A Practical Guide to EMF Mitigation

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

Story at-a-glance

  • Lloyd Burrell, founder of ElectricSense.com, has been an advocate for electromagnetic field (EMF) safety and consumer education for the past 15 years
  • First, educate yourself on EMFs to understand the potential dangers. Next, buy a meter and identify hotspots. Lastly, take remedial action to lower your exposure
  • When remediating, first turn off or unplug devices emitting high amounts of radiation. If that’s not possible, create as much distance between yourself and the device as possible. As a last resort, implement shielding strategies
  • Focus on lowering EMF exposure in your bedroom first, as many rejuvenating processes take place during sleep. Also focus on keeping your cellphone in airplane mode and/or in a faraday bag when not in active use
  • If you need to shield against RF radiation, you can use a Faraday canopy over your bed, or install partial-room or whole-room shielding. There are a number of ways to do this, including using shielding paint


This is an older article that may not reflect Dr. Mercola’s current view on this topic. Use our search engine to find Dr. Mercola’s latest position on any health topic.

Electromagnetic fields (EMFs) can cause severe oxidative stress and biological damage. I discuss this in detail along with what you can do to protect yourself from them in my latest book EMF*D which is now available for preorder.

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Here to address what you can do to remediate that influence is Lloyd Burrell, who has been an advocate for EMF safety and consumer education for the last 15 years.

Like so many others, Burrell's interest and subsequent expertise was the outgrowth of facing personal health challenges. He describes himself as being EMF-hypersensitive, and had to figure out how to deal with living in the modern world, surrounded by wireless technology and electrosmog.

Burrell's Journey

Burrell's journey began in 2002, when he suddenly started having strange reactions to his cellphone. He tells the story:

"I remember very clearly the day … One minute I was fine; the next minute, I had this kind of bizarre, altered spatial awareness, slight dizziness, not quite sure what to make of it. And then it went from the bizarre to a rather unpleasant burning sensation in my ear, then all over the side of my face.

I was running a rental business at the time. The cellphone was great because I could work outside and take the calls. I wasn't a particularly heavy user. I'd been using it about four years … But I did get quite a lot of calls for a certain period of the year to make bookings for these rentals.

It went from unpleasant to unbearable, literally in a matter of days … It got so bad that I actually went to see my doctor … He was very sympathetic. When he couldn't find anything wrong with me, other than I'd gotten slightly high blood pressure, he sent me off to do various tests.

Over this time, it just went from bad to worse. He told me to take a week off work, which I did. I went away with the kids. I was fine. I came back the Monday morning. I answered my phone and then, boom, there it was again.

That's when it began to dawn on me … Not only was I reacting to my cellphone, I was reacting to my computer. I was reacting to the TV. I was reacting to the radio in the car. I was beginning to react to everything electrical, even my corded landline phone."

Identifying the Cause of His Problems

For the next two years, he sought help from a number of different specialists. Meanwhile, the symptoms turned chronic. "Fatigue, pain all over my body and digestive problems. I really was in a bad way, and it was just getting worse," he says.

The medication he was given turned him into "a zombie" and ultimately didn't help. Then one day he read a newspaper article about Brian Stein, a CEO of a big food group in the U.K. who, like himself, could not use his cellphone or computer.

"He was dictating everything to his secretary, driving around in a battered, old car with no electronics. He was sleeping in a room with no electricity. They gave a name for that. That was electrical hypersensitivity.

For me, that was like, 'Eureka! I'm not going crazy.' I literally thought I was going crazy because everybody, the people in the white coats, particularly, the authority figures, were telling me 'There's nothing wrong with you.' Some of them were even ridiculing my story.

That was a turning point. That was when I began to look at this thing called EMF, which did not really interest me at all. I was just wanting to buy something and fix it so I could get on with my life. But it didn't work like that."

Burrell started a website, ElectricSense, in December 2009, initially simply warning people about the folly of allowing young children to use and carry cellphones.

"It was very amateurish at the time … I just tried to share the truth really. It was about letting off steam, this video. Immediately, it caught people's attention. I started getting a lot of interaction on it.

