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ALARA - A Guiding Principle For EMF Exposure


(As Low As Reasonably Achievable)

When it comes to man-made electro-magnetic frequencies (EMF), such as wireless, less is definitely more! In our modern day environment it is impossible to escape all man-made EMF, that's why it's important to simply strive to take care of what you have control over first and foremost. For most people that usually means to change the way they interact with the devices closest to them such as a wearable, a smartphone, the wifi router and other wireless devices. This is where the ALARA principle comes in. I first stumbled on the ALARA principle while doing some research about man-made EMFs. Here's what the CDC has to say about it:

"The guiding principle of radiation safety is “ALARA”. ALARA stands for “as low as reasonably achievable”. This principle means that even if it is a small dose, if receiving that dose has no direct benefit, you should try to avoid it. To do this, you can use three basic protective measures in radiation safety: time, distance, and shielding."

In this context, the CDC is referring to radiation such as xrays, not to other types of man-made radiation such as wireless. What surprised me is that these were the exact same measures I took to feel better, yet this principle is not officially applied to wireless technology. Since there is no direct benefit to being exposed to wireless, these should apply for wireless as well in my opinion. The measures definitely work if you're feeling sensitive to EMF! Let's review them in the context of wireless technology (aka radio-frequency microwave radiation) that most people have in their home.

Time: The amount of time you are exposed to a source of radiation, such as wireless, matters. For example, if you are not using your wi-fi at night, consider turning it off. The excess exposure isn't necessary. Put your phone on airplane mode when possible. The effects of wireless on the body are cumulative in nature. It's worth repeating - less is more!

Distance: How far away you are from a source matters. Did you know that Apple used to warn not to keep your phone against your body? (I know, that sounds odd in a way, I mean it's a phone after all!)

Here is a quote from the past that is no longer available in the legal section on iPhone or online:

"To reduce exposure to RF energy, use a hands-free option, such as the built in speakerphone, the headphones, or other accessories. Carry iPhone 5mm away from your body to ensure exposure levels remain at or below the as-tested levels."

The second sentence has since been removed. If RF energy (aka radio-frequency microwave radiation) is so safe, then why would anything have to be mentioned at all?

Consider how far away you are from your wi-fi router. I used to work with mine near my feet - don't make this mistake! When it comes to small cell towers, the further away the better. Being next to one like I was is never advised by anyone who has education about man-made EMF.

Shielding: Shielding may be required, especially if you aren't able to reduce time or distance from a source. Shielding can greatly reduce the amount of radiation hitting your body if it's done right. That's the catch, it has to be done by a professional. Building Biologists are great resources to help with shielding in a home or office. They can help measure the radiation levels, locate sources, as well as help you select the right shielding product such as paint or material.

When I was researching ALARA I was pleasantly surprised to stumble across a water fairy with the same name. How fitting she is a water fairy since one symptom of EMF overexposure is dehydration. According to legend, Alara is said to appear as a little girl with butterfly wings who hovers over Lake Baikal, the deepest and oldest lake in the world. Her wings are made of light and they sprinkle water. She helps to grant wishes to those who seek her and is known to remove hate and greed from people's hearts. It sounds like we could use her help these days!

So there's ALARA in a nutshell - from fairy mythology to radiation measures! Of course there is a lot more to each measure. If you are in a situation like I was where you require a professional right away, the Building Biology Institute is a great resource to find a Building Biologist who specializes in EMF to consult with in person or online.

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