The Sustainable Minimalists Podcast is for women who want tidiness without trash. Although minimalism has experienced a rebirth in recent years, the “less is more” movement has been around for centuries. Yet today’s minimalist influencers have resurrected minimalism with a decidedly consumerist spin, as modern minimalism is nearly synonymous with decluttering.
In this episode, host Stephanie Seferian speaks with R Blank, CEO of Shield Your Body and host of The Healthier Tech Podcast. R believes that EMF protection starts with intentional technology use and he’s is on the show to empower you to take control of your family’s exposure to EMFs and 5G by offering practical solutions you can enact right now.
Stephanie Seferian 0:00
Well Hello there and welcome back. You’re listening to Episode 208 of the sustainable minimalist podcast a bi weekly show about intentional and eco minimalist living. On today’s show, we are discussing all things, electromagnetic fields or EMF for short. And if you’ve been watching the news, plugging yourself into the media lately, you may have heard something about EMF and human health. And we’re going to get into all of that today, we’re outlining the ways in which wireless radiation from our most beloved devices such as our cell phones, and our computers, affects our health. And my guest today is also here to offer practical steps we can implement in our own homes, to protect ourselves and our families from EMF and 5g. Today, I’m speaking with author and podcaster R Blank, in addition to hosting the healthier tech podcast, R is also the CEO of shield your body, which creates products designed to reduce your exposure to wireless radiation. Our I am so thrilled to talk to you today. How are you?
R Blank 1:05
Good, thank you. It’s a pleasure to be here, Stephanie, I really enjoy the sustainable, minimalist approach that that you’re taking. It’s I think it’s a great message. And I’m really happy to have the opportunity to be here with you.
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Stephanie Seferian 1:18
Well, thank you for the compliment. I always like to start the show with having my guests give their own little introduction to themselves, who you are, what you do and how you found yourself making, talking about EMF your life’s work. Sure, well. So as you said, I run shield your body. And we provide a lot of free education to people about the health effects of emf and more importantly, what they can do to reduce those effects. Through better relationships with technology as well as EMF protection products. I got into this arena. It’s almost 10 years ago. Now my father was Dr. Martin Blank who was one of the world’s leading EMF scientists. And he got a contract to write a book. And unlike his life’s work, which was aimed at academics, this book was aimed at the general population. So he asked me for some help to write it with him. That book which became overpowered, I co authored with my father. And it was in the course of writing that book. I mean, he’d been doing this work, basically my whole life. And so I kind of knew about it. But I didn’t really know the details the way I did as a result of writing that book with him. And in the course of writing that book, I realized that the science that demonstrates negative health outcomes from exposure to this stuff, it’s really quite strong at this point. And at the same time, the stuff that emits these forces is everywhere around us. And it’s the basis of modern society. So there’s no way of getting rid of the sources of emf unless we’re all willing to go back to the 1850s. So I realized there had to be better, healthier, safer ways to use this technology. And that’s where the idea for what became a swipey began. So for anybody listening who has no idea what an emf is, or where we all find ourselves affected by EMF, what is an EMF? Sure. Great, great question. So as you already said, EMF stands for electromagnetic field. As the name suggests, it is a force that is created by a combination of electric and magnetic. There are many different types of emf, so one that we all know is called sunlight. sunlight is a form of emf, it’s a natural form of emf that not only were quite used to but existed for all of human evolution, in fact, all of evolution of life on on Earth. Now, there’s some forms of emf with more energy than sunlight. And those are things like x rays, and gamma rays, which a lot of people have heard of, as well. those are those are very, very dangerous, they have so much energy, that they can knock electrons loose from the cells in our bodies. That’s why they’re called ionizing. And that’s exactly why when you get a dental X ray, they put a lead jacket on you and the technician actually leaves the room. That’s how dangerous they are. Now, we have a set of emf with less energy than sunlight. Those are sometimes called non ionizing. And these can include things that we call radio waves and microwaves. And there’s some others as well. Now, these, by and large, did not exist on the planet until we started inventing modern technology. So with the invention of the light bulb, we had our really our first sources of human made EMF and so you had the light bulb, which is a source of then you have the power grid, which was designed to power light bulbs. Once you have the power grid. They started developing all these new app plants.
R Blank 5:00
To run on the grid, and those all became sources of emf, and then eventually they invented wireless technology, and everything wireless. So obviously today we think of cell phones and Wi Fi. But even back in the day, you know, radio, original television radar used in military uses, these are all sources of emf. So today, we have anything that runs on electricity. And anything that communicates wirelessly is a source of this human made EMF, that that’s what we’re talking about today.