It just grew from there. It grew into this mission of raising awareness and sharing solutions, because I realized I can't be this guy going on and on about the problem. I need to share the solutions. That's how it all started," Burrell says.

Understand, Measure, Mitigate

One of the things Burrell now does is assess the value of various remediation strategies and products. For example, he offers guidance and recommendations for EMF meters, which is necessary to assess your EMF exposure. It can be a complex process, and he has created several excellent videos on this topic, explaining the different options available.

"To be clear, I no longer have the debilitating symptoms, so I'm able to live a normal life," he says. Ultimately, this is the goal for anyone struggling with EMF hypersensitivity, and Burrell is proof positive that it's possible.

"My approach could be summarized as follows: First, understand what these exposures are … I've been doing a podcast for about five years … It's not something you can learn in five minutes. It takes a bit of time …

Second thing is to measure … Like I said, I just wanted to buy that gadget or gizmo that would make it all OK and I wouldn't feel [EMFs] anymore. I never found that. Eventually, I bought a meter. Because I'm a bit of a cheapskate, I bought the cheapest meter I could find, which was worthless.

That led me down a garden path for six months to a year. Then I bought the Acoustimeter … It's a great meter. The meter is super important … At some point, we need to get an EMF meter, or possibly two, because a lot of them are multifunction… Lastly, mitigate. Those are the three steps: Understand, measure and mitigate."

As explained by Burrell, there are three main categories of EMFs that we want to assess: radiofrequency (RF) radiation; magnetic fields; and electric fields, plus dirty electricity, which is a subset of electrical fields. These are all on the electromagnetic spectrum and are measured in terms of frequency and wavelength.

Turn Off, Increase Distance, Shield

The reason you want a meter (or several different types) that can measure all four of these EMFs is because you want to be able to identify the hotspots in your home and areas where you spend a lot of time. Your bedroom is of principal importance, as this is where you spend a significant portion of your life.

Once you know where the hotspots are, you can figure out how to mitigate, i.e., lower the EMF level, in those areas. Keep in mind that there are no "safe" readings. Whether a reading is "too high" is rather subjective, depending on your sensitivity.

"So, in terms of the mitigation, we don't have a safe level," Burrell says, "but we're trying to get to what I call benchmark levels … about 0.02 volts per meter … It's not as if when you achieve those readings that it's safe. There's no 'safe/not safe.' Just get it as low as you can."

One of the easiest ways to lower the EMF level is to turn off whatever is generating the EMFs. For example, you can turn off your cellphone when not in use, especially at night when you're sleeping. Ditto for your wireless router. Ideally, hardwire your home and forgo wireless altogether.

Many "smart" devices can also generate high RF radiation, and you might not realize this unless you measure it. Your dishwasher could be giving off RF radiation, or your washing machine. If you can't turn the device off, then increase the distance between yourself and the device. As a last resort, install some kind of shielding.

"That, in a nutshell, is my approach to dealing with these electromagnetic fields, these non-natural frequencies, this pollution that's impacting all of us. On the mitigation: Turn off, increase distance and shield as a last resort."

Do EMF-Shielding Gadgets Work?

Chances are, you've seen various EMF harmonizers or gadgets, that promise to protect you against harmful EMFs. The question is, do they actually work? From my perspective, they might be dangerous because they clearly do not shield you from the radiation. They may alleviate symptoms, but they do not address the biological damage occurring. Burrell weighs in:

"Some of them are effective. There are scams, and then there are not scams. There are people who are genuinely developing devices that work in this subtle energy realm [and] … some of these devices work to a certain extent. My view is that's all fine and dandy, but what you need to do is this foundational … EMF protection.

This is what I've laid out [above] ... Do the classic, rigorous EMF protection, and then if you want to add this into the mix, go ahead … But I know of no device that protects you from all the adverse biological effects at the cellular level, the DNA, the mitochondria."

Thousands of Studies Show EMF Harms

One of the sections in Burrell's book, which is available on Amazon here, discusses and dispels a variety of common myths. One of them is that EMF exposure cannot cause biological damage.

