My guest this week is Peter Sullivan, the founder, and CEO of Clear Light Ventures, Inc. and environmental health funder who focuses on toxins and wireless safety. Peter has spent the last 15 years successfully recovering his two sons from autism and sensory issues and recovered from his own environmental health issues. Peter’s work on detoxification and EMF (electromagnetic fields) has been featured in the book Toxin Toxout, the book The Out of Sync Child Grows Up, Mother Jones magazine, Paleo Magazine, and CNN’s Morgan Spurlock: Inside Man.
Peter serves as a board advisor to Pure Earth (pollution.org), and the International Institute for Building-Biology Ecology. He is an executive producer of the documentary “Generation Zapped”, about the health effects of wireless, and co-executive producer of the film “The Devil We Know” about Teflon pollution. He also served as an Executive Officer and pilot in the United States Navy.
In this episode, Peter and I discuss the effects that electromagnetic field (EMF) exposure can play in your family’s health and behavior. Peter shares with the audience practical and effective tips that parents can start using immediately to reduce exposure in the household. Insomnia, ear-ringing, anxiety, headaches, attention and memory problems, depression, and sperm damage have been shown as common side effects to excessive EMF exposure. To learn more about these effects and Peter Sullivan click here.
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- At night turn off the following:
- baby monitor, wifi unit, cordless phone base station
- Work on removing these emitters starting closest and then furthest from the body
- when you double the distance the radiation drops off 75% percent
- Consider your “wearables” such as:
- Smartwatches, smartphones, headsets, Alexa/Google Home gadgets
EMF Exposure Common Symptoms
- Sleep disruption, insomnia, ear-ringing (microwave noise, anxiety, headaches, attention and memory problems, depression and sperm damage
- You can find these symptoms with their health effect references at Clear Light Ventures
- Children and adults with sensitive neurological systems tend to be more impacted by this exposure
How To Reduce Exposure
- Focus on sleep environment first
- Turn off wearables, electrical devices or blankets, baby monitors
- Remove cell phones and tablets out of the bedroom, turn airplane mode on, turn all Bluetooth and wireless off
- Move LED clocks/radios across the room and away from the bed
- Home Wireless devices
- Turn digital assistance devices off
- Consider an eco-wifi router
- Turn off and unplug televisions, smart TVs, laptops or monitors
- Find more tips and detailed list at Clear Light Ventures
Find An Expert
- Search for a building biologist in your area that can help you find optimal solutions for your home and family
- These specialists are trained to measure magnetic fields, electric fields, wireless radiation and dirty electricity
Where to learn more about Peter Sullivan…
Episode Intro … 00:00:30
Detox Protocol/Experiment … 00:15:40
EMF Exposure Common Symptoms … 00:23:15
How To Reduce Exposure … 00:27:20
Find An Expert … 00:35:10
EMF Shield Products … 00:38:05
Generation Zapped Film … 00:46:38
Episode Wrap Up … 00:47:00
Dr. Nicole Beurkens:
Hi everyone, welcome to the show. I am Dr. Nicole and on today’s show, we are going to be talking about EMF exposure, or Wi-Fi exposure — that’s another way to think about that and all the ways that can potentially impact our health and our kids’ behavior. EMF stands for electromagnetic fields, and we are exposed to those fields in bigger ways and more than ever before without increasing use of electronic devices, our smartphones, just the presence of Wi-Fi in the environment, and while those things provide great benefit to us, we’ve also started to become aware that this increased exposure can cause health problems for people, and it can especially be a concern for kids and adults with sensitive neurological systems, and it’s something that I’ve been seeing clinically more and more in kids, that people are just becoming more sensitive to this stuff. So here today to help us better understand these issues and what we can do about it is Peter Sullivan. Let me tell you a little bit about Peter.
Peter is the founder and CEO of Clear Light Ventures as well as an environmental health funder who focuses on toxins and wireless safety. He spent the last 15 years successfully recovering his two sons from autism and sensory issues and recovering from his own environmental health issues. Peter’s work on detoxification and EMF had been features in the book ‘Toxin Toxout’, the book ‘The Out-of-Sync Child Grows Up’, Mother Jones magazine and many more. He is an executive producer of the documentary ‘Generation Zapped’ about the health effects of wireless and co-executive producer of the film ‘The Devil We Know’ about Teflon pollution. Peter also serves as a board advisor to pure earth and the International Institute for building Biology Ecology. Previously, he worked as a software designer, making software easier to use at places like Netflix and Interwoven and Silicon Graphics. He also served as an executive officer and pilot in the United States army. Peter has a BA in Psychology from the University of Detroit and an MS in Computer Science from Stanford University. It’s a pleasure to welcome you to the show today, Peter, thanks for being here.
Thank you for having me.
Dr. Nicole Beurkens:
You have such a fascinating background, because actually what you went to school for and started out working in as a career is quite different from what you’re doing now with the advocacy work and the educational work you’re doing. So I’d love for you to talk to us about this journey that you have taken and how you got involved in doing education and work around EMFs.