Stephanie Seferian 5:34
So I want to apologize in advance for my plebian questions. I’m learning alongside my listeners as we’re talking, but I just have to ask is a TV let’s say not a wireless TV, 1950s. TV? Can we assume that would be safer than the TV that’s plugged into our wireless network in our home, actually,
R Blank 5:57
and in that instance? No. And that’s because display technologies have gotten safer. So it used to be you know, and not only 1950s TVs, 1980s TVs, early 90s TVs, the ones with those curved screens with the big backs, those emitted a lot of this type of stuff. So as we’ve moved to flat screen displays, there, they actually emit a lot less. But as you you, your question indicates, you know, then you add in wireless connectivity, and all of a sudden, it starts emitting more again. So if you have a TV today, and you really want to cut the EMF, you want to disable the wireless functionality,
Stephanie Seferian 6:38
where does 5g come into this conversation, there’s a lot of controversy in my community about the creation of the lines necessary to support 5g technology.
R Blank 6:50
Okay, so as I didn’t say specifically, but as I sort of outlined before, there’s there’s this spectrum of emf right at the at the very high end, you have x rays and gamma rays. In the middle, you have sunlight. And then with lower energy, you have things like radio, wave and microwave. So if you think of radio, radio wave, a microwave is like a slice of, of that spectrum. In terms of wireless technology, until 5g, we used a little bit of that. Now with 5g, they’re opening up more of that slice. So 5g is going to be using new frequencies, these have more energy than the frequencies we’ve been using so far for things like 4g, and Wi Fi, and Bluetooth. And those frequencies have never before been used. In consumer applications. The only places they’ve been used, really are our military grade weaponry. They have they have weapons, you designed to use these frequencies to inflict pain and discomfort and damage at a at a distance these microwave weapons. And so there are a few points of concern here. Some people are concerned that these are all new frequencies of emf that are being deployed into our environments, into our cities, into our schools, even into our hospitals. Without any human testing, there’s been no testing into the long term health effects of what exposure to these frequencies means. And that is a that forms a large part of the concern about 5g, I myself have a separate concern about 5g, which is one of the reasons 5g needs to exist is because remember, I described that slice of the spectrum and we’re using this little bit of that slice, that slice has gotten filled up, because we have so many wireless devices. And they’re all communicating using that little slice. And so they’re we’re getting to a point where that’s saturated. And so one of the reasons we need 5g or they say we need 5g, I should, I should say is because we’re kind of running out of spectrum. And we’re deploying more and more and more and more of these smart devices, these wireless connected devices. And each one of these devices they need the ability to communicate.
Stephanie Seferian 9:16
Well as you’re talking there. I’m counting in my head, all the devices in my home that rely on wireless technology, my smart thermostat, my TV, my daughter’s monitor in her bedroom so that I can spy on her when she’s sleeping my smartwatch my cell phone like I could go on and on. And so the next logical question then would be what does the research say is the consequences of emf on human health? Okay, so
R Blank 9:49
there’s that. That’s a great question. There’s a lot of parts to that. I want to underscore I know I just said it, but I want to underscore all of this stuff is deployed, it’s released. I mean, we are People, you know, you figure, I’m going out and going shopping and going to the store, I’m going to buy something we all assume, well, if they’re letting me buy it, it’s safe. But that’s just not how it works, especially with wireless emitting technologies there, they don’t test the products for long term health effects. they deploy the product. And then the science comes later. And some of this science if you want to study questions like cancer, you know, that takes 10 or 20 years, because that’s how long tumors take to form. Now, in terms of the science, what it shows the health effects, there’s a very wide variety of health effects demonstrated by the science, everyone’s heard of the concerns about well, well, my cell phone give me a brain tumor. But brain isn’t the only area where tumors have been linked to EMF exposure. Another couple of big ones are colorectal cancer and thyroid cancer. And it’s not just cancer. So you have things like sleep, melatonin production, sleep disruption, you have immune system function disruption, you have anxiety, you have symptoms, like tinnitus, you know, the ringing in the ear. The picture that science is painting for us, is that EMF affects almost all systems in our body. Also, there’s strong science showing that exposure to this type of emf can damage and destroy DNA. One other thing that the science shows very convincingly is a dose response relationship. What that means is, the bigger the dose, the bigger the response. So one common thing you know that people can understand us response relationship is drinking alcohol, the more alcohol you drink, the more inebriated you become. The same thing is shown in the science on EMF, the more EMF you’re exposed to both at one point and cumulatively over time, the greater the demonstrated result that we see all of these different sources in our home. And we we’ve come to view them as natural as normal. But if we think back to when we were children, you know, we didn’t have any, I mean, the only wireless that we had in our homes was was radio and television. And those were only receivers, they weren’t transmitters. And now you look around an average american home, like you said, you have the Smart TV, the smart thermostat, maybe a smart lock, maybe a smart fridge, maybe a couple of smart speakers, you have one or two Wi Fi networks, you all have phones, maybe some tablets, maybe computers, I mean, that’s a lot of these sources. And they were not there when you and I grew up. And so the doses that people are being exposed to today are significantly greater than when you and I were children. And the the doses that your children’s children will be exposed to when they are even much greater than that because of this drive to turn everything into something that is they call smart.
