You’ve done it. You’ve taken the steps to learn more about the health risks of EMF, and how to protect yourself. And now you want to take the next step. You want to help those around you learn to start protecting themselves. That’s what this post is about: to help you talk about and explain EMF to others, including your friends, relatives and colleagues.
Table of Contents
I’ve been running SYB for eight years. So I’ve been working in the EMF arena for some time now. And in that time, I’ve built up a lot of experience communicating these issues to others.
I’ve learned a lot of what works, and a lot of what doesn’t work.
At the same time, there has been a huge shift in people’s opinions about EMF in just the last eight years. When I launched my first product, it would come up in the Amazon search results alongside listings for ‘ghost detectors’. And when I’d tell people what I did for a living, they’d make jokes about tin foil hats.
Not anymore. Gone are the ghost detectors from the search results, and now we have a whole bunch of companies selling EMF protection products. And when I tell people what I do, they’ll engage with something like “Oh really? I’ve been wondering about that. How dangerous is my phone?” or “Yeah, I heard Dr. Sanjay Gupta talk about that on CNN.”
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The landscape has shifted. Awareness has grown – a lot.
But something I realized is that, even though more people are becoming aware of the serious health risks posed by EMF, there aren’t many resources to help people like you find productive ways to communicate these issues to others. So that’s what this post is about.
To help get you started, I encourage you to watch this video overview, before moving on to the rest of the post. It gives a good understanding of the content that follows in an easy-to-digest format. And it will make the rest of this post even easier to work through.
What Do You Want to Accomplish?
As you work towards improving your ability to communicate your concerns about EMF, it’s always important to consider what your actual goals are.
And your goals will depend on the context: who are you talking to, when and where? What is your desired end result?
Maybe you want to help your teenager learn some safer technology habits, like not keeping their phone in their pocket.
Or maybe your friend saw you using your SYB Phone Pouch or SYB H.A.R.D. and asked what it is, and you want to explain, without sounding alarmist or like you believe in fairy tales. Or maybe you want to talk about EMF in your workplace with your boss or supervisor.
These are just three possible examples of what your goal might be in any given situation. The important part is for you to be aware of your goal, make it as specific as possible, and formulate your approach to the interaction with your goal in mind.
As you consider your goals, remember, they should be specific and achievable.
By specific, I mean it should be tangible. For example, “I want my husband to stop using a Bluetooth headset” or “I want my daughter to turn off the wifi in her house at night”. It shouldn’t be vague. For example a less specific goal would be “I want my wife to use her phone less” or “I want my son to be more aware of EMF issues” – there’s nothing really specific there. The more specific the goal, the easier it is to understand and to accomplish.
Achievable means that your goal should be practical. For example, if your goal is “I want to convince my neighborhood to get rid of the power lines,” it’s very unlikely that you can achieve that on your own (I won’t say it’s impossible; just extremely unlikely). In contrast, it is much more likely that you can, for example, get your child to stop carrying their phone in their pocket.
I don’t want to dissuade you from taking on bigger goals. These bigger goals– such as getting the electrical utility to move a power line, or stopping a new 5G tower from going up– those almost always require a concerted effort from a larger group of people. And in order to generate that level of interest, you first need to be able to discuss EMF issues with other people.
And that’s what this guidance is for: helping you talk about EMF with other people. Whether that’s to get them to take a specific action like not carrying their phones in their pockets, or to sign a petition calling for a change in municipal policy, you need to be able to talk about these issues, and you need to do so with a specific and achievable goal in mind.
Ground Rules and Guidance
As you start down this process, remember that information and facts aren’t all that matter. How you approach the topic, your manner and behavior, and how you treat the person you are talking to are all crucial elements.
So I’ve started here by outlining what I believe are some useful points to remember. This list is not comprehensive, but it’s a great start.
- Some people don’t want to hear it. This topic isn’t everyone’s thing, and you’re not going to change everyone’s mind. In order to have the most success, you need to recognize that and respect people’s preferences.
- I strongly recommend that you focus on your concerns about EMF and health. It’s important not to dilute your argument with other issues, regardless of how related you think they are. For example, some of the related issues that often find their way into EMF discussions include privacy, technology addiction and technology waste. But you will be more successful if you avoid throwing the “kitchen sink” into your discussions, and instead focus on the health aspects that concern you.
