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EMF & Bacteria: Do Bacteria Become More Resilient to Antibiotics When Exposed to EMF?

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Bacteria are minuscule organisms, invisible to your eyes but powerful enough to make you extremely sick. Research studies say that the growing EMF levels in our surroundings give bacteria more strength and make them tolerant of treatment efforts like antibiotics.

You may know that there are two types of bacteria: one is good for the human body and the other one is harmful. The good guys are called commensal bacteria; these help your immune system fight off pathogens that can severely harm your wellbeing.

Commensal bacteria are a part of your immune system, and they’re super effective at protecting your body. But even they’re not enough to protect against some pathogens, which is why we have treatments such as antibiotics in place.

Scientists have recently found that the growing number of EMF radiation from our devices, appliances, and network sources gives pathogens the ability to resist antibiotic effects.

Antibiotic Resistance

Antibiotic medicines are super helpful in treating problems that unfriendly bacteria cause. But experts have found that in recent years, the effectiveness of antibiotics has decreased significantly.

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The first suspicion was a decrease in the quality of medicine. But, after further checks, experts found out that this was actually not the case. The medicine is the same as before, and it’s doing its job perfectly well. The real problem is that bacteria are gaining resistance abilities to antibiotics.

There are several reasons for this, like overuse of antibiotics, incomplete dosage, genetics (rare), and heavy EMF exposure.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), nearly 3 million people suffer from bacterial infections, and because of increasing antibiotic resistance in bacteria, more than 35,000 people die each year.  

Antibiotic resistance is a growing problem worldwide.

The CDC further mentions that “antibiotic resistance is one of the greatest public health challenges of our time”. And because of this, Americans have to spend a massive $21-$34 billion per year on treatment for antibiotic resistance-related problems.

Besides promoting the severity of bacterial infections, antibiotic resistance also lowers the success rate of modern treatments like chemotherapy, organ transplants, joint replacement, and hemodialysis.

Scientific Studies on Antibiotic Resistance

Many research groups around the world have concluded that EMF causes several changes to bacteria. And despite the majority of them being harmful for the human population, some of the effects are actually positive.

In fact, some industries use these positive effects to enhance their production. I’ll discuss this in more depth in the later sections of this post. But for now, it’s important that you understand EMF’s negative effect on your health, which is a more significant threat at the moment.

Now, like all other EMF-induced problems, this is also a subjective situation. The effects and severity of EMF on bacteria depends on several factors like frequency, exposure time, coherence, bacterial class, growth conditions, and genetic features.

So, to understand this better, scientists studied EMF’s effects on a few common pathogens, and the results are exactly what we suspected. So, let’s have a look.

Pseudomonas Aeruginosa & Staphylococcus Epidermis

Pseudomonas Aeruginosa, or P. aeruginosa, is a type of bacteria that takes advantage of your weakened immune system to create infections and damage tissues.

You can contract this bacterium from fruit and vegetables, contaminated food, public pools, hot tubs, bathrooms, sinks, and such. It also grows on humidifiers and unclean medical equipment, so there’s a higher risk of P. aeruginosa contraction in hospitals.

Suppose you come in contact with this bacterium. In that case, you can suffer problems like urinary tract infections (UTI), respiratory system infections, dermatitis, bone and joint infections, soft tissue infections, bacteremia, and gastrointestinal infections.

On the other hand, Staphylococcus Epidermis, also known as the “accidental pathogen,” transfers from skin-to-skin contact. When contracted, this S. epidermis looks for minor cuts and pimples on your skin to enter through and cause a bigger infection. It’s common for S. epidermis-induced infections to go away after some time, as your immune system is good at killing this bacterium.

An Iranian research group did a study to see EMF’s effects on Pseudomonas Aeruginosa & Staphylococcus Epidermis. They kept the subjects under the exposure of EMF operating on 900 MHz frequency for 24 hours. For context, this is the same frequency on which the 2G network operates.

After this, the researchers tried to treat these bacteria with antibiotics. They found that P. aeruginosa gained resistance to all kinds of antibiotics, whereas S. epidermis remained sensitive to piperacillin, ampicillin, and ceftriaxone.

“According to the obtained results, it can be concluded that the bacterial species used in this study were influenced by the electromagnetic field and responded differently,” conclude the researchers.

EMF bacteria how to test for antibiotic resistance
To test for antibiotic resistance, bacteria are streaked on dishes with white disks, each impregnated with a different antibiotic. The clear rings indicate that bacteria have not grown (i.e. they are not resistant). The bacteria on the right are fully resistant to five of the antibiotics tested. Source: Dr Graham Beards/Wikipedia.

