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How To Eliminate and Reduce Wireless Radiation and Everyday Electromagnetic Field (EMF) Exposure In Dormitories

[an add-on to expand EHT’s Checklist on How to Reduce EMF in Schools

 

LOW-EMF INFRASTRUCTURE IN SLEEPING AREAS

Internet Connections 

  • Install wired (instead of wireless, and instead of cordless) LAN and communication services in each building. 
  • Ensure every room has multiple ethernet ports near desks in each room (at least 2 per resident). 
  • Wi-Fi routers, access points, boosters, smart speakers, wireless electronics, wireless charging systems, wireless video games and Bluetooth devices should not be in sleeping areas and should not be in hallways near sleeping areas. 
  • At minimum, Wi-Fi routers can be turned off at night to support a healthier sleep. 

Telephones 

  • Ensure every dorm room has a wired telephone, preferably with caller ID.
  • Cell phones can be forwarded to this corded phone for voice calls in the dorm room. 
  • Students can plug their cell phones into the internet with ethernet cords instead of cellular or Wi-Fi for most applications. 

STUDENT EDUCATION 

  • Why and how to reduce cell phone radiation exposure and other electromagnetic fields (EMFs). 
  • How to turn off the wireless antennas of cell phones and other tech so they are not always transmitting wireless radiofrequency radiation.  For example, if Bluetooth is not in use, it can be turned off. If cellular is not in use, it should be turned off. Students should not sleep with transmitting cell phones near their heads or with phones resting on their body. Students can learn about how to use Airplane Mode to decrease unnecessary exposure. 
  • Practical information on how to ethernet plug in their computers and cell phones with adapters so they can access the internet without Wi-Fi. 
  • Safer charging: Using a phone while it is charging increases EMF exposure. Students need to know why they should distance themselves from chargers and unplug chargers when not in use. Laptops and cell phones should not be charged while resting on soft materials like a bed or couch. 
  • Safer technology Informational posters can be placed and maintained throughout the dormitory to provide this information. 
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Additional Important Ways to Minimize EMF Exposure 

  • Ensure every student receives a battery powered alarm clock. 
  • Ensure every student has a wired speaker to hear music/audio in their own room instead of Wi-Fi connected speakers or virtual assistants. 
  • Do not use fluorescent lights.  
  • Do not provide wireless charging.

Magnetic Field Exposure

  • Ensure appliances, utility meters, electronics, or electrical machinery are not on the walls of sleeping areas, and are not on walls adjacent to sleeping areas, and are not on or near ceilings below sleeping areas. 
  • Extension cords and electrical wiring should not be under or near beds. 
  • Small dorm refrigerators also emit high levels of EMF and should not be placed near beds and not directly behind bedroom walls. 
  • Microwaves also emit high magnetic fields. They should be distanced from beds and preferably not in bedrooms at all. Replace microwave ovens with toaster ovens as a best step. If a microwave oven is absolutely necessary, it must not be in a bedroom nor in a room adjacent to a bedroom, and should be distanced as far as possible from all bedrooms.

Purchasing

  • Schools can request non wireless corded telephones. Some even have screens and are internet connected so students can even text etc. 
  • Intentionally purchase or use only computers, tablets, and other school and personal technology devices that can be ethernet-connected and can successfully connect when all wireless applications (including locators) and antennas are disabled. 
  • Schools can purchase ethernet adapters for the various make and models of devices so students have the technology they need to connect. 
  • Contract and purchase building equipment, systems, and services that do not rely on using or generating wireless signals/emissions during regular operating or standby conditions (e.g., vending machines, HVAC, security, pest control, bank machines, laundry facilities, furnishings and equipment in common areas/washrooms/bathrooms/fitness areas/etc.). 
  • Minimize blue light as much as possible with both software programs and external protective screens for all screens supplied by the school. 
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LOW EMF POLICY

  • Schools need to develop, implement, and enforce personal devices policies that minimize emissions and eliminate sources in the dormitory.  
  • Students need practical and ongoing education on how to reduce EMFs. 
  • Safe alternatives for playing music, accessing the Internet, and communicating must be accessible so students and staff can have needs met with low-EMF technology or non-EMF alternatives. 
  • Student and staff culture needs to shift so it is accepted that reducing EMF is important and behaviors that reduce emissions and exposures are valued. 
  • Dormitories without Wi-Fi and with low EMF need to be available in every school. 
  • Measure EMFs in dormitories, both wireless radiofrequency as well as magnetic fields Collaborative for High Performance Schools identified threshold. 

COMPUTER ROOMS & WORKSPACES

A dedicated computer room in a dormitory with wired technology, printers, electronic accessories, and other technology is an important component of a low-EMF building — to create a separation between sleeping areas and work areas and to ensure people have access to information and communication technologies. 

Connect all technology devices (printers, computers, fax machine etc.  with wires, cords, or cables, and use non-wireless adapters.  

RESOURCES 

Clegg, F. M., Sears, M., Friesen, M., Scarato, T., Metzinger, R., Russell, C., Stadtner, A., & Miller, A. B. (2020). Building science and radiofrequency radiation: What makes smart and healthy buildings. Building and Environment, 176, 106324.  

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Hedendahl, L. K., Carlberg, M., Koppel, T., & Hardell, L. (2017). Measurements of Radiofrequency Radiation with a Body-Borne Exposimeter in Swedish Schools with Wi-Fi. Frontiers in Public Health, 5

Park, J., Jeong, E., & Seomun, G. (2020). Extremely Low-Frequency Magnetic Fields Exposure Measurement during Lessons in Elementary Schools. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(15), 5284.  

Belpomme, D., Hardell, L., Belyaev, I., Burgio, E., & Carpenter, D. O. (2018). Thermal and non-thermal health effects of low intensity non-ionizing radiation: An international perspective. Environmental Pollution, 242, 643–658. 

Miller, A. B., Sears, M. E., Morgan, L. L., Davis, D. L., Hardell, L., Oremus, M., & Soskolne, C. L. (2019). Risks to Health and Well-Being From Radio-Frequency Radiation Emitted by Cell Phones and Other Wireless Devices. Frontiers in Public Health, 7.

Avendaño, C., Mata, A., Sanchez Sarmiento, C. A., & Doncel, G. F. (2012). Use of laptop computers connected to the internet through Wi-Fi decreases human sperm motility and increases sperm DNA fragmentation. Fertility and Sterility, 97(1), 39-45.e2.  

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https://ehtrust.org/how-to-eliminate-and-reduce-wireless-radiation-and-everyday-electromagnetic-field-emf-exposure-in-dormitories/ Source: Environmental Health Trust