Your Mattress Could be Acting as a Cancer-Causing Radiation AntennaThe rate of breast cancer in Western countries is 10 percent higher in the left breast than in the right. This also is true for the skin cancer melanoma.
Researchers have suggested a surprising explanation for this -- and for the dramatic increase in rates of breast cancer and melanoma over the past three decades.
In Japan, there is no correlation between the rates of melanoma and breast cancer, and there is no left-side prevalence for either disease. The rate of breast cancer in Japan is also significantly lower than in the West.
This may be due to differences in sleeping habits in Japan and Western countries. Previous research has shown that people prefer to sleep on their right sides, possibly as a way of reducing weight stress on the heart.
This is most likely the same in both the East and the West, but the futons used for sleeping in Japan are mattresses placed directly on the bedroom floor, in contrast to the elevated box springs and mattress of beds used in the West.
According to Scientific American:
"... [A] 2007 study in Sweden conducted between 1989 and 1993 ... revealed a strong link between the incidence of melanoma and the number of FM and TV transmission towers covering the area where the individuals lived ...
Consider, however, that even a TV set cannot respond to broadcast transmissions unless the weak electromagnetic waves are captured and amplified by an appropriately designed antenna. Antennas are simply metal objects of appropriate length sized to match the wavelength of a specific frequency of electromagnetic radiation."
In the U.S., bed frames and box springs are made of metal, and the length of a bed is exactly half the wavelength of FM and TV transmissions. The maximum strength of the field develops 75 centimeters above the mattress, so when sleeping on your right side, your left side will be exposed to the highest field strength.
Scientific American July 2, 2010
Pathophysiology June 2010;17(3):157-160
Pathophysiology June 2010; 17(3):161
Dr Mercola's Comments:
This Scientific American article highlights some very interesting research from Sweden -- a country that is on the forefront when it comes to investigating the harmful health effects of electromagnetic fields (EMF), and micro wave radiation such as that from cell phones.
Although the US is quite resistant to the idea that our everyday technology might be contributing to epidemics like heart disease and cancer, other countries, particularly in Europe, are facing this problem more head on.
Sweden, for example, formed an association called FEB - The Swedish Association for the ElectroSensitive, to address the emerging problem of electromagnetic hypersensitivity. The association produces and distributes educational literature that has helped raise awareness about the phenomenon around the world. Mast Action UK is doing similar work in Great Britain, as well as the Electromagnetic Radiation Alliance in Australia.
With everything I know about the health dangers associated with electromagnetic fields (EMF) and micro waves from cell phones, WiFi routers and cell phone towers, I'm convinced electromagnetic hypersensitivity is a real and looming health disaster.
I've previously written about the health dangers of EMFs and other types of radiation, especially in your bedroom, but here the researchers are linking two very specific cancers – melanoma and breast cancer -- to commonly used beds, because coil-spring mattresses can actually act as a giant antenna!
Your Mattress – A Restorative Haven or a Disease-Promoting Zone?
In Western countries, the most common type of mattress is an elevated box spring that contains metal coils, while in Japan, people typically sleep on futon mattresses, which typically contain cotton or wool, placed directly on the floor.
According to researchers Hallberg and Johansson, a number of studies indicate that increasing rates of melanoma (the deadliest type of skin cancer) can be linked to immune-disrupting radiation from FM radio and TV transmission towers, adding that "geographical areas covered by several transmitters show higher incidences of melanoma than areas covered by one transmitter."
Studies have also linked radiation to brain tumors, and DNA damage that might precipitate a number of different diseases and health problems.
These connections are strengthened when you consider the researchers' explanation of how your box spring mattress actually acts like an antenna; attracting and amplifying whatever radiation might be zipping through your bedroom.
Scientific American explains this quite well:
"Antennas are simply metal objects of appropriate length sized to match the wavelength of a specific frequency of electromagnetic radiation. Just as saxophones are made in different sizes to resonate with and amplify particular wavelengths of sound, electromagnetic waves are selectively amplified by metal objects that are the same, half or one quarter of the wavelength of an electromagnetic wave of a specific frequency.Could this explain why Japan has much lower rates of cancer compared to the US and Europe, and why the Japanese do not have higher rates of left- than right-sided breast cancer?
Electromagnetic waves resonate on a half-wavelength antenna to create a standing wave with a peak at the middle of the antenna and a node at each end, just as when a string stretched between two points is plucked at the center.