Stephanie Seferian 13:06
Well, you did mention kids there. And I have two of them. I have a seven year old and a four year old, and they don’t have devices of their own, but they are living in my home, which is filled with these wireless devices. So I have to ask for any of the parents who are listening. Does the research say anything about the correlation between EMF exposure and children’s health?
R Blank 13:27
Yes, it does. So the younger you are, the more vulnerable you are to damage from me. So there, there are several reasons I’ll just name a few. You know, one is that children’s bones are thinner, if that includes the skull. The reason I mentioned that is because the bone particularly in the skull, it is it forms a natural barrier against the CMF. It’s not a perfect barrier, but it does shield or attenuate this radiation. And when there’s less of that bone there, there’s less event natural defense, that’s one reason. Another reason is that they are actually just smaller, right. So if there’s a dose of radiation that extends, let’s say two inches into your, into your skull into your brain for you, that impacts a much smaller percentage of the total brain area than it does the child. Another reason is that they are growing very quickly, much more quickly than adult. Well, adults aren’t growing, but still our cells are multiplying and divide. That’s how we continue living. with children. That process happens much more rapidly. So any damage that is incurred at the cellular level ends up multiplying much more rapidly. And then the final reason I’ll say is because children obviously are younger, which means they have more time to live with the damage that they get from these exposures. So overall, yes, the the science is very strong on this point. The younger you are the more vulnerable to damage From EMF exposure you are
Unknown Speaker 15:01
okay. Well, my anxiety is now through the roof.
R Blank 15:05
Now don’t we could talk about that’s not yet don’t don’t. I mean there’s, you know, there’s things you can control, there’s things you can’t control. So, you know, I strongly. One of the first things I tell new people who come to me through the website or what is just to try to relax because that is the more effective position from which to try to address this stuff.
Stephanie Seferian 15:26
Well, we’re going to talk about exactly how we can relax. Or I would say perhaps a better word would be how we can pragmatically reduce our exposure. After a quick word from this week’s sponsor, ether diamonds, the world’s most sustainable diamonds that are actually good for the planet. Now, you’re no longer stuck between having to choose between that mined diamond versus that regular lab grown diamond, both of which harmed the planet. And that’s because ether offers the only truly sustainable diamonds on the market that require no ethical or environmental trade offs, either creates the world’s first positive impact diamonds made from air through a process that first removes harmful air pollution then captures the carbon and finally retasked that carbon to a higher purpose. Now I know what you’re thinking, these are 100% real diamonds, and they are the highest quality diamonds you can buy certified by the IDI learn more about the only guilt free diamond in the world at ether diamonds calm, that’s a e th er diamonds calm and follow them on social media at ether diamonds. And we are back with R Blank, we are discussing all things EMF related. we’re transitioning our conversation now to talk about best practices and worst practices as it relates to our technology in our homes. And so I I could ask you are you know, what should we do? How can we reduce our exposure? But instead of that, I’d love to flip this question on its head and asks you in your opinion, what are some of the worst practices? What are the things we absolutely shouldn’t be doing when it comes to our tech? And I know, because I heard it through the grapevine that we should not keep our cell phones in our pockets. That’s just one. One idea, what else are we doing that we shouldn’t be?
