A Different Kind Of Building Biologist, Part I

This week we had a consultation with Greg Garrard of Shielded Healing for an assessment of non-native Electro-Magnetic Frequencies (EMF) in our house—and a most interesting day it was!

Shielded Healing tries to get our living environments back to the kind of energetically rich environment that respects what our bodies were built for—and that means to be as free as possible from pulsating frequencies.  As Brian, the head of Shielded Healing, explains: “We don’t receive modulated, pulsating digital radio [high frequency] signals in nature. We get analog signals, and they are much weaker. The strongest radio signals that we receive from natural sources from the cosmos are about one hundred billionth of a watt.” Our bodies are attuned to these weak signals—the electromagnetism of the earth, sun, moon and stars. For example, hormone cycles for men and women rise and fall with the moon’s magnetism as well as exposure to sunlight throughout the day and year.  Even microbes inside us rise and fall with the magnetic field from the moon and with the seasons.

Too much “electro-smog” will block the beneficial influence of these weaker frequencies from earth and cosmos. Furthermore, these more intense and chaotic unnatural exposures induce measurable stress responses in the body that trigger well documented oxidative stress and an inflammatory response.

While many of us own meters to detect WiFi and nearby cell towers, a building biologist assesses a whole range of electro-magnetic frequencies, all requiring special meters or detection devices.  Here’s the list of what a good building biologist will look for:

  1. Radio and Microwave Frequencies:  This is what we think of when talking about “electro-smog.”  Really, we should refer to these frequencies at RF (radio frequency) and MF (microwave frequency) rather than EMF, because the latter refers to a broader range, including magnetic fields.
  2. Magnetic Fields: These come off of power lines, improperly shielded electric wires and motors or appliances with large amounts of electromagnetic current.
  3. Electric currents and voltages from the wiring in your house.
  4. Dirty electricity, or superimposed electrical frequencies

In addition, the folks at Shielded Healing check your house for:

  1. Telluric or geopathic current and magnetic fields from the earth. These are subtle and difficult to detect, but do have an influence on our health and wellbeing.
  2. Light flicker from light bulbs and screens (TV, computer and cell phone).

For many years I have been conscious of the baneful influence of “electro-smog.” It began when my late co-author Mary Enig and her husband Jules, a physicist, attended a lecture on the subject in the early 2000s—they came home and removed the electric clock from their bedside table and the electric blanket from their bed. Substituting a battery-powered alarm clock for an electric one—or just unplugging the alarm clock in a hotel room when you are traveling—is one of the simplest things you can do to improve the EMF environment where you sleep. And an electric blanket—which blankets your body with alternating current—is a very bad idea.

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Our house performed well when it came to RF and MF frequencies.  We live in the country with the nearest cell tower over one mile away.  We have wired internet (Fios) and no Wi-Fi in the house. Fios always includes Wi-Fi where it comes into the house, which you have to turn off.  You also need to make sure your computer is set to not seek out the Wi-Fi signal, nor set to Blue Tooth. If you have an EMF meter it should test with a green light all over the house, especially where you sleep and work, and green when held up to the computer screen.  Your printer should be connected to your computer by a wire, not by wireless signal. Greg did pick up a far-away radio tower (there’s a special meter for that) and a weak signal around our weather station monitor, which we keep in a corner of our pantry.

For the phone, we mostly use our landline; we keep the cell phone away from our desks, never put it up to our ears and of course never keep it in the bedroom at night.

I’ll discuss electric currents, magnetic fields and telluric currents in upcoming blogs; this one will focus on a finding we never expected—lots of flicker from our light bulbs!

According to Brian, “Light is visible but much of it is invisible or imperceptible and affects us profoundly. Many of the people we do assessments for who are electrically sensitive see the biggest impact by changing their lighting environment to match more closely what we find in nature with the sun and with fire. We aim for a full-spectrum, zero-flicker and varying intensity lighting environment that matches our natural rise and fall of light in the sky.”

I knew that fluorescent light bulbs put out a lot of tiring flicker. As part of their normal operation fluorescent lamps flash on and off very rapidly – compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) at a rate of more than 20,000 times per second, modern linear fluorescent tubes at more than 5000 times per second, and older style linear fluorescents at 100 times per second. These rates of flickering are well above the level detectable by the human brain, but they are stressful, sometimes contributing to photosensitive epilepsy, Ménière’s disease and migraines.

