Do Hair Dryers Affect Health?
Seems like a silly question, doesn’t it? How could appliances as innocuous as hair dryers affect health. Just because we have been using certain electrical appliances for several decades now does not mean that they are all perfectly safe (excluding electrocution risk) and have no impact on our health in the long term.
This is the same for the processed foods and beverages on sale, the mobile phones and tablets, the flame-retardants in furniture, cars and clothing, and the assault on our vegetables and fruits with insecticides, fungicides, fertilisers, GMOs, and on our meats with hormones and anti-biotics. Just because they are on sale and available to the public, it is not a guarantee that they are safe for health in the long term.
During the past several decades we have seen general health decline throughout the industrialised nations of the world with increasing cancers, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune diseases, obesity and gut issues leading the way. Now, we are not saying that these are all due to the humble hair dryer, but it does seem highly likely that changes in what we eat and drink, and the use of electronic gadgets and exposure to now ubiquitous electro magnetic fields, are responsible for the weakening of our natural immunity that should normally keep us free from disease.
Magnetic Fields Are Not Harmless
We cannot see many magnetic fields because their frequency is outside the visible spectrum. But the colours that we perceive in the visible spectrum are in fact magnetic fields with a frequency that we happen to be able to see.
There have been a great number of studies on residential proximity to power lines and childhood leukaemia risk. It has been demonstrated that increased risk of leukaemia can occur up to 600m from power lines and increases the closer dwellings are to the power lines. A 2014 meta analysis of nearly 12,000 cases , stated that the childhood leukaemia risk was increased for exposure levels greater than or equal to 4 millgauss (0.4 micro T) but that there was also an increased risk, though smaller, above 2 milligauss (0.2 micro T).
Despite the epidemiological evidence that the precautionary principle should be adopted when setting limits for acceptable magnetic fields,
the current internationally accepted limit for magnetic fields is 1000 milligauss.
Why is this so high? Quite simply it is because this is the level when measurable thermal effects can occur in the human body. So very simplistically and naively, this is taken as an absolute measure of safety. This totally ignores any much more subtle effects on our cells, DNA, mitochondria and endocrine systems at much lower levels.
Magnetic Fields Are a Form of Light
Our eyes may not be able to perceive magnetic fields but our bodies can, and they perceive them as a form of light. Everything we expose ourselves to in terms of food, water, air, light, pollutants and toxins, is a form of information that our incredibly complex bodies decode and react to.
For example, at the start of the day, the early morning sunlight entering our eyes sends messages to the pituitary gland to orchestrate the appropriate hormonal cascade throughout our systems to get us up and running optimally for the day ahead. Starting the day by staring at a mobile phone, computer or TV screen, all of which emit way too much blue light and not full spectrum light, sends an entirely different set of information to the pituitary gland to be decoded.
By receiving this amount of blue light from these devices first thing in the day, your body believes it to be midday, and does not run through the natural sequence of hormone creation as if it were early in the morning. Consequently your body misses out on essential hormone production, such as cortisol to get you up and going for the day.
At night, something similar happens when we are bathed in artificial lights (LEDs, halogens and fluorescents all emit blue light) and are watching TV or using mobiles, tablets or laptops. Instead of our bodies winding down as they would naturally if we only used fires or candles for light (these emit a lot of red light just as the sky does at sunset), and instead of our natural melatonin production being triggering by the change in light at night, our bodies will actually do the opposite because they are simply decoding the information that we present them with.
By subjecting ourselves to blue light at night, we are telling the body that it is midday, so how can we expect it to produce the hormones it should when given the wrong information?
So How Can Hair Dryers Affect Health?
The photo above shows a reading on our trusty Trifield meter. The magnetic scale has been set to read the high range of up to 100 milligauss. Note that this 50 times higher than the lowest exposure level associated with an increased risk of childhood leukaemia in the meta analysis study cited above.
As you can see, 100 milligauss is exactly the reading being given off when measured at the head using a conventional hair dryer. When measured even a few centimetres away from the head and closer to the dryer, the reading is off the scale. Dryers and many appliances, such as electric shavers, kitchen mixers etc., give off a very high field from their motors.
This high magnetic field is not visible to our eyes, but it enters our bodies and is recognised by our glands as being light. The pineal gland (also known as our third eye) in the centre of the head will decode this information as meaning that it is not time to start creating melatonin in order to help us sleep – so it will not do so.
This is not such a problem if you have washed your hair in the morning and then are drying and styling it before going to work. But because this process takes a fair bit of time, especially for women with long hair, many people choose to wash and dry their hair at night. However, if you do this after 7pm you will be sending a message to your pineal gland to not start melatonin production.
As will almost certainly be the case, most people will also be subjecting their eyes to blue light at night, which will reinforce the message to not produce melatonin, which helps with getting to sleep and staying asleep.
How many people do you know who complain of poor sleep quality and difficulty getting to sleep?
Could night time exposure to blue light and inappropriate use of electrical appliances emitting high magnetic fields be a simple cause of sleep problems?
We believe this is highly likely and that the idea hair dryers affect health is not so far fetched.
As we wrote in our blog Positive Intentional Living, it is up to all of us to make decisions about how we lead our lives if we wish to optimise our health and longevity. Being aware of the sources of magnetic fields in your home is just another example of this.
Trying to minimise the effects of blue light and magnetic fields on our bodies, Edith and Tim at CoolWellbeing Foundation