Faraday bags, named after the scientist, Michael Faraday, these bags are made from materials that block electric fields designed to protect information from being skimmed and hacked through radio frequencies. A true Faraday bag will block the signal entirely, which may be useful in certain situations.
But for our purposes, since placing a cell phone on Airplane Mode, essentially achieves the same, some companies have realized that by blocking only one side of a Faraday Pouch, we can still get calls, texts, emails, and updates, while protecting ourselves from the radiation on the other side of a cell phone, while it’s in your pocket.
Faraday Bags and Pouches – The Double Edged Sword
At some point each of us has or hopefully will, wake up to the realization that our cell phones are a double edged sword. While providing us with near magical powers to connect, navigate, amuse, research, photograph, educate, purchase, etc, and I do mean etc; they also expose us to radio frequency radiation, classified as a Group 2B, possible human carcinogen by the World Health Organization. (1)
The story of how this has come to pass is already old news to many of us in the know, and the widespread release of cellphones without pre market safety testing was the industry’s first touchdown.
They scored again by blanketing the public with propaganda focused on disassociating even the most educated, street smart, self taught, business savvy, entrepreneurs, Republicans, Democrats, Liberals, wealthy, middle class, broke, athletic, sickly, adventurous, or introverted, from the other side of that double edged sword.
And today, for many cell phone users, there’s a slight awareness that using it may be harmful. But it ends there.
Having gotten past the first obstacle of safety regulations, with the laughable thermal effects SAR limit of 1.6 W/kg, the industry was able to market phones with little to no concern over their non thermal impacts. And within a short time, it has infused our lives with technical, social, and business needs for such massive access, that now if you don’t have a cell phone, in some cases, you are at a distinct disadvantage to others, or worse, you may think you are.
Among children, this is even more keenly felt, where expectations from peers of having a phone can directly affect a child’s esteem and social standing. Hold off as long as you can mom and dad!
And because, gentlemen, radio frequency in your pocket, will lower sperm count, motility and cause DNA fragmentation, (2) if you plan on having children, then you should take heed.
And ladies don’t get a free pass on this one.
A 2017 study on animals revealed the radiation from cell phones will reduce the amount of eggs in the ovaries (3).
In another study, where females were exposed to higher magnetic field levels (which cell phones also emit) they had a three times increased risk of miscarriage. (4)
A more recent study by De-Kun Li, MD, PhD, a principal investigator of a 2017 paper, found “evidence from a human population that magnetic field non-ionizing radiation could have adverse biological impacts on human health” (5).
I’m only touching on this. For a much deeper dive check out Lloyd’s article cell phones and female infertility
Of course if you just research this yourself, there’s a bit of rubbish you must wade through to get to the sobering truth these days. Why is that?
The EMF Misinformation Campaign
Here’s a perfect example of how the waters are muddied.
A Dr. Hotaling, is quoted in an article entitled “No Guys, Your Cell Phone Is Not Making You Infertile” arguing [he’s] never seen conclusive data that would lead [him] to advise a patient against carrying a cellphone in his pocket.” Comforting? (6)
Looking at Dr Hotaling’s curriculum vitae, I noticed in 2013, one year before publishing this article, he won best poster for a Smart Phone App for diagnosing a condition in his field. (7)
Might it be hard for him to side with the research linking cell phones and infertility after that? Has he any background in EMFs? Dr Hotaling claims there is inconclusive evidence, and calls for more studies.
More EMF studies?
John Violanti wrote about the hazards of cops using radar in Dying For The Job: Police Work Exposure and Health: “In 1992, the FDA issued a warning that police officers should not place the front surface of a radar unit within 6 inches of any body part while transmitting. (8)
That was 1992. There’s been numerous EMF studies since then. The call for more studies is a delay tactic straight from the playbook of Big Tobacco, Big Oil, Big Pharma, and now, Big Cellular, which keeps the public at ease and the corporations, in this case, Telecom, churning out more and more powerful and unregulated products.
Another voice of reason in this quagmire is Associate Professor Timothy J. Jorgensen, Director of the Health Physics and Radiation Protection Graduate Program at Georgetown University, who claims that radio frequency has never made people infertile in the past, even those in the Radar Industry; therefore, not to worry.
Compounding his ignorance, he goes on to add this bit of advice: “But if you are still concerned about radio waves affecting your fertility, why not just carry your cellphone in your shirt pocket rather than your pants, and let your testicles be? “(9) A man after your own heart.
The basic truth about EMFs and health, is that if you haven’t studied it, you don’t understand it. Not if you’re an esteemed Urologist, or even a Professor of Radiation.
Distance Is Your Friend
Most people carry phones all day, likely in their pants pocket, despite the guidelines to keep your phone 5 mm from your body that are conveniently buried under General, then About, then Legal section of your phone.
Remember, because the first rule of safety with EMFs is that distance is your friend, girls and women have a better option to keep their phones in their bags.
The need to own a phone is augmented only by the desire to have the next best one, with more data, speed and radiation. Ah yes, radiation. We can’t have one without the other. So choosing to carry around a cell phone is a deal with the devil that you can still soften, some.
Enter: the Faraday pouch.
But how much?
I tested a few of these to check how well they worked. I chose several top selling pouches that are shielded only on one side, allowing a signal to reach your phone, but shielding the radiation from hitting you.