This is a myth that must be dispelled, seeing how 5G is already being implemented in many areas around the world, and will dramatically increase exposures and, with it, likely unleash an avalanche of trouble.

"This thing is just getting out of control," Burrell says. "We're told by industry pundits that these exposures are safe, and this whole ionizing/nonionizing thing confuses people too … What's happening with the internet is getting crazy, with what Google is doing. People are not getting reliable information.

I mean, who reads the studies in any case? That's the problem. I wouldn't have gone and read the studies if it hadn't have happened to me. So, what can I say? All I can say is there are thousands of studies on this, going back to like the 1880s.

D'Arsonval and Nikola Tesla, in 1891, did a study. They found EMF exposure impacted respiration, perspiration and body weight. The Soviets did a lot of studies, particularly on wireless, [in] the 1930s … But we don't really see those because they're not in English.

More recently, we have the BioInitiative Report, published in 2007, which was … about 600 pages [summarizing] … the 2,000 studies that were available at that time. There was an update in 2012, which reviewed 1,800 studies [published] between 2007 and 2012.

We've got big studies like the WTR study, which came out in the 1990s — the Wireless Technology Research project, headed by Dr. George Carlo. It was funded by the cellphone industry to show that these exposures were safe. Unfortunately, things didn't work out [as] planned. They came to just the opposite conclusion."

Among the most recent studies is the National Toxicology Program study, funded by the U.S. federal government to the tune of $30 million, which found 2G and 3G wireless radiation triggered DNA damage and deadly brain and heart tumors. Note that the more dangerous present 4G and even more dangerous 5G frequencies were not tested in this study.

Within months, these findings were reproduced by the Ramazzini Institute in Italy. I review the findings of both of these studies in "Cellphones Strongly Linked to Cancer — New Study Reproduces Government Findings."

Defunding Research Is a Common Ploy to Hide Harms

In an effort to delay safety regulations and keep the public in the dark, the industry will often simply strip researchers of their funding when studies turn up problems. Burrell says:

"We've seen that time and time again. The 1950s, Milton Zaret was studying radar operators who were getting cataracts on their eyes. The study's funding was taken away from him.

Henry Lai, the brilliant work that he was doing on children — how they're being impacted, how children are way more vulnerable than adults to these exposures — he got his funding taken away. This is just so shady. It needs to be talked about.

People need to know why they're not being told the truth on this. Because the most concerning thing is our kids. That is what concerns me the most. They're the victims in all of this. We need to protect them."

Power Versus Modulation

While the cellphone industry spends a lot of time talking about the power, and are making their phones less powerful, Burrell points out that this isn't the main problem. The most harmful aspect of cellphone technology is the modulation, the mix of frequencies. He explains:

"You've got this carrier frequency, which depends on where you are, but it's 900 megahertz or something, or 1.8 gigahertz. And then you've got this modulation, this superimposing, rhythmic chopping of the frequency, which is how they put on the data.

That is totally unnatural. It's all evolving all the time. Most people have probably 3G phones or 4G phones. We're going towards 4G LTE and 5G … It's another layer of exposures. It's increasing the density of this electro smog, which you can't feel, which you can't see, touch, taste, which most people aren't aware of. It's nevertheless there."

It's really important to understand that just because you can't feel it doesn't mean you're not being impacted. This is what the studies are telling us. Everyone is impacted by these frequencies, whether you feel it or not.

In some respects, EMF hypersensitive individuals are at an advantage, as the discomfort they feel spur them to take remedial action. People who (as of yet) cannot sense EMFs never feel the need to protect themselves and are therefore at increased risk for damage.

5G Explained

In October 2019, SpaceX petitioned to launch another 30,000 satellites,1 which would bring its low-orbit Starlink broadband network for 5G coverage up to 42,000 satellites. The main hazard of 5G, aside from the fact that it adds another layer of frequencies onto everything we already have, is that it uses higher frequency millimeter waves (MMW).

Please understand, it's not the internet that is problematic. The problem is the wireless connection. We have the capacity to increase the bandwidth and achieve the same kind of effect as 5G using fiber optic cables, but the industry wants to use wireless because they can make more money that way.