I have kind of a wild background. I come from a medical family and I started studying psychology in college, but then decided I want to do something — a little bit more engineering. It was something between engineering and psychology that I wanted, and it turned out that was more software design, basically, or human factors, which I didn’t have exposure to the field, hadn’t grown up yet. So I ended up coming out of school, becoming a navy pilot for a while and then went to Silicon Valley.
I started out as a troubleshooter and worked my way up to a software engineer and eventually found that I really like software design. So it’s basically like being an architect for a house, as you’re designing the experience out, framing things out and saying this is what I want to happen and working with the engineers to make that experience happen. And then, things just kind of moved along in my career and the challenges, I think our big inciting incident was working in the middle of the internet bubble, running the front page of Excite and doing all these things, going back to grad school in Stanford — and my son got kicked out of preschool, just straight up. And I came home from work and I couldn’t even comprehend what was going on. So they wanted him to get a diagnosis and everything — my dad is a psychiatrist, I come from a medical family. I thought we were going to be helping other people, not on the other end of this. So we stopped and we kind of paid attention to things, clearly my son was really sensitive and I realized I was pretty sensitive too.
So we spent a couple of years look at sense integration and trying to make our home as sensory-friendly as possible. And in that experience, I realized he can get overloaded by noise and textures and all kinds of things. And one of them was television. He was watching too much TV. He would really get overloaded and I always that it was the content being too stimulating, but eventually I realized it was these big magnetic fields and electric fields from the Television itself. He didn’t even have to be watching. And I was sitting in front of one of those really big 20-inch monitors throughout the 90s. It’s basically an electron gun pointed right at your frontal lobe. So between my son and I, we were just experimenting, what do we need to do to calm this environment down? And eventually, I realized my son needed outside time too. Too much computer time, too much TV time — needed to go outside to balance, that became pretty obvious. I think a lot of people are realizing that.
But then, I started being able to feel the effects of the big screens. I bought a screen shield — my dad used to make me limit my TV use as a kid and would say, “Get back from the TV screen.” Because in those days, there were really X-Rays coming off the TV screens, and even the early CRTs. So I got a little shield, and electric fields shield for the front of my screen. And I put it on, I didn’t notice any difference, it was kind of a glare screen too. But when I moved offices and I hadn’t put it back on, I sat down and I was like, “Oh… I feel the monitor now!”, and I put the screen back up. And that was maybe 2002 or 2003, I felt that. As my immune system got worse and worse, I became more and more sensitive to all these things.
It got to a point where I couldn’t put a phone next to my head. If I put a phone next to my head, it felt weird, it felt kind of swishy and even going under a desk to plug in a transformer — I remember doing that one day and my head just felt kind of off for about 40 minutes. So that was in the mid 2000s and I was struggling to find people who knew anything about this at all, it’s really hard to talk about it to people, people thought you had a mental health issue if you brought this up, and a lot of people still do — I am next to a psychiatrist here from Stanford, and I was telling him about my film, ‘Generation Zapped’ — he says, “Oh, I have a patient who is complaining about electrical stuff, I just assumed she had a mental health issue!”I’m like, “No, she’s having a physical experience that is impacting her mental health. It’s not —“, so that’s kind of a bummer.
I ended up doing all this work in Silicon Valley and I eventually realized I needed to focus on my kids health and on my health, and so about early 2005, I quit my job at Netflix and I started taking this journey of how are we going to resolve this? I started doing a lot of the biological work that some people are doing, so we had done sensory work and we did some of the environmental things to create a nice sensory environment, but I wanted to do a deep dive and we looked at toxins, and we went through that for quite a while, and that helps. That all helped, that was good. But as the EMF levels kept ramping up, you were moving things, but things are piling up at the same time, so I think really, one of the big tipping points was when smartphones came out in 2008, especially the Apple phone and so forth — we were carrying these phones that weren’t just sending out radiation when they were calling, now they’re constantly going back and forth.
Being in Silicon Valley, I got exposures that other people didn’t have, also in the military, I got a lot of radar exposures and aircrafts and so forth, and when I was working at Interwoven, I worked next to an air force space that had a space radar. We didn’t know about it at the time, but our building was getting hit by this space radar signal every 6 seconds, so I thought that my fatigue was caused by — I didn’t know if it was yeast overgrowth or mercury poisoning, some of the things that I had, but it was probably a combination of multiple things, including this wireless exposure. So I don’t want to say it’s just wireless, but it’s usually something that people don’t think about at all, and it’s usually a missing piece, and I went on for maybe a decade or so before I kind of figured it out, and I don’t want people to wait that long because it really screwed me up.
Right now I’m about 160 pounds and about 5’ 10”. In 2009, I was doing everything I could. I was eating organic, I was exercising, and I got down to 131 pounds. My teeth were cracking, I was not sleeping well — so that’s the big one, so the sleep disruption is the most common symptom. I didn’t know that. So I want everybody to know what these common health effects are and what we can do about it. So yeah, it took me a while to figure out the wireless — first thing I started with, there are different components of electromagnetic fields. It’s like talking about toxins, some of this is maybe almost too technical.
