Cordless Phone EMFs Trigger Heart Rhythm Abnormalities

Cordless PhoneAn international team of researchers recently discovered that in some individuals, the 2.4 GHz pulsed signals emitted by a cordless phone system produce significant disruptions in cardiac rhythm.

The researchers demonstrated that 40 percent of healthy volunteers in their study showed marked increases in heart rate, arrhythmias, and other disturbances in heart rate variability following exposure to active cordless phone base stations.

Many wireless routers and other forms of Wi-Fi technology also emit fields at this frequency.

Holistic Primary Care reports:

"This is the first objective evidence of cardiovascular effects associated with wireless EMF exposure, and it lends quantitative vindication to the concept of 'electrohypersensitivity,' the sense some people have that they become physically ill when close to EMF fields from cell phones, microwave ovens, computers, fluorescent lighting systems, and WiFi networks."

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

A cordless phone base station placed about two feet from your head and plugged in for three minutes at a time can significantly disrupt your heart rhythm, according to a new study led by Magda Havas, PhD, of the Environmental & Resources Studies Department at Trent University, Canada.

In all, 40 percent of the volunteers had increases in heart rate, arrhythmias and other disturbances in heart rate variability after exposure to a cordless phone base station emitting a 2.41 GHz pulsed microwave signal. This is the same type of cordless phone that many people use in their homes and the same frequency as everyday wireless routers that millions of people in homes, offices and schools.

Proof That EMF Health Effects are Real

This study was completely objective, directly measuring volunteers' heart responses to radiation while the volunteers were unaware of whether or not they were being exposed -- and still an effect was noted.

This is among the most solid proof that the effects of wireless radiation are real, as are the symptoms that some people readily experience when they're around other microwave-emitting devices.

As written on Dr. Havas' Web site:

"The sympathetic nervous system up regulated and the parasympathetic nervous system down regulated during exposure, which is the typical "flight-or-fight" stress response. Feelings of anxiety as well as pain or pressure in the chest were associated with the rapid or irregular heart beat among some of the participants tested.

This test is objective and directly measures the heart's response to radiation and is unlike subjective testing, where scientists ask individuals if they know whether a device is turned on or off and then determine their "sensitivity" based on perception of exposure, which is just that perception and NOT sensitivity.

It clearly documents that some individuals are hypersensitive to specific frequencies and supports complaints people have when they are exposed to radiation, including a racing or fluttering heart, pain or pressure in the chest, and feelings of anxiety that resemble the onset of a heart attack."

The graphic below shows this effect very clearly:

Real Time Monitoring of Heart Beat

Source: Magda Havas, PhD. Note, Subject B was electrically sensitive and Subject A was not. Subject B experienced almost a doubling of the heart rate on exposure and re-exposure to microwave radiation from a portable phone.

Much of the research surrounding harmful effects of wireless radiation involves cell phones, and there is reason for concern in this area. However, what is often overlooked is the fact that cordless phones can have the same effects as cell phones or even potentially worse.

DECT (2.4GHz and 5.8GHz) phones use a digital pulsed signal even when no call is being placed. In fact, the base station of a DECT phone always transmits at full power, while the cell phone transmits during a call and only when the user is actively talking. Portable phones, we hear, are in development that do not constantly radiate but are not yet available for the U.S. market. They have recently been introduced in Germany.

The transmission power is approximately 250mW, which is well under federal "safety" guidelines (1000 microW/cm2), yet Dr. Havas' study showed potentially serious health effects. In addition to the radiation, the pulsed signal is approximately 100Hz, which is within the biological range and therefore likely to cause adverse health effects as well.

Further, the cordless phone base station used in the study uses the same frequency -- a pulsed digital signal at 2.4 GHz -- as the Wi-Fi in many schools. If this level of exposure has the potential to disrupt adult heart rates, what effect might it be having on children?

Growing Credibility for Electrohypersensitivity Symptoms

The graph below, created by Dr. Havas based on a research study by Santini et al, illustrates the frequency of electromagnetic hypersensitivity symptoms based on a person's distance to a cell phone base station (cell phone tower).

It is based on a Spanish study published in 2001 in the journal La Presse Medicale, which clearly showed that the closer you are to the base station, the greater your chances are of exhibiting a number of health-related symptoms, such as fatigue, sleep disturbances, visual and auditory disturbances, and cardiovascular effects, just to name a few.

