A presentation of

EMF Shielding Solutions to Prevent Radiation Exposure

Whether it's sheet metal, foil, carbon paint, conductive clothing, curtains or a bed canopy, blocking EMFs is not as hard as you think. But if you're not DIY-minded, the prices charged for these products might still give you a shock...

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Electromagnetic shielding products, like those shown on the left, have ridden shotgun with the electronics industry since its inception a century ago. Today, this "tin foil marketplace" is booming, thanks in part to consumer products, like the EMF-blocking bed canopy on the right. Photos from left: DailyTechViews.com (left), Swiss Shields

August 20, 2018 -- While people wearing so-called tin foil hats remain much disparaged in the media, EMF shielding solutions are an effective, proven means to limit radiation exposure. In fact, an article in Scientific American, which makes the tin hat reference, may actually send you running to the nearest EMF safety store.

Just to be clear, a tin foil hat is made of aluminum, not tin, which is an alloy of zinc and other metals. Like copper, aluminum's ability to block EMF radiation is long-standing. It's also cheaper and readily available in two-hundred-foot rolls at any supermarket. But consumer shields have come a long way since this homemade remedy. Within the electronics industry - not to mention hospitals and science laboratories throughout the world - electromagnetic shielding protects millions of sensitive instruments from damage caused by EMFs, radiofrequency interference and electrostatic charges.

We human beings are also sensitive electrical instruments. And just as sunscreen and a beach hat block harmful UV rays from triggering a melanoma in our exposed skin, EMF shielding can keep a much longer list of diseases from setting up shop inside our biological real estate. Both UV and electromagnetic emissions are classified as non-ionizing forms of radiation.

Of course, shielding should never be your first option in addressing EMF dangers. Removing the source of the emissions is the simplest, most reliable mitigation strategy on the books. After that, the second-best option is avoidance. This might involve changing room assignments, or rearranging furniture and appliances to lengthen the distance from an EMF source. You should also adjust the settings on your mobile phone, laptop and other devices so that they produce less emissions behind the scenes, when you're not even using them. The avoidance option is addressed in detail on the Reducing Exposures page of EMFradiation.net.

Electromagnetic shielding offers a third alternative when these first two methods won't work. An EMF shield is any object containing metal or another conductive material that blocks the path of an EMF or radiofrequency (RF) wave. In this context, "conductive" refers to the material's ability to absorb EMF radiation. Copper and nickel are considered the best metals for shielding wireless waves, but aluminum, steel, alloys, combinations of metals and a few non-metals like carbon can also block both stationary EMFs and propagating RF waves.

History's best-known shielding solution dates back to the 19th century, when British scientist Michael Faraday invented the Faraday Cage. This is any type of enclosure, from a matchbox to a military bunker, that's sealed in a conductive material, most often sheet metal or a metal screen. For instance, if you take an empty cereal box and wrap it with several layers of aluminum foil, you'll have a Faraday Cage. An insulating layer or two within the "cage" (or outside of it) is also frequently required to prevent the shielding material from actually conducting its absorbed EMF electricity into the object you're trying to protect. In this example, the cardboard box provides the insulation. Unless the cardboard gets wet - water being another conductive substance - your shielding solution is ready to go.

In fact, you may already have EMF shielding in your home. That's because the cooking chamber in microwave ovens is a Faraday Cage. However, in this case the EMF radiation is generated by the oven and then contained inside the chamber. And the protected object is you or someone else watching your food cook outside the chamber. You'll notice that the oven door contains a metal screen encased in the glass window. Screens can block EMFs so long as the electromagnetic waves are not small enough in wavelength to squeeze through the holes. Chicken mesh, for example, wouldn't work. FYI... Microwave ovens are known to leak around the door area, so you should always stand at least a few feet away from the oven, and never hover around it with a baby in your arms.

Other shielding solutions besides the Faraday Cage include:

Keep in mind that wireless radio waves are harder to block than EMF emissions caused by wired electricity. So you'll need to use thicker sheets or multiple layers of foil. And if the RF or EMF field is a strong one, you may need to switch to a more expensive metal, like copper or nickel. It all depends on the strength and frequency of the radiation that's emitted, as well as the size and shape of your shield. Measuring the EMF before you implement a shielding solution is often necessary in order to craft the right solution.

