I mostly see patients with serious chronic illnesses like cancer and auto-immune disorders, but there is a growing population of people complaining of long-term symptoms that doctors can’t seem to diagnose. They report headaches, sinusitis, fatigue, aching joints, breathing difficulties, chronic infections, dizziness, and rashes that have gone on for years. Other doctors haven’t been able to get to the bottom of their illness because the related hodge-podge of symptoms are common to thousands of other illnesses. In the best cases, patients are unfortunately misdiagnosed and mistreated. In the worst, they’re told they’re imagining it all and referred to a psychiatrist. Yes, that’s actually happened.
While it doesn’t seem possible that all these wildly different symptoms could be tied to just one cause, in many people, they are. It’s the environment that’s making them sick or as it’s come to be known, environmental illness. Chemicals in the everyday environment from items like cleaning products, fragrances, perfumes, off-gassing from carpet and plastic products, car exhaust, pollen, mold and hundreds of other incitants can trigger mild to severe reactions.
Significantly compounding the problem is technology. As the world becomes increasingly wireless, more people are developing sensitivities to electromagnetic fields (EMF).
An EMF is a field of electrical intensity emitted by an object that can affect other objects within its field of influence. The effect depends on the individual sensitivity of the target object, the strength of the current and voltage of the wave. For example, high powerlines that carry 765,000 volts can generate a field that extends 2,500ft. from the lines.
In the 21st century, it’s virtually impossible to escape EMF exposure. New cell phone towers are popping up like weeds across the country, even in rural areas. They’re even placing modified cell phone towers on the tops of buildings in cities where they’re completely unseen. It seems we can’t go into any public building today without swimming in the Wi-Fi. There is no escape.
Low Level Liability
Skeptics of environmental illness say it’s impossible that EMFs make people sick, especially from low level devices. Apparently, these people have never heard of a defibrillator, the medical device that uses an electrical shock to restart the heart. Every synapse between nerve endings generates a minute amount of electricity. Every cell in the body has a frequency range within which it operates. We are electrical beings. To say the body cannot be affected by EMFs is nonsense. In fact, it’s the constant, low level exposure that’s the most dangerous over time.
Parents of children who attended schools that have installed Wi-Fi (or were near high voltage powerlines or cell phone towers) have reported a wide range of mysterious symptoms in their children including headaches, dizziness, nausea, and racing heartbeats.
After a school in Ontario, Canada installed Wi-Fi, parents reported memory loss, difficulty concentrating, skin rashes, hyperactivity, night sweats, and insomnia in their children. Interestingly, the symptoms disappeared on the weekends when the children weren’t in school.
Teachers don’t fare much better. There are reports of teachers resigning because of unexplained health challenges only a few years after Wi-Fi was installed at their schools, and college professors leaving their jobs due to extreme reactions from Wi-Fi exposure from smart phones in the lecture room. After 13 teachers at a brand new middle school in La Quinta, CA developed cancer over a few short years, the state Department of Health stepped in. According to epidemiologists, the school was filled with all the usual EMF culprits like fluorescent lighting and wireless electronic devices whose effects were exacerbated by an overloaded electrical supply system that left many of the wall outlets seeping high levels of EMFs into certain areas of the building.
I know this phenomenon to be true because I know a woman who lived in an area where several large electrical towers and transformers were located at the end of her street. After her seventh neighbor developed brain cancer, her family moved.
Any device that uses a transformer to convert other forms of energy into electrical energy generates a kind of corrupted EMF or what is known as “dirty” electricity. A transformer is any device that increases the amperage or voltage such as dimmer switches on lights, variable speed fans, cell phone chargers, cell phone towers, power supplies for portable computers, and all those “green” compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFL) that are replacing our healthier and safer incandescent bulbs, just to name a few.
Whether it’s cell phone use or Wi-Fi in schools and at home, children are at higher risk for EMF effects than adults because the child brain has a higher conductivity, is smaller in size, and has a thinner skull.
Even their organs are more sensitive to EMF. Cell phones are a particular concern because they produce EMFs in the ultra-high frequency or radio frequency (RF) range, which is often linked to glioma (brain cancer) and acoustic neuroma, a slow-growing tumor near the ear. A study from New Zealand found that adolescents were 3.5 times more likely to experience glioma than adults from cell phone use. Although she had a different kind of brain tumor (meningioma), singer, Sheryl Crow, made headlines in 2012 by insisting that she was certain it was caused by cell phone EMF.
When inside an EMF, any metal in the body acts like an antenna and can worsen its effects. This includes dental implant posts, amalgam fillings, pacemakers, titanium joint replacements and more. Although there is much debate about safe levels, the U.S. has the highest acceptable levels of EMF in the world.
