While EMF from mobile and wireless devices affects all living things, women have specific concerns. In fact, women face multiple dangers to their health from exposure to EMF radiation—and each of them is important to consider.
There are three main areas of focus when it comes to women and EMF: fertility, pregnancy, and breast health. And these are what we’ll discuss in this post.
We’ll look at the risks, the latest research, and the measures you can take to protect yourself from harm.
So, let’s begin.
EMF Health Dangers for Women: Fertility
Fertility is one of the big health questions around electromagnetic fields. There’s already mounting evidence linking cell phone radiation to plummeting male fertility — one of the reasons why cell phone companies include warnings not to carry your phone in your pocket.
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But what about fertility and women?
The female reproductive system is very different from the male reproductive system. For starters, women’s eggs live deep inside the body. As such, they’re somewhat protected from outside forces like radiation. A man’s sperm, on the other hand, is much more vulnerable as it resides in the testicles outside the body.
But even though the eggs are more protected, women are born with all their eggs and can’t create more. If something damages the eggs, it’s permanent.
So, what does that mean for women who carry their phones in their pockets?
Well, the damage they experience may be less direct than with men — but studies suggest the damage still exists.
Consider this study which found that people living close to cell phone base stations had “significantly higher” concentrations of alpha-amylase (a stress marker) in their bodies. At the same time, higher stress levels, as measured by alpha-amylase, have been linked to an increased risk of infertility in women.
So, if we put two and two together, increased exposure to cell phone radiation leads to higher stress, which can, in turn, compromise a woman’s fertility — even though her eggs are better protected by the body.
Other studies, including animal studies, have also linked female fertility issues to EMF exposure – especially with regard to ovarian health.
Ovarian Function and EMF
The ovaries are a pair of glands located beside the uterus. They play a crucial role in the female reproductive system, as well as producing hormones like estrogen and progesterone.
According to a growing number of scientists, constant EMF exposure can lead to irreversible ovarian damage. This causes problems with reproduction and even permanent infertility.
One animal study from 2015 said that EMF exposure is directly linked to a reduction in the number of ovarian follicles.
An ovarian follicle is a small fluid-filled sac in the ovary which carries one immature egg. This egg matures during a menstrual cycle, after which the follicle breaks open to release the egg, creating a window for fertilization.
Medical experts consider an average of 8-10 follicles per ovary as “normal.” When the number of follicles goes below this number, it means that either the host has few eggs remaining, or the eggs she has are of poor quality.
Fewer or poor-quality eggs can lead to difficulties getting pregnant or result in permanent infertility.
For this experiment, the researchers gathered female rats and exposed their abdominals to EMF operating at 900 MHz frequency. They exposed the subjects for 15 minutes per day for 15 days.
When they completed this part of the experiment, they examined the subjects and found that the number of ovarian follicles in the female rats had been significantly reduced.
Another similar 2009 study says that “the decreased number of follicles in pups exposed to mobile phone microwaves suggest that intrauterine exposure has toxic effects on ovaries.”
While there’s no way to conduct such studies ethically in human subjects, this research highlights that EMF exposure can certainly affect living reproductive tissue.
EMF and Ovarian Oxidative DNA Damage
Several research studies have linked EMF to ovarian oxidative DNA damage, which means that constant EMF exposure can lead to impaired ovarian function.
In 2017, scientists from various countries formed a research body to better understand the effects of EMF on ovarian tissues, and the results were quite alarming.
They used a GSM network for this study, which operates on a much lower EMF frequency than our modern-day high-speed network. In this study, they found that constant EMF exposure increases lipid peroxidation in ovarian tissues.
Lipids are a vital component of living cells. Long-term exposure to EMF initiates the process of lipid peroxidation. In this process, free radicals in your body steal electrons from the lipids in cell membranes, which results in irreversible cell damage.
Besides this, they also found that EMF decreases glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) enzyme activity.
GSH-Px’s primary role is to protect the organism from oxidative damage, and its reduction increases the risk of oxidative stress and oxidative DNA damage.