So of course, I have avoided putting CFLs or any fluorescents in our house—with the exception of a few tubular fluorescent bulbs under the kitchen cabinets for kitchen counter lighting.

But what a surprise to learn that LED and incandescent lightbulbs also flicker, and Greg’s meter for lightbulb flicker went crazy as he walked around the house. Here’s an explanation for this from LED Magazine: “Replacing traditional incandescent and fluorescent lights with more efficient, and longer-lasting LED-based solid-state lighting (SSL) is an undeniable trend in the lighting industry. However, since SSL fixtures are directly connected to the AC [alternating current] line, like with legacy [incandescent] lighting, there is a risk that 100-Hz or 120-Hz flicker could occur as a result of driving current ripple at the supply’s output. Flicker can make people uncomfortable, causing headaches and other maladies even though the human eye may not detect the flicker. Careful LED driver design can minimize flicker and help ensure that SSL delivers on its energy-efficiency promise through broad deployment. Indeed, LED and luminaire manufacturers are keen to solve the flicker problem, and they have turned largely to the driver manufacturers for a solution because ultimately the driver determines the extent of flicker.”  The driver is housed in the base of the bulb, and apparently can make all the difference.

Only one bulb in our house didn’t flicker—a tubular incandescent bulb in the piano light. It occurs to me that this type of bulb—which is very bright–could replace tubular under-cabinet fluorescent bulbs.

Tubular incandescent bulb

By the way, here’s a video that will show how you can use the camera on your cell phone to determine whether any light bulb or screen is flickering.

Shielded healing recommends the following zero-flicker light bulbs:

Unfortunately, there is no zero-flicker incandescent candelabra bulb currently available, although Chromalux makes a full-spectrum candelabra bulb.

Shielded Healing also sells red infrared lights that you can place in your work and living spaces, which override the flicker from your lightbulbs, such as the Hooga desk lamp or their own zero-EMF photon light. And steady, nonflickering sunlight coming through a window also overrides all the irritating flicker. But at night, the flicker will reflect off your window panes, especially if they are double glazed, for a double whammy.

Cell phone, computer and TV screens can also flicker.  Greg found no flicker on my laptop screen but mild flicker off my husband’s computer. The company recommends certain models of Vizio TV screens, which do not flicker and are widely available. Solving the flicker problem in your house need not be super expensive—just replace regular bulbs with non-flickering ones as they burn out (although the zero-flicker bulbs are considerably more expensive than normal ones). And a wonderful inexpensive solution for your desk is a battery powdered red reading light, such as this one, which sells for $12.95 and doesn’t flicker.

Just turn off all the other lights in your bedroom and read by this warm and cozy light. You’ll find that you sleep better using it.

In my next blog, I’ll talk about reducing non-native electric currents and magnetic fields in your house and office.

If you would like an assessment performed for your home, business, new construction, etc., you can receive a $100 discount on this service from Shielded Healing by using the discount code SALLY100.

The Weston A. Price Foundation is your source of accurate information on diet and health. Visit their website at westonaprice.org.

Disclosure: This site contains affiliate links to a few select products I use, enjoy or recommend. I may receive a small commission for purchases made through these links, and your purchase supports companies and products I believe in.

Author: Sally Fallon Morell

Sally Fallon Morell is best known as the author of Nourishing Traditions®: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats. This well-researched, thought-provoking guide to traditional foods contains a startling message: animal fats and cholesterol are not villains but vital factors in the diet, necessary for normal growth, proper function of the brain and nervous system, protection from disease and optimum energy levels.

3 thoughts on “A Different Kind Of Building Biologist, Part I”

  1. Look here for a BB consultant near you. https://buildingbiologyinstitute.org/ Building Biology originated in Germany many decades ago and is based upon sound science. Most often simple easy and cheap changes in your home and how you use it will make a huge difference in the health of all living within. There is no absolute, no perfect BB home, so try to achieve ‘As Low As Reasonably Achievable’ within your means and situation. Every bit counts.

  2. This is a fantstic artricle. So much here that even though I have been studying this topic I still had big gaps. I am making changes starting today. Thank you!

  3. The likely reason that the piano light did not register a flicker is because it is high wattage. Normal 60HZ (US) AC voltage passes through a zero point 120 times per second. During such times, the incandescent bulb cools off for a few milliseconds. Since the higher wattage bulbs are running at a higher rate, they can sustain the incandescence long enough to ride through and thus appear without flicker.

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