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Defending Your Church from EMF Threats in the Age of “-itis”

It’ not just cell transmitters atop the spire. Electrical and technological devices producing non-ionizing radiation have become everyday components inside church offices, sanctuaries and classrooms. Are your church leaders alert and aware that Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs) are one of the factors known to worsen inflammatory conditions that are so prevalent among congregants?

In the book of beginnings, God’s creational activity in Genesis placed all humankind into a place of balance with nature. The harmony of creation included cosmic radiation, earth’s protective Magnetosphere and trace levels of planetary electro-magnetism including various wavelengths of light and earth’s magnetic core. God made natural EMFs. He called His creation “good.”

Today’s Planetary levels of artificial, pro-inflammatory electromagnetic fields, however, have abandoned the natural design. In 2023, it’s very difficult to find built environments that are not contaminated by significant e-pollution. Non-ionizing radiation sources include stray electricity, stray current and alternating current magnetic fields, grounding pollution, “dirty electricity”, radio frequency radiation and unhealthy “zombie” lights.

Fortunately, there are solutions for reducing EMF radiation in most churches. Why, some ask, should we reduce EMFs that are allowable and proclaimed to be safe? Actually, even “low” levels of EMF radiation can affect four groups in your faith community: (a) church-goers, (b) electro-sensitive persons, (c) school children and teachers, and (d) full time pastoral staff.

Church-goers: The prevalence of chronic inflammatory diseases has increased rapidly over the past decades. At least 40% of Americans have some degree of chronic inflammation. This number is undoubtedly higher now after five waves of COVID-19 outbreaks, long Covid inflammation and possible inflammatory responses relating to mRNA vaccines.

Simply put, inflammatory conditions ending in the term “-itis” are on the rise among your church-goers, children and staff.

But what is the EMF connection to inflammation?

One of the biological effects of EMF exposures is the activation of oxidative stress pathways that trigger unnecessary inflammation. In 9 out of 10 studies, both low frequency and high frequency EMF radiation increased Free Radical (Oxidative Stress) Damage.

In the Journal of Microscopy and Ultrastructure, Kivrak et al (2017) reviewed studies showing EMFs from many technological devices cause oxidative stress in the brain, spinal cord, eyes, thyroid, thymus, kidney, liver, spleen, pancreas, testicles, sperm, blood and other human organs. EMFs can produce inflammation-related effects in many tissues of the body.

The authors incidentally mention that Free Radicals are also increased by cigarette smoking. Ironically, pro-inflammatory smoking is forbidden inside churches while pro-inflammatory EMFs fill our houses of worship — despite ample peer reviewed research showing deleterious effects. According to Physicians for Safe Technology:

Wireless radiation has been shown in hundreds of studies to cause oxidative stress with the creation of free radicals (reactive oxygen species) in cells. These reactive oxygen species (ROS) disrupt cell functions and damage molecules such as DNA, lipids and proteins, thus oxidative stress is a known mechanism of cell injury from EMF/EMR

Here are real testimonies from people harmed by EMFs considered by the mainstream to be “safe”:

  • Gabriel: “My symptoms of auto-immune illness are directly affected by Radio Frequency Radiation…”
  • Molly: “I have a child who suffers from very severe eczema and food allergies. It ruins his life…we realized EMFs is what causes his eczema and allergic reactions.”
  • Joanne: “I am immune compromised and have had heart symptoms, memory issues and dizziness when exposed to wifi for too long.”
  • Aranka: “My head suffers daily from emf radiation exposure for years now since a huge Cell tower was built near my home in a residential neighborhood and very close to two schools.”

ElectroSensitive (ES) Persons in Your Church

Sensitivity to electromagnetic radiation is increasing worldwide affecting millions of people. For very electrosensitive church-goers, sitting in your sanctuary may be unbearably painful. High frequency wireless devices, for example, can cause mind-numbing headaches, body aches, irritation and nausea. EMFs can also interfere with brain focus, concentration, attention span and mood — impediments to worship and wellness.

Is ES or EHS a real condition? The condition is recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO), though it says the causes are unclear. In a groundbreaking 2011 laboratory investigation at LSU Health Sciences Center, researchers showed that a subject (who happened to be a physician) suffered from electromagnetic hypersensitivity that manifested when she was exposed to weak EMF signals.