In the U.S. bed frames and box springs are made of metal, and the length of a bed is exactly half the wavelength of FM and TV transmissions that have been broadcasting since the late 1940s.
… Radiation envelops our bodies so that the maximum strength of the field develops 75 centimeters above the mattress in the middle of our bodies.
When sleeping on the right side, the body's left side will thereby be exposed to field strength about twice as strong as what the right side absorbs."
I believe it may be a part of the puzzle, yes.
Naturally, there are many other factors that come into play as well, including diet, chemical exposures, and vitamin D deficiency, just to name a few.
However, the theory that you may be promoting cancer by sleeping on a metal coil-spring mattress that amplifies ambient radiation is quite convincing.
Now, a couple of my readers have commented that the quote from Scientific American makes little sense because TV and radio broadcast on a number of different wavelengths, beds come in different sizes, and the author is a neurologist, not an engineer, and therefore not equipped to speak on the subject.
These concerns can also be valid, and I make no claims of having the in-depth technological expertise to either support or refute this particular Scientific American author’s explanation.
However, I believe sleeping on metal is not in your best interest health-wise, (and qualified scientist raised the question to begin with). The total effect will naturally be entirely individual, and dependent on a number of factors, such as the amount of radiation zipping through your room; proximity to transmission towers; number and type of electronics kept in your bedroom and their proximity; your current state of health and your susceptibility to EMF; the material of the rest of your bed… I could go on, but I’m sure most of you are wise enough to get the picture.
Becoming truly health conscious is much like reaching for spiritual enlightenment. It’s not about nitpicking on minor details. It’s about discerning patterns and revealing the big picture. It’s not about avoiding “sins” – in the case of health, avoiding everything that could possibly harm you – it’s about making healthier, saner choices. You can’t make those choices unless you know what’s good for you, and one of the ways you discover better options is by revealing what’s detrimental.
There’s no question in my mind that EMFs can have a dramatic, negative effect on your health, and certain factors may, in some cases, turn up the dial on EMFs and increase it’s harmful effects. Could your mattress do this? I say, “possibly, yes.”
But I digress…
Sleeping in High Radiation Field May Also Trigger Development of Potent Mycotoxins
In one of my previous interviews with Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt, he discusses the research of Dr. Robert Becker, who discovered that electromagnetic fields produce more potent mycotoxins.
When you expose a bacterial culture to abnormal electromagnetic fields, the bacteria believe they are being attacked by your immune system and start producing much more virulent toxins as a protective mechanism!
In your body, these mycotoxins can wreak havoc with your health. Klinghardt believes that it's possible that some 50 percent of chronic infections are caused, and/or aggravated, by electromagnetic field exposure, leading to syndromes like chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and other chronic pain syndromes.
When you consider that you spend one-third of your lifetime in bed, it's easy to realize the level of hazard you may be inadvertently exposed to if you're sleeping on a metal coil-spring mattress that literally bathes you in electromagnetic radiation.
Other Potential Health Hazards of Mattresses
In addition, the springs in your mattress can become magnetized, which can also pose a health hazard. In the article Is Your Mattress Making You Sick? Dr. Doris Rapp offers instructions on how to determine whether you mattress is magnetized.
The article also discusses a number of other important concerns when it comes to selecting a mattress, as metal springs is by no means the only health hazard inherent with these types of beds. Many mattresses are treated with a number of toxic flame retardant chemicals, some of which can ALSO cause cancer.
Remember that Your Cells are Driven by Electrical Impulses
I want to stress what might be one of the most fundamental issues when it comes to the potential hazard of electromagnetic radiation, which is the fact that the human body has its own internal electrical system.
All the cells in your body vibrate at different rates, and these weak electrical impulses are used for intracellular communication throughout your body.
Unfortunately, your body can literally act like a tuning fork. An external electrical influence can therefore cause your cells normal frequency or rate to be disrupted as they start vibrating to the frequency of the outside source. James Oschman explains this further in his book Energy Medicine.
Now, in the typical bedroom of a modern home, electrical exposure from external sources (live electrical wiring in ceilings, walls and floors) is thousands of times stronger than your body's own electrical system. Long-term exposure to these high-level electric fields can thus impair your body's intracellular communication, which can impact your health in a number of ways.
