Position Paper on Cell Phone Chips,
Pendants and Home Harmonizers
Note: This position paper is the sole opinion of Oram Miller, BBEC, EMRS and is not intended to represent the official position of the International Institute for Building BiologyTM and Ecology (IBE), which trained and certified me. The opinions expressed in this paper are, however, based in part upon conversations I have had with colleagues within my profession as well as my own experience working with electromagnetically-sensitive clients throughout the country.
The board of the IBE has, however, approved the wording of it's own position paper on what it calls "subtle energy devices," their term for purported EMF-protecting chips, pendants and harmonizers. I contributed a large part of the wording to that document. You can link to their position paper, dated June 9, 2015, by clicking here.
These comments last updated November 22, 2017.
In light of the rapidly growing popularity of devices sold to protect users from the ill effects of exposure to EMFs from cell phones, cordless telephones, WiFi routers and electronic appliances found in the home and office, especially in light of the coming age of 5G and the "Internet of Things (IoT)", those of us in the building biology profession are frequently asked for our opinion on the efficacy of these devices. These include chips that you affix to the back of your cell phone and other wireless and electronic devices, pendants worn around the neck and elsewhere on the body, and devices that are plugged into outlets within the home.
Unfortunately, our experience is that for all those who report improvement from the use of these devices, and there are many, they are counterbalanced by reports from others who do not experience benefit. Many of our clients already use them, and while some have noticed a degree of improvement, many are still symptomatic even though they have chips on every electronic device in their home. These clients do experience further improvement, however, when they implement the EMF-reducing and eliminating strategies we recommend. This is because our primary approach is to identify and reduce sources of EMFs in the first place, rather than attempting to merely neutralize their effect. We say a combined approach is your best bet when using these devices. We say only use them as a secondary or tertiary means of protection after you first employ the comprehensive strategies that our profession recommends.
We certainly appreciate all efforts to reduce and mitigate the suffering experienced especially by those who are electrically-sensitive. We also know full well just how complicated this science and art of EMF identification and mitigation truly is.
The makers of these devices know, or at least should know, that their products do not eliminate the presence or strength of EMFs around you. Instead, they correctly say their products provide a beneficial effect of their own that neutralizes the ill effects that human-made EMFs cause in the human body.
Research and clinical experience with these technologies does show that they do, indeed, have some beneficial effect. These include:
These are all certainly positive and irrefutable evidence of benefits from the use of these technologies. However, we in the building biology profession still have our reservations.
To begin with, while we can easily measure the presence of man-made EMFs with our meters and instruments, we are totally unable to measure any demonstrable reduction in the strength of these EMFs, at least not radio frequencies (RF), when chips and other devices are present. In addition, the chips and pendants themselves have no (purportedly beneficial) EMF field strength of their own that we can measure.
That means that what benefits they do provide can only occur on a subtler level, which is what most manufacturers claim. While this likely has benefits in and of itself, it may and often is not effective enough, in our opinion, to fully protect against the known powerful influences of EMFs that we measure in homes and offices. If we, as a profession, have the knowledge to identify and reduce actual sources of EMFs and not just try to neutralize their effects, why not eliminate those sources in the first place? We understand and respect that it is not easy for the lay person to know how to do that for all EMFs. But for us, that is relatively easy to do and that is our philosophy.
We are also aware of information presented at our annual conference in 2008 by Dr. George Carlo. You can link to that information, dated June 17, 2008, here. Dr Carlo speaks of reports from individuals who noticed worsening of their symptoms after roughly nine to eighteen months of use of these devices while still holding their cell phone to their head.
These conflicting reports require us to exercise some degree of caution and follow the precautionary priniciple to safeguard the health of our clients when it comes to the use of these devices. We have come to the conclusion that clients are not fully protected against the various types of EMFs found in the home and office by the sole use of these devices and products, no matter how much their symptoms improve. We don't want you to be wrong in ten years.
The analogy that I use in explaining my position on the use of these devices to my clients is to imagine someone saying to you, "You have a room with four or five ashtrays with lit, burning cigarettes, filling the air with smoke. I can sell you a device that clears away the smoke." The air purifier does indeed clear the smoke, but the cigarettes continue to burn in the ashtrays. The smoke is still being produced.
We have the expertise to find and eliminate the ashtrays and the burning cigarettes in the first place. We try to convince our clients to substantially reduce their use of these cigarettes. Once you clear away or reduce the sources of smoke, you can still use an air purifier for all the benefits that they provide for what smoke may come in from outside, and to especially help you when you go out into public places that are filled with smoke, to continue our analogy. I think you understand the point I am making here.
Based upon the evidence I have seen and the reports of thousands of people, I personally believe these chips and filters do work, especially when you leave your house and go into environments where you are exposed to sources of EMFs that you cannot control. This is particularly helpful for the EMF-sensitive person.
I am in favor of anyone purchasing these products if they feel better using them, while at the same time we highly encourage our clients to have us help them to first identify, reduce and eliminate those sources of EMFs that they can control in their living and work environment.
One situation where we do recommend the plugging in of an EMF-reducing device is the use of certain technologies to reduce harmonic transient voltages on electric circuits, known as electromagnetic interference (EMI), or more commonly, "dirty electricity". These filters are resistive capacitors that are effective, in our opinion, at reducing human exposure to dirty electricity, and only this one form of EMF exposure. Effective products for mitigating dirty electricity are Greenwave, and Stetzer filters, both of which are strictly resistive capacitive filters. You can also choose Satic and Rx-DNA and Px-DNA dirty electricity-reduction devices, which use different technologies.
One must exercise caution when installing these resistive capacitor filters when sources of magnetic field exposure are present, such as wiring errors or current on the incoming metal water pipe. In those cases, the magnetic fields from these other sources will be made worse by the use of such filters. These sources of magnetic fields therefore need to be tested for and corrected, in our experience, before using such filters.
Unfortunately, there are other types of EMFs that can and do exist in the home that even these resistive capacitors do not protect against. These include magnetic fields, electric fields and radio frequencies. Additional strategies taught and employed by the building biology profession need to be implemented to mitigate these other forms of EMFs. You can read about them in separate articles on each type of EMF, accessed from the Articles on EMFs page on this website.
In summary, we support all strategies, products and devices that provide genuine improvement for people that can be documented and scientifically validated. However, we are not inclined to endorse chips, pendants and home harmonizers as the sole or primary means of protection against the vast array of EMFs found in the home and office.
Instead, we advocate the education of the public about all EMFs that can exist in homes along with the health effects that exposure to these fields can create. We then advocate the use of strategies taught by our profession as the foremost means of EMF protection, reducing fields wherever possible.
If one wants to add these devices for the more subtle benefits they appear to provide, that is fine in my opinion. We simply recommend that you reduce the actual EMF fields in the first place as much as possible. Then a much safer and cleaner EMF-free environment can be created in your home and office. My professional experience with several thousand clients over the years bears this out.
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