Dr. Ben: On today’s episode of The Modern Vital Podcast, we’re going to talk more about electromagnetic fields, or EMFs, and potential health effects associated with their exposure pollution.
I’m excited to announce that today’s special guest is Nick, the EMF guy, Pineaut, just like the wine, who is the number one best-selling author of The Non-Tinfoil Guide to EMFs. I’ve read it. It’s a fantastic book. I think it’s probably the best primer and intro to EMFs that you can find out there. He’s an advocate for safe technologies. Through his unconventional approach, blending humor, science and common sense, he’s becoming a leading voice on the topic of electromagnetic pollution and how it affects our health. For the last few years, Nick’s been interviewing some of the best minds on health and technology and facilitating the creation of courses and educational materials. I hear he’s writing a new book. He’s raising awareness on this very important topic. You can find more about Nick at theemfguy.com. We’ll also have a link in the notes. Welcome to the show, Nick.
Nick: Thanks so much for having me. It’s an honor.
Dr. Ben: Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule. I know you’re over in Europe and attending conferences and writing and all the things. Let’s just jump right in. I want to hear a little bit about your story. How did you get into electromagnetic fields?
Nick: Yeah, I’m still wondering about it. Now it’s been almost seven years, full-time, that I’ve been writing and thinking about EMFs and running around with meters and making people scared about it.
We’re laughing, but in the end, yeah, it is a big, daunting topic. I think this is really what hit me hard. When I started reading about EMFs as a citizen journalist, a curious guy with a background in communications, I had written extensively on so many topics, including our food supply, glyphosate, filtering water, meditation and everything in-between. I was really diving into holistic health and had been for the last, I say, since 2008, 2009, and really started to get interested in it when I was much younger.
But really EMFs slapped me in the face as a topic when I realized that all the devices, the everyday gadgets that we’re told by every institution, we’re told by Health Canada back in Montreal, where I live, we’re told by the FDA and the FCC in the United States. We’re told by other health agencies all around the world, for other countries that these things do nothing at the power levels that we’re exposed. They do nothing negative. All they do is better your life.
But the findings, the scientific findings, from decades ago, even before the introduction of cell phones, do show that there could be health effects. I think that the health effects have been, I could say, suppressed deliberately in order to launch a new business that was so exciting. The cell phones, at first, of course, were not really widely adopted in Canada but reserved for a few rich people.
But nowadays we’re really in the golden age of these smartphones and Wi-Fi routers, laptops everything is connected. It would be very convenient if all of these devices were just safe at power levels that we’re exposed to. But more and more science has come out in the last decades, especially well, just since January, in the last five months, as we’re recording this, there are so many good papers that are coming out that are just undeniable. They’re all there. There are health impacts at the current levels of exposure. So if this is true, if these papers are true, and if all these scientists, these independent scientists, that I think is important to mention, that independent scientists are finding these. They have no vested interests in cell phones and they’re really neutral about whether they’re not fans or hate cell phones. They’re just neutral. They want the truth to come out.
This includes, for example, Lennart Hardell, who’s a professor from Sweden, and he’s arguably the first that sounded the alarm about Agent Orange and also other carcinogens. So he’s been pushing for carcinogens to be recognized as such for decades and decades. That’s all he’s been doing in his career. One of the best in the world, arguably, in toxicology And he’s been at it for decades, on the cell phone question. He’s been recognized for other topics such as Agent Orange and other things, including dioxins, I think. But on EMFs, you know, he’s been pushed aside a little bit like, “Oh, that work is not serious.” So this is really the state of affairs we’re in, that all the devices are unsafe. The public, and myself included, were using these devices. And where do we go from now? Because it’s kind of scary, right?
Dr. Ben: Yeah, absolutely. And here in naturopathic medicine we have something called The Doctrine of Individuality, where every individual has unique biochemistry. And we see this a lot, where we’ve got the hypersensitive people on one end of the spectrum and then people who don’t seem to react. And I think we’re all wondering how much are these really impacting us?