R Blank 17:28
So a worst practice is keeping that that source of emf, like your cell phone, like you said, or whatever it is keeping it closer to your body than it needs to be, or keeping it running and on when it doesn’t need to be on. So yeah, that definitely includes carrying your phone in your pocket. In fact, a lot of people don’t realize that if you look into the manuals for some of these products, they actually say not to carry it in your pocket. But you know, a lot of people don’t don’t read these manuals, like like, like to. But it also includes keeping your Wi Fi running, when you’re not even using Wi Fi especially now that we see you know, more and more people have these dual band routers, which is running to Wi Fi networks at once. If you’re not using it, you can turn it off and includes keeping Bluetooth headsets right in your ear when you’re not even using them just keeping them there all day long, or for hours at a time. So really, the worst practices are keeping this tech closer to your body than it needs to be and keeping it running when it doesn’t need to be running. So I then have to ask you about my smartwatch. Should I throw it in the trash? I mean, yes, in my opinion, you should. But I realize I’m also a realist. I am not. I’m not a Luddite. But I grew up liking technology. And I still very much appreciate what technology can do. So I you know, I advise people not to use smartwatches. But I also understand that a lot of people will. So in terms of smartwatches. Again, it’s another one of these products, where it’s just released without any long term testing. So we don’t know what wearing a smartwatch for 10 years will do, we can make some guesses. And that is because remember, I was saying keeping tech closer to your body than than it needs to be. That’s because distance really matters. And with things like smartwatches they’re right up against your body. And they’re designed to be held right up against your body for many, many hours at a time. Some people wear them almost all the time, even when they sleep. So I advise people not to wear smartwatches but if you do turn it into airplane mode as much as possible, and take it off as much as possible, especially when you’re sleeping.
Stephanie Seferian 19:44
Well that you lead me perfectly into my next question which is what are some practical ways that we can reduce our exposure because I know I am not going to be drastically changing my way of life anytime. I’m soon to completely eliminate EMF. I don’t even think that’s possible, probably. But I’m looking to reduce. And I would say probably that a lot of my listeners are too. So you mentioned keeping tech farther away from your body. But what else? What else can we do?
R Blank 20:15
Sure. So it all comes down to what I call the two key rules of emf protection, which is minimize and maximize. First, you want to minimize your use. And second, you want to maximize the distance minimizing use, I think is obvious, right, the less of let’s say your phone is a source, I mean, your phone is a source of emf, so the less that you use it, the less exposure you’re going to have from it. Now, the maximize distance is the one that you know that that that can take some people by surprise. And this is why this matters, the power of emf radiation diminishes exponentially with distance. So if you have your phone about an inch away from your body, and then you have it two inches away from your body, you’ve now cut the power of your exposure by 75%, just by doubling, that’s what the power of exponential decrease means. And that’s a great illustration of why carrying it in your pocket is so risky. That is because when it’s in your pocket, it’s directly against your body. When it’s directly against your body, you’re getting a full dose of the radiation that this device is designed to emit. Keeping in mind that this device is designed to be able to communicate over miles and miles, right, these are very powerful things. And so when it’s in your pocket, you’re getting a full dose of this stuff. So minimize and maximize the two key rules. Now examples of that, well, like I just said, not carrying your phone in your pocket, or bra. I know, many women who particularly You know, when they’re out jogging, or when they’re at the gym, they will put their phones and their sports bras, you don’t want to do that. So you don’t want to carry your phone in your pocket or your bra. That’s an example of distance. Never use your laptop on your lap. Another same same reason. In fact, if you look at the Dell manual, it’ll tell you for their laptops, to keep it at least seven inches away from your body. They call them laptops, they have people using them in their laps in ADS. But if you read the manual, they’re talking seven inches minimum distance. Another example is not to sleep with your phone. And that’s one where there’s, you know, even cutting your EMF exposure is a great benefit of that. But there’s other reasons to not use your phone as science is showing us avoid using Bluetooth headsets. Because when it’s a bluetooth headset, you have you have it right in your ear. And that means a it’s right up against your body. B it’s very close to your brain. And see it’s not only close to your brain, it’s in the ear canal, where there’s no skull separating where it’s located from your brain, because there’s a hole in your skull at that at that place. And then finally, I mean, there’s, there’s a lot of reasons I could but just to round out a list of five, turn off your Wi Fi at night. A lot of people who take this issue very seriously will actually get rid of Wi Fi, and wire their home with Ethernet. But I deal with a lot of just what I would call regular consumers, they’re not willing to take that step. So the step that you can take is turning off your Wi Fi at night, because you’re not using your Wi Fi at night. So if you turn it off, you’re you’re cutting out that exposure from you know, eight hours a day, a third of your life, where you’re not getting any benefit from even keeping it on.