It's worth noting that these symptoms are just for ONE type of exposure, at a distance. It does not necessarily include the effects of other technologies that are emitting radiofrequency radiation as well, such as cell phones, cordless home phones, Wi-Fi networks in your office or your child's school, the exposures one gets from wireless laptops, etc.. Total and cumulative exposures to electromagnetic radiation from all sources must be taken into consideration in evaluating any health challenge.

Electro-Hypersensitivity chart

Source: From "Public Health SOS: The Shadow Side of the Wireless Revolution" by Havas and Rees

It is estimated that 3-8 percent of populations in developed countries experience serious electrohypersensitivity symptoms, while 35 percent experience mild symptoms, according to Dr. Thomas Rau, medical director of the world-renowned Paracelsus Clinic in Switzerland.

Dr. Rau also believes that 'electromagnetic loads' lead to cancer, concentration problems, ADD, tinnitus, migraines, insomnia, arrhythmia, Parkinson's and even back pain. You can listen to an audio interview with Dr. Rau on

For people with Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity Syndrome (EHS), just walking into a coffee shop that is Wi-Fi equipped can be debilitating, triggering a wide array of symptoms including headache, fatigue, nausea, burning and itchy skin, and muscle aches.

Some students have to drop out of school or are unable to continue on to graduate programs once they become electrically sensitive, irrespective of their intelligence and capabilities. Even just briefly standing on line at the post office, or traveling on public transportation, can be a debilitating experience for some people, sometimes taking hours to restore rebalance.

Because the symptoms are subjective and vary between individuals, it makes the condition difficult to study, but with the work of Dr. Havas and others, acceptance is slowly growing and the real health effects of EMF are becoming harder to deny.

A word to the wise is to avoid these exposures as much as possible before symptoms become severe. There are now EMF-Free Zones forming around the globe, such as in southern France, Spain and Italy.

A good resource for physicians and others, published by the U.K. charity Electrosensitivity-UK, is "Electromagnetic Sensitivity and Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity." It is available for a nominal donation to the charity and you can learn more at

This overview of electrosensitivity contains an extensive review of symptoms, sources of exposure, pathological markers, treatment approaches, references for other illnesses linked to EMFs, and lists references to numerous resolutions on this topic by organizations of international scientists, medical doctors and psychologists.

Another good resource on the known biological effects can be found in the Ecolog Report, commissioned by the industry itself over a decade ago. The report lists scientific references showing DNA damage and links to immunological disorders, cancers and many other medical conditions. The Ecolog report is indisputable evidence that the telecom industry well knows of the harm wireless technologies are causing.

The Risks of a Portable Phone Are Not Worth the Convenience

The power from a DECT 2.4GHz cordless base does not just affect individuals within the same room, but actually will affect rooms above, below and adjacent.

So, ideally, if you want to avoid the radiation you should switch back to a wired landline and ditch your cordless phone entirely. If you must use a portable home phone, consider using a very early non-DECT version. Unfortunately, due to the lack of labeling, the only way to know for sure whether the type of phone you have is safe is to measure the amount of radiation emitted.

The Web site offers a helpful summary of the various meters recommended.

Key Points to Follow If You Choose to Use a Cordless Phone

You need to know that nearly all of the danger is from the base station, not the receivers as the base station is the one that is constantly generating these signals. The handsets will cause a problem while you are using them but the majority of the problem is related to long-term exposure while you are sleeping or sitting near the base station. If you are sitting between the base station and the handset left across the room you are also vulnerable, as the base station is always sending out a signal looking for a 'handshake.'

So, if you do use a conventional cordless phone, be sure to keep the base station at least three rooms away from where everyone sleeps and where you spend the most time during the day. Or simply keep it off except in the limited circumstances where you feel you need to use it. Remember, the base station of a DECT phone always transmits at full power, so this is not a device you want sitting on your nightstand next to your bed, on your kitchen counter or even on at all if it is not necessary.

In order to keep the base station far enough away from your family, you would need a relatively large home and even still might not be able to put enough distance between you, your family and the base station to make it safe. You should also turn the device off at night, like you should do if you use a wireless router, but again the safest choice is to simply revert back to a wired landline and get rid of your cordless phone entirely.

You can buy a very long extension cord for any landline phone, and you can also buy a very long Ethernet cord with which to connect your laptop in any room to the Internet, making wireless far from a "necessity."

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