In your book you talk about how the SAR, the specific absorption rate, when you hold a cell phone up to your head or listen to the cell phone with your ear, you’re at four times the SAR in terms of safety, in terms of electromagnetic radiation, which is just mind blowing to me to think that how much am I really hurting myself, potentially, by having a cell phone in my head all the time.
Nick: Yeah, it’s even. To be honest, it’s much worse. Sorry about that, but the intro of my new book starts with most of what I previously wrote was wrong. And in a sense it was wrong because I think I underestimated really how badly wrong the safety standards are, how badly inappropriate the safety standards really are around cell phone safety, but also the safety of any wireless communications. Just recently, a few months ago, th eICBE, or the International Commission for the Biological Effects of Electromagnetic Fields, and that’s a mouthful, so I’m proud of myself for thinking about it.
But this group of scientists published a few papers that are very interesting, where they really went back to the 80s when the safety standards were determined.
And how were they determined? Well, it was on a handful of rats and a handful of monkeys And basically they exposed the rats and the monkeys to increasingly higher levels of microwave radiation, which is the same type that your cell phone and Wi-Fi router and gadgets, bluetooth, everything produce. And eventually the animals stopped eating. And basically they decided okay, well, that’s behavioral change, we’re gonna put a safety threshold and this is safe for humans. So basically it goes against everything that we know about toxicology. This is just fake science, pseudo science, if you will, how this was determined, and these are engineers and not biologists and doctors that set these standards, so it was more like a standard that makes you avoid burning from your phone, literally like, okay, if your brain temperature is not increasing more than one degree inside the brain, you’re perfectly fine.
But that’s not how biology works. These are thermal effects that, of course, could create problems. If you overheat the brain, you kind of create effects related to heating, and even the heating effects do impact, for example, fertility and potentially are part of the reason that your cell phone might harm fertility, for starters. But there are non-thermal effects that have been completely ignored, and among them are effects that can really impact any part of your body, including oxidative stress.
Oxidative stress is thought, along with inflammation and other buzzwords like this in medical research, are thought to be among the root causes of any disease. Any disease that is out there, especially from oxidative stress, that you cannot recuperate from. Some people talk about stress these days. It is an environmental stressor, and part of the problem with EMFs though, compared to other toxins or environmental stressors we might be exposed to, is that it never stops, right?
We’re exposed 24/7. And of course, not everyone talks on a phone 24/7, but they do for several hours, or they keep a phone in the pocket, for example, or next to their bed stand, and overall our exposure is pretty much unabated, nonstop. And that’s basically, I think, at the root of the problem, because the research shows if you can minimize exposure, you can probably minimize these risks greatly.
Dr. Ben: Yeah, I mean I see this a lot in my practice and I’d love to talk a little bit more about fertility and low testosterone, how it disrupts hormones, because I’m seeing this a lot with some of my patients who are running tech companies, spending hours in front of their computer, with laptops on their laps, on phones, I mean, you name it, And you know we’re trying everything in the naturopathic and functional medicine book, you know, and still not getting results. And then when we’re moving them from technology just a little bit, it seems like we’re seeing things nudge a little bit toward the direction of health. Can you speak a little bit more about that?
Nick: Sure, you know, there’s been concerns about fertility for more than a decade, I would say more than two decades now, even in the military. Military personnel exposed to radar, which is again the same technology, microwave emissions, although at a much higher power. It was known that this can harm fertility. Some scientists told me that even back in the day, military personnel, some of them, went and exposed themselves to radar before they hit the ground, those from the Navy, before they hit a port, because they wanted to, let’s say, have a cheap way of avoiding having babies, you know. So it was a bit of a myth, or let’s say a bit of pseudoscience here, anecdotal science. But it is plausible that it harms your fertility.
