Healthier Home

Be Smart about Smart Meters

Smart meters are a type of meter that is used to measure your electric, gas or water usage.

Utility companies have been able to save money by reducing the amount of staff employees needed to drive around checking meters manually by instead installing smart meters that allow them to read your usage utilizing electromagnetic fields (EMFs). Not only did this program put thousands of employees out of work but if you live in the state of California, it was a billion dollar project back authorized by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) in 2012 when it was initiated to have all the meters changed out to smart meters. A smart move to now have this type of radio frequency radiation put our health at risk within our own homes.  

We are living in a world surrounded by electromagnetic fields. Unfortunately it is affecting our health, including our immune system but it is also linked to an environmental factor that is putting us at an increased risk for cancer. There are some levels of exposure that we have no control over, like how many antenna towers we are living near which you can check out that information here, unless you are planning to move this would be vital information to research prior to choosing a real estate location. However, if you are a home owner, you have basic legal right to safety and health within your home to make modifiable changes. One of these changes is requesting that the smart meters be changed out for analog meters.

While my son was in treatment, I called my utility companies and told them I wanted to have my smart meters changed to analog. To my surprise it was not as much of a hassle as I thought it would be. The phone call took about 10 minutes of my time. One company did ask why I wanted to have it changed, for which I told them my son’s diagnosis and the health concern it poses, which in hindsight I am not even sure that they are entitled to know why you would want to have it changed. All utilities companies did have me pay an initial ‘opt-out fee’ and then said that I would be charged a monthly fee of $10. Yes this small fee can definitely add up over time but it is a small price to pay in order to mitigate your exposure and reduce any potential health risks. From the time I placed the phone call to initiate the request it took only about a week to have a technician at my house to change the meters.

A blog post from Lloyd Burrell includes an informative video from Dr. Karl Manet who is both a medical doctor and an engineer talks about the impact that smart meters, as well as other EMF emitting devices, have on our health. He also includes tips on how to shield yourself from radiation emitted from a smart meter if for whatever reason you are not able to have it removed (i.e. you live in an apartment building) which he states to “shield the wall behind the smart meter to prevent the smart meter radiation penetrating your home. There are several ways of doing this, shielding paint is one way. The disadvantage is that it requires quite a lot of decorating type work and it only shields the room the room where you have applied the shielding material.”

While there are many sources of EMF that we are exposed to on a daily basis that we have no control over, there are still a great amount of factors which we can change. If you are looking for a great book on EMFs and tips on how you can reduce your exposure, Defender Shield’s book: Radiation Nation: Fallout of Modern Technology – Your Complete Guide to EMF Protection & Safety: The Proven Health Risks of Electromagnetic Radiation (EMF) & What to Do Protect Yourself & Family is a great resource.

Healthier Home

Shining Some Light on Our Health

Naturally we gravitate towards purchasing light bulbs that are energy efficient, long lasting or perhaps the best for our budget. It is not just a matter of choosing a light source but knowing exactly what we are being exposed to when doing so.

Certain artificial lights expose us to harmful UV radiation, radio frequency radiation. This can have a negative effect on our overall health by damaging negative skin cells, eye problems with damaging the retina, causing headaches, disrupting hormone function and most importantly putting us at risk for cancer.

Amongst the choices out there of light bulbs (incandescent, halogen, LED and CFL), it has been found that incandescent light bulbs are the best option for our health, halogen being the second option. Here is a breakdown of some pros and cons of each:

Incandescent

  • Pros
    • Inexpensive
    • Good color rendering: CRI of 100 which is the best possible
  • Cons
    • Not energy efficient (90% of energy goes to heat, 10% makes visible light)
    • Average lamp life: 750 – 1000 hrs (standard household bulb)

Halogen

  • Pros
    • Inexpensive
    • More efficient than incandescents, can produce more light using the same amount of power
  • Cons
    • The bulb is filled with a halogen gas that keeps the tungsten filament from burning down which poses a higher risk for a fire

LED (light-emitting diodes)

CFL (compact fluorescent light)

  • Pros
    • Energy efficient
    • May be dimmable but need to make sure that the dimmer switch is rated for use with CFLs
  • Cons
    • Not as great of a color light quality as incandescent
    • If they have to be installed upside down (i.e. a porch lamp) it shortens the life of the bulb
    • Contain mercury! When a bulb breaks in your home, some of this mercury may be released as mercury vapor. Needs special care when cleaning up a broken CFL lightbulb. Air out the room for 5-10 minutes by opening a window or door to the outdoor environment. Shut off the central forced air heating/air-conditioning system, if you have one and leave off for several hours. Vacuuming is not recommended unless broken glass remains after all other cleanup steps have been taken.  Vacuuming could spread mercury-containing powder or mercury vapor.

The sad truth is that regardless of how much research is out there to support how incandescent or halogen light bulbs are the best for our health, electricity companies are still out there promoting rebates and encouraging their consumers to switch them out for their energy efficient counterparts in order to save money. As we know our health should be our largest investment. If we proactively make changes now to ensure our well-being, we are likely to save thousands of dollars in the future on medical office visits, prescriptions, dealing with chronic conditions or yet worse cancer. Sure you may need to replace these light bulbs more frequently than others but that is a small price to pay in comparison.

