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Health & Fit Fact check: A magnetic shield will not protect cellphone users from EMF radiation

21:46  12 july  2020
21:46  12 july  2020 Source:   usatoday.com

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The claim: The smartDOT, a magnet that attaches to electronic devices, protects against dangerous EMF radiation

A May 28 Facebook post to the page "Stop 5G Charleston" by user Kelly Fitzgerald Fowler brought renewed attention to the smartDOT device, which promises to protect against electric and magnetic fields, or EMF radiation.

Fowler posted a link to a sponsored blog entry for smartDOT. The entry claims that "scientists have finally discovered a safe and reliable way to protect us from harmful phone radiation." That method is the smartDOT, a "breakthrough anti-radiation device" developed by scientists in the UK. The tiny magnet neutralizes EMF radiation when attached to a EMF-transmitting device — like a phone, laptop or baby monitor — through entrainment, the ad claims.

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"Increased energy, better moods, and fewer headaches" are also attributed to the smartDOT.

"Can I get some opinions on these devices? Has anyone looked into them? It says it works against 5G," Fowler wrote. She did not respond to a request for comment from USA TODAY.

What are EMFs?

Electric and magnetic fields — EMFs — are on the spectrum of electromagnetic radiation extending from static to X-rays, according to the World Health Organization. The WHO also observes that most of the population is exposed to EMFs and that exposure levels increase with technological advances.

A cellphone is an example of a device that releases EMFs as radio waves, a form of non-ionizing radiation, from its antenna.

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How do they affect people?

The energy can be transferred to the body, according to the National Cancer Institute, but there is no consistent evidence linking non-ionizing radiation to increased cancer risk in humans.

More research is required to determine whether EMFs are detrimental to human health, according to the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences.

"Currently, scientific evidence has not conclusively linked cell phone use with any adverse human health problems, although scientists admit that more research is needed," the NIEHS site states.

The toxicology program for the institute released a 2018 report on findings that linked high exposure to radio frequency radiation — the type used in 2G and 3G cellphones — to cancerous tumors in male rats. However, the researchers warned the results are not comparable to human cellphone usage.

“In our studies, rats and mice received radio frequency radiation across their whole bodies. By contrast, people are mostly exposed in specific local tissues close to where they hold the phone," institute senior scientist John Bucher said. "In addition, the exposure levels and durations in our studies were greater than what people experience."

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Studies to back up smartDOT claims

The smartDOT ad cites a 2015 study from the journal Stem Cell Research on effects of low-frequency electromagnetic fields on human bone marrow. The study's authors state that endogenous, or internal, EMF frequencies act on a molecular level, yet can be entrained through harmonic resonance to follow exogenous (external) frequencies.

In other words, as the smartDOT ad explains, "This magnet uses a scientific process called 'entrainment' to capture the radiation emitted by your device – which means the smartDOT neutralizes EMF radiation before it affects your body."

The parent company of smartDOT, energyDOTS, ties the product's claims to several "independent" tests: blood microscopy, thermal imaging, polycontrast interference photography and gas discharge visualization testing.

The company also claims that chickpeas exposed to EMF radiation from a cellphone exhibited stunted growth compared to plants grown near a cellphone protected by the smartDOT.

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EMFs and blood cells

The blood microscopy experiment funded by energyDOTS found "highly significant" changes in red blood cells that were stacked or chained due to possible environmental stressors. Some cells changed behavior and became "free floating" after exposure to the elecroDOT (now smartDOT) device, according to the study.

But it is difficult to generalize these results to a larger population because the researchers conducted blood tests on only 15 adults with "varying degrees of electro-sensitivity and health," the study states.

Moreover, a study of the effects of low frequency magnetic fields on the white- and red blood cell levels of welders did not find a clinically significant difference between the welders and the control group. The study is one of the few that examined how electromagnetic fields might affect blood cell behavior, according to a review article in the Hematology & Infusion International Journal. The only other study referencing human subjects as an example studied microwaves. However, cellphones emit much lower electromagnetic frequencies than microwaves, according to the American Cancer Society.

Does it lower temperatures?

EnergyDOTS also claims the smartDOT "significantly reduces" heating effects while using a phone and provides images from independent thermal testing results as proof. However, it appears their Medical Thermal Imaging Study Report is no longer available.