In fact, now we know that it does and that it will reduce your chances of having the most motile and morphologically sound sperm that you could have. So a lot of men these days have trouble conceiving. Of course, the man is the culprit, if you want, or the male. Fertility is not good and the sperm just doesn’t work, doesn’t have the vitality and needs, or even the sperm count, or sometimes it is the female, but men have trouble with fertility all around the world. This is true among many, many countries, if not the entire Western world at the moment, where technology is used so much, and even this is also increasing in India, in China, in the Asian world as well, where people are using more and more technology.
Now even mainstream scientists, for example, Dr. Andrew Huberman from Stanford, came out in early January and said he did review the fertility issue with cell phones in the pocket. And according to him, the data is clearer than with BPA and other plastics and endocrine disruptors when it comes to how much the cell phone can harm testosterone and also how much it can harm fertility. So that’s Stanford.
If you ask the scientists from the Cleveland Clinic, because there’s an entire department of male fertility there. In 2010 in their brochures, you can find it on the internet archive, they said one of the five steps for preventative measures. Of course, we don’t know if there’s harm. They were kind of prudent about their approach. What should you do to improve fertility or reduce your risk of not having good fertility? Step number five was do not keep a phone in the pocket, and that’s based on their own studies that they did around cell phones and fertility.
But what is important to note here is that all these impacts that are identified in medical research are within the normal exposures that are considered perfectly safe by cell phone manufacturers. It’s all part, it’s all within our safety guidelines. If you believe the telecoms, or whether it’s Apple or Samsung, or the telecom companies, Verizon, or even our own government, Health Canada, or the FCC, they all say there are no effects.
So, of course, it does show that you know these statements are completely inaccurate, and it also begs the question well, what is the safety level? Right, What is the safe level? And we don’t know that, and that’s the thing a lot of people want these easy answers like okay, well, what’s it?
Well, we just know that our current exposure is problematic. So therefore, what should we do? Well, we shouldn’t be completely extreme about it and necessarily run from civilization. So some people that are extremely sensitive might have to get away from sources in a very dramatic fashion, but what you should do is minimize your exposure the best you can just like with pesticide exposure, you know, what should we do about pesticides? Should you stop eating altogether? No, it doesn’t work. Should you eat organic? Try to minimize pesticide exposure where you can.
Dr. Ben: What are a couple of things you recommend? I mean, like one thing I do. I mean I turn my Wi-Fi off at night. I notice a huge difference. I’m a little bit more sensitive than the average person, for sure. I sleep more deeply. I can actually feel when the Wi-Fi is on, I think. And I even know when I forgot to turn it off sometimes. So that’s huge for me. And then I’ve got like GreenWave filters in my office here, as well as my home. That actually makes everything feel a lot calmer to me in the office and at home. And I notice it.
I even feel like my animals and my family are affected by it, too. I’m curious what are a couple of things that you sort of live by in terms of just practical tips?
Nick: Yeah, I’d say number one. If you can avoid these exposures that are touching your body, I think you’re avoiding most of the worst dangers out there. The number one danger that could, unfortunately, literally kill someone is using a cell phone on the head, whether it’s one side or the other. And then you get a brain tumor down the road. And this has been established. That is still, of course, debated, But a lot of people are suing telecoms at the moment because of brain tumors And some of them died from it. And it’s arguable. Was it caused, was it not caused?
Well, we know that in the data it does increase the risk of ipsilateral brain tumors of different types, including also the parietal gland. It’s thought to maybe have an influence with Charcot cancer as well. And then we just lack data severely on other cancer types. So when the data comes out, maybe a lot of people will be sorry and will realize my God, my phone in the pocket has actually influenced my colon cancer or my ovarian cancer, urinary tract. So there’s a lot of cancers, even in our youth, I heard in the last years that are greatly increasing.
Dr. Ben: Well, this has been just an awesome talk, Nick, is there anything else? I know you’re writing a new book. You want to tell us a little bit about that, or is it too early?