In this fMRI brain imaging study Dr. Heuser found a connection between persons with a history of mold exposures, brain injury or chemical sensitivity to electro-sensitvity. I’ve seen this connection the field. In fact, I routinely ask ES clients if they have suffered from previous exposures to mold? Most times, the answer is “yes….how did you know?” and they describe a previous dwelling or workplace where they were chronically exposed.

There are now many thousands of peer-reviewed studies relevant to ES/EHS. It’s important to note, however, that real ES is a physiological condition, a fact established for 90 years. It is different from Electrophobia – a psychological ‘nocebo’ effect which is a byproduct of anxiety.

Skin lesions observed on the hand of a patient suffering from electro-sensitivity (A) and a patient with both EHS and multiple chemical sensitivities(B).

A study in the International Journal of Molecular Science did a clinical analysis of 150 cases and concluded that EHS should be recognized and identified as a “neurological pathological disorder” (link pictured).

The current evidence on the prevalence of ES shows between 5.0 and 30 percent of the general population have mild cases, 1.5 to 5.0 per cent have moderate cases and < 1.5 per cent for severe cases. (Many ES persons, however, are not initially aware of how EMFs adversely impacts their lives).

Sweden’s government has been giving grants to ES/EHS suffers since the 1990s. In 2015, a French court awarded a woman a disability grant because of her symptoms. British courts have recently done the same. In the United States, parents of a child with EHS exposure to radiofrequency/microwave (RF/MW) radiation at a boarding school have recently taken legal action.

In Los Angeles, an estimated 1.42 million persons have mild to moderate sensitivity to EMFs (source: Electrosensitive Society). If 30% of those attend church sometime during the year, then 426,000 persons could be tortured by technology in a church –depending on types and levels of EMF pollution. A highly respected ministry leader at a large church in Thousand Oaks told me about her painful experience in the main sanctuary on Sundays…

“I started having bad headaches at our church especially when sitting in the middle isle. I get terrible back pain as well. I’m sure it’s from the (wireless) video system. ‘Lord, be my shield’.”

A reasonable accommodation for this person would be to conduct an EMF assessment of the church sanctuary. Sources and levels of low/medium/high frequency radiation can be identified. If needed, wireless equipment can be hardwired. This would be an act of lovingkindness in keeping with Galatians 6:2 to “bear one another’s burdens.”

  • Laurie from Thousand Oaks: “I haven’t been back to church because of my ES, and think the staff wouldn’t understand my plight. It would be hard to go and talk to the pastors and ask if they could ask the church to bring their Book Bibles again, because of a few people.”
  • Steve (a pastor): “Bout time to start worshipping outside again, eh? After all, the Sermon on the Mount was on an OUTDOOR mount.”

Children and Teachers At Your School/Sunday School

The issue of children’s exposure to EMF devices such as cell phones, notebook computers and WiFi has been brought to the forefront by an increasing number of parents. One of the best things your church school or Sunday school can do for kids is to either avoid or use alternatives to WiFi in classrooms.

Every church leader, teacher and parent should read: Why are doctors concerned about Wi-Fi and wireless in schools? I would also recommend this video about children and wireless featuring Dr. Devra Davis. Here are testimonies that are becoming increasingly common:

  • A woman in Westlake Village, CA told me her daughter began to get bad headaches after their church school installed WiFi nodes in classrooms.
  • Kevin (not the author): “My daughter was sick at school whenever wireless devices were used and we discovered that she also suffers from EHS. Currently she is unable to attend school without being sick.”
  • Laurie: “I am a school teacher that became very sick when my school district installed a new commercial strength wifi system…”
  • Michelle: “Working full time in School buildings with enhanced and extended wireless capabilities increases health issues for me personally. I know this is bad for our health!”

Other type of EMF Pollution Affecting Children. In a previous blog I discussed some encouraging news about how reducing dirty electricity in classrooms may reduce the severity of childhood asthma. Actually, some small but encouraging studies show a variety of benefits for teachers and students when there is less dirty electricity inside school rooms!

But what about the link between dirty electricity and cancer? The La Quinta Middle School Cancer Cluster Report by Dr. Sam Milham and Lloyd Morgan indicates strong evidence of a relationship between distorted electrical power quality in classrooms and cancer.

This is part of a Facebook posting created by concerned students, teachers and moms regarding LQMS cancers.

In recent years this problem has been magnified as schools install solar systems. The culprit is the inverter because of switch mode power that creates a very distorted “non-sinusoidal” waveform.

