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Green Living Tip: The Effects of Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs) on Human Health

emf blog photoRecent studies have raised concerns about the effects of electromagnetic fields, or EMFs, on human health and the World Health Organization’s has classified radio frequencies from mobile phones as a possible carcinogen.

“It is important to take pragmatic measures to reduce exposure,” said WHO official Chris Wild.

In a study published in the journal Holistic Primary Care, Camilla Rees explains the human body’s own internal electromagnetic field is vulnerable to artificial EMFs. Roughly 35 percent of people are moderately sensitive and 3 percent are highly sensitive to EMF exposure. But a little “hygiene,” she says, can reduce your risk.

While the health impacts of EMFs continue to be studied, it makes sense to minimize exposure at home. Here’s how:

–Use hard-wired telephones. Whenever possible, use a hard-wired telecom connection or a voice-over-internet connection such as Skype instead of a mobile or cordless phone.

–Use a speakerphone or handset. These are available from the EMF Safety Store.

–Go “BlueTube,” not BlueTooth. Instead of EMF-based Bluetooth-type headsets or earbuds, use hard-wired headsets, or “BlueTube” headsets, which utilize plastic, stethoscope-like tubes to deliver soundwaves to the ear.

–Reduce wi-fi use. Whenever possible, link your computer to the internet via a hard-wired router and an ethernet cord, rather than a wireless router or hybrid wireless/wired router. Choose a wired printer, keyboard and mouse.

–Shield the routers. A wireless router emits continuous EMFs. You can cover it with a Router Wrap made of high-quality shielding material. Router Wraps, which can also be used to shield wireless printer antennas, portable phone base stations and other RF devices, are available from ElectromagneticHealth.org.

–Say no to smart meters. A handful of communities in northern California have placed a moratorium on further roll-outs of “smart meters,” which track power usage and facilitate real-time pricing, because some people have experienced health problems from the EMF they emit.

–Create an EMF-free bedroom. Don’t bring cell phones, portable phones, wireless routers or computers into the bedroom. Unplug electric devices, such as electric blankets and space heaters, near the bed. Use battery-powered LCD clocks (not LED), keeping them several feet from the body. Keep extension cords or power strips away from the bed.

–Consider a shielding canopy. If you’re sensitive to EMFs, consider purchasing a specially designed mesh bed canopy, sometimes called a sleep sanctuary, that shields the bed from radio frequencies from mobile phone towers and wi-fi devices. Bed canopies are available from the EMF Safety Store.

–Be careful with wireless baby monitors: According to Larry Gust of Gust Environmental, the new generation monitors “generate radiation signature similar to cell phones, cordless phones, wi-fi and some wireless children’s games (e.g. X-Box 360)”. Search for old analog monitors on EBay or in thrift shops.

For more information on potential health risks associated with EMF exposure, check out AntennaSearch.com, which lets you search any U.S. address to learn where licensed antennas and towers are, and ElectromagneticHealth.org, which features videos on EMF and health.


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Meet The Team: Bryan Borland

BryanBorland

Before Bryan Borland was Development Associate for Wood Partners, he ran a newspaper route at 10 years old! Find out his secret talent, his shocking fantasy career, and what he loves most about his work:
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Name: Bryan Borland

Title/Position: Development Associate

Office Name/Location: DC/Northern VA (though, soon to be Orlando/North Florida)
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Fantasy career: Can’t imagine anything else I’d rather be doing.

Favorite ethnic cuisine: Indian (Like George Costanza, Bryan likes his chicken spicy)

Most exotic travel experience: Either Costa Rica or Dubai, UAE

Starbucks (or other coffee shop) order: Milk/cream, no sweetener. Maybe a latte on the weekend or if I’m feeling saucy that day.

A perfect day in would be: Saturday after Thanksgiving… Spend the morning at the beach with family in Destin, then drive to Tallahassee and tailgate with friends before watching my beloved Florida State Seminoles beat the hated Florida Gators.