Stephanie Seferian 23:35
I had heard you on another podcast toxin free talk, shout out to Megan Mickelson if she’s listening, but I had heard you mentioned shutting off your Wi Fi. And so that must have been you know, a couple months back turned off my podcast ran told my husband we’re turning off our Wi Fi every night. So we just put it on a timer from 10pm to 6am. It is off. And that’s working out totally fine during the summer months when we don’t necessarily need our heat on. I don’t know what we’re gonna do when our nest thermostat needs the Wi Fi to keep our house warm. But for right now I’m calling it a success. I want to ask you about the products that are popping up on the market that shield the human body from EMF. So I know that you have a company that does just that. And so I’m a very skeptical consumer by nature. I talk a lot about conscious consumerism on this show. I would say Oh, is this just another product popping up to fill a void or do they actually work? And if so, if they do work, which I’m assuming that you make them you’re gonna say they work? How do they work?
R Blank 24:43
So, shielding you mentioned shielding, and that is what my company does is a type of emf protection. If people just go out and Google or search on Amazon for EMF protection, there’s going to be a lot of different solutions available. shielding is based off technology that’s not only universally accepted, it’s almost 200 years old. Ever since Michael Faraday created the first Faraday cage in 1836. And Faraday cage. It’s not a term everyone knows. But but some people might recognize that that that term. And what if what a Faraday cage does is it shields and deflects EMF radiation. So what he found again, almost 200 years ago, is that if you weave conductive metals into certain patterns, they can block certain frequencies of electromagnetic radiation. And so what my products do is they take that shielding and they put it into products. And so the way the phone pouch works is it’s designed to make it safer to carry your phone. So you put your phone in the pouch, and then you carry the pouch on your belt or in your pocket. And the back of the pouch is lined with that that fabric that I was talking about. The front is not lined with that fabric. So that allows your phone to still work while deflecting radiation away from your body.
Stephanie Seferian 26:03
So are where can my listeners learn more about your company shield your body and listen to the healthier tech podcast?
R Blank 26:11
Sure. So I have a page set up with all that information, it shields your body calm, slash sustain. So it’s shield your body all one word, calm slash sustain. And there people can learn more about the company, link to the podcast, as well as download my free guide on the five, five best ways to make a big difference in your EMF exposure right away for free. And so again, that’s all it’s shield your body comm slash sustain.
Stephanie Seferian 26:41
Before we go, I have to ask you a completely random question. It wouldn’t be a stephanies to ferien original without some completely random question. Yeah, at the beginning of our talk, you mentioned dental x rays. So I just have to ask you, do you get dental x rays?
R Blank 26:57
Yeah, I do. You know, I prefer the dentist that don’t make me get them twice a year. Because I have enough confidence in my dental hygiene regimen. That I don’t feel like I need them twice a year. So once a year, you know, I tried. But yeah, I totally. So I think to get to the point of your question. Yes, I do. Because they add value. So there’s a little bit of additional risk, but a lot of value. Because teeth are important to me. And I don’t want to lose them. I don’t want to have horrible dental problems. So yeah, getting a little bit of exposure, you know, it’s worth it to me just like um, you know, I’m having this conversation with you on a computer. And I was showing you I still have a cell phone, I keep it in airplane mode an awful lot of the time, and I don’t carry it in my pocket. But yeah, no. living today is not about even if you’re someone like me, it’s not about cutting out EMF exposure. It is about minimizing it and manage managing it and having a more mindful approach to my relationship with technology, just like you advocate with sort of everything in your life. You want to have a mindful engagement, you know, does this ever do I need this in my life? Why am I doing this? You know, I advocate for that on the on the, on the level of technology.
Stephanie Seferian 28:11
Well, our This was such an insightful conversation. I want to thank you so much for giving me your time. And I look forward to continuing to follow your work. So thank you so much.
R Blank 28:22
Thank you so much. I really appreciate it. Thank you, Stephanie.
Stephanie Seferian 28:27
Listeners I so hope you enjoyed my chat with R Blank, founder of shield your body and host of the healthier tech podcast. What I really loved about our conversation and one aspect of the conversation that stayed with me was ours emphasis on reducing unnecessary EMF exposure as a practical goal, as opposed to seeking to eliminate it altogether, which is likely impossible. In 2021. Right. I will see you on Tuesday for your regularly scheduled interview. Have an amazing weekend and take care