"Everybody's saying how great [5G] is, that it's going to be faster, it's going to be bigger and better. You're going to be able to download a Hollywood movie at the blink of an eye. We're talking possibly 10 to 100 times faster than existing technology, the 4G that went before it.

OK. But do we really need it? Even if we do really need it, if we really understand the science that we have already … it's absolutely in-your-face obvious that for our health and the health of the planet, the ecosystem, plants and insects, everything, [5G] is big-time bad news," Burrell says.

"Particularly, the satellites in space, that is really bad news, because of the subtle energy thing. Because I'm a very sensitive person, I feel energies, I really feel my connection with the earth. I don't particularly feel it with the cosmos, but I know it's there. I think a few people are aware of this. It is wrong and it needs to be stopped."

Unfortunately, unlike the tobacco industry, the wireless industry has the full support of the federal regulatory agencies. That makes it even more challenging, as the public health authorities and federal regulatory agencies promote that it's safe. It's going to take a lot to overcome global implementation of 5G. There could potentially be a lot of dead people in the streets before they start to wake up and realize how damaging this plan is for life on this planet.

Remediation Strategies

The good news is there are ways to protect yourself, and many strategies are free. They do require a bit of effort on your part, however. Again, turning devices off or increasing your distance from them are your first alternatives. As a last resort, you may need to shield, and the cost of this can vary widely.

"Again, the most important thing is where you sleep, your bedroom," Burrell says. "Create a sleeping sanctuary. That is the most important thing. It's not like eight hours in your bedroom is equal to eight hours during the day. There's a whole load of bodily processes, rejuvenation, regeneration, cellular processes, hormonal processes that are going on when you sleep.

This time is just so important. And making all these little changes over time — baby steps, folks — then you will increase your resilience. That's my experience. I mean, honestly, it's been transformational for me. That is the foundation."

Following are some suggestions that will help you create a healing sleep sanctuary:

Turn off your Wi-Fi router at night.

Keep (or charge) your cellphone in another room at night. At bare minimum, keep it in airplane mode, and as far away from your head as possible. During the day, minimize your cellphone use, get a low-EMF phone case and keep it in airplane mode inside a faraday bag when not in use.

Clear out any and all electric and/or wireless devices from your room, such as electric blankets, baby monitors, alarm clocks and wireless telephone bases.

Shut off the electricity to your bedroom. You can do that manually by shutting off your circuit breaker after having identified the correct one, or you can install an automated device that can do it for you. The EMF kill switch2 is one example.

Burrell recommends measuring the EMF in your room after you've shut the electricity off to make sure you haven't created a higher electric field on another circuit that might impact you. Again, he recommends aiming for a benchmark of 0.02 volts per meter. If you can get lower, even better.

If you need to shield against RF radiation, you can use a Faraday canopy over your bed, or install partial-room or whole-room shielding. For example, you may find you need to shield one wall, the ceiling, or the floor. There are a number of ways to do this, including using shielding paint or fabric. But, however you do it, please be sure to shield the floor even if you are on the ground floor; otherwise you will not have a faraday cage.

More Information

To learn more, be sure to check out Burrell's website, ElectricSense.com. Also consider picking up a copy of his book, "EMF Practical Guide," which is available on Amazon. It's an excellent companion to my upcoming book, "EMF'd," which is coming out in 2020. In closing, Burrell notes:

"The airplane mode [on your cellphone] is super important. Don't obsess about EMFs. Again, we've got all those people who couldn't care less. And then we've got this group of people who have been impacted or educated about this. Those people are taking the steps [to protect themselves].

The danger is when one day you're suddenly impacted like I was, that you become obsessive. Don't, because when you become obsessive, you become fearful. This all works against you. Don't do that, people. It's a question of taking the steps without becoming obsessive.

If you are going to be obsessive about anything, be obsessive about that airplane mode. Be obsessive about your bedroom, about creating that low-EMF sleeping sanctuary. Those are the two things [to focus on] if you are going to obsess. Even then, obsessing about this is not going to help you."

+ Sources and References

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