Defending your health in a high tech world may seem like a game of whack-a-mole. You first have to find out what kinds of “moles” you have to whack. Then find them. Then do something about them.
Part 1 of this series explained how artificial lighting is the oldest and perhaps most health-damaging aspect of modern technology.
Part 2 here explores a second source of health challenges from technology. It’s also been around for more than a century. It’s called dirty electricity.
Unlike Part 1, the technology in this post – dirty electricity – is about something you don’t normally see, taste, hear, or feel. The vast majority of the population knows nothing about it.
Exceptions include those who suffer from EHS (electrohypersensitivity), who can actually feel it. And can feel immediate consequences in its presence.
The bad news about EHS is the difficulty of finding a doctor who understands it, recognizes its symptoms, and knows how to treat it. (As usual with these kinds of things, mainstream medicine even doubts that EHS exists at all.)
That comment also applies to the final installment of this series, Part 3, which will address how radiofrequency radiation impacts health.
Technology offers tremendous benefits to society in many ways. However, as you might be starting to see, it’s also much more than a Pandora’s Box of ills. It’s more like a Pandora’s Warehouse full of them.
What is Dirty Electricity?
Let’s start with this definition :
Dirty electricity is unusable electromagnetic energy that is created by many electrical devices as they operate. It is caused by interruptions in the flow of normal 60-Hertz AC (alternating current) power traveling through wires and electrical systems in homes and other buildings. These interruptions result in voltage spikes, or surges, as well as frequency variations (also called high frequency voltage transients on electrical wiring) [my bolding] that combine to form a complex and potentially harmful electromagnetic field.
Too nerdy for you? In that case, this image might help you visualize it.
Alternating current (AC) electricity is depicted in the upper line as a smooth sine wave. It oscillates at 60 Hertz (cycles per second) in North America and 50 Hertz in the rest of the world. In the lower line, “voltage transients” look like densely-packed little green spikes on either side of the sine wave. Those spikes are the “dirt” in dirty electricity.
Those little spikes don’t look like much, do they? Nevertheless, even such small microsurges have tremendous impacts on your health – none of them good.
One more thing. Notice the definition of dirty electricity above refers to voltage transients (current spikes) as occurring on electrical wiring. What that means is the main source of dirty electricity is the power grid. In other words, electrical “dirt” comes right into your home from your power company.
Brief Review of High School Physics
Ah, the good ol’ days – right?
Just kidding. I know high school physics was intimidating. It was in college, too.
You may recall that your introductory textbook had a section called, Electricity and Magnetism. All such books still do.
That’s because electricity and magnetism are inseparable. They go together like peas and carrots.
Their tight relationship is based on the fact that an electric current generates a magnetic field perpendicular to the flow of the current; and, a moving magnet generates an electric current.
When it comes to electricity and magnetism, you don’t get one without the other.
The importance of this relationship between an electric current and its surrounding magnetic field is this:
you’re simultaneously bathed in a magnetic field.
Without getting into too much detail (you’re welcome), one of the big dangers from dirty electricity is that its magnetic field is pulsed due to microsurges.
Our bodies generally don’t handle pulsed fields very well – actually not well at all.
We’re instead adapted to direct currents (DC) and continuous wave functions. Regular pulsing even from a clean 50/60 Hertz AC wave causes problems, too. I’ll leave that topic for another time.
In non-scientific jargon, pulsed fields really mess with our innate electromagnetic systems. Just to name a few of the more well-known internal EM systems our bodies depend on, they include the heart, brain, and nervous systems. It’s no surprise that dirty electricity hits these biological EM systems the hardest.
Enough of the basics. What’s really important for you to grasp now is what dirty electricity can do to you and where it is in your environment.
Hopefully, this discussion will give you enough incentive to do something about the dirty electricity in your life. I’ll have some recommendations for you about that later.
Canaries in the Coal Mine and You
The canaries-in-the-coal-mine concept, which I referred to in Part 1 of this series, simply means looking for people who are leading-edge indicators. As an example, we can start with how folks who have EHS respond to dirty electricity. Their experiences point to what happens to all of us on subtler levels.
EHSers respond to unnatural electromagnetic fields as if hit by a sledgehammer. For them it’s a first-order, high-level problem that ruins their lives.
I don’t mean to scare the bejeesus out of you. (Actually, I sort of do.) Take a look at this short list of EHS responses. This list comes come from a review article of EHS that focuses on neurological disorders .
The rest of us are heading toward these maladies, too. Just much more slowly. We usually manifest these symptoms as lower-level chronic issues that build over time.
What about other research on dirty electricty vs. health? An easy place to start looking for it is the research section at dirtyelectricity.org . Another is the leading book on the topic by Dr. Samuel Milham, Dirty Electricity: Electrification and the Diseases of Civilization . (Also see ref. 5).
