In my doctoral program, we are covering a wide range of health issues including environmental factors such as EMF radiation, toxins and pesticides. For a recent assignment, I did a little research on smart meters and thought I'd share my findings. I hope you find this as educational as I did.
Here's a link to a documentary trailer offering some very interesting insights into the use of smart meters: http://www.takebackyourpower.net/. Thanks to Dr. Liz Lipsky for the opportunity to explore this topic.
When it comes to smart meters, there are three looming concerns: security, privacy and health. A 2012 article published National Geographic online estimated approximately one quarter of all electrical customers have had a smart meter installed. While proponents of smart meters tout the potential savings in electricity bills as well as efficiencies in energy delivery systems, the dark side of this information exposure looms as concerns rise around how this moment-by moment power consumption data can be used. Complications also arise with how utilities are regulated, leading to loopholes in oversight between federal, state and local governments. California is currently the leader in smart meter installations and is likely setting the trend for other states to follow. (NationalGeographic.com, accessed 11/23/16)
An article published in the Financial Times earlier this year exposed a potential security risk of these systems which could lead to large-scale power outages. Officials in the United Kingdom are navigating whether to even allow this technology into the country. (FT.com, accessed 11/23/16)
Privacy concerns are just the tip of the iceberg with smart meters. The American Cancer Society has an entire page dedicated to the discussion of smart meters and potential risks involved. Because these units product radio frequency (RF) radiation which is a known carcinogen, concerns arise about their safety. (americancancersociety.org, accessed 11/23/16) While studies show that low level amounts of RF radiation may not have an impact on health, repeated exposure from multiple devices such as microwaves, radios, cell phones, and WiFi devices which are embedded into our offices, cars and homes, could very well present a compounding effect. In 2010 the World Health Organization established an RF Research Agenda to stimulate continued research into the health effects of widespread usage of RF technologies. Due to the inconclusive data in the scientific community, over 200 scientists have signed a petition (The International EMF Scientist Appeal) to the United Nations pushing for further investigation into the health consequences of this technology. (Loughran, et al, 2016)
The US National Toxicology Program produced a summary of findings from animal studies conducted to isolate potential health threats of RF radiation. According to this paper, exposure to RF radiation resulted in brain and cardiac tumors. (Wyde, et al, 2016) Dr. Martin Blank, Department of Physiology and Cellular Physics at Columbia University produced a 3-minute video appeal offering alarming statistics, including a 3-fold increase in fatal brain cancer in youth since cell phone usage has increased. (emfscientist.org, accessed 11/23/16)
Despite growing scientific evidence pointing toward the dangers of these “smart” technologies, there seems to be little to no transparency or consumer education. Most consumers are unaware of the lurking dangers and often don’t even know they have been upgraded.
ElectromagneticHealth.Org. (2015). VIDEO: International Scientist Appeal on Electromagnetic Fields, Martin Blank, PhD Spokesperson. Retrieved from https://vimeo.com/123468632
EMFscientist.org - Home. (n.d.). Retrieved November 23, 2016, from https://www.emfscientist.org/
GCHQ intervenes to secure smart meters against hackers. (n.d.). Retrieved November 23, 2016, from https://www.ft.com/content/ca2d7684-ed15-11e5-bb79-2303682345c8
Loughran, S. P., Al Hossain, M. S., Bentvelzen, A., Elwood, M., Finnie, J., Horvat, J., … Croft, R. J. (2016). Bioelectromagnetics Research within an Australian Context: The Australian Centre for Electromagnetic Bioeffects Research (ACEBR). International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 13(10). https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph13100967
Nunez, C., 14, F. N. G. N. D., & 2012. (2012, December 14). Who’s Watching? Privacy Concerns Persist as Smart Meters Roll Out. Retrieved November 23, 2016, from http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/energy/2012/12/121212-smart-meter-privacy/
Smart Meters. (n.d.). Retrieved November 23, 2016, from http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancercauses/othercarcinogens/athome/smart-meters
Have you ever had an allergy attack? Your eyes burn, your nose emits seemingly infinite amounts of fluid, you get rashes, and you just feel terrible. The most common allergy seasons are spring and fall but what happens when you experience these symptoms in the summer? What if you have attacks constantly throughout the year that mimic head colds and when you take measures to feel better like drinking OJ, you get worse?
Earlier this year, after decades of struggling with sinus infections, chronic head colds, ear infections, eczema and overall inflammation, amid a fit of sneezing and nose blowing that resulted from me trying to take some of my own herbal medicine, I had an ah-ha moment. I tuned into my body and realized that the sneezing and sniffling felt just like a histamine response. It was this awareness which led me down the path of histamine intolerances and changed my life forever. Until this point, I had only heard of histamine intolerances maybe once or twice and hadn't come across others with this condition. Yet, as I looked at the alcohol-based tincture on my desk and recollected back to the year before when orange juice I drank to deal with a "head cold" while traveling sent me deeper into a pit of sneezing, I knew histamines were part of the story.