- Focus on facts and science. You can include your own interpretation, but make it clear when you do that, and distinguish your own views from the actual facts and actual science. Always let the science and sound judgment lead the discussion.
- You’re going to get better at this over time, and with practice. If this is your first time talking about EMF with others, you may well experience some challenges. So it’s important that you set reasonable expectations for yourself, and what you hope to achieve.
- Most people – even open-minded friends – won’t simply change their mind just because they had one discussion with you. This is going to be a process.
- Keep it personal. Express your own personal journey – how you came to be aware, what prompted you to take action, and what are the actions that you are taking.
- Often, simply offering helpful safety advice does a lot more good, and is more effective, than trying to convince people of all the risks. Even people who aren’t fully convinced that EMF is a health risk will still have a seed of doubt in their belief and will consider modifying their behaviors. They might rethink putting their phones in their pockets, for example. (Better safe than sorry!)
- You don’t need to convince everyone. You really just want to move the ball forward. Make more people more aware – not all people fully aware. Make more people do one or two more things that make a difference.
- Make sure to listen. It is important to listen to the feedback you’re getting. That feedback can help you craft even better points the next time you try to have this sort of conversation.
- Recognize tech addiction is real, and a big influence on how people use all of these EMF-emitting gadgets. You can’t get people to change addictive behaviors overnight, but you can plant the seeds for them to start making small changes.
- Emphasize that small changes can make big differences. Like not keeping your phone in your pocket. Because phones are such a significant source of so many people’s exposures, making that one change can have a huge impact.
- It’s easier to stop new behaviors than to change old ones. For example, it’ll be easier to convince someone not to upgrade to a Nest thermostat, than to get someone to remove WiFi from their home.
Pick Your Context & Situation
So you have your goals.
And you’ve thought about ways to approach and handle the conversation.
Next up: when and where is this going to happen?
Context is also critical. Pick the right place and time for your conversation, and you can be way more successful.
As just one example, talking to your friend or relative while on a walk, or during a shared meal, is probably going to be much more effective than trying to convince them while they’re watching their favorite TV show, or if they’ve just gotten home from work or school.
Or, if it’s a work colleague, you may not have the opportunity to discuss this in a social context. So what would be the best time and place at work? Probably not first thing on Monday morning. Maybe during a Thursday coffee break?
Of course, we can’t predict and control everything. And you may have opportunities arise to address this topic that you didn’t plan for.
But you should still plan. And there is no universal answer here – the optimal time and place is going to depend on a lot of variables that you should consider.
Topic Cheat Guides
So you have your goals, you’ve thought about how you’re going to approach the topic, you’ve picked a preferred time and place.
The final step is to come armed with some facts.
Now, I am very well aware that there is a ton of information that you could bring to your discussion. More than any one person can memorize.
So remember: the goal isn’t to memorize everything. Or even most of the information. And you definitely don’t want to read your friends or relatives a big laundry list of facts.
Instead, you want to have some points ready to ease into the topic.
So, I’m including this section so that you have some good talking points and starting points for your discussion. It’s a reference so that you have the flexibility to discuss the subject from multiple angles.
Along with the facts, I am including some links. This is so that if a specific topic interests you, you can learn more about it.
And also, so that if you want to send someone more information, you have links you can send them by email or text.
What is EMF
EMF, or electromagnetic radiation, is a type of energy formed by electricity and magnetism.
Visible light – like we get from the sun – is a form of EMF.
Forms of EMF with more energy than visible light are called ionizing. These include x-rays, gamma rays, and ultraviolet (UV) light, and everyone knows these are really dangerous even in very small doses. These forms of EMF are called ionizing because they have enough energy to knock electrons free from atoms.
Forms of EMF with less energy than visible light are called non-ionizing. These include radio frequency (RF) and microwave, both of which are used for wireless communication (like cell phones, WiFi and Bluetooth). These forms of EMF are called non-ionizing because they do not have enough energy to knock electrons free from atoms.
Every device or appliance that runs on power, and every device that communicates wirelessly, emits a type of non-ionizing EMF radiation.
Is EMF Safe?
It was long thought that non-ionizing forms of EMF radiation were “safe”. But in recent decades a huge – and growing – body of high-quality science has shown this assumption was false.