One of the current top researchers is Dr. Magda Havas of Trent University, Ontario [6,7]. Her forte is explaining the issues of dirty electricity to the public. This is a valuable, if uncommon, talent among research scientists.
Even a quick survey of this research reveals several consequences from chronic exposure to dirty electricity. The main ones are:
- Sleep Disturbances
- Cognitive Impairment
- Heart Arrhythmia
- Mood Swings
- Weakening of the nervous, endocrine and immune systems
- Increased risk of serious chronic illnesses such as cancer
Dirty electricity might be the cause, or least an additive factor, in all those health issues.
Dirty Electricity All Around You
Dirty electricity coming into your home and workplace is often amplified by many electronics devices. That’s because modern electrical equipment no longer uses standard AC electricity continuously. Instead our the devices turn power “off” and “on” repeatedly, often thousands of times a second.
These manipulations dirty-up even the cleanest sine waves from your power company.
Once created, this e-dirt (I made up that term) spreads throughout a building and even to other buildings through wiring and power lines. Wherever it goes, it radiates powerful fields into living and work environments. In other words, where you spend most of your time, day and night.
Take a this little quiz to check off how many of the common sources of dirty electricity you are exposed to in your home or office.
- Fluorescent light bulbs and tubes
- Light dimmer switches
- Desktop computers and laptops
- Cordless phone systems
- Multi-Speed Fans
- Solar power systems
- Home entertainment systems
- Video game systems
- SMART meters and appliances
- Wi-Fi routers and modems
- Battery charging devices for cell phones, tablets, etc.
- Blenders and mixers
- Hair Dryers
- Microwave ovens
Not much of a quiz, is it? Regardless, if you have all 15 items where you live, I’ll give you an A+. (I always was an easy grader.)
Obviously, dirty electricity is everywhere.
The key is to find out where exactly and how much.
Measuring Dirty Electricity
This is a bit of a challenge.
The best way to evaluate any dirty electricity traveling along building wires is to use an oscilloscope and spectrum analyzer. Unfortunately, these devices can be super expensive and require expertise and experience to use them effectively.
Inexpensive home use devices are now available that can measure the most common sources, electric sockets. These devices were created by an electrician (Dave Stetzer) and an electrical engineering professor ad U.C. Berkeley (Martin H. Graham). They are called Graham-Stetzer Meters or Stetzerizer Microsurge Meters (see Stetzer Electric).
A bonus benefit of the Graham-Stetzer collaboration was their simultaneous invention of a filter that can reduce dirty electricity to safe levels. (See the Stetzerizer Filters at Stetzer Electric).
Plug-in meters and filters are now available from other companies, too (e.g., GreenWave.com).
As an example of what you might expect, the chart below summarizes readings from my previous home, room by room. GS Units are a relative measure of microsurges.
The accepted safe limit is 50 GS units.
Imagine my surprise and disappointment when I found that not one single outlet in my home even came close to the safety limit!
The lowest reading, in a kitchen outlet, was nearly double the maximum safe limit. Many were in the range of 5-10 times the limit. A couple were more than 300-fold higher than acceptable levels.
The good news is that, once I plugged in filters, every single socket dropped below 50 GS units.
This can get a little pricey. You can purchase single filters, kits of several at a time, or a whole set for an entire house. My costs were in the $500 range by the time I was done. My recommendation is to select the most important sockets for testing and remediation – i.e., those nearest to your head when you sleep (probably on either side of the head of your bed).
The best news for me personally is that I don’t live in that house anymore. My new home has not a single outlet reading above 50 GS units.
Measuring Magnetic Fields
Even of you do all the above, you’re not out of the woods yet. What about appliances and other wired devices in your home? All of those items you checked off in the above “quiz” can cause microsurges, which means also magnetic field pulsing.
Measuring magnetic fields is very simple. An example cost-effective instrument for personal use, which I have, is the Trifeld EMF Meter Model 100XE. Since that model has been discontinued, your best bet to find one is to take a look at the reviews of other devices by Lloyd Burrell here at ElectricSense.com. Then pick one that is still under $200.
Trifield meters are best at measuring magnetic fields. They aren’t really so good at the other two parts of of the “tri” – i.e., electric fields and radiofrequencies. (There are no cost-effective RF meters that are truly good for less than ca. $10,000.)
Here’s what’s fun about measuring magnetic fields – you’re going to be really surprised at where they are and how strong they can be. I certainly was.
The highest emanation I found was from a microwave oven when it was running. The field reading went off the scale and stayed there until I took the device out of the room. Even so, it never went to zero.
The next highest was my wife’s hair dryer. Using a hair dryer is like putting your head in a microwave oven. Think about THAT, ladies (and some guys)!