When shopping for light bulbs look out for this label with the lighting facts. If a lightbulb contains mercury the label will clearly indicate it.

Tip: If you are looking for a way to still save on electricity, using outlet timers are the perfect way to not only save energy but also reduce the amount of EMFs (electromagnetic fields) you are exposed to within you home during sleep hours. This can also help you achieve a better level of deep sleep as melatonin levels are less disrupted.

Medical Products

Emergency Medical Transportation

Emergency medical transportation can refer to any method of transportation equipped with the medical equipment necessary in order to adequately provide life sustaining measures to safely move a person from one location to a facility where they can be appropriately treated for their level of acuity and medical condition.


“A medical emergency is an event that you reasonably believe threatens your or someone else’s life or limb in such a manner that immediate medical care is needed to prevent death or serious impairment of health. A medical emergency includes severe pain, bad injury, a serious illness, or a medical condition that is quickly getting much worse.” 


The highest level of emergency transportation will require air transport. An air ambulance may be a helicopter or an airplane; its mission is to ensure the best possible medical care during transport of a patient to a medical center or hospital equipped to best deal with the condition, injury or illness within the fastest time frame.

Of course the cost of any type of emergency transportation is always a factor. Our emergency helicopter transportation cost was $33k. Fortunately the insurance company covered the cost completely. Insurance policies all differ, some may not cover the cost, some many cover portions of the transportation and others will cover the entire bill. For the most part, if an air ambulance is deemed medically necessary, and there is no other way for the patient to receive the care, diagnosis or treatment, then it may be covered by a travel or health insurance plan that covers the cost of air ambulances. It is always good to look over your health care insurance plan and know what benefits you are entitled to, especially when renewing or switching to a new plan. Most people opt out of this option as they feel like it is something will never utilize in order to save money but let me tell you out of personal experience, you never know when you will be in that situation. It is always a good idea to choose a policy that offers air ambulance coverage with lower out-of-pocket expenses, reasonable deductibles and the co-insurance that works best for you.

They say most emergency situations tend to happen close to home but what do you know if you are far from home or traveling? Most people when traveling think about only the enjoyment that comes along with planning the trip. But never do we truly sit down and think about the what ifs or how to be prepared in case of an emergency. When you’re planning a trip, especially something overseas or internationally where you medical insurance plan may not be covered or differ you should always think about buying a travel medical insurance plan. In addition to the simple travel insurance that we often opt to purchase to cover our expenses in case we have an emergency and need to cancel those plans, it is quite more important to also consider obtaining emergency travel medical insurance and ensure it has the emergency medical transportation benefit (which some call medical evacuation insurance). The benefit limit can be as high as $500,000 or $1 million, depending on which plan you choose. You might wonder why these limits are so high, well unfortunately emergency medical transportation overseas can be extremely expensive. What could be saving you some money now, could be costing you a fortune later. The costs of emergency transportation depend on several factors: where you are  located, what resources are available in that area, the severity of your medical emergency (to determine if you will require basic or advance life support transportation), the type of transportation utilized and the location of the nearest medical facility that can safely treat you. That being said, emergency medical transportation is almost never cheap, so you will want to make sure you are covered!

Another thing to also include in your travel plans are making sure you know where the nearest urgent care and hospitals are located in the areas that you will be visiting. As well as what phone numbers to call in case of an emergency or what emergency transportation options there are. This is something that you will want to keep on you at all times while traveling. Personally, I would recommend to type out this information and store it in a laminated case it were to get wet. You truly do want to cover your bases and make sure you are prepared in these potential emergency situations. On the back side of that sheet you might also want to consider listing out the medications you are currently taking, what their doses are and the medical condition for which you need to take them. One of the things that I highly advise while traveling is to carry your vital documents, like your identification card and passport, with you at all times. The emergency contact information you will want laminated should be included with these documents. There are several RFID blocking travel holders that you can purchase to keep your documents safe and secure. These help protect against the threat of digital thieves who may try to scan your cards to obtain credit information. This one here is one of my favorite because it is lightweight, water resistant, you can adjust the length and have several compartments for storage. The last thing you will also want to worry about is having to deal with financial fraud. (Health tip:If you are looking for something to also hold your cell phone you will want to invest in something with more added protection life this one here to mitigate exposure of EMF radiation emitted from the cell phone.)

Lastly, if you are a caregiver and traveling with that individual I would also advise that you carry a laminated card indicating what needs to be done for the individual in case you were to be unconscious or need emergency medical treatment on yourself. Ideally that individual you are caring for should be wearing a medical alert bracelet on them at all times but it would be wise to also have some kind of documentation on yourself.

No one ever knows when a medical emergency situation may occur, but the best advice I can give you is to prepare yourself for one should the situation arise. Every second counts when trying to save a life!