Doses of EMF – like you would be exposed to from a cell phone or a power line – have been demonstrated to cause an increased risk of a wide range of negative health effects, including:
- sleep disruption
- learning disabilities and memory loss
- multiple types of cancer– not just brain tumors, but also breast cancer, thyroid cancer and colorectal cancer
- birth defects and developmental disorders
Children are More Vulnerable
While science has demonstrated that all humans – and indeed all living things – are vulnerable to damage from exposure to EMF, children and babies are even more vulnerable.
This is because:
- Children’s brains are smaller and their skulls are thinner, leaving them more vulnerable
- Children are growing fast, so any cellular damage will spread more rapidly
- Children are younger, so they have longer to live to realize the results of damage to their bodies
This is why it is even more important to protect children.
Regulations are Fundamentally Flawed
Many people will assume that they are protected from any negative health effects from EMF because a lot of these devices are supposedly regulated. For example, cell phone radiation is regulated and they are not supposed to exceed a maximum SAR level.
Unfortunately, this assumption is false.
- SAR regulations are designed around a dummy that approximates the size and weight of a 6’2” man who weighs 220 lbs – that’s bigger than 97% of the population! So most people will absorb more radiation than the SAR value indicates.
- People think that the federal government tests phones for SAR. This is untrue. The wireless companies themselves test their own products and determine the published SAR value. In fact, in one study of hundreds of phones in France, it was found that 89% of them emitted more radiation than the manufacturer indicated.
- Companies can determine the placement and position of the phone during the official SAR test. That’s why, for example, according to the official iPhone manual, you are not supposed to carry your phone in your pocket. But most people don’t read the fine print in their manuals.
What’s more – a huge and growing number of sources of EMF are not even regulated. This includes power lines as well as automobiles. So there are no regulations protecting us from these exposures.
When you have as many conversations about EMF as I have, you’ll start to learn that there are some objections you’ll hear repeated over and over again.
So here I will include some of the most common objections I’ve heard, and how I address them.
Remember: you don’t want to get into a fight with the person you’re talking with. Because that will make them shut down and reject everything you have to say.
Instead, you want to engage in a process of education, calmly explaining the facts as you see them.
I Hear Science Says This Stuff is Safe.
This is based on some truth.
While there are many studies showing negative health effects from EMF radiation, it is also true that there are a large number of scientific studies that show, for example, cell phone radiation does not lead to an increased rate of brain tumors.
So how do I respond?
Well, generally, in two ways. First, I acknowledge that fact. Then, depending on the discussion, I would most usually reply with either:
- The majority of studies that show cell phone radiation is ‘safe’ are funded by the wireless companies. They are designed, from the ground-up, to produce specific results. This type of science is so faulty that, as just one example, two separate courts in Italy threw out these industry-funded studies when they ruled that cell phones cause brain tumors. They concluded the scientific studies funded by the wireless industry were too biased and suspect to be included in their consideration of the verdict.
- EMF science is complicated. When you have a bunch of studies that show cell phone radiation is dangerous to your health, and other studies showing that it is not – that does NOT mean science has concluded cell phone radiation is safe. Instead, it shows that this subject is complicated, and we do not yet fully understand how it interacts with our bodies.
There’s No ‘Definitive Proof’
When you deal with EMF issues, you’ll hear this phrase all the time. There’s no ‘definitive proof’ that EMF is harmful. While it sounds cut-and-dry, the term ‘proof’ is actually a tricky one. And it has multiple meanings.
In logic and math, you can actually prove something. 1 + 1 = 2. That’s a provable statement. Definitively.
But when you actually think about it, you’d be surprised at how few things in life can be definitively proven.
For example, in a court of law, you don’t seek ‘definitive proof’. Instead, you seek proof ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’. And that’s why we sentence people to prison without definitive proof.
Just like there’s no concept of definitive proof in law, neither is there in science.
In science, proof means “I’ve performed an experiment; here are the results; you and others can attempt to repeat and verify the work; here’s my theory to explain the observations.”
What’s more, scientific proof is often overturned by subsequent generations of scientists. This is how science grows and evolves.
But just because certain information does not constitute definitive proof, that does not mean that the information is inaccurate, misleading, or unreliable.
What’s more, governments and regulators have repeatedly taken action in the absence of definitive proof, based on a preponderance of the evidence.
In the face of potentially irreversible damage to an irreplaceable national treasure, the Germans decided to act before they had definitive proof by passing the ground-breaking Clean Air Act of 1974 to limit industrial emissions.
In the United States, the Endangered Species Act applies a standard of evidence that is less than scientific proof, in order for the Fish and Wildlife Service to designate a species as endangered; after all, once we have definitive proof that a species is extinct, it’s too late to prevent extinction.