Maybe we will just start talking about these modern electronics, and I will get into this a little bit later for you if you want, but —
Dr. Nicole Beurkens:
I definitely want to get into some of the details of it for sure. What I think is so remarkable about your story is you were sort of the canary in the coal mine with some of this, being in Silicon Valley and being exposed to some things well before other people were. I mean when you and I were talking previously, you said, yeah — I had a smartphone before most of the population had a smartphone, right? So you began to feel some of the effects of that and I just want to highlight something that you said that I think is so important about this, that so many people still think that this isn’t a real phenomenon, like you’re talking about a psychiatrist next door who like, “Oh, I just thought my patient maybe was a little bit psychotic or had some paranoia.”, or whatever, because she was complaining about these things and this is a real — this is a real thing and even for myself, I noticed over the last several years that I was getting really sensitive to having my laptop on my lap.
We use electronic medical records here at the clinic, I’ve got my laptop with me all the time. I began to realize more and more, I’m not feeling well having my computer right here on me, and it finally hit me — I did a little experiment with it of having the laptop on my lap vs. having it on a table and realized that that was what was making me feel unwell, and it is kind of hard to describe — like my head didn’t just quite feel right, I got a little bit nauseous and that definitely has gotten worse for me over time, now I just don’t put any of those things right on me. I have little tables at the clinic, patients will notice that I have my laptop sitting on a small table near my chair in our patient treatment rooms because I can not have that on me, the area that I work at home in my home office, we moved the wireless router to the other side of the house because having it right next to me there was affecting me, so I really want to just highlight that early on in this conversation that this is not something that — oh, maybe only happens to 1 in a million people. It’s not something that we should disregard, these are real experiences that we have with this stuff.
I think that’s one of my biggest things, is that the science is out there right now, but haven’t been having these conversations, so that’s the reason we do the tent — The tent that you saw at the AutismOne conference. We have a tent that is shielded from wireless exposure. So when you get inside, you go from 5000 microwatts or whatever the measurement is to almost 0. And we find that about 95% of people have a felt experience. Can you describe your felt experience in there?
Dr. Nicole Beurkens:
Absolutely. In fact, I was talking to a colleague earlier today about this as I was prepping for our interview, and I said to her — you walk around in the convention hall area, in the hotel, whatever and you walk into that tent that you guys set up and there is a palpable difference, I just felt my entire brain and body just calm.
It is sort of hard to describe, but you realize there is just this internal chaos and commotion of being out in the regular environment, and I went into that space and probably the best way I can say, is like a calming or sort of grounding, and I realized as we sat there and you and I were talking, and I was talking to some other people on your team — the longer I sat there, I became more aware that I constantly have a sort of — I wouldn’t say a buzzing, but there’s sort of like this hum in the brain and in the ears all the time. And the longer I sat in that shielded tent, the more I realized — Wow, that’s just not there anymore. So it really is a felt difference with that.
Perfect. And that’s the common experience we get from most people. The most common word we hear is, “I feel calm here.” Some people say, “I feel peaceful.” Some people feel their body more. They feel the peace around their heart or head or body. I’ve heard people say, “I feel like I’m out in nature.” So we’ve had these experiences, but frequently, we don’t turn our phones off when we’re out in nature now. If you do get away from it for a while, you do feel better. But we don’t have a quick on/off discerning sensory experience. And those experiences are really powerful. So I wanted to allow — we’ll give people, we’ll talk about ways that people can have that experience at home. I mean certainly, you can turn your phone off.
Also, if you have a fitness tracker or a smartwatch, leave those in the car, turn them to airplane mode, turn off the bluetooth and then go for a hike or something for an hour and then come back. Then, usually — and even my medical doctor came back, and we were talking about this a couple of years ago. He says, “I go out hiking in the woods, and I come home and the house feels like it’s buzzing.” And you’re like, yeah — just like you become nose-blind to certain smells, we become deaf to the buzzing sound in our hearing, which, frequently, people will say it’s tinnitus, but it’s really microwave hearing. You’re hearing microwave frequencies. So the auditory nerve is being interfered with by microwaves and you’re hearing that noise, and that’s the second most common symptom of wireless exposure. The most common is sleep disruption.
It’s like we know if you leave a blue light at night, it will interrupt your melatonin — you should think of wireless as light at a frequency lower than we can see, that it’s still — the photons are still hitting your body and it also interrupts melatonin just like leaving a light on at night. So what we tell people to do — say you want to have this experience, so you can go out during the day and have that experience in nature. Now, how do you have that at home? What we’ve telling people to do, people tend to be a little resistant to this at first. So Dr. Toril In California invented this protocol, which is pretty brilliant, where at night, around bedtime or even at twilight, the earlier the better — if you have a baby monitor, you turn off the baby monitor. If you still have the cordless phone in the house, you turn off the base station, that’s the emitter that is constantly emitting.