The evidence we have now confirms that long-term EMF exposure causes oxidative stress and oxidative DNA damage to the ovarian tissues, leading to impaired fertility function.
EMF Health Dangers for Women: Pregnancy
Once a woman successfully becomes pregnant, a new concern arises: the health and safety of the new life taking shape inside her.
And it’s well established that a growing fetus is far more vulnerable to all kinds of threats that adult bodies are better equipped to handle. That’s why pregnant women take great care to limit their exposure to environmental toxins, chemicals, bacteria, and even heat.
If developing fetuses are more vulnerable to all such potentially-harmful influences, radiation from EMF would be no different. This is not just a logical conclusion: it’s one backed up by a growing body of research.
A 2008 study found that exposure of pregnant women to cell phone radiation significantly increased fetal and neonatal heart rate and decreased fetal cardiac output.
Exposure to EMF in the womb could also lead to ongoing health problems for the child. Take this study from 2011, which found a strong association between maternal EMF exposure and childhood asthma risk.
In this study, the researchers tracked 626 asthma-diagnosed children for up to 13 years. They found that children whose mothers absorbed a high level of EMF had more than a 3.5-fold increased risk of asthma.
The researchers concluded by saying that the relationship between EMF exposure and asthma risk is linear. “Every 1-mG increase of maternal MF level during pregnancy was associated with a 15% increased rate of asthma in offspring.”
So, to sum up, the higher the exposure, the higher the asthma risk – and every little increase counts.
The Connection Between EMF And Miscarriage Risk
In 2017, Dr. De-Kun Li of the Kaiser Foundation Research Institute published a study where he mentioned that highly EMF-exposed pregnant women have a 2.72x greater risk of miscarriage.
Dr. Li’s Study Design
Dr. De-Kun Li’s EMF study had a total of 913 participants. Throughout the day, the pregnant women had to carry an EMDEX Lite meter that measured EMF radiation round-the-clock. The researchers measured the EMF readings daily at a time that didn’t interfere with the women’s schedules.
The women also kept a diary throughout this time. The reason behind this is if there was anything noteworthy in the measurements, the research team wanted to be able to connect those measurements with anything happening in the participants’ day-to-day lives.
To ensure it was a fair experiment, Dr. Li excluded 138 women because they didn’t carry the meter at all times or had incomplete EMF data come in.
His team also considered what typical days looked like for these women since EMF exposure on non-typical days could skew the rest of the data.
What Other EMF Studies Said
This is the fifth study in the last 15 years that supports a scientifically-backed connection between high EMF exposure and miscarriage risk. Two of those studies looked only at cellphone use and closeness to wireless networks, and the other two measured EMF radiation in the women’s surroundings.
But the thing with EMF radiation is that it’s hard to measure accurately. Past studies don’t usually have reliable measurements to show for their results.
Unlike those studies, Dr. Li’s research measured EMF exposure from all sources, making the measurements more valid for what the study was testing. And measuring EMF radiation over a specific timeframe, i.e., while the women were still pregnant, improves the accuracy of the results, too.
Dr. Li also did a great job of reducing the chance that any funky data—for example, EMF radiation measurements from a non-typical day—would show up.
Connecting EMF and Miscarriage Risk
The field of EMF radiation testing already gets a lot of criticism. When Dr. Li published a study more than a decade ago on the connection between EMF and miscarriage risk, many of his peers attributed “behavioral differences” to the conclusive results he had.
His critics said that he should focus on whether the women had nausea or vomiting during this period as a way to provide more evidence.
But even when Dr. Li accounted for nausea and vomiting in this study, the results stayed the same. There was, in fact, a risk of miscarriage when pregnant mothers were exposed to high levels of EMF radiation. A risk that’s 2.72 times greater compared to women exposed to normal levels of EMF radiation.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has designated EMF as a Class 2B carcinogen. So, if it has so much potential to cause cancer, shouldn’t the scientific community at least keep its eyes peeled for any risks to developing babies?