So, what is a histamine intolerance? Here's a lovely research study on histamine intolerances if you're the research type. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17490952
In lay terms, there are a whole host of foods which produce histamines (citrus, avocados, many night shades, fish, fermented foods, dark chocolate, dairy, nuts, some beans, alcohol, etc) and in a healthy person, the enzyme diamine oxidase (DAO) is available to break down these histamines and help to quickly clear them from the body. For someone who has a histamine intolerance, their body either produces insufficient amounts of DAO or none at all. I've seen it explained like a clogged drain. If you eat small amounts of histamines, your body will slowly break them down and eliminate them, but if you overload the system, the "drain" can't empty fast enough and so histamines get backed up into the body causing symptoms like runny nose, diarrhea, headaches, asthma, hypotension and other reactions. The recommended course of action is to limit or avoid histamine containing and histamine liberating foods.
As a lacto-vegetarian (vegetarian who eats some dairy but no eggs), I looked at the list of histamine foods and panicked. What am I going to eat??? But I decided I was going to attempt a histamine-free diet despite austere food restrictions. The first week, I felt great...never better. All of my symptoms disappeared, but by the second week, I was feeling the effects of malnourishment due to lack of options for protein and by week three I had thrown myself into poor health from nutrient imbalances. So much for a histamine-free, vegan diet. Not so easy. As a nutritionist, I knew how to quickly rebuild my health but I still felt perplexed on how to manage my new discovery.
As the months went on and my nutrient status returned to normal, I found myself occasionally dipping into the histamine pool, cautiously enjoying some of my favorite foods and closely watching for symptoms. Avocados were quickly added to the OK list in moderation. Dark chocolate unfortunately did not make the cut as it gave me instant headaches and brain fog EVERY time. As I ate my way through the histamine food list, making mental notes of how foods affected me, I began compiling my own customized diet.
Over the past year, I have had several clients come into my office with similar sensitivities. My first recommendation is always to know the high histamine and histamine liberating foods and keep a food diary with symptoms. For most, it is not necessary to completely avoid histamines, but rather to monitor symptoms and figure out what foods are definite NOs. I have certainly had far fewer symptoms of runny nose, eczema and headaches this year than ever before, and when I DO have symptoms, I'm able to draw a very clear line to foods I ate.
If you suspect you have a histamine intolerance, here's a list of histamine foods that may be helpful http://healinghistamine.com/histamine-in-food-lists/. And of course, you are always welcome to schedule a time to speak with me too. http://www.sageintegrativehealth.com/services/
Happy histamine hunting.
Wendy Romig, MBA, MS, CNS, LDN
Owner, Clinical Nutritionist/Herbalist
Sage Integrative Health Center
I have found myself on a bit of a soapbox lately regarding cancer awareness campaigns, and the lack of attention being given to WHY we have such a high rate of cancer in this country. While I appreciate the desire to rally against a common evil, I am left feeling frustrated about the focus on allopathic cancer treatment rather than addressing/exploring the root cause.
The number of toxic, cancer-causing chemicals the average person uses each day is staggering and unfortunately, most people don't realize they are dangerous. Why would we think twice about rubbing body wash all over us, spraying perfume on our skin, placing deodorant under our arms. Our skin is our largest organ and is what comes in direct contact with these chemicals. We trust that the products we buy are safe. Yet we have moved far away from the soaps, lotions, and shampoos of our ancestors to the mass produced, scented, conveniently packaged and formulated chemicals of modern day. And that's just personal care products. I haven't even touched on cleaning products, pesticides, herbicides, alcoholic beverages, processed foods, sugar.....the list goes on.
The Environmental Working Group has a section devoted to "Rethinking Cancer" and offers consumer buying guides and research to help concerned individuals become more educated about cancer prevention.
On the physiology front, the vast majority of us have cancer genes in our DNA, along with all kinds of other chronic diseases. But what is important to consider is whether those genes are activated or not, and this largely depends on lifestyle, exposure to toxins and immune health. Cancer cells are in our body all of the time, but in a healthy individual, the immune system takes care of them. Aggravating factors like chemical toxins, poor diet, alcohol, sugar and other lifestyle choices weaken the immune system, decrease liver function and make it harder and harder for our bodies to destroy mutated cells. These factors also influence whether certain genes are turned on.
When billions of dollars are being pumped into cancer treatment research and not into educating consumers about cancer prevention, it creates a system of disempowerment and allows consumer goods companies to continue producing products that are potentially harmful.
So, I'll step off of my soapbox for today hoping to give you some things to consider. I could go on for pages, but I'll leave you with this for now. As always, I welcome your thoughts.
Wishing you a blessed day.
Wendy Romig, MBA, MS, CNS, LDN
Sage Integrative Health Center