Again, the baby monitor is constantly emitting, the cordless phone base station, the Wi-Fi unit, and then if you really want to go to the next level, you can even turn the circuit breaker off to make sure that the magnetic fields and all these other things aren’t affecting yourself or the child. And that’s a nice way. So most commonly, we’ll see people sleep better when they do that. And that’s just a free way to lean into this and we try to give people free and easy ways to get into these things. This year at the conference at AutismOne, I would start to just do a very simple list of working from the body out. More and more, we’re seeing not only people with smartphones but with smartwatches and even the iPods — so all these wearables and all of those are constant emitters. People will say, what about bluetooth, is it lower? Yes, it’s lower but it’s still bad and if you put it right in your ear, it’s not going to be good.
So we’re trying to get people away from the wearables and just start to move those away, and it’s tricky because we spent the time and money and we love these things and they’re beautiful and they’re fun. There is an addictive element, there’s this sunk cost element to it, but you know — at some point, you realize this stuff is really not empowering. My goal going back to Stanford to get my masters was I wanted to empower people with personal technology. And then I realized — So I knew all the cellphone designers like Tony Fadell and Drew Bamford who was in Stanford, in class with me is like the Pixel designer now. So these guys, Tony Fadell who invented the iPhone, these guys are buddies of mine and pioneers in this field, and we thought that this was all going to be good.
We didn’t realize how this was going to go — and honestly, we didn’t have this information, but the US government kind of knew about this in the Navy. The Navy had a lot of data, even in the early 70s about exposures from radar operators. So our current signals from our phones are very much like these pulsed radar signals that we had for decades that most people weren’t exposed to, they were operational exposures, but now we’re exposing children to this constantly. And so, again, working from the body out, you either turn it off — you can move it away. When you double the distance, the radiation drops off 75%. It drops off exponentially, so the farthest of distances is your friend. So if you can’t turn it off and you can’t move it away, you can also move away from it. So if you have a smart reader on your home and you can’t opt out of it or something, you can move the bed to the other side of the room or go to another bedroom — get as far away from that as possible. I mean there is also shielding and other complex things, but there’s a lot of simple and free things you can do right now.
Dr. Nicole Beurkens:
I think you’re exactly right that it’s a hard sell for a lot of people because this stuff has become such a part of our daily life and because we don’t see it, right? So it’s kind of hard to think about something impacting us when we look around and we say — ”Well I don’t see that around me, I don’t see that harming me”, and that’s what I love about the little experiment that you said to do at night, just to see what happens when you turn the things off. Going into the tent that you have at conferences, it helps people really get a clear sense of that because there are so few, if any places that we can go anymore, at least in the US where we’re not exposed to it.
So it’s just become our norm and we’ve lost the sense of what it feels like to not have our brains and bodies around this, and that’s what I think is really powerful for people to feel that difference. And what I see in clinical practice, and I’m sure you had seen this in your work as well — children, and particularly kids with sensitive neurological systems tend to be really more impacted by this. And if you are a parent or a teacher or a professional or whatever who doesn’t really notice that’s an issue for yourself, you may not be as attuned to it. I, because of my own personal experience with it now, am pretty attuned to it with kids, but I think that that’s something that we overlook a lot, this isn’t even on their radar as something to be thinking about that could be impacting their child’s health or functioning or things like that.
No, it’s really insidious. It’s a real challenge. How do you make something invisible visible? And again, we’ve tried to do it with a felt experience. We’ve done it also with — you’ll see at the conference, we’ll have a meter and the meter translates the wireless signals into auditory and you’ll hear a ‘ta da da da da’ — it sounds harsh, basically. So I tell people, imagine having this sound on all the time, it would drive you crazy, or if you had a light flickering at this level, it would really annoy you. We know how sensitive people are getting to sounds and all these things. This is the irony of it, this exposure gets the body more inflamed and creates — makes us more sensitive.
So when you have a concussion or a hangover or some sort of neural inflammation, you become more sensitive to stuff. And you’ll see this trending already now — there are softer clothes, everyone is becoming more sensitive to everything, like overly sensitive. So we really need to lighten that load and people need to understand that this is an invisible part of our sensory environment, but it can be felt and it can be heard and measured. It’s not woo-woo at all.
Dr. Nicole Beurkens:
Absolutely. I want to just be clear for people, you’ve mentioned a few of the different types of ways that we’re exposed to this — you’ve talked about baby monitors, Wi-Fi routers, wearables, smartphones — so pretty much anything that has any kind of signal or plugs, any of this stuff emits these waves, right?
Yeah, basically we have a lot of devices that emit wireless. If it’s using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth or 3G, 4G, 5G — whatever, those are wireless protocols and I don’t know of any protocols that are — maybe the old analog AM/FM radio signals were pretty biologically compatible, but the more modern square pulsed waves are harsh on our bodies. Just like sound. I think sound is a great analogy to drive this home. There’s music that makes our bodies feel good, then there’s noise like nails on a chalkboard, that’s harsh, and so our body is sensing what’s going on in the environment, and these signals send the body into cell danger mode like there’s something harmful going on. And it’s fine to go into cell danger mode here and there, but we’re not meant to be in that state all the time.