Biological Problems Associated with Electromagnetic Stressors
In the book Cross Currents, Dr. Robert Becker (whom I mentioned earlier) states that biological problems associated with external electromagnetic stressors fall into two major categories:
More recent studies seem to confirm his conclusions, as most of the health problems researchers now associate with EMF and microwave radiation exposure fall neatly into these two categories. One good source that demonstrates this is the 2009 special EMF issue of the Journal of Pathophysiology, which contains over a dozen different studies on the health effects of electromagnetic fields and wireless technology.
- Brain (behavioral abnormalities, learning disabilities, altered bio-cycles and stress responses)
- Growing tissue (embryos, genetics and cancer)
Cancer has been high on the list from the beginning, and at least as far as cell phones are concerned, the evidence is overwhelming that cell phone use significantly increases your risk of certain types of brain tumors.
Since cancer can take decades before manifesting, children are particularly at risk, as they are now growing up in an environment saturated with radiation. (Even toddlers are now talking on cell phones!) Today's children will be exposed to previously unimaginable levels of radiation over the course of their lifetimes.
The BioInitiative Report also includes studies showing evidence for exposure to electromagnetic fields and:
It seems quite clear that sleeping on a bed that can amplify the amount of radiation you're exposed to night after night is simply not a good idea.
- Effects on Gene and Protein Expression (Transcriptomic and Proteomic Research)
- Genotoxic Effects – RFR and ELF DNA Damage
- Stress Response (Stress Proteins)
- Effects on Immune Function
- Effects on Neurology and Behavior
- Brain Tumors, Acoustic Neuromas, and childhood cancers like leukemia
Shopping for a Safe Mattress
Taking into account that metal coils can act as an antenna and be potentially magnetized, and that most box spring mattresses contain toxic flame retardant chemicals, your safest bet is to look for an organic, chemical-free mattress that does not contain metal coils.
One way to find a safe mattress is to have a doctor or chiropractor write you a prescription for a chemical-free mattress, and then find a manufacturer to make one for you. You can also search for 100% wool, toxin-free mattresses. Many of these mattresses also contain latex for support in lieu of coil springs, giving you the best of both worlds.
You can also avoid the toxins by finding a mattress that uses a Kevlar, bullet-proof type of material instead of chemicals for fire-proofing. I got mine from Stearns and Foster. I'm quite happy with this mattress as it is FAR more comfortable than a number of the organic mattresses I had purchased in the past.
Also keep in mind that metal frames and headboards can amplify and distort magnetic fields, including the natural magnetic field from the earth, which can lead to non-restful sleep. Use natural materials, such as a wood frame, instead.
Five Steps to Create a Sleeping Sanctuary
Once you have addressed your mattress, you'd be well advised to address the amount of electromagnetic radiation in your bedroom – especially if you are pregnant, or planning to become pregnant.
As discussed by Dr. Klinghardt in this previous article, electromagnetic fields interfere not only with your biology, but with that of your unborn child as well. He performed a small study showing that autism can actually be predicted based on the EMF levels of your sleeping quarters while pregnant! He found that if you sleep in strong electromagnetic fields during pregnancy, your child will likely begin to exhibit neurological abnormalities within the first two years of life.
Here are several guidelines that can help turn your bedroom into an EMF-free zone suitable for health-promoting restorative sleep:
- Use only battery devices near your bed -- Many electric clocks produce high magnetic fields so use a battery powered clock instead.
- Turn off the fuses to your bedroom at night
- Eliminate radio frequency (RF) sources -- Radio frequency signals from portable phones, cell phones, and wireless devices have been shown to interfere with your body's immune system so don't keep cell phones or charging stations in your bedroom. It's also recommended to turn off the Wi-Fi in your home at night.
- Shield your bed with a special metalized fabric, to protect yourself from harmful frequencies that can disrupt cellular communication. This recommendation may be particularly important if you're pregnant.
- If you are remodeling you can also use material called 'radiant barrier' between the dry wall and the frame of your home. This is a strengthened aluminum foil that will reflect most of the radiation from coming into your home. It should also be applied the ceiling. It is relatively inexpensive and will also pay for itself in reduced heating and cooling bills. However, it isn't cost effective if you have to tear out your current walls, so it's really only practical in new homes or remodeling projects. I installed this in my home when I renovated it and it virtually eliminated all external EMFs. The downside however is that it is VERY difficult to get any cell phone reception in my home.