’t heal.

Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt on the EMF & Autism Connection

Naturally, when I heard that, my mothering ears perked up.  EMF’s were no longer just about “long term exposure” and “cancer risk” but they might be making my son’s autism worse!?!  (That’s a big quality of life issue for both of us!)

Here is a list of Doctor Klinghardt’s recommendations for reducing your child’s EMF exposure:

1) Turn off your house’s power/fuse box at night.

This will eliminate the electric current running through your walls (even when the lights are off, electricity is still running) and creates negative effects.

2) Keep kids away from cell phones and ipads.

DO NOT let your kids talk on cell phones, or hold the cell phone up to their head, especially when it is transmitting.  Keep the kids away from wireless devices, like ipads, phones, etc. also when they are watching movies.  My kids would try to watch Dora The Explorer on the ipad, practically lying on the screen.  That’s not good.  Basically electronics and kids don’t mix.  But be especially aware of when they are transmitting.

3) Avoid Using Wi-Fi.

Turn off the WIFI in your house, used wired computer connections instead.

4) Create a “Sleep Sanctuary” in the bedroom.

Basically, Klinghardt recommends creating an electricity-shielding Faraday Cage with a metallic curtain like a mosquito net that goes around your bed and blocks incoming EMF’s.  The name for it in physics is a Faraday Cage.  You can see Dr. Klinghardt demo-ing the effectiveness of the “sleep sanctuary” in the video below.

5) Avoid “Cordless Phones” – especially the base station.

Get rid of Wireless Phones (the kind with the full-size receiver, and a DECT charging station with a cradle for it (these were popular in the 90’s right before cell phones got bit.  My parents sleep with one by their bed (yikes!)

6) Fight the power company – skip the “Smart Meter”

Don’t have a “Smart Meter” on your electric meter at your house.  Try to avoid having it installed, or get it removed/opt out for medical reasons if at all possible.  Talk to your power company and voice your concerns about this.  Grassroots groups are banding together to oppose smart meters which impose on health and privacy.  (The smart meters send a microwave through your house every few minutes to measure what appliances are on, the electric company can use this information to track your habits and sell the information (how many people live there, when you get up and go to sleep, when you go on vacation, how much TV you watch, how much you cook at home, etc.)  to advertisers).    If you can’t get rid of your smart meter, a faraday cage is strongly recommended in your sleeping area, and any other room you spend a lot of time in.

(For even more practical ways to limit your EMF exposure, I suggest reading this electromagnetic avoidance quiz)

Are EMF’s A Real Threat?  What Are The Dangers of Cell Phone and Cell Tower Exposure For Children?

So, at this point, after learning all this stuff about EMF’s and autism, I started discussing EMF’s with my husband, who – surprisingly – got very upset and emotional about this topic.  He said he basically felt that people promulgating the idea that EMF’s and ELF’s and other types of radiation from electric wires, radio transmitters, microwaves, etc. were a bunch of con men, and that I was getting conned by them.  He said he thought I was more “scientific” than to allow myself to be swayed by a bunch of fear-mongering extremists who were going wild on a controversial topic.

Previously, he had been very open to discussing his opinions about Blake’s treatment with me (and even allowed me to do the GAPS diet and he follows it when he’s at home)  which has been such a blessing.  We also have a Hyperbaric Chamber sitting in our Master Bedroom which I use with Blake daily, so he’s not totally against trying things…  But for some reason, discussing the EMF issue seemed really out of site for him, so I decided to do a lot of research on it to try to convince him of the idea that even if it wasn’t “proven beyond a shadow of a doubt” it was still something to be aware of.

My Findings On The Dangers Of EMF’s

What I found when I researched the risks of cell phone towers, using cell phones and wireless networks (wifi) for computers, and even living near power lines and electricity, surprised me.

–          The World Health Organization has classified EMF’s as a possible carcinogen, along with lead, fiberglass insulation, and vehicle emissions.

–          Keeping a cell phone in your pocket can reduce bone density in the vicinity, and (for men) reduce sperm count and motility.

–          A growing portion of the population identifies themselves as “electrosensitive” and more than that may be sensitive and not realize it – responding with symptoms like fatigue, irritibilty, “brain fog” and other hard-to-quantify measures.