A smaller surprise was discovering that magnetic fields can be emitted from lamps – even though they’re turned off. (I solved that one for my bedside lamp by using a power strip, which cuts off the lamp’s electricity completely when it’s switched to ‘OFF’. No juice, no magnetic field.)
Now here’s one that really torques my jaws: motor vehicles. I first heard about this issue when I read the account of an EHSer who always got ill when driving. He discovered the source of his exposure was the engine compartment of his car.
Think about that for a moment. Modern vehicles are highly “electrified” and full of little CPUs that run the electric show.
When I took my trifield meter into the cab of my truck, I found it emitting magnetic fields into the passenger compartment at all times, even when the engine wasn’t running. All readings jumped off the scale when I started it up. This is what we are exposed to every single time we drive somewhere.
If you happen to have old-fashioned steel-belted tires, your exposure goes up orders of magnitude. Rotating steel belts generate electric currents, and – ZAP – all of a sudden you’re sitting on a volcano of magnetic field emissions from just a couple of feet away. (This is one of the reasons why long-haul truckers make up one of the sickliest segments of our workforce.)
As you might be starting to understand, this is a never-ending story. It now includes electric cars, the worst of which are Teslas. In a Tesla the passenger compartment literally sits right on top of a huge battery that emits – you guessed it, magnetic fields. That evil Dr. Musk couldn’t have invented a better way to fry your nervous system (for starters) to hasten you toward outcomes like MS, ALS, Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, and brain cancer, among others.
Nothing to see. Nothing to taste. Nothing to feel. Nothing to hear. Not a problem, right? Au contraire – Going “green” has never been so dangerous to human health.
The first step in reducing exposure to anything harmful is to avoid whatever it is. Unfortunately, you’d have to become a hermit on a mountain top to avoid dirty electricity.
The goal is to reduce as much exposure as you can and still live the lifestyle you want. Start with finding out where your greatest exposures are and fix as many of those as you can. That means you have to measure dirty electricity at every socket in your home. Your office, too, if possible.
Then, if need be, use filters to lower the e-dirt to acceptable levels.
Likewise, measure where the highest magnetic emissions are from every electrical appliance and instrument.
If you find a running microwave oven to be the strongest source, which is likely, the solutions are simple: Either don’t use it or at least get out of the room when it is running.
One of my colleagues discovered that dirty electricity was disrupting his sleep. This is a very common phenomenon.
He found that cutting the power off to his bedroom, right at the main junction box for his home, restored good sleep quality.
Good sleep at night is the absolutely greatest source of neurological restoration you can get. Take s look at this brief overview of what thas means for you, here: How Sleep Clears the Brain.
Without enough good sleep, your brain health is heading down the toilet.
Do the experiment. Cut off dirty electricity from your sleeping area and see what happens. Your brain will thank you.
Drive less. Yeah, sure … that’s not the American way, it it?
Unplug all appliances and electrical devices when not in use. Merely turning them off is insufficient. You have to cut their juice completely.
Note that rogue electrons from any source will disrupt your body’s redox state. This means you lean more toward being ‘oxidized’ than ‘reduced’. In other words, you have a chronic inflammation load. Bad news all around.
Reducing agents – i.e., antioxidants – may be helpful. Although antioxidant foods and supplements could fit the bill, the best source is freely available from Mother Nature herself: Best Antioxidant on Earth Costs Nothing
Defending Your Health…Now What?
Isn’t all this stuff interesting?
Yes, and merely academic unless you take action. One thing is for sure. Diseases of Civilization are heading your way. You may already notice, or be diagnosed with, one of more of them.
Dirty electricity clearly fuels the fires of disease. It’s up to you to take as many actionable steps as you can to quench them.
Ultimately, defending your health in a high tech world is your responsibility.
All the best in natural health,
- The Exploding Problem of Dirty Electricity. DirtyElectricity.org.
- Belpomme, D. and P. Irigaray. 2020. Electrohypersensitivity as a Newly Identified and Characterized Neurologic Pathological Disorder: How to Diagnose, Treat, and Prevent It. Int J Mol Sci. 21(6): 1915.
- References and Resources concerning Dirty Electricity Research. DirtyElectricity.org.
- Milham, S. 2012. Dirty Electricity: Electrification and the Diseases of Civilization. iUniverse, Bloomington, IN. (Amazon)
- Milham, S. and D. Stetzer. 2013. Dirty electricity, chronic stress, neurotransmitters and disease. Electromagn Biol Med. 32(4): 500-507.
- Havas, M. 2006. Electromagnetic hypersensitivity: biological effects of dirty electricity with emphasis on diabetes and multiple sclerosis. Electromagn Biol Med. 25(4): 259-268.
- Havas, M. 2008. Dirty Electricity Elevates Blood Sugar Among Electrically Sensitive Diabetics and May Explain Brittle Diabetes. Electromagn Biol Med. 27(2): 135-146.