Best advice you ever received: “Don’t sweat the small stuff” (thanks Mom)

Your secret talent: I’m a decent cook and I’m good at lifting heavy objects

What you like most about your work: Variety/challenge/continuous learning; Exposure to different disciplines and people; Opportunity to impact/shape communities

Favorite weekend activity: Taking my lab swimming or to the dog park; FSU football games (during college football season)

Your first job: I had a newspaper route when I was 10-11 years old

Most productive time of day: Early mornings or evenings after the calls and emails have slowed down

Reality show you’re embarrassed to admit you watch: Research shows that I watch a lot more Bravo when I’m in a relationship

Person you’d like to have dinner with: Milton Friedman

A business tool you can’t live without: Cell Phone (My Samsung Galaxy S4 laughs at your iPhone)

Next travel destination: Peru (Machu Picchu)

What’s next for you: Moving back to Florida (Orlando) later this year

A bad habit: I have a tendency to over-think/over-analyze, often while biting my fingernails or cracking my knuckles

Favorite possession: Not necessarily a “possession,” but I’ll say my 7 year-old chocolate lab, Rudy

What book is on your nightstand now? Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies

Words you live by: “No Regrets,” that’s my motto. That, and “Everybody Wang Chung tonight.”

First thing you do when you get to the office: Review my to-do list for the day

Last thing you do before you leave your office: Make a to-do list for the next day

Your favorite guilty pleasure: Eating an entire large pizza and ice cream cake (Carvel, of course) every year on my birthday


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Noise Reduction: How to Eliminate Unwanted Noise From Your Home

0815 noiseYour home should be an oasis, an escape from the noise and chaos of the outside world.

But over the past 15 years the noise level in major metropolitan areas has increased sixfold. Noise is Americans’ biggest complaint about their neighborhoods and the most cited reason

for moving, according to the 2000 Census. “Background noise” from planes, car horns, voices

and music inside the typical urban home averages 50 to 60 decibels, equivalent to the rumble of an air conditioner.

Inside our homes, the constant bumps, grinds and hums of refrigerators, air conditioners,

heaters, washing machines and coffee grinders can be distracting. Today’s open floor plans with

rooms merging into one another allow sound to bounce around freely. Great rooms connect

everything to the kitchen—the loudest room in the house.

Chronic noise affects your endocrine, cardiovascular and immune systems, and children

from noisy households have been found to experience delayed language skills and increased

anxiety. Noise disturbs sleep, affects emotional well being and may contribute to heart disease

and mental illness.

The good news? You can eliminate unwanted noise from your home while bringing in

more pleasant sounds. Simply follow these tips:

–If your home is particularly loud—especially in the bedroom or home office or any place

where quiet is not a luxury but a priority—bring in a white noise generator. Small enough to

fit into your palm, these devices produce gentle rushing sounds that help mask traffic noise

and voices. (Pink noise generators are more intrusive, with ocean, rain and waterfall sounds.)

–Make sure that at least 25 percent of every room contains some absorbent material such

as drapes, window blinds, carpet, fabric wall hangings or large canvas paintings. Book-filled

bookcases and deep-seated upholstered furniture—the softer and larger, the better—will also

help stop sound from bouncing around a room.

–Newer energy-efficient machines are quieter than ever, so shop with noise abatement in

mind. (Home appliance manufacturer Miele claims its vacuum cleaner is so quiet that you can

talk on the phone while using it.)

–Federal energy efficiency standards implemented in 2001 mandate that all refrigerators

use smaller compressors and inject foam into the door and side panels to increase insulation—

which also muffles sound.

–Front-loading, high-efficiency washers use less water—and therefore make less noise.

Make sure the washer and dryer are mounted on a strong, level surface so that their spinning

vibrations don’t cause them to shake and spin off-kilter.

–Cork is a great sound-absorbing material because 50 percent of its molecular structure

is air; use it for floors and also to line the inside of cupboards and drawers, which will prevent

clanging as you put away dishes and silverware.

–Place ½-inch thick rubber or cork pads under the legs or corners of large heavy

appliances such as washing machines, dryers and refrigerators to stop vibrations from

transferring to the floor.

–Move appliances at least two inches away from the wall.

–Place rubber pads under small appliances, dish racks, on countertops near the stove and

in sink basins.

–Put stereo speakers on stands to prevent turning floors or walls into whole-house

speakers. Alternatively, place rubber vibration isolator mats (available from office supply,

computer or audio equipment stores) beneath speakers and computer printers.

–Sealing any small opening through which air and noise can enter a room is the cheapest,

fastest and most efficient way to block noise. (And it doesn’t hurt your home’s energy

efficiency, either). You can test for sound leaks by darkening a room to see where light—and

therefore sound—is seeping in, then caulk or seal openings in walls and doors.