–          The amount of EMF radiation a pregnant woman is exposed to can predict the likelihood of her child’s being affected by autism.

 

I read a few books, like Dirty Electricity by AUTHOR… and  Cross Currents by AUTHOR.  When I would share the issues, he would go to Wikipedia and look up the authors.  One of them he “discredited” as an “alarmist” and the other thought might have had some credibility back in the day (early in his career) but had gone off his rocker since then.

I cited Dr. Mercola’s website, which has a special section about EMF risks (EMF.Mercola.com) and an interview with Vicky, an electrical engineer and home-EMF consultant, but he doesn’t like Mercola, so that didn’t hold any water with him.

Finally, I found the Bio Initiative Report, which reviews (in over 600 pages) the EMF literature and studies, and catalogs the risks that have been proven in certain studies.  There are over 1800 studies that have demonstrated risk to people from EMF’s.  There are also many industry studies that are set up to not indicate risk (for example, if you know it takes 7 years of cell phone use to increase the risk of cancer, then the studies might have been run for only 5 years).

So, you can kind of set up a study to show what you want it to show, but I felt that since we were working with a sick child, and my well-child was a baby (and children are more likely to be negatively affected), I would take the preponderance of evidence as an indication that there might be some risk, and see what I could do to mitigate it, even without my husband being aware of it.

Turn off the electricity in the house.

I started by pursuing Dr. Klinghardt’s primary recommendation, to turn off all the electricity in the house, at the fuse panel in the garage, every night, and turn it back on in the morning.

My husband did not want me to do that (Klinghardt actually reports that among his patents’ families, it takes about 3 years of visiting him before he convinces them to take this simple (and FREE) measure. )  My husband did not want to do this, primarily for the inconvenience of it, I think, and secondarily, for concerns that it might be hard on some of our appliances.    I googled this, and yes, it does appear that it can be hard on your refrigerator to turn it off and on ever day at the breaker.

As an alternative, you can turn off just the fuses that affect the bedrooms, but leave the kitchen fuse on.  Even so, if your bedrooms are upstairs, and your downstairs ceiling has lights in it, the wires there could be affecting the bedroom upstairs.

Other ways to make the process of killing the electricity more convenient include  having an electrician install a “Kill Switch” or a “Demand Switch”.

A kill switch is a light switch in a convenient location (like near the master bed) that you can flip off at night to turn off the fuse box out in your garage or basement, just the fuses that you’re concerned about, or all of them.

A demand switch automates the process of turning off the power, but may involve a more particular set up.  Basically each “fuse” is connected to certain lights, plugs and outlets in your home – and they may not be on a room-by-room basis.  For example, one fuse might cover the bathroom and the bedroom.  When the demand switch (which is a box installed adjacent to your fuse box, recognizes that there are no electric demands anywhere that fuse services (e.g. the bedroom and the bathroom) it will automatically stop electricity being served to the wires in those rooms.  However, let’s say your kid wakes up in the night had has to go to the bathroom and turns on the light – the demand switch will then turn back on when the power is ‘demanded’ and electricity will quickly be available again.

However, this set-up will not work if there are any electrical demands that are staying on – for example, a fish tank pump, an plugged-in clock radio, a computer, cell phone charger, or TV with an adapter box, etc.   These devices will continue to demand electricity, and the demand switch will not cut off the fuse as long as they are plugged in.

Both the demand switch and the kill switch need a qualified electrician to install them, and would cost a couple hundred bucks to buy and also to install.

In our case, my husband did not want to do the daily switch in the garage (or didn’t want me to do it, I should say, because he thought it was “too weird” and we are going to be moving soon, so we didn’t want to invest in the kill switch or demand switch.

So for us, the Fuse Box was a no-go.

Try A Faraday Cage To Block EMF’s

Next, I decided to pursue the Faraday Cage idea, and get the net going around my son’s bed.   Tacky and even weirder than the fuse box, my husband was not a fan of this idea either.   If it was cheap, I would have gone ahead and done it without asking him (Oh look, honey, I picked up milk and eggs at the store, then stopped by Joanne Fabrics for some Faraday Cage Material, doesn’t Johnny look nice in his silver “knight’s armor” bed? )

However, they’re not cheap.  The material you need to make a Faraday cage around your bed is inter-woven with metallic strands of fabric.  The material to make a bed costs about $800-1300 per bed.