While there is no ‘definitive proof’ that EMF causes, for example, brain tumors, there is ‘very concerning, scientifically accepted, peer-reviewed evidence’ that cell phone radiation is carcinogenic.
And this is why people should take action. Even before we have definitive proof.
They Wouldn’t Sell it if it Weren’t Safe
People – all of us – want to believe that if something is available for sale, it’s safe.
After all, if something isn’t safe, they wouldn’t be allowed to sell it to us, right?
Well, as we learn time and time again, this just isn’t true.
- In some cases, it’s because the science hasn’t caught up – we don’t yet know something isn’t safe. This was the case with the drug Thalidomide, which was permitted to be sold to treat morning sickness in pregnant women, before we knew it would cause so many tragic birth defects.
- In some cases, it’s because the regulations lag behind the science. Science has demonstrated negative effects of something, but the regulations haven’t yet caught up to protect us from the effects. This was the case in the 1980s and 1990s with, for example, tobacco, when everyone knew smoking was dangerous but you could still do it everywhere.
- And in other cases, it’s because the regulations are not actually enforced. So science tells us something is dangerous, and regulations exist to protect us from those forces, but companies skirt or ignore the regulations. This was the case with the 2015 Volkswagen Dieselgate scandal where they rigged emissions tests.
When it comes to EMF, we know that this type of radiation is dangerous, but the regulations lag behind the science, and the limited regulations that do exist are not enforced.
EMF is Natural
Yes, some EMF is natural. Like sunlight. And lightning.
The fact is the amount of naturally occurring non-ionizing EMF radiation that humans evolved to cope with is infinitesimally small compared to what we’re all exposed to from human-made sources in modern society, each and every day of our lives.
All the EMF-emitting technology that’s been rolled out over the last 140 years (since the invention of the lightbulb) completely dwarfs the natural levels of EMF that our bodies learned to cope with over millennia of evolution.
By some estimates, background EMF radiation in cities today is over 1 trillion times greater (that’s 1,000,000,000,000) than those found in nature.
Today, we’re swimming in a sea of electrosmog that our species did not evolve to live in. Our bodies are not built to cope with these forces.
Just because a little bit of something is safe, doesn’t mean a whole lot of that same thing is safe. That’s just not how life works.
I Don’t Want to Hear it, Because I’m Not Giving up my Cell Phone
Ah! Now we get to the core challenge you will face.
The natural response of many people is to not want to hear any of this information. Because they have such a deep (and, in many cases, addictive) relationship with their EMF-emitting technology.
And for these people, I have some good news! You don’t have to give up your phone to make a big difference to your health.
Remember: the whole reason you are reading this is that you want to help other people make a difference in their health.
So it’s not enough to come to your conversation armed with facts about why they should take action – you also need to provide them with solutions!
In other words, specific tips they can start using to live healthier.
At SYB, I’ve been writing what I call my ‘SYB Healthy Living Tips’ for a while now. It’s actually how a lot of you end up finding me and my website.
These Healthy Living Tips are all free and easy ways that people like you (and your friends, family and colleagues) can live healthier by making a big difference in your EMF exposure.
And to learn more about these, I recommend you start here, at the post ‘The Best EMF Protection is Free.’
When you’re concerned about EMF, I understand how overwhelming it can sometimes feel. After all, they keep making more and more wireless devices. Not just new phones, but smart cars and smart meters and smart thermostats. And so many cell towers are going up every single day.
But it’s also important to remember that you aren’t helpless.
It’s true. You, alone, can’t stop Apple from selling iPhones, or force Samsung to make safer devices.
But you, alone, can make a big difference in your personal exposure based on how you engage with technology.
And you can help make other people safer by educating them on these important issues.
And that, in turn, will contribute to the larger goals of slowing, for example, the 5G rollout.
Because the more that people think twice about upgrading their devices or getting a new form of smart tech, the slower that stuff will roll out.
The more people tell realtors that they’re concerned about EMF levels in homes, the more the market will learn that this is a priority. And the more motivated people will be to make their homes safer, and oppose, for example, tower deployments in their neighborhoods.
The more people there are who are aware, the more people will start to take back control from EMF and the wireless companies. And the way to do that is to learn how to communicate these issues and concerns – calmly and effectively. That’s exactly what this guide is for.
This is how it all starts.