Vicki Warren is the program director for the International Institute for Bau-Biologie & Ecology (IBE). For more details on this exciting and growing movement, see How Bau-Biologie Can Keep You and Your Home Healthy.


I decided to reverse the order here for a very important reason, in that I am announcing a new column on this site, which will be directed toward educating you about the dangers of the building that you live in, and what you can do to correct it.

Many of you may know that I started my medical practice just outside of Chicago in 1985. After 23 years in the same location, we will be moving to a new, state of the art office building.

Since environmental health is a concern of mine, the building will not only be LEED certified but it will likely have platinum certification, which is virtually never awarded.

In the process of seeking to create the healthiest office possible, my consultations led me to seriously consider Bau Biology (German for "Building Biology") as a tool to improve the health of the environment. While LEED is great, it tends to focus on the environment. Whereas Bau Biology, like its name suggests, focuses more on human health.

Germans are famous for their precision and attention to detail and they did not fail us here. They have developed an incredible accumulation of knowledge that I can assure you, only a VERY small fraction of those in the building industry are even remotely aware of. There is a group in North America who has translated and expanded the German research to implement these techniques in other countries. The Institute for Bau-Biologie & Ecology (IBE) is dedicated to educating folks on how to create healthy indoor environments.

This includes the LEED community. Fortunately, my involvement will likely catalyze a communication between these two important bodies so we can take building health in the United States to the next level. After all, if you spend so much of your time indoors, how can you possibly be healthy if you are living in a toxic environment?

I hope to have at least one article a week devoted to this CRUCIAL health topic, because if you don't understand these principles, you could be living in a time bomb.

Electro-Pollution in Your Bedroom

The human body is an amazing, self-rejuvenating entity that has the ability to repair itself while it sleeps. This is accomplished with its own, internal electrical system that functions with very weak electrical impulses. Electrical impulses are generated by your brain and are used for intercellular communication. This is possible because your body is composed mainly of water with a high mineral content making it highly electrically conductive.

Cells know when to divide by vibrating. Brain cells, nerve cells, bone cells, all vibrate at different rates in order to communicate with one another. Unfortunately, our bodies act like tuning forks. When you vibrate a tuning fork (external electrical influence), any turning fork (like our body) in its vicinity will start vibrating at the same frequency or rate, and therefore will be confused as to how fast to grow.[1]

In the typical sleeping area, 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 impair your body's ability to communicate within itself, and impact health. The average person spends approximately one-third of their life sleeping.

Doesn't it make sense to reduce exposure to electric fields in our sleeping areas?

Some people develop symptoms when they experience long-term exposure, especially at night, to elevated levels of electricity, such as:

* Headaches
* Hyperactivity
* Nightmares
* Depression and fatigue
* Eyestrain
* Muscle cramps

Biological problems associated with electromagnetic stressors fall into two major categories:[2]
1. Brain (behavioral abnormalities, learning disabilities, altered bio-cycles and stress resp onses)

2. Growing tissue (embryos, genetics and cancer)
Research has shown that for a body to properly detoxify during sleep it must be alkaline, and high electromagnetic fields lead to acidity. This is especially true for heavy metal detoxification.[3]

5 Initial Steps to Create a Sleeping Sanctuary

1. Use battery devices near bed.

Research has shown that exposure to high magnetic fields while sleeping can cause severe long-term illness. Many electric clocks produce high magnetic fields.

2. Turn off bedroom-affecting circuits.

A restful sleep is necessary for health and a strong immune system. Electric fields affect the bio-communication system, keeping you from sleeping soundly.

3. Eliminate or shield from radio frequency (RF).

Radio frequency signals from portable phones, cell phones, and wireless devices have been shown to interfere with your body's immune system.

4. Use beds without metal.

Metal frames and metal box springs can amplify and distort the earth's natural magnetic field, which can lead to a non-restful sleep. Use natural materials.

5. Make sure there are no elevated magnetic fields.

Magnetic fields from appliances and building wiring can penetrate walls into a bedroom and disrupt your body's communication system. (<0.2milligauss)

[1] Oschman, James. Energy Medicine. London: Churchill Livingstone, 2000.

[2] Becker, Robert O. Cross Currents. New York: Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 1990.

[3] LINK [cited Feb 2007]