Dr. Nicole Beurkens:
Right. So this stuff is all around us, and you’ve mentioned a couple of the big things that people may experience or sort of symptoms that people may have related to exposure. You said sleep is a big one, right? Which is becoming more and more of a chronic problem for kids and adults. You said some of the sensory sensitivities, the tinnitus, the ringing in the ears — what are some other common things, just for people to be aware of, what were some of the common symptoms that people can experience?
Well, the most common symptoms we have on this — we got a wireless safety card a couple of years ago and on the back, we had the most common symptoms, so I’ll try to read it out. clearlightventures.com, it’s on the front page. So actually, we talked about sleep being the most common, insomnia. Ear ringing is #2, but we have anxiety, headaches, attention problems, memory problems, even can be depression and the most concerning also is even sperm damage. So you can have DNA damage from this exposure, it’s quite serious. We had some people have some serious mental health issues because of the exposure, and it’s not always just the wireless, there’s a combination frequently. These are written up.
There references are on the back, one of the references is from the Navy. The Navy had 2000 studies back in 1972, with over 100 different health effects. I don’t even know all the health effects. It’s almost like playing pinball, it depends on how your body is inflamed and your genetics, where your weaknesses are and this will stress you and it’ll play to that weakness. People have inflammation, joint inflammation. Skin — a lot of people have skin issues, mass cell activation. In some environments, my skin would feel kind of hot and prickly, red ears for me was an exposure. It’s kind of — headache, red ears and it was just kind of inflammatory overload through the body. If you think about having a neuroinflammatory epidemic right now of inflammation from multiple factors, chemical and all kinds of exposures, this is one of those factors that’s kind of pushing out that.
Dr. Nicole Beurkens:
I totally agree and I think if we think about the spectrum of neurodevelopmental and mental health issues that people can have, sometimes you have a kid with just lower level issues, some irritabilities, some anxiety, maybe some sleep issues, whatever. And you take some actions like, we’re going to talk about here, just to reduce exposure and things really clear up well from them, and then all the way to people, kids maybe on the other end of that spectrum with very, very severe multiple kinds of neurological and physiological things. That the strategies that we might use to mitigate some of the EMF exposure, it might not resolve all those issues, but certainly, it will help support the brain and the body’s functioning and allow other things to work better and that’s how I look at it, it’s like anything that we can do, especially with these types of things to just support the body and the brain to function better, it’s going to help all the other therapies or whatever else we need to do, it’s going to help them work better.
Exactly. It’s lightening the total load that Martha Herbert’s talks about, total load. It lightens that load and if you can just get to the point where you body can keep up with the load, when you’re not overloaded, that’s kind of a key issue. So our bodies are really resilient. By the time we see symptoms, you’ve really got a usually really big pileup of things going on. It’s usually not one thing. But the EMFs, and I think glyphosate, a couple of other exposures, aluminum, other things have been piling up and we need to really take strong measures to unload ourselves.
Dr. Nicole Beurkens:
Absolutely. So let’s talk about — I think we help people become aware of what the risks and the issues are with these exposures. Let’s delve into some of the practical things that parents and families can do to help reduce exposure and support themselves with this issue.
What I’ll do is I’ll step through little checklist that we did, and I kind of said start with the body, start with the sleep environment first. When we sleep well, all is good. So if you really just focus on the sleep environment first, that’s key. So again, some of the protocols that Dr. Jelter talked about, but again, getting the wearables off — some people are even doing location trackers, those are wireless. Some people are using electric blankets and those have been around for a while, but our electricity now is not what it used to be. Our electricity is a little bit polluted instead of being a nice, smooth sine wave, it also has these little transient currents from a lot of different electrical devices that we have not, little transformers and things. So we need to keep some of these exposures away. So electrical blankets, motorized adjustable beds — again, a big field effect.
We talked about the baby monitor. In autism, if there was one real big one, I would say — if wireless exposure is part of autism, and I think there is some strong evidence that there I, that baby monitor would be kind of a key one, especially as we’re going from regular audio ones to then video, so there’s more exposure. And so again, greater distance — if you can get away without using a baby monitor, that’d really be ideal. Especially because that’s when your child’s brain is pruning, detoxing and all that stuff at night. Again, cell phones — a lot of people are sleeping with their cell phones next to their bed, sometimes under the pillow. And that exposure is too much.
They need to be — it needs to be in airplane mode with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth off, if not, ideally out of the bedroom. A lot of people love using it as an alarm clock — great, put it on the other side of the room. Where I have it in my office, a couple of things away, I hear it, I have to walk all the way up, it’s really hard to hit the snooze button. So I recommend keeping the cellphones and the tablets out of the bedroom, not just for the wireless exposure but also for the blue light at night. That screen time and addiction thing. Some people have insomnia and then they’ll pick the phone up at night and give themselves blue light exposure and it’s just —
Dr. Nicole Beurkens:
Yeah, it’s a mess!
