Let’s talk about flying radiation.
Not radiation that's flying, but specifically, airplane radiation. Flying anywhere practically anytime is simply part of our modern world--as is all kinds of cool technology. But that technology brings with it some side-effects.
Take a wild guess: like increased of EMF Radiation. Absolutely. At Tech Wellness, we focus most on the kind of EMF that's increased wildly in the last two decades. Specifically, the radio frequency radiation from Wireless.
Recently, I took my trusty meters to JFK to do a little research of my own and see where high frequency EMF radiation hotspots can be found. Watch the video above to see my trip through the airport and some easy solutions. Then read below! :)
First Stop: Pass on the X-Ray Radiation Before Flying
At the security line, we are always required to go through a screening process. This is for our own safety during travel, but ironically X-Rays increase our danger by exposing us to unnecessary radiation. You'll see in from the chart below how the amount of ionizing radiation we're exposed to adds up.
Tip 1: I have opted out of X-Ray screening for almost a decade now. I always have such interesting conversations with those around me about X-Ray screening in the security line. You can ask to have a pat-down in a private room, or if you're like me, and it's not that big of a deal, you can get your personal screening in public to save time. Also, opting out means you get to skip the line! Sometimes, I find I get through security faster when I don't X-RAY!!
Second Stop: Good News! Low RF-Radiation at the Airplane GateJust passed security is where we'd expect to be completely surrounded by RF Radiation, with wireless cameras, the x-ray screening machines and folks accessing airport WiFi, could all add up. But, good news, as you'll see in the video!
August only uses "calibrated" meters to measure RF Radiation See detail here
Third Stop: Airport Charging Station Radiation Galore
I was shocked by the high reading of RF Radiation at the charging stations! The emissions are way too high, especially when you take into account the magnetic EMFs and the RF radiation combined. If you're getting consistent exposure at a significant level, magnetic energy can be an EMF to be concerned about. Now, what's a significant level? Well, the World Health Organization published a paper (link in research)noting two studies that showed children who had exposures of 3. to 4. on a meter like the one I use in my video had been twice as likely to get childhood leukemia. The meter read just about 2 at the charging station and for me, that's too much exposure for a consistent period of time. Now add that to the RF radiation that's being measured by the other meter, and you have a good reason to:
Tip 2: Make sure your devices are fully charged before you travel. If you have a long journey, bring a portable charger or turn your phone on low battery mode to conserve it. If you must charge your device, step away from the charging station.
Fourth Stop: EMF check Boarding the AirplaneThere are so many sources of EMF that we don’t even see when we travel on a plane. Also, electrical engineers are allowed to change the voltage on a plane! EMF sources with high voltage = strong electric fields that can enter your body! EMF on a plane can be emitted by:
- Jet Engines
- Cockpit computers
- Electrical wiring and sensors
- Communication equipment
- Static electricity in fuselage
Most importantly, the second you step into an airplane, you are essentially stepping into a metal box. This magnifies the effects of RF radiation; a concept called the Faraday cage effect where radiation is, “trapped in a metal enclosure which exacerbates the effects of this radiation.” In my video, you can see how the radiationlevels change from my time on the ground to in the air. When you’re waiting for the plane to take off, the combination of the cell phones plus the metal intensification creates high levels of RF radiation between 3 and 6 micro-watts per centimeter squared. It makes sense that the readings are so high--think about how many people are on their devices while waiting for their flight to take off!
Tip 3: Don’t be in a hurry to get on the plane. Less time spent on the plane = less time trapped with EMF/RF radiation exposure! Also, the windows are a bit of a break in the planes "metal cage" and I discovered the reading was a bit lower--so I'm choosing a window seat from now on.
Fifth Stop: RF while Flying . . .or just about to Fly
Then, just prior to taking off, came "the announcement" and off went all the devices. AHH! Airplane mode! The RF radiation plummeted down to .3 to .1... the least amount of RF exposure I've experienced on the entire trip. BUT NOW, many airplanes have WiFi available on board. WiFi Radiation can penetrate anything that stands in its path and it’s super difficult to get away from. A safer distance from the actual WiFi is a minimum of 5'. But, the RF is still radiating from the person using their device to access the WiFi and the WiFi itself. Both WiFi and device are sending/receiving signal. That means the overall ambient level of RF radiation is increasing, yet the closer you get to someone just using the WiFi from their device, the closer you are to the radiation yourself.
Please Sir, Will You Be So Kind To Just Not...
Yeah, it was my husband so it was chill. But the video shows a great demo of what happens to your personal space when the guy next to you pulls out his laptop en route and accesses that WiFi. You know, this reminds me a lot of second-hand smoking. I'm thinking "second-hand RF Radiation" is really a thing. Secondhand happens when you can't get away from the RF radiation that a fellow human is responsible for. In this case, that's the people close by in tight quarters, on their cellphones, laptops or tablets. WiFi on planes has brought to light another issue--privacy! Go-Go Wireless, a common in-flight service, is not a secure provider and can be easily hacked.
Tip 4: Avoid using WiFi on a plane. Also, try to choose planes without WiFi, about 64% are still WiFi free. Every time you book a flight, it will list whether or not a plane has WiFi In order to find WiFi free flights, I would suggest calling the airline to book your flight.
Then There's That Cosmic Stuff
When you’re in the air, another concern is the exposure from cosmic rays. Cosmic rays come from stars, including our sun, and constantly pass through us and around us. From the ground, cosmic rays are not dangerous but at higher altitudes, like when you’re in a plane, these small exposures become much greater. Scientists and medical experts have calculated "safe" annual exposure levels in this chart. Thus, always at Tech Wellness, we recommend the mindful approach to any kind of EMF exposure. It's best to limit as much as you can, whenever you can, which leads us to our final tip:
Tip 5: Put your devices away! Take the time on a travel day to read a good book or magazine article, talk to the person sitting next to you, draw or write in a sketchbook, or take a beauty-rest before your journey begins!
Happy travels, friends!