Accounting for background levels, I tested an iPhone X, an iPhone 8+, and an Android Moto E5. Faraday pouches tested were: RadiArmor, Shield Your Body, and Defender Shield. I used a Safe and Sound Pro Meter, with no other variables. Units are in microwatts per meter squared (µW/m²). I then used a Trifield TF2 to measure Magnetic Fields.
Notes: Peak average readings were average signals RF, while Max readings were the highest signals recorded. The iPhone 10 did not entirely fit into the SYB case and this likely hindered its results, though it still performed well.
Methodology: I set each phone on a surface away from RF sources and took initial reading by placing Safe and Sound Pro directly on top of phone, with antenna of phone at top, directly under meter. This gave me the highest readings. I then placed each phone in a pouch and remeasured on the back of the pouch (the side facing the leg when inserted in the pocket), and remeasured, laying the meter atop the phone pouch. I waited for three minutes and took the Peak Average, then the Max reading.
If Wifi were turned on, the readings would be higher. But I only measured with the regular phone settings with the Data on, and not the Wifi. And I did not measure it when calls or texts were coming in. This would also give you occasional higher bursts. But the ratio of having no calls/texts, to receiving actual calls/texts is much much greater, so I gave the pouch a true measure of how it handles the phone, simply being a phone, and sending out its own roaming signals.
For Magnetic Fields, I measured in the same way. First the phone, then with the TF2 meter laying atop the phone, then putting it in each pouch, and remeasuring on the reverse side again.
Faraday Bags For EMF Protection
I also measured two Faraday Bags: The Goodnight Bag from Lessemf and the Mission Darkness Phone Shield. These are three and four times the size of a phone pouch, each made with double layer blends of blocking material.
Both bags prevent phones from receiving a signal altogether, so they are in a separate category from the pouches. They are often sold with data security in mind, to protect phones and other devices within law enforcement, military, business and travel, providing anti-hacking & anti-tracking assurance. And they certainly stopped outgoing and incoming signals in my tests, as revealed by these RF reductions.
Final Thoughts On Faraday Bags and Pouches
Shield Your Body makes it clear on their Website, that: “Using EMF protection to deflect harmful radio frequency waves is not a perfect solution. That’s why we always say that the best thing you can do is follow two rules: minimize your use of EMF-emitting devices and maximize your distance from them when you do have to use them.”
These Faraday pouches work. They significantly reduce the RF and magnetic fields one is exposed to.
The best option is still to keep your phone in a satchel or pocketbook or in your pocket on airplane mode and in a pouch. But if you won’t switch it to airplane mode, and must carry your phone in your pocket, or you absolutely can’t get your teen to do so, then using one of these pouches will offer you a considerable degree of protection from RF and in magnetic fields, in most cases.
What is a good RF reading?
For a phone in your pocket? A good RF reading would be zero. But your phone would have to be off.
Next option would be to put your phone on Airplane Mode, which would give you zero RF, but a Magnetic Field in some cases that is also too high.
The rub is that because a cell phone is in your pocket likely eight or more hours a day, it should be held to the more stringent guidelines Building Biologist have set for sleeping exposure, which is less than 10 µW/m².
This is because it subjects users to the Three D’s:
distance–too close, degree — too high, and duration — too long.
So looking over the results above, even with a pouch, you are still overexposed to RF by keeping your cell phone in your pocket. Hats off to these companies for trying to protect us. These phones are just too powerful to keep next to our bodies.
Many thanks to Harrison Barritt for this guest post.
Harrison Barritt has been an educator for twenty years and lives in the Hudson Valley, New York with his family. After becoming sensitive to EMFs in 2005, he began an extensive exploration and education into understanding and reducing daily exposures.
Since 2010 he has been conducting EMF testing and mitigation in homes, apartments, dorms, offices, schools and for pre-purchase decision making.
Harrison also offers coaching in sensitivity reduction training, meditation instruction and counseling. His website is Lessemfsathome.com
Sources and Bibliography
1. Hardell, Lennart. “World Health Organization, radiofrequency radiation and health – a hard nut to crack (Review).” International journal of oncology vol. 51,2 (2017): 405-413. doi:10.3892/ijo.2017.4046
2. Cent European J Urol. 2014; 67(1): 65–71. Published online 2014 Apr 17. doi: 10.5173/ceju.2014.01.art14
3. Shahin S, Singh SP, Chaturvedi CM. Mobile phone (1800 MHz) radiation impairs female reproduction in mice, Mus musculus, through stress induced inhibition of ovarian and uterine activity. Reprod Toxicol [Internet]. 2017 [cited 2017 Dec 25]; 73: 41–60. doi: 10.1016/j.reprotox.2017.08.001
4. Li D-K, Chen H, Ferber JR, Odouli R, Quesenberry C. Exposure to Magnetic Field Non-Ionizing Radiation and the Risk of Miscarriage: A Prospective Cohort Study. Sci Rep [Internet]. Nature Publishing Group; 2017 [cited 2017 Dec 27]; 7: 17541. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-16623-8.
5. Disruption of the ovarian follicle reservoir of prepubertal rats following prenatal exposure to a continuous 900-MHz electromagnetic field.Int J Radiat Biol
2016 Jun;92(6):329-37. doi: 10.3109/09553002.2016.1152415. Epub 2016 Mar 23
J Sex Med. 2013 Jul;10(7):1867-73. doi: 10.1111/jsm.12136. Epub 2013 Apr 3.
8. Violanti, John M. Dying for the Job: Police Work Exposure and Health. Charles C. Thomas, Publisher, Ltd., 2014.