Listeria Monocytogenes and Escherichia Coli

Just like salmonellosis, the bacteria that cause salmonella, Listeria Monocytogenes, is found in food. L. monocytogenes causes an illness called listeriosis, which has a 20-30% mortality rate, much higher than other food-borne illnesses.

L. monocytogenes’ symptoms are fever, chills, muscle aches, nausea, diarrhea, confusion or changes in alertness, loss of balance, and convulsions.

Similarly, Escherichia Coli or E. coli is also found in food. Its effects are somewhat identical to that of L. monocytogenes but far less destructive. Its symptoms are food poisoning, pneumonia, and urinary tract infection (UTI).

Another group of Iranian researchers exposed these bacteria to WiFi radiation running on 2.4 GHz frequency and cell phone radiation at 900 MHz frequency. The exposure time was 12 hours, and they found that both bacteria became resistant to all antibiotics.

Lebanese researchers also did a similar research study on L. monocytogenes and E. coli. They said, “WiFi exposure acted on bacteria in a stressful manner by increasing antibiotic resistance and motility of E. Coli, as well as enhancing biofilm formation ability in E Coli, S Aureus, and S Epidermis.” A biofilm is created when bacteria attach and organize themselves into a coordinated functional community.

Antibiotic-Like effects

EMF not only strengthens bacteria, but at a monitored dose, it can act as an antibiotic. As a result, several industries use the antibiotic-like effects of EMF to enhance their products.

EMF for Agricultural Wastewater Disinfection

A huge portion of water on the earth’s surface is completely unusable because of bacterial contamination. This is why, for decades, scientists have been trying to come up with effective solutions to treat huge bodies of contaminated water.

We have a wastewater treatment (WWT) method in place, but it’s costly, it has various environmental effects, and the outcome is super low. The current WWT method consists of three stages.

At the first stage, the water is held in a quiescent basin to segregate heavy and lighter solids, after which they remove both the settled and floating materials.

The second stage consists of removing the dissolved and suspended biological matter. And at the third stage, they use water-borne microorganisms to remove organic and phosphorous compounds.

Besides these three main stages, the water has to go through several minor processes to make it usable.

When scientists brought EMF into the picture, it improved these processes and made them more efficient and less costly.

Wastewater plants use EMF to facilitate treatment
Wastewater treatment plant in Cuxhaven, Germany. Photo: Martina Nolte, Lizenz: Creative Commons by-sa-3.0 de

EMF in the Food Industry

The food industry worldwide uses non-thermal processing technologies to inactivate pathogenic microorganisms, make food safer, and increase its shelf life. Previously heat was used, which presented a whole lot of problems.

Non-thermal processing technologies use EMF in a controlled setting to rid food products of any harmful materials.

Problems with EMF’s Antibiotic-Like Effects

Antibiotics work amazingly, but only if you take them in moderation. Overuse of antibiotics can create several problems, be it for humans or nature. Similarly, EMF’s antibiotic-like effects are only beneficial when applied in a controlled setting under expert supervision.

Our surroundings are filled with EMF. There are not many places that you can go and not get showered with EMF emissions. This kind of exposure can create a number of health problems, including interference with the microbiome population inside your body.

The microbiome is a term for a community of microorganisms. The inside of your body has one such microbiome, which helps you digest food, fight the pathogenic invasion, and enhance your immune system. The majority of these microorganisms live in your gastrointestinal tract, which is also known as the gut.

Research says that EMF exposure interferes with the microbiome and turns good bacteria into bad ones. This change can create several problems in your body, including inflammatory bowel disease, depression, autism, cancer, obesity, and metabolic syndrome.

Besides the human microbiome, EMF’s antibiotic-like effects harm our nature as well.

In 2019, researchers from India experimented to understand the effects of EMF on soil. They took a total of eight soil samples from lands located within 50 meters and of a cell tower and lands where a cell tower was more than 300 meters away.

Upon examining, they found that the soil from lands with cell towers in 50 meters had greater antibiotic resistance than other samples. This can significantly reduce soil’s fertility which in turn affects food production.

EMF & Bacteria: What Can You Do?

Antibiotic resistance and other antibiotic-related issues are only some of the many EMF-induced health problems. My page EMF’s Health Effects contains posts discussing most EMF-related health issues.

Heavy EMF exposure is not what you need, nor can your body handle it. So, it’s important that you take the necessary steps to reduce your EMF exposure. Here are a few tips that’ll help you down the road.

Lower Unnecessary Exposure Time

We don’t use the internet, our electronic gadgets, and electrical appliances 24 hours a day. But that doesn’t stop most people from leaving them turned on and connected at all times. This causes a massive increase in EMF pollution inside homes, making the residents prone to EMF-induced health problems.