It’s a mess! So, Digital assistance — Alexa, Google Home, these things, some people have them all over the place, my kids just had them at their dorms, I was telling them to turn it off at night, it’s been hard — and it’s a struggle, especially with kids. So what else? The Wi-Fi router. So again, turning that off at night — you can potentially replace some of these things with hard Ethernet — there is even a special form of Wi-Fi called Eco-wifi that allows the beaconing frequency, that’s the signal that says I’m here, I’m here, I’m here — it doesn’t need to be 10 times a second. This unit allows you to dial it down to once a second. So you get 90% less exposure and it doesn’t slow anything down. That’s a nice option if you’re still going to use Wi-Fi.
Some people are so sensitive that they really can not even deal with Wi-Fi at all. So an LED clock or clock radio next to the bed can be a big source of magnetic fields. People who have migraines, when they move the clock across the room, migraines go away. Even this is a silly one that you wouldn’t expect — a reading light. My mom was really big on us having readying lights next to our bed so we can read and so and so, but that brings that wire right next to bed and that wire, even when the light’s not one, it’s like leaking — it creates an electric field, it’s like a leak of electrons and your body is ground, the electrons just go to your body, it’s like lightning going through ground, so keeping those kind of away from the bed if you have a big electric field.
A lot of people have power strips and electric cords around their beds if you can just create some space, move those away to reduce electrical magnetic fields. And all these plugin transformers, they can create big magnetic fields and also chop up — they’re called switching power supplies. They can chop up the electricity and create little surges, and those surges seem very small at electrical level but they’re very biologically active to our bodies and that was one of my — when I lost all that weight, that’s from a lot of what’s called dirty electricity, a lot of those little transients in my wiring, kind of right next to my head in the bed.
When I fixed that problem and started addressing that with different filters and things and measurements, I gained 10 pounds back, I started sleeping again.
Dr. Nicole Beurkens:
That’s amazing, yeah.
Television. A lot of people have televisions in their bedrooms, especially smart televisions with streaming. So if you’re streaming Netflix or one of these services, you’re not only getting the exposure from the TV, but you’re getting the wireless exposure. So desktop, laptop computers, some of the people are sleeping next to those, or just your exposure all day long, as you mentioned — give yourself some distance, not just that, but balancing it with nature. So there is a screen time issue in here as well. Your refrigerator can be a really large source of magnetic fields. And if your refrigerator sounds kind of harsh, kind of annoying sound to it, it means you may have dirty electricity or if your lights are buzzing and they don’t sound good — it’s not just that you’re sensitive to it, you might be hearing these small transients, through the electrical noises basically in the wireless or in your wiring. What else?
All kinds of appliances. So your humidifier, air conditioner, heater — even an aquarium pump, we had this little tiny aquarium pump, it had this giant magnetic field. So it’s hard to guess. Some of these things are not that bad and some of these are horrible and you wouldn’t expect it. And your electric meter or subpanel can be a large magnetic and electric field exposure and again a smart reader can also be a wireless exposure as well. Sometimes you can opt out of those. If you have electric radiant floor heating, that can be a big issue, a big magnetic field. Wireless alarm systems, a lot of us have security systems and you turn it on and off and they have wireless sensors all over the place and that’s another constant exposure. Dimmer switches can also give off — we move the dimmer switch up and down, you maybe hear a little buzz.
Dr. Nicole Beurkens:
Yeah, you hear it, yeah.
That’s dirty electricity. Dimmer switches create dirty electrical noise. They chop up the power. Sometimes you’ll turn it up and down and you get it to where it doesn’t bother you, but sometimes you put it at a point where really, it will bother you — that’s not just your hearing but you’re tuning the electrical system.
Dr. Nicole Beurkens:
Interesting, I had no idea.
That’s been around for a while but now we are getting more and more sensitive to these little things. Even a 3-way light switch where you can turn on a light from multiple places creates this weird loop in the house, you have a big magnetic field. So it’s getting a little more advanced, and fluorescent lights, complex fluorescents and LED lights can create a lot of dirty electricity and a lot of light flicker and blue light so you have to really be careful of those as well. But those are the common things, if you kind of go down there is a little bit of a checklist, thinking from your bedroom and out and trying to create more distance around your children and around your work environment where you’re working or where your kids are having exposure.
Those are quick things that you can kind of do, turn it off, away, you move away from it, but if things still aren’t working and you’re still struggling, there are people that can come and help you. I’m an advisor to the building biologists, and you can search for a building biologist in your area, there’s a thing called — find their website, Find an Expert and you find someone who is trained in electromagnetic field measurement and mitigation, and they’ll come and they’ll measure magnetic fields, electric fields, wireless radiation and dirty electricity, they can help you find out which circuits in your building are a problem, which appliances and how to deal with those, and better solutions. Maybe they can help you shield from things that aren’t in your control, like a neighbor’s exposure and so forth.