EMF's with shorter wavelengths, like those on the right side of the graphic, have higher frequencies and energy, and therefore greater penetration. But scientists point out that higher frequency waves tend to reflect more easily off walls and other hard objects. A gigahertz wave has been likened to a super ball that bounces off walls repeatedly until it finally arrives at even the tiniest opening and penetrates through in that manner. Graphic: brain101.info (Nabeel Kouka, MD)

Magnetic fields emanating from walls, appliances and power tools can sometimes be difficult to block as well. Even though their extremely low frequencies (ELF) and longer wavelengths ostensibly makes easier to block, with enough amplitude and force, magnetism can barrel through almost any obstacle other than metal. Again, whenever an EMF field is a strong one, a shielding solution may require more time and effort to devise, just as it might to seal a leak from a high-pressure or wide-mouthed faucet.

Because of the many different variables at play, any form of shielding can have unintended consequences. The most common is that the shield reflects the EMF radiation rather than absorbing it. This is far more likely to happen with microwaves than with ELF electricity. While the radiation may be blocked from the area you were trying to protect, the potential harm has simply moved somewhere else. (Speaking of which, if you find yourself standing outside a building with exterior walls dressed in mirroring glass, you might want to keep that reflection principle in mind.) The cause may be attributed to a particularly strong field, the thinness of the shielding metal, and/or the type of metal used.

One other caveat to consider: Some types of shielding, while they do their job absorbing radiation, may generate an EMF of their own. Many shielding solutions require electrical grounding for this reason, so be sure to read product instructions carefully. EMFs are not only invisible, but odorless, temperature-neutral (at least any change is unnoticable), and painless (except to EHS sufferers and other sensitive people). Thus, it's hard to know whether the shield is working, having no impact at all, or making the situation worse. That's why EMF experts strongly advise consumers to:

  • consult an electrician, building biologist, inspector, utility company technician or other expert before implementing any shielding (or grounding) solution.

  • use an EMF or RF meter to measure the radiation before and after you install your shield. See the Measuring EMFs page of EMFradiation.net page to learn about meters.

  • avoid using shielding solutions on your body, when possible. If an unwanted side effect does develop, better to have it happen somewhere else.

Retail shielding products sold at EMF safety stores have additional drawbacks. For one thing, they tend to be super expensive and not usually returnable. Because little consumer protection advocacy is devoted to this sector, you're basically taking a gamble whenever you place an order. The product details posted online should include information about the material's ability to block radiation (typically expressed in units of electrical resistance called ohms), and info about grounding requirements, if any.

Whenever possible, watch videos provided by the seller that demonstrate how a product works. Then follow up to see if any EMF experts have weighed in with their own views about the product. Generally, speaking, the experts don't believe pendants and medallions will shield you from EMFs, but the other products can be effective if properly designed, laboratory-tested and implemented correctly.

Occasionally, happy customers who happen to be celebrities will tout the value of shielding solutions they've used themselves. Anne Louise Gittleman, author of Zapped, said that after the walls of her house were painted with conductive carbon, she'd never slept so well. Gittleman was also happy with the Trifield combination EMF meter she purchased to measure EMF and RF fields.

Copper and aluminum foils and tapes, like these products from Faraday Defense, cost less than metals, screens and fabrics. You can use them with other materials - such as wood, plastics and cardboard - to construct EMF shields. They can also seal gaps in a Faraday Cage enclosure. Photo: FaradayDefense.com

Here's a closer look at all these shielding solutions:

Aluminum foil

This metal can block both EMF and RF radiation but may reflect it as well. The shiny, more conductive side of the foil should face away from whatever you're trying to protect and towards the EMF source. Use aluminum foil from the grocery store for trial runs before purchasing more expensive shielding solutions. Some ideas:

  • Wrap it around pieces of cardboard or hard plastic to create shields in front of dimmer switches, power outlets, walls or windows. (Remember, the shiny side faces toward the EMF source.)
  • Place sheets of foil on your pantry shelves, cabinet walls and doors to protect your stored food. (Note: Foods packed in foil or cans are already protected.)
  • Use a large sheet of thick carboard or hard plastic to build a shield to block EMF's entering your home through a window. (Shielding curtains are a better choice, however, because they won't block the natural light from coming in. Your neighbors might also object to the sight of shiny aluminum.

More durable and heavier forms of foil can be purchased from industrial supply stores. Be sure to test any solution before and after with an EMF or RF meter!