When the inverters are tied to your facility’s electrical panel, they back-feed kHz bandwidth frequencies into your classrooms and offices. This effectively turns your school wiring into RF transmitters that are way too close to kids.

Many Building Biologists have clients who report that dirty electricity disrupts their nervous system making them feel agitated and restless. The good news is that electrical waveform correction, when done properly, can reduce this pernicious bio-irritant. I’ve had clients who have remarked they feel an immediate improvement once the panel filters are activated.

Invisible Light Flicker is another type of artificial EMF that can harm children in church classrooms. I tested a building purchased by a church in Newbury Park before the church moved-in. There were disadvantageous levels of light flicker in several of the rooms. Why does this need to be fixed?

Lightbulbs are “like a box of chocolates” when it comes to light flicker. Testing reveals what the eye can not see. Once healthy bulbs are selected and installed your rooms will feel much more relaxing.
Almost 3,000 invisible light flickers per second in several rooms at this church.

The Issue: Some types of flicker can induce seizures in people with photosensitive epilepsy, contribute to headaches, eye strain, and fatigue. It can negatively impact students with Autism Spectrum Disorder due to their visual hypersensitivity.

Another important type of EMF to detect and measure at churches and schools is a type of power line or ELF frequency known as Alternating Current Magnetic Fields. They can emanate from power lines, transformers, unshielded motors, electrical wiring errors, certain types of lighting, and current if it runs on water pipes or rebar.

Alternating Current Magnetic Fields at “low” allowable levels are considered by industry to be safe but the IARC has classified ELF fields as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.” They have been linked in several studies to increased risk for Leukemia. neurodegenerative diseases and weakening of the immune system. Hollywood was able to portray part of this complex issue in a couple simple scenes from the movie The Distinguished Gentlemen, starring Eddie Murphy.

Key Point for School Leadership and Parents: The U.S. is at or near rock bottom among developed countries in protecting the health and safety of its citizens from electromagnetic fields. New technology is often untested for long-term harm to children.

Worthwhile Read: Chapter eleven from The Healthy School Handbook written by Andrew Marino, Ph.D., a highly respected biophysicists and attorney.

Learning More:

Action Item: EMF audits ought to be conducted in each home, church and school classroom by a competent and independent EMF expert. For example, the 3-axis NFA 1000 is one of several high quality meters I personally use for this type of field measurement.

Biblical Perspective: 1 Timothy 6:10 reminds us that the love of money is a root of evil that causes many sorrows. In the context of EMF Safety, there is a revolving door between powerful industries, captured government regulators and highly incentivized advisory bodies who control standards.

Pastors and Church Staff

Most of us struggle to live a balanced life and this is also true for pastors who face many challenges. Pastors often spend hours each day and night in an invisible bubble of non-ionizing radiation. Biomedical research spanning several decades show that various EMF exposures can produce unwanted neuropsychiatric effects. For example, some frequencies and power densities can increase stress and depression. Others can reduce your energy, quality of sleep and mental concentration.

Senior pastors may cary an extra long-term disease burden if they routinely wear wireless microphone transmitter packs because they produce both low and high frequency EMFs. Their occupational radiation exposures may, in some cases, be similar to those of Radio/Television Broadcasters. See here and here.

If you are a pastor, reducing EMF exposures at your home, office, car and church can be such a blessing. A proper EMF assessment and mitigation can improve your sleep, your mood, your concentration, your vitality, and create a healthier environment. Ultimately, reducing EMFs is a joyous experience.

Safe Home And Office EMF Solutions

Even though EMFs are ubiquitous, many non-ionizing radiation exposures can be successfully reduced–while keeping the connectivity you need. This summer I’ve started a special program to provide affordable EMF Safety consulting and support for faith communities. Here are the four main benefits of the program:

1) Gain a straightforward understanding of 6 types of EMF threats to avoid along with infographics that make the information easy to digest.

2) Professionally field test EMF levels at your church property and the senior pastor’s home.

3) Prioritize findings and implement practical responses to reduce undesirable EMF toxins. Solutions are presented as “good”, “better” and “best” so the church leadership team can decide an approach that works best for them.

4) Implement Environmental Therapeutics to increase sensations of feeling ‘happy and alert’ as a result of biologically enhanced environments. This is accomplished by harnessing overlooked yet highly beneficial types of lighting and improving the electrostatic balance of air molecules.

EMF Safety is part of being good stewards of creation and results in healthier built environments for your church or church school. If you’re a pastor, our assessment can be an invaluable stress reducer for you and your executive team.