Dr. Nicole Beurkens:
Yeah. Super helpful and I think certainly a field that’s going to be more and more needed for people to help with that and I had that experience with some patient families at the clinic too. 2 particular situations that stand out to me in relation to kids having pretty significant seizure problems, and the one we were able to connect it directly to starting in a new school where they had the smart boards and just a ton more technology all the time and the seizures were going up, going up, going up and finally after some playing around and trying to figure out what was going on, pinpointed to the increase — started as he was in this new environment. And when there was a longer break and he was out of that environment, the seizures stopped. And so it really — things like migraine, things like panic attacks, irritability, impulsivity, the seizures, all that kind of stuff that we might not attribute to those things in the environment, it can really big a big factor.
Oh, yeah I know — one of the folks of the autistic kids I was working with here in the Bay Area had a seizure. We were talking about an issue. The last time we had a seizure, she was streaming a video on her iPad on her lap. And I said, well, obviously — that is one of the symptoms, and you can consider this a form of exciter toxicity, just like eating MSG, it gets the body overexcited. It’s like a neurotoxin that overexcites and the body just gets overwhelmed by that. And also, frequently, people will — we talked about anxiety. If you’re in a building and you’re saying oh, I’m feeling anxious, it actually in a sense is not even you. You’re feeling the building. You’re feeling the wireless signals or the electric, the dirty electricity or the magnetic fields, there is something in that building, and you’re like a fish in water and it’s not about you so much, it’s about the building. So to have that discerning experience that it’s not, especially if someone puts a label on you and says oh, you’re anxious, it’s like, oh — you know?
Dr. Nicole Beurkens:
I’m responding to the environment!
Dr. Nicole Beurkens:
I had families come in and ask me about this on a fairly regular basis — there are products and things now out there that say they help protect or shield these things. So things like maybe iPad covers or things that you can put your smartphone in, or things like that that can help shield these. Are those effective? What’s your thought on those as a strategy?
Yes, they can be effective. There’s some debate on those and we’ll talk about that. But I like to have people start by just turning it off and moving it away first, it’s all free until they buy in and they know if it impacts them. And then, they can start playing around with different shielding and things and so forth. So one that people use — there’s one product called SafeShield that can be used for a phone or an iPad. And that’s a cover that goes around the phone and shields it on one of the sides. Now, the tricky thing is some of the activists will say that it can bounce it back and double the exposure to you, and those are true factors. If your body is really sensitive like mine, I remember my hand would get really sensitive just holding. I would never put a phone next to my head. And that’s not even — the manufacturers tell you not to do that. So I’ve never done that, but when I was using a cellphone here and there, traveling a lot, getting an Uber or Lyft, my hand would start feeling kind of prickly things.
So I ended up getting a safe sleeve and you flip it behind it and I would use that to protect my hand. There are some other ones I’ve tried too, CruiseCase — I think SafeSleeve is really well-designed and done. Cruisecase is really well-tested, there was one more, RFSafe is another one I’ve tried, I like, there’s a new graphene version of that. So I played with those, I haven’t been super rigorous about the testing, I’ve kind of gone off my own feeling and sensation of them. I measured them with meters and I’m getting some reduction, but we really need to have a special near-field meter to measure that stuff, but yeah, they can be effective. Don’t assume that they’re safe. It’s going to reduce the exposure, but is it safe enough? I still wouldn’t put a phone in my pocket with one of these shields in it. I would be worried about how it would affect my — it could potentially damage my sperm, basically.
Dr. Nicole Beurkens:
Well, I think that’s a big deal and let’s touch on that because it’s something that I — I have 3 teenage boys, and I have talked to them about that and they all know now to put it on airplane mode in their pocket, but that’s a big things, right? We’ve got these devices, we’re putting them in our front pockets, our back pockets, women will often put them in a purse or something, but there are women who will carry them in the front pocket of their shirt and things like that — so that kind of exposure, what you’re talking about is putting the phone to the ear, you mentioned about the wireless AirPods and things like that, to me, these are some basic things too that we really should be looking at and going — don’t do these things!
What I’m telling people is I can’t find a place on the body to put it. I mean, I was just talking to Dave Asprey, from Bulletproof Coffee, he said I know I’m not going to put it in my pocket, so he put it in a — he had cargo pockets and he put it down near his leg and he had a bone density scan and noticed there was lower bone density in that region. And there’s a study out that you will have lower bone density in the hip, if you commonly carry your cell phone on one side, which is a big concern for the geriatric population, these are some serious, serious issues. So what I would recommend for kids is — turn it off as much as possible. I just put it in airplane mode and I turn it on when I need it. So I keep it in a backpack — I’ll put it in my pocket if it’s completely off or if all the wireless radio antennas are off, although sometimes I forget and I turn it back on — even now, I’m pretty careful but once in a while I’ll put it on and find out and go, “Oh God, I wasn’t —“, back to turned off. So I think the safest thing is to put it in a backpack.
