/ Worksite Wellness / An Invisible Enemy with Visible Effects: Electromagnetic Fields

An Invisible Enemy with Visible Effects: Electromagnetic Fields

Michael Shaw

A woman using a smartphone

By promoting mobility and making wellness a priority, companies may in fact be worsening the health of their workers by giving them—and encouraging them to use—mobile devices. This is not an example of bad intentions but the unintentional result of forces we do not see and illnesses we do not know to connect to the wireless electronics that surround us. I refer, specifically, to electromagnetic fields (EMFs), which bombard our bodies and pierce our brains without the slightest incision.

Hence the paradox concerning corporate wellness: The very devices that free workers from sitting at their desks—and mobilize them by allowing them to talk business as they walk and work outside—are the same devices that may be hazardous to their health. More ironic is the image of the worker who uses a smartphone to track his health, while he unknowingly makes himself sick by fiddling with his phone or putting it to his ear.

The headaches and nausea that may ensue, in addition to the fatigue and forlorn attitude that many may develop, may be due to EMF.

The question we must ask ourselves is this: How can we be well enough to work and safe enough to work without interference from EMF?

The answer begins with knowing enough about EMF to know we should ask this question. (A confession: Despite my training as a scientist, I did not initially know I should ask this question, either. But I knew then, and I say now, that good science is the product of good research.)

The more we understand the potential health hazards of EMF, the more eager we will be to guard against this threat. The more we study this subject, the more likely we will be to use those things that complement how we live without compromising our quality of life; which is to say companies that believe in wellness need to support individuals who want to be well and immune, so to speak, from EMF.

Education is, then, essential to this effort.

Employers should inform their employees about this issue. They should sound the alarm without being alarmists, since workers need not cast their cell phones and laptops aside. They need not forsake their appliances and apply themselves to realizing some pre-modern ideal, which is neither idyllic nor realistic.

They must, however, know what to do about EMF.

They must be aware that what looks safe is not necessarily secure; that the appearance of a healthy work environment is not proof of workers who are safe; that a productive workforce can succumb to forces they do not see and cannot hear.

Above all, wellness begins with awareness.

Nowhere is that maxim more relevant—I know of no other place where that truth is timelier—than it is in the workplace.

Our job is to work to educate people about EMF, so they can be well.

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