Even though I didn’t get to go this route (yet) I think it is a very good option.

Here are some places you can pick up the fabric:

LessEMF.com (the website is hard to understand, so I would call them to discuss what you need. )

The reason I gave up so easily on the Faraday cage issue is that we are building a house, and we are going to move soon.  I wanted to save my big guns for the house, my plan there is to (copying Dr. Mercola again) create a Faraday Cage that is BUILT INTO THE WALL so you don’t have to see it and you don’t have to think about dealing with the curtain every night.

You can actually build a Faraday Cage in your bedroom’s walls to protect you from EMF’s.  One way to do this, with pre-existing walls, is to paint them with a metallic paint called “Y-Paint.”

Look At Painting The Room With EMF-Shielding Y-Paint

This has to be applied in two coats and grounded, and it’s BLACK, so it’s not an easy undertaking.  It’s also pricy at about $200/gallon.  However, once this is on the walls, you can paint over it, and then you don’t have to worry about it any more.

Here is a video showing How To Paint Your Walls With Y-Paint.

WARNING: If you make your bedroom walls into a faraday cage, you will not be able to get wireless or cell phone access in your bedroom.  This could actually be a good thing if you have teenagers!  It could be a problem if you like to lie in bed and read your phone/ipad/laptop, make calls, etc.    It will really demand you make your bedroom a resting place and a sanctuary.

*My personal plan is to have the kids’ computers on Ethernet plugs in their bedrooms, so they can do homework, but not let them take their cell phones in there and do texting all day.  Also, I am thinking about turning off the Internet connection for them at some point at night, so they turn it off and go to bed.  We’ll see how that plays out when they’re a little older.  They’re only 2 and 4 now.

Line Your Walls With Radiant Barrier

Another way to turn your bedroom into a Faraday cage, if you’re building or remodeling (as we are) is to use Radiant Barrier, which is like a thick aluminum foil.  This can go on just like wall paper from what I hear.  I’m going to try to put it on the outside of the drywall, but I’m not sure how it works yet, I’m still looking into it.  I got the idea from Dr. Mercola, but he was light on detail, so I will let you know if we end up going that route.

LINK TO RADIANT BARRIER MATERIALS

So, we have a plan in place to implement the Faraday Shield, and I was pretty happy with that.  “If we can just hold steady for a year,” I thought, “our house will be built and we’ll be home-free.”

However, it was shortly after that when I looked across the street from our house and saw this:

cell phone tower

This cell phone tower and another antenna are one of several across the street from my house.

 

We literally have 3 cell phone towers directly across the street from our house.  That is way too close, and I was very worried about the radiation from that.

I tried to talk to my mom about it, and she said she was afraid I was going to “worry myself sick.”  I assured her  I was not really that worried about it for my own sake, but mostly for the kids, and especially Blake.

Here are some interesting articles that tie in autism and EMF’s.  I would say there’s nothing “conclusive” that “proves” EMF’s cause autism, but as we autism Mom’s know, it’s rarely one thing that “gives you” autism, but it’s more like a cumulative effect, with toxicity building up until a threshold is reached and the body’s systems start to break down.

Dr. Klinghardt, who also believes mold toxins can be a contributing factor in autism symptoms, did an experiment in which he exposed one mold culture to EMF’s and one was protected in a faraday cage, and the EMF-exposed mold released six times more toxins.

This suggests that in addition to affecting us directly, EMF’s can make our environment more toxic for us.

 

So, anyway, once I saw those cell phone towers, I continued to worry about EMF’s in our pre-move life (and let’s face it, this house has been in the planning stage for about 4 years now, so there’s no guarantee it’s going to be move-in-ready any time soon (we’re building it ourselves…).)

And that’s when I started reading about something that made me very uncomfortable…

The BioElectric Shield.

It was scary because I thought it just might work, without all the rigamarole described above; and at a fraction of the cost.  But it seemed mysterious at first, and I couldn’t tell if it was really real.

For “The Rest Of The Story” click here to learn about my exciting discovery when I met Virginia Brown, the owner and co-developer BioElectric Shield.

 

 

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