If you simply make a habit of turning these devices off when you’re not using them, it will dramatically lower your EMF exposure.

Start with turning off your WiFi when not in use, and especially at night. I also recommend turning off your phone or putting it in Airplane mode when you’re not using it. But I get that most people can’t just switch off their phones because of important calls and text messages.  In that case, you can opt for a low-EMF phone.

Phone in airplane mode
Putting your phone in airplane mode when you’re not using it is one way to lower your EMF exposure.

Lowering exposure is a bit tricky with electronic appliances because you need some of them to work 24/7, like refrigerators. But there are some that don’t need to be plugged in at all times, like microwave ovens and washing machines.

It is certainly convenient to leave them plugged in so you can start them up at the push of a button, but even when you’re not using them, the electrical cords in these machines emit ELF-EMF.

Follow the Two Key Rules of EMF Protection

Minimize your tech use, and maximize your distance with technology. Those are two key rules of EMF protection that we preach and follow here at SYB.

I agree that gadgets have become an integral part of our lives. But we’re on our devices for way longer than needed. This kind of tech use not only exposes you to huge EMF emissions but also interferes with various other aspects of your life. My post “Tech Addiction & EMF” explains the risk of using tech gadgets for extended periods of time.

Besides this, we tend to buy some tech gadgets just because they have appealing functions when in reality, we have no real need for them. Reducing the time you spend on your gadgets and the number of gadgets in your home significantly reduces your EMF exposure.

The second rule for EMF protection that we have is to maximize your distance with electronic gadgets. You can:

  • Keep your cell phone on the table while working instead of in your pocket.
  • Use your laptop on a desk instead of your lap.
  • Keep your WiFi router at least 5 meters away from your working space
  • Use loudspeakers or wired headsets while on a call instead of holding your phone to your ear.

Maximizing your distance from tech gadgets reduces the intensity of your exposure. This has to do with something called the inverse square law, which I have explained in detail in my post “EMF: What’s a Safe Distance?

Use EMF Shielding Products

EMF shielding products (like the ones SYB makes and sells) are not an alternative to the precautions you must take. Instead, they are the additional support you can get to reduce your EMF exposure further.

But before purchasing any EMF shielding product, be sure to do your research to determine if the product actually works. My post “Deciphering EMF Product Claims” will help you learn to choose legitimate products and ones that fit your needs.

Keep Your Nutrition in Check

Humans are bioelectrical beings designed to live with exposure to the earth’s natural electrical fields. And because of this, our bodies are EMF resistant to some degree. But for your resistance ability to function well, your body needs to be in a healthy state. This is why it’s super important that you keep your nutrition in check.

Building biologist and EMF expert Cathy Cooke has written this amazing post in which she explains what foods and supplements you should take to build internal defenses against EMF. So do give it a read.

Get Educated on the Subject

When you learn about things like EMF-induced health problems and 5G health risks, it can be a bit overwhelming. And probably a bit scary. But, there’s no need to panic. You just need to do the right things to make life healthier and a bit safer for you and your loved ones. And for that, you’ll need to have a deeper understanding of the subject.

My SYB Blog hosts hundreds of posts, with new ones added all the time. If you’re interested in learning more about EMF, its health risks, and how to protect your health, simply head to my blog and start reading. You can also contact me if you don’t find the information that you’re looking for.

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About the Author

R Blank is the CEO of Shield Your Body, which he founded in 2012. With hundreds of thousands of customers in over 30 countries, and having been interviewed on platforms including Dr. Phil, ABC news television and ElectricSense, R is an internationally followed expert on issues of EMF, health and safety. He also hosts “The Healthier Tech Podcast”, available Apple, Spotify and all major podcasting platforms. In the past, he served on the faculty at the University of Southern California Viterbi School of Engineering as well as the University of California, Santa Cruz. Previously, R ran a software engineering firm in Los Angeles, producing enterprise-level solutions for blue chip clients including Medtronic, Apple, NBC, Toyota, Disney, Microsoft, the NFL, Ford, IKEA and Mattel. He has spoken at conferences around the world, including in the US, Canada, New Zealand and the Netherlands, and he is the co-author, along with his father Dr. Martin Blank, of ‘Overpowered‘ from Seven Stories Press about the science of health effects of EMF radiation. He has an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management and received his bachelor’s degree, with honors, from Columbia University. He has also studied at Cambridge University in the UK; the University of Salamanca in Spain; and the Institute of Foreign Languages in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia. Read more about R and SYB or connect with R on LinkedIn.

Have a Question?

I take pride in designing great, effective products, based on real, measurable science – AND taking the time to ensure that each and every one of you has the information you need to understand EMF and make informed decisions.

So if you have a question, just email me and ask.

R Blank

R Blank