Is your Smart Phone Smart for your Health?

The World Health Organization, Women’s College Hospital in Toronto, and Trent University professionals are only some of the institutions and people concerned about electromagnetic radiation and human health. Click here to view our August email newsletter for a check-list of ways to reduce your exposure. Our newsletter is also available on our facebook page.

~ Dr. Christina Vlahopoulos, ND

Smart phones, tablets, laptops and computers – the world of wireless communication is escalating at an alarming rate. The growth in wireless technology, which is emanated through the air as micro, radio and extremely low frequency waves, has researchers wondering if human health can be affected by all this exposure. It can be agreed that certain forms of waves are hazardous with prolonged contact, such as x-rays or radioactive emissions. However, can your hairdryer, electric toothbrush, wireless router, computer or cell/smart/cordless phone pose a problem for your health? Research is showing that it can.

The World Health Organization describes electromagnetic hypersensitivity (or EHS) as a variety of non-specific symptoms due to electromagnetic radiation (or EMR) exposure. Symptoms most commonly experienced include headaches, skin rashes, poor memory, sleep disorders, weakness, dizziness, chest discomfort, fatigue, nausea, night sweats, and heart palpitations. Although the majority of the population does not experience symptoms due to EMR, an increasing number of sensitive individuals do.

EHS has received little attention, as there has been minimal evidence to support the diagnosis of this hypersensitivity. It has been challenging to obtain this evidence for many reasons. For instance, some people do not experience immediate symptoms but rather a delayed onset of symptoms. Additionally, some people are affected by certain waves and not all waves – much like some people are reactive to certain foods and not all foods or certain people are sensitive to some fragrances but not all fragrances. Recently however, two independent research teams have demonstrated that EHS is possible. The groups found dramatic changes in heart rate and how the nervous system responded to EMR exposure. In other words, research is showing physiological symptoms from EMR in susceptible people– something that has been known in integrated healthcare circles for quite some time. Some investigators are linking EHS to heavy metal exposure and possible depletion of nutritional stores.

More research needs to be done, especially in the areas of understanding how EMR creates a hypersensitivity response. As this field is so new, there is no clear-cut diagnosis for EHS and no current guidelines for health care professionals. This is where integrated health care providers, such as Naturopathic Doctors, can play an active role. Through avoidance of triggers, restoring nutritional biochemistry and reducing toxic load, a person can experience a decrease in hypersensitivity symptoms and an increase overall health.

Genuis, S. T., & Lipp, C. T. (2012). Electromagnetic hypersensitivity: Fact or fiction?. Science of the Total Environment. 414(2012),103-112. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2011.11.008

Otto, M., & von Muhlendahl, K. E. (2007). Electromagnetic fields (EMF): Do they play a role in children’s environmental health (CEH)? International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health. 210(2007), 635-644. doi:10.1016/j.ijheh.2007.07.007
Women’s College Hospital (2012, June 11). The effects of invisible waves. Retrieved from http://www.womenscollegehospital.ca