Steel Mesh Screens

Using screens instead of sheet metal allows you to deploy cheaper, lighter shields and still get the same results (hopefully). As stated earlier, chicken mesh won't work for this purpose. Knowing how small or large your screen openings can be depends on the wavelengths of the wireless high frequency and/or low frequency signals you're dealing with. And now that we know mobile phones communicate using both extremely high and low frequencies, the best advice is to use screens with the smallest openings possible.

How do you know how big your overallscreen dimensions need to be to block an EMF? The best way to find that out is by using an EMF and or RF meter to measure the radiation at different points in a room (or outdoor area) where shielding is needed. Write down the strength of the field and the frequency of the radiation (if any). Also mark off the areas where you're getting the high readings so you can measure the distance and height.

If you want to construct your own screens, you'll find cheaper prices at metal surplus stores, online construction supply stores and some big box home improvement outlets.

Carbon Paints and Laminates


The most lightweight and least obtrusive option for shielding is an underlayer of carbon-based paint in bedrooms and other locations where you want to keep wireless waves out and magnetic fields from emanating through the walls and ceilings. Photos: EMFSafetyStore.com

While carbon isn't a metal, the graphite in it is highly conductive, making it a good choice for shielding as a paint or substitute for metal sheets. The paint is water-based with an acrylic binder and comes in one color: black. Thus, you would use it as an underlayer on interior walls in rooms where you're not planning to use wireless devices. Y-Shield is a popular brand. (From LessEMF.com: There is nothing in the NEC - National Electric Code - which prohibits painting your walls with conductive paint. However, because this product does NOT carry a UL listing, some electrical inspectors, by virtue of being the “Authority Having Jurisdiction” can require the homeowner to hire an electrical engineer to certify that the product is safe to connect to the electrical ground. They can also require that a licensed electrician perform the ground connection.) There's also a special soap sold for cleaning the carbon off your hands.

Carbon laminate is simply plastic laminate with a thin layer of carbon. You can use it to line walls or heavy curtains. It's cut from a roll, typically with a 4-foot width, so you order it by the foot.

Conductive Fabrics

Curtains made of a fabric with metal woven into it. Photo: Swiss Shield

A wide variety of material is available for sewing curtains, bed canopies or clothes, though with some products you may need special tools for getting a needle through the metal. Swiss Shield is a popular brand for making curtains, canopies and clothes. Many of its wares use a machine-washable polyester fabric mesh with silver-coated copper threads that can be cut and sewn like ordinary fabric. Conductive fabrics are most often sold by the linear foot. So be sure to figure out the dimensions of whatever you're trying to cover (a window, bed, etc.), then order several extra feet in case of mistakes.

Ready-Made Clothing and Hats

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On the left, not the most attractive t-shirt but it works as an undergarment to guard your torso from EMFs and RF waves while you're working on your laptop. The interior of this shirt should be lined with an insulating material to prevent radiation from conducting into the skin. At right, a maternity apron. Graphics: ShieldGreen.net

If you want to skip the sewing, choose this option. You can buy underwear, t-shirts, aprons, sweaters, maternity clothes, caps and beanies, among other items. The products should provide an insulating layer on both sides of the metal fabric.

Faraday Cage Living Space

A homemade Faraday Cage that keeps the RFs and EMF from interrupting a good night's sleep. Don't forget to test your improvised solution with an EMF meter to make sure it works right. Photo: electrosensitivity.blogspot.com/

Since EHS suffers can't' tolerate any amount of microwave or EMF emissions, they have to rely on more robust shielding solutions. In many cases, they sleep or spend much of their day (though not all) in a space enclosed by a Faraday cage. This is not advisable, however, for non-sufferers. To maintain vitality of your biorhythms and bioelectric activity in your cells, it's essential to have regular contact with the natural EMF energy emanating from the earth, which puts out a field of 0.5 milligauss. But if you can't sleep due to EMF radiation, you might try out this solution for nighttime and occasional naps.

Computer Screen Filters

Many companies, including 3M, sell protective filters that absorb harmful blue light and/or EMF radiation from display screens on LCD monitors.

Computer Glasses

You don't need to have bad vision to take advantage of glass or plastic shielding over your eyes while working on your phone, laptop and other devices containing a display screen. You can usually buy an affordable pair of glasses online without a prescription if no lens correction is needed. Actual glass will provide much better protection than plastic but will make the glasses heavier. You'll also want a large surface area for maximum eye protection, so choose big, fat lenses. Anti-reflective coatings are helpful but tend to be expensive, considering that coating only lasts a few months' time.

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