Sure. No, I mean, I can talk about it. Unfortunately it’s not going to come out, I think, for the next two years. It’s kind of a long project. But I’m just completely amazed at the amount of data that is coming out, and it’s not just around fertility or brain cancer. It’s about, for example, the health of our youth and how it might impact kids.
There’s Dr. Hugh Taylor from Yale, who’s a researcher, has been running experiments on rats around prenatal exposures to EMFs. So in other words, mothers that are using phones or maybe using a laptop on their belly, as a lot of pregnant moms unfortunately do. And what is the impact on their offspring? So, of course we don’t test on actual pregnant mothers. There is epidemiology where they look at past exposures. And there are six different large cohort studies that have shown the same data that the more a mother is exposed before birth to cell phones or other wireless technologies, the greater the risk of their child developing ADD, ADHD-like symptoms or even allergies.
So we don’t know exactly what is the mechanism here. Is it that it impacts the maturation of certain parts of the brain? We don’t know. Is it the maturation of the nervous system? And everything is interrelated. But we don’t exactly need to wait for this data to say, “Look, if you’re pregnant, try not to have a phone very close to the abdomen.” It’s just common sense. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t have this data. And it’s still a controversial thing to do, to say in the media, to make such a claim. But the data is increasingly and increasingly clear. So in the meantime, we should just focus on avoiding these devices that are very close to the body.
There are other ways to use a phone, including speaker phone, including using wired earbuds, and unfortunately I’m not a fan, and I know now Dr Huberman is not a fan. There are so many people that I talked to after learning about EMFs. They’re not fans of Bluetooth, and I know this is inconvenient, because Bluetooth is cool. It’s the new headphones. Almost every electronics company that I used to be a fan of, such as Bose, that used to make these. They’ve discontinued these products. Now they only make Bluetooth models. And please, if someone finds a wired version, let me know, because I love Bose, but unfortunately it’s all moving in the wrong direction.
But I would not recommend using Bluetooth for extended periods of time for the reasons we mentioned in this interview. So I think we’re better safe than sorry. So it’s a message where we shouldn’t be paranoiac about it. But you know your everyday habits. They will stack up and be cumulative over time.
So, if you can avoid wearing your phone in your pocket 24/7, do it. Try to wear it in a backpack. Wearing it even in the back pocket will be slightly preferable. Or there are special cases that might work, including a shield for your body, for example. BodyShield, that’s a good company. I’ve been recommending that it could, you know, minimize the problem. So I’d say just prudent avoidance is a way to go. And, especially with kids, try to teach them prudent avoidance and try to, when you hand them devices, try to have them wired to the internet with an internet cable, and that’s the kind of stuff I’ve been teaching about since I first wrote my book in 2017. Or just use devices that are on airplane mode, that do not emit wireless, and you can have predownloaded movies, predownloaded games on there. So it’s not like you cannot use technology, it is just that you have to think about these exposures, because every exposure is cumulative. And the more you work on reducing it, I think the better off you will be in the future.
Dr. Ben: Well, thank you so much for joining me, Nick. It’s been a real pleasure. Where can people find you? Where do you live on the internet?
Nick: Yes, it’s the emfguy.com. You’re going to find my book. I also have a course to help you apply the book. It’s called Electropollution Fix. So even my entire mentality around how to eliminate sources, how to minimize exposure, has evolved a lot in the last seven years, and the most up-to-date version of my recommendations and really how to take it to the next level and make your home a safer place to live in, it’s all in the course, also. So this can all be found on my website, including my newsletter.
Dr. Ben: Awesome, thank you so much. And that concludes today’s episode of The Modern Vital Podcast. We would love to hear from you. We value your feedback. If you have any questions or suggestions, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, please leave us a review if you enjoyed this episode. We look forward to having you join us next week for an exciting episode of The Modern Vital Podcast.