Toxic Body Burden
The Environmental Health Center-Dallas (EHCD) has treated more than 30,000 patients in 35 years and is a leader in the field of environmental illness. According to William Rea MD, a former cardiologist and surgeon now director of the center, most people with EMF sensitivity experience symptoms that affect the nervous system in some way. Heart irregularities, often mistaken as isolated cardiovascular conditions, are common because EMF has a unique ability to interfere with the autonomic nervous system. According to his experience, 60%-80% of people experience gastrointestinal problems with respiratory difficulties and skin rashes, as well. One of the most common and first signs of environmental illness is fatigue.
The main reason people experience environmental illness is because they already carry a high burden of other toxins in their bodies, usually heavy metals, chemicals, and pesticides from food. So even a relatively small environmental exposure that wouldn’t bother most people sets off a significant reaction in them. According to Dr. Rea, 80% of his patients have very high levels of heavy metals like mercury and cadmium. Naturally, the higher the metal content, the higher their sensitivity to EMF was. While EMF on its own can certainly create sensitivities, heavy metal toxicity makes them much worse. This is why detoxification of heavy metals where they exist is crucial to recovery. Dr. Rea says that his patient history shows about 20% of people have an isolated EMF sensitivity, while EMF sensitivity in the other 80% of patients is due to heavy metals and other toxins. When properly detoxified, the EMF sensitivity resolves. Although less common, nerve and previous head injuries can cause sensitivities, as well.
Isolating the Answer
In the past, environmental illness was difficult to diagnosis because of several challenges. Masking occurs when the patient becomes used to the exposure to the toxin and doesn’t realize it’s what’s triggering his underlying problem. Different people can have different reactions to the same toxins because of their individual biochemistry. In fact, the same person can have different reactions to the same substance, asthma now then arrhythmia later.
Diagnosing environmental illness is all about isolation, eliminating as many of the suspected offending agents as possible from the patient’s diet and environment, then introducing them back one at a time and checking for reactions.
For chemicals, foods and airborne substances, that can include oral, inhaled or injected items in safe, highly diluted doses. All testing is performed in rooms constructed with low to no out-gassing materials that include non-toxic metal, ceramic, glass, natural wood and stone fixtures. Specialized filters remove particulate from the air that is evaluated with gas chromatography and mass spectrometry. Because isolation is crucial to the diagnosis process, EHCD offers apartments to patients with these same features during their time at the clinic. Patients are well-versed on the objects and substances that are not permitted into those spaces, including cell phones or any electronic device.
EMF testing is performed in a room made of copper, porcelain and steel components, while the patient is exposed to a variety of frequencies from a generator. He or she may also be asked to wear magnetic or metallic impregnated vests, pads or blankets during this time.
Road to Recovery
Once the chemicals involved in a patient’s toxic burden are identified, various detoxification methods are employed, along with nutrition therapy that aids in the process. When the body burden is too high, its own detoxification mechanisms become inoperable. Once the burden is lifted, these mechanisms return to normal with a short term of supplementation. Most patients experience dramatic results and get their lives back again.
According to Dr. Rea, 60%-75% of success lies in clean living and avoiding those things that contributed toxins to the patient’s burden. It could mean replacing all the carpet in your home with hardwood flooring, finding another job because of the toxins in your workplace, moving to a home that’s not near cell phone or electrical towers or switching to an all organic diet if pesticides were part of the problem. Dr. Rea says after heavy metals, pesticides and herbicides are the biggest problems for patients.
Regardless of sensitivity level, it would benefit us all to reduce our EMF exposure as much as possible. Get rid of all “smart” devices that rely on Wi-Fi. Reconnect those home computers to the wall with Ethernet cables so the EMF can be contained. Reinstall that corded (not cordless) landline in your home and talk exclusively on it when you’re home. The first time your child has an emergency at home while you’re away and their cell phone isn’t charged, you’ll wish you had that landline. Use ear buds or speaker phone when possible while on your cell phone.
To minimize exposure for children, consider waiting until they’re older, probably in high school, until they get their first cell phone.
Regardless of when you allow your child a phone, always teach safe usage habits. Think about buying a handheld EMF meter, especially if you live near lots of powerlines or a cell phone tower. Remember, many cell phone towers aren’t visible now but on the tops of buildings.
For those who suffer from environmental illness, the world can be a friend again with the right kind of diligence. It may not be easy, but as the future becomes even more technology-based, I think the environment will have its own way of reminding each of us of the importance of living in a more natural world.
For more health insights from Dr. Sadeghi, please visit beingclarity.com to sign up for the monthly newsletter or check out his annual health and well-being journal, MegaZEN here. For daily messages of encouragement and humor, follow him on Instagram at @drhabibsadeghi.