This topic is very personal to me. My EMF health and safety journey began by trying to help my eldest son on the path to good health. I discovered his learning difficulties and ADHD were being exacerbated by EMF exposure. I’ve learned a lot along the way and wanted to share them with you here…
Kids are especially susceptible to Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs)
Kids are not just mini adults. Their bodies differ physically, chemically and biologically. Their developing, immature bodies are more susceptible to stressors including exposure to EMFs.
Studies have shown that when a child uses a mobile phone and holds it against their head, the emitted radiation penetrates their brain to a greater extent than an adult. In fact, a child’s brain can absorb up to 10 times the EMFs of an adult!
There is a load of studies surfacing now indicating that EMFs alter brain function and affect the nervous system. Children are especially vulnerable as their brains are still developing resulting in more significant neurological effects.
EMFs can effect behaviour & cognitive processes in children
The pineal gland is the organ most impaired by EMF exposure, although how or why is still unknown. The pineal gland produces hormones and neurotransmitters that tune and regulate the hypothalamus, central nervous system and immune system. EMFs suppresses the pineal gland activity and leads to a reduction in two important chemical messengers, melatonin and serotonin.
A reduction in melatonin is associated with sleeping difficulties, depression, bipolar disorder, autism, and anxiety (amongst other things).
A reduction in seratonin can cause insomnia, memory and learning disorders, mood disorders, eating disorders, depression, obesity, panic attacks, headaches, ADHD and aggression.
EMFs and Childhood Development
We all want our kids to grow up into responsible, well adjusted, contributing adults, right?
Well, here’s something else related to a reduction in serotonin that could impact the type of adult your child becomes.
Serotonin is really important in the development of what is collectively known as executive functions.
“Executive function is a collection of brain processes that are responsible for planning, cognitive flexibility, abstract thinking, learning rules, initiating appropriate action, inhibiting inappropriate action, and selecting relevant sensory information. It is involved in decision making, trouble shooting, impulse control, reasoning, managing time and space, organising and co-ordinating activities, setting goals, self reflection, self correcting; multi-tasking and mood.” Source
If these executive functions are unable to develop during childhood through to young adulthood, then the individual may have trouble focusing, setting and achieving goals, determining appropriateness of behaviour, reasoning and feeling empathy, meeting deadlines, interacting in groups and self correcting as an adult.
Links between ADHD & EMF exposure
Children with ADHD find it difficult to sit still, act without thinking, are hyperactive or fidgety, and have trouble focusing and paying attention.
Since 2013 there have been several studies published that demonstrate connections between ADHD and other childhood cognitive disorders and EMF exposure.
Some kids are more susceptible than others
This is where things start to get really complicated. Enter the vastly complicated topic of Epigenetics! So Epigenetics, according to the Google Dictionary is “the study of changes in organisms caused by modification of gene expression rather than alteration of the genetic code itself.”
Basically you can have a dud gene set that you inherited from your parents, but it can express itself in different ways depending on your diet, environment and other factors.
Some people are born with certain gene combinations that, when expressing themselves in a bad way, make it really hard for them to eliminate toxins and ultimately stay in good health. This is what my eldest son was experiencing as we discovered high levels of heavy metals in his otherwise healthy, young body. He is now on a pretty intensive regime of supplementation to try to “re-boot” his system and get this problem genes behaving well again. If anyone is interested in learning more about this, please feel free to touch base with me and I’ll happily refer you to the specialist we are using. Or, purchase Ben Lynch’s book “Dirty Genes”…
Anyway, I know you’re wondering what all this has to do with EMFs, right? Well, EMF exposure effects cell membrane permeability which makes it difficult for nutrients to enter and for toxins to exit. EMFs also place the body in a state of oxidative stress. Oxidative damage can result in changes in enzyme activity and gene expression. So, in other words, EMF exposure may the last straw that results in your dud genes behaving badly which can then lead to other health problems down the track…
What Can I Do As A Parent?
We are all so reliant on our devices these days that I know it can be really scary to talk about changing our habits towards them. The important thing to remember is that even little changes are worth it!
The first and most important step is to create a clean sleep environment. To do this, turn off your wi-fi router at night along with any other wireless devices in your home (ipads, apple tvs, smart tvs etc) and switch your mobiles to airport mode and leave them out of the bedrooms. If you live in a densely populated around or near mobile phone towers, consider investing in a sleep canopy made from EMF shielding fabrics.
Check if you have a Smart Meter installed at your home, and if you do, read my blog on Smart Meters.
Try to turn your phone off when travelling in your car.
If your child must use a mobile phone, teach them the importance to keeping it away from their heads by using the speaker or air tube headsets. If they carry a phone within close proximity to their bodies, make sure you shield it with some sort of EMF protective cover like this one.
It’s also important not to get too stressed out – it’s impossible to limit all our exposure these days with the wireless offices and classrooms and cafes etc! Just take solace knowing that any little steps you take to reducing exposure are great!