If you’re a woman and you have a purse or a backpack or something you’re carrying so it’s a little bit off-body. So I think women have a little advantage there in a sense that they can kind of have it off you. Even then, I would even have one of those Mylar shielding bags or something between you and the phone, so that you can go out and talk to the antenna this way, but there’s a little bit of shielding between you and it. There’s a company called LessEMF, they sell these little $5 Mylar military-grade bags, that you’re supposed to put the phone in but you can also shield it in one direction as well. So that’s one tip for the phones, but we’re worried about constant exposures and the closest exposures and when we’re talking about carrying these things around, I think the challenge for you as a doctor is you need to be on call. I don’t need to be on call as much, so I just turn my phone off, so that’s easy for me, but if I were in your situation, I would have a backpack or purse with all this shielding and I would face it towards an antenna or out away from the building. When the phone rings, I’ll still hear it but between me and the phone is a little bit of shielding material.
Dr. Nicole Beurkens:
Yeah, and I think that that’s a great suggestion and the reality is the vast majority of people don’t need to have constant access to their device like we think we do. So the idea of putting it in the airplane mode — that’s an okay thing, nothing is probably going to happen in the next 10 minutes that we need to immediately be aware of. But I think too, one of the things that’s really concerned me, the wearables for sure, I see so many more kinds and young adults coming in with those, but also, those wireless earbuds. And when we look at some of the animal studies that have been done on exposure to that stuff and brain stuff and you just think about — I say to the people at the clinic, let somebody else be the guinea pig for that, don’t you be the guinea pig for what that’s going to look like 5 years or 20 years down the road from that constant exposure to that right there next to your brain.
A good source for science on some of this is Safer EMR, there’s a public health official at UC Berkeley Joe Machowicz who has a website and references to some of these, he’s written articles about these. But will say that I love personal technology too, so how do you play with it and get the benefit? So there are some devices, some manufacturers who are aware that this is an issue and they are responding in a positive way. Really, what we really want, is we don’t want to just throw all these things all the way and whatever, we want safe technology. It’s like automobiles in the 50s before they were really safe, we’d like them to be safer and we’d like safety become a market requirement, so this is a fitness tracker, this is called an Oura ring. Prince Harry’s got one.
They’re super cool, this allows you to go on airplane mode and I’ll put it on once a day and then I’ll download it and sync it up but then I’ll put it back in airplane mode. So my wife wanted one and I got her a Garmin Vivosmart 4, which allows you to turn the bluetooth off. So the Garmin and the Oura ring are good ones so make sure that you can turn these things off. Some of them aren’t, like the Fitbit. It seems really interesting. One of my friends is the product manager — you can’t turn it off, you can’t turn the bluetooth off, and I’ve got some wireless speakers, so be careful of the devices that you can’t turn off and give feedback to the manufacturers and say please turn this off, not only for me but as a liability protection for you so that people who want to avoid this can avoid it.
Dr. Nicole Beurkens:
Yeah, and I really appreciate that point because I think these are cool and helpful and beneficial things to have in our life and there’s new stuff coming out all the time, but it is about making that safer and it’s about all of us being more informed consumers of what we want to be looking for in these products and how we can be safer with them. So I think these tips and strategies are so practical and helpful. Before we wrap up, any other strategies or tips or things that you want to make people aware of that they can do?
I guess you can look on my website, I have some of the information we talked about, clearlightventures.com or clv.us, Dr. Maschowicz’s website is really good. Let’s see, also the film that we helped produce.
Dr. Nicole Beurkens:
I wanted you to talk about that and tell people where they can find that because it’s amazing.
Thank you, so it’s called ‘Generation Zapped’ and I think you stream it on most platforms right now, it’s iTunes and Amazon and more.
Dr. Nicole Beurkens:
Just a tip right now for people, at least currently, it is free to view if you have Amazon Prime, you can watch it for free.
Oh, I didn’t know that! Oh, that’s fantastic! That’s wonderful! I didn’t know it’s on that list! Wow!
Dr. Nicole Beurkens:
It is! You made it!
I want to get on Netflix too! That’s my old stomping ground! That would really help get the awareness out there. Even just sharing, a lot of people are very skeptical of this and just sharing the trailer — a lot of times moms will be more in tune with the feeling stuff and the sensations and they will feel it and say they felt this. Some of the guys are a little bit out of touch, a little heady. I did a video on YouTube called a message to dads about wireless, we got about over 100,000 views and it’s basically kind of a dad-to-dad conversation. It’s usually the dads who are in IT and they’ve really got some ego around this stuff and I’m like I’m at ground zero, I know these guys. I was in class with Larry and Sergei at Stanford, but these guys are friends — so yeah. It’s a thing and we’ve known about it and we’re being a little bit gullible about it — we need to test all those things and fix them and take some responsibility.
Dr. Nicole Beurkens:
Love it. Such helpful information, so many things for parents to be aware of and some really practical things to try so I really encourage all of you listening to go and check out Peter’s website, check out the documentary, try some of these things, just start experimenting with it for yourself and your kids because I really do believe that most people will notice a difference with that. So Peter, I can’t thank you enough for agreeing to spend the time with us today, really appreciate you being here and sharing your knowledge.
Thank you so much.
Dr. Nicole Beurkens:
Alright, everybody, that’s it for this episode of The Better Behavior Show, we will see you back here next time.