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There is evidence that at least 15 minutes of exposure to radio frequency waves from cellphones increases brain tissue temperature in cows, providing "improper effects on the brain health," according to a study in the International Journal of Preventive Medicine. Another study observed that the thermal effect of radiofrequency waves on cows' brains was reduced by simply increasing the distance between the cellphone and the brain tissue. With the smartDOT, this precautionary step isn't necessary, according to the company.

Tests on the 'human biofield'

EnergyDOTS conducted a polycontrast interference photography, or PIP, test to show possible imbalances in the human biofield, which is comprised of measurable electromagnetic energy, according to the company. However, its independent "bioDOT PIP sequences" is a series of images without an explainer.

PIP was invented by Harry Oldfield, who devised the imaging technique to capture energy moving around the body, according to the sixth edition of "Holistic Nursing: A Handbook for Practice." This human imaging field, or "aura," is not supported by scientific evidence, according to a study conducted by the University of Granada.

A test to measure chakras

Gas discharge visualization, or GDV, appears to be another imaging technique without basis in science. Researchers in the energyDOTS independent study measured changes in human energy fields and chakras to "prove the efficacy of electrodot (SolarWind) Electromagnetic Harmonisers over negative effects of mobile phone use."

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Also known as "Kirlian photography" after its inventor Seymon Kirlian, GDV is actually a collection of techniques used to photograph electric corona discharges, explains an article in business and technology magazine Wired. Some believe GDV can capture a person's aura on film, according to the article, but there is no scientific evidence to support this claim.

Meanwhile, the Federal Trade Commission states there is no scientific proof that anti-radiation "shields" significantly reduce exposure from EMF emissions because the entire phone emits electromagnetic waves. Products that make this claim could instead interfere with the phone's signal, causing the device to emit more radiation to locate service, according to the FTC.

Our rating: Partly false

We rate the claim that the smartDOT reduces exposure to harmful EMF radiation as PARTLY FALSE. The brand makes misleading claims, including citing studies that are not based on science, funded by the manufacturer or are not directly related to the product's function. Agencies like the National Cancer Institute and the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences have not discovered a direct link between EMFs and diseases affecting humans. The Federal Trade Commission notes there is no scientific proof that a shield would reduce EMF waves. Independent tests promoted by the company involve techniques that are not backed up by scientific evidence.

Our fact-check sources:

  • World Health Organization, "Electromagnetic Fields"
  • Federal Trade Commission, "Cell Phone Radiation Scams"
  • Stem Cell Research, "The effect of low-frequency electromagnetic field on human bone marrow stem/progenitor cell differentiation"
  • National Cancer Institute, "Cell Phones and Cancer Risk"
  • Stop 5G Charleston
  • CNN Business, "The big differences between 4G and 5G"
  • National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences, "Electric & Magnetic Fields"
  • NIEHS, "High Exposure to Radio Frequency Radiation Associated With Cancer in Male Rats"
  • PubMed.gov, "Effects of Extremely Low Frequency Electromagnetic Fields on Hematologic and Immunologic Parameters in Welders"
  • Hematology & Transfusion International Journal, "Disturbance in haematological parameters induced by exposure to electromagnetic fields"
  • Research Journal of Pharmaceutical, Biological and Chemical Sciences, "In vitro study of effect of radiation emitted by mobile phone on osmotic fragility and other blood parameters"
  • American Cancer Society, "Radiofrequency (RF) Radiation"
  • International Journal of Preventative Medicine, "Evaluating Temperature Changes of Brain Tissue Due to Induced Heating of Cell Phone Waves"
  • Holistic Nursing: A Handbook for Practice, 6th Edition
  • Science Daily, "Synesthesia may explain healers claims of seeing people's 'aura'"
  • WIRED, "Aura Portraits Make Good Art, Bad Science"

Thank you for supporting our journalism. You can subscribe to our print edition, ad-free app or electronic newspaper replica here.

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Our fact check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: A magnetic shield will not protect cellphone users from EMF radiation


Gallery: Doctors in Korea invented a remote-controlled robot that enables contactless collection of COVID-19 test samples — here's how it works (Business Insider)

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These Two Beloved Pizza Chains Are Close To Bankruptcy .
The parent company of two pizza brands Americans adore recently released its latest financial filing and the results are bleak.Two such establishments that are currently fighting for survival are Rave Restaurant Group's own fast-casual pizza restaurant, Pie Five as well as the pizza buffet chain, Pizza Inn. According to the parent company's most recent financial filing, the pandemic has "dramatically reduced aggregate in-store retail sales at Buffet Units and Pie Five Units" and despite increased takeout and delivery sales, it's not enough to keep both brands stable.

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