EMF Health Dangers for Women: Bras
Although pregnancy risk is a significant issue, EMF’s adverse effects don’t end there.
The other major concern regarding women and EMF is breast health.
In 2017, researchers at Monash University in Australia surveyed nearly 200 women of ages 15 to 40 and found that a quarter had carried their smartphone tucked into their bra — with 15 percent doing so in the week prior.
This is an alarming trend, because research studies have linked the habit of carrying cell phones in bras to an increased risk of breast cancer.
I have a separate post about why you shouldn’t carry your cellphone in your bra, so check that out for more information.
What You Can Do to Protect Yourself
So now that you’re familiar with the effects EMF exposure can have on your health, the next obvious question is, what can you do to protect yourself from its adverse effects? After all, no one wants to have to give up the use of their devices.
Fortunately, there are plenty of measures you can take that don’t involve throwing your cell phone off the edge of a very tall building.
To begin with, you need to understand the dangers that come with prolonged EMF exposure. Keeping yourself informed is always the first and most important step.
To recap the key points from above:
- Women are born with a limited number of eggs and can’t create more. That’s why protecting them is important. Though women’s eggs are protected inside the body, research suggests EMF can still cause them harm.
- Pregnant women should take extra care to avoid too much EMF exposure. Studies show an increased risk of miscarriage and health issues for the baby.
- Research links carrying a phone in your bra with increased risk of breast cancer. So, avoid carrying your phone in your bra!
Now, here’s the good thing to know. Figuring out how to protect yourself isn’t that complicated. That’s because the protection strategy is the same for all three of the above health concerns.
Whether you want to avoid any unnecessary damage to your ovaries and eggs, protect a precious growing fetus, or lessen your risk of breast cancer, here’s what to do:
Minimize Use & Maximize Distance
It surprises many when I say this, but it’s true:
The best EMF protection is always free.
You just have to follow what I call the “two key rules of EMF protection,” which are minimize use and maximize distance.
Minimize use asks you to reduce your use of EMF-emitting gadgets and appliances. This means:
- Not mindlessly scrolling on your phone
- Switching off your WiFi router when it’s not in use instead of keeping it turned on 24×7
- Not keeping appliances turned on at all times unnecessarily
- And so on.
In short, the less you use your EMF sources, the less your exposure will be—it’s that simple.
The second rule, “maximize distance,” asks you to keep your EMF sources far from your body. That’s because, as per the inverse square law of physics, the power of EMF weakens with distance.
- No sleeping with your phone
- Carry your phone in a bag instead of your pocket or bra
- Use your laptop on a table instead of your lap.
- And keep your WiFi router at least 5 meters away from where you spend the most time.
Keep your devices as far from your body as possible, and the EMF you receive will be significantly weaker.
SYB Baby Blanket
If you prefer, you can also invest in EMF shielding products to make your devices safer when you do have to have them close by.
A great example is covering your belly with the SYB Baby Blanket (perfect while pregnant or for simply protecting your ovaries when you’re not).
Another product that you can use for similar purposes is the SYB Bandana.
Made with SaferBody™ Silver Silk, the SYB Bandana is one of the most versatile and stylish products we’ve ever made. Just like many of our products, the SYB Bandana provides 99% shielding effectiveness while maintaining its wear-it-with-anything style.
You can use it as a headband, scarf, face mask, head wrap, mini turban, purse accessory, pocket square, or necktie. Use it however you would use a typical bandana, but with the added benefit of EMF protection.
Besides these, you can also use the SYB Bandana to portably cover your belly and effectively protect your young one from EMF’s harmful effects during pregnancy.
The reality is that there are dozens of simple, cost-effective ways to cut down your EMF exposure. For the sake of your health, it’s more than worth putting at least some of them into practice.
And if you do that, it will go a long way to protecting you and your loved ones from the adverse effects of EMF.
If you want to find out more ways you can shield your body from EMF for free, check out our Health Living Tips series.