Sleep is a time when our bodies repair damaged cells. What manypeople don’t realize is that electric blankets radiate electromagnetic fields (EMFs) that can interfere with this process and can affect your health.
Studies of pregnant women who regularly use an electric under or over-blanket have shown an increased risk of endometrial cancer and miscarriage, and during the first trimester, a four-fold increase in babies being born with cancer. And at least two studies I’ve heard of have shown that long-term use of electric blankets by children results in a five-fold increase in the risk of leukemia (Hatch 1998 in the US & Dockerty 1998 in New Zealand).
The EMFs of electrical appliances reduce the further away from them you are, but you can’t do this with an electric blanket. By its very nature it’s designed to in close proximity to your body.
The magnetic field of many types of electric blankets penetrates 6-7 inches (15-18 cm) into the body. I just measured my own body and if I lie on my back, that’s all the way through me at waist level (I’m of normal weight).
I’ve measured electric fields of 40-80 volts per meter (V/m) on some blankets. Up to 5 V/m is considered by experts to be safe. The new low voltage blankets are a little better but they still tend to be in the range of 20 V/m, which is way too high. And most blankets have a voltage transformer attached that radiates even higher levels than the blanket itself.
Using an electric blanket just to warm the bed and then unplugging it at the wall before you get in does resolve the problem. However it doesn’t take into account the way the metal wire in the blanket can conduct geopathic stress, which can be just as damaging to health as EMFs.
Geopathic stress (GS) refers to energies that radiate up from the earth and are beneficial to some forms of life such as cats, bees and ants, but detrimental to others such as dogs, cows, horses – and humans. If any part of a bed is located over a GS line then the metal wire in an electric blanket will serve to transmit the GS over the whole mattress. Symptoms of sleeping over GS range from waking up feeling like you need a good night’s sleep to serious illnesses that will not respond to any form of treatment. Some studies in Germany have shown that cancer patients nearly always have their bed over a GS crossing point (where two GS lines cross).
But there’s more. Even if you do find a low voltage, low magnetic field electric blanket and are sure you have your bed in a non-GS location, there is still the matter of the toxic fumes that most blankets emit.
The wires of most electric blankets and heating pads are coated in polytetrafluoroethylene, also known as PTFE – the same stuff Teflon pans are coated with. This outgasses a variety of carcinogenic fumes when heated, most notably tetrafluoroethylene, which scientific studies have shown to cause kidney and liver damage.
How to safely use an electric blanket
To safely use an electric blanket you would need to make sure your bed is in a GS-free location, turn the blanket off and unplug it before getting into bed, and also open the windows to completely refresh the air in the room. On a chilly night, you are very unlikely to want to do this.
So what alternatives are there for those of us who feel the cold? My personal favourites are woollen underfleeces, hot water bottles, and best of all, someone to snuggle up to all night long!
England is hot water bottle heaven
Copyright © Karen Kingston 2012