EMF dangers in Home and OfficeAuthor: Pacific Northwest Inspections Group, LLC Date: 25-Nov-2013. Category: Electrical Add to Favorites
What are EMF Fields?
Electro Magnetic Fields (EMFs) are comprised of electric fields that are generated by charged particles or charged particles that are in motion, and radiated fields emitted from items such as televisions, radios and microwaves. EMFs are strongest near the source of the emission, but can affect particles even at great distances, as in how a radio tower can emit a radiated signal that is received by antennas up to varying distances, depending upon the strength of the transmission. While we have enjoyed the benefits of technology that utilizes EMFs for decades, there is still significant controversy surround the possible dangers of EMFs and the effects on the human body. Various studies have shown that EMFs may have a detrimental effect on the iron content in our bodies, as well as the cell membranes that comprise many parts of our body, include our skin, organs and nerves, and even our DNA. While there is an established safety limit for the emission of EMFs, many common household items do emit far more than the accepted limit of 2.5 mG. These products include items we may use nearly every day, such as vacuum cleaners and hair dryers. Some scientific studies claim that continued exposure to elevated levels of EMFs may result in significant health problems. For better detection and protection against EMFs in the home or in the workplace, an EMF inspection is recommended. EMF inspections will also help you to determine what an acceptable distance is to stand away from items that emit EMFs, such as microwaves or computers, and how to rearrange your furnishings so that you sit or sleep comfortably away from EMF emitting devices. Our Meter combines all the features needed for fast, accurate measurements of electromagnetic fields, including mobile phone base station antenna radiation, RF power measurement for transmitters, wireless LAN (Wi-Fi) detection/installation, and wireless communication applications. Additionally, turning off electrical appliances that don’t currently need use, and using low power settings on items such as computer monitors that must remain on but are used constantly will also serve to reduce the amount of EMF emissions in the home or office.
What are safe EMF levels?
The first thing we look to for guidance in this question is the epidemiology. There have been a fair number of epidemiological studies in the area of childhood brain cancer and leukemia all of which indicate an association with EMFs - two to three times the number of cases - at magnetic field levels above 2-3 milliGauss (mG). This implies, of course that EMF levels below that are safer than levels above that.
However other have suggested guideline levels of 1 mG or even 0.65 mG. EMF Inspection Safe Levels Safe EMF The fact is none of the studies compared exposed subjects to unexposed subjects but only compared relative levels of exposure - because there are no unexposed people in our wired world. For all we know, all cases of childhood leukemia and brain cancer may be related to EMFs. We also do not know for certain whether long term chronic exposure is a key factor - although it certainly appears to be.
We also do not know the role that such electrical events as power spikes and transients, etc., may play. We do know however that for power line fields most people that are exposed, even to relatively high levels, do not seem to be affected. It is not a simple cause and effect relationship. In fact many, myself included, suspect that EMFs may not be a cause of cancer, but a promoter that acts when other factors such as exposure to other environmental pollutants, or a genetic disposition are present. These are all factors that need to be studied. If the scientific andpolitical community would accept the obvious facts - that there is indeed< an association between EMFs and higher levels of cancer and other diseases and disabilities then we could get on with the important research in finding what the key factors are. So where does that leave us. Most of us cannot run off to a desert island with no electricity or radio transmission. What we can do is reduce our exposure as much as possible.
We can start with personal exposure. Most appliances have high levels of EMFs that drop off very quickly and we are not exposed to them for long periods of time. But there are some exceptions where we can take avoidance measures such as not using electric blankets or keeping electric clocks right beside our beds or placing our children's beds in the bedrooms with the lowest EMF levels. We can also check our homes for hot spots - in some cases improper grounding systems can cause high EMF levels that can easily be corrected. And we can be cautious when buying a home - including a satisfactory EMF inspection requirement in the offer to purchase and avoiding homes with levels above the 2-3 mG magnetic field level. I have not referred to electric field readings simply because most of the studies have looked at magnetic fields and most of the meters available to the general public at reasonable cost measure magnetic fields.
[A NOTE TO THE EXPERTS READING THIS - WOULD THE FOLLOWING BE AN ACCURATE STATEMENT:
As well, since higher magnetic fields indicate higher relative electric fields, by measuring the magnetic field you are also getting an indication of the relative size of the electric field.] I have also not referred to radio frequency or cellular telephone fields because I am not as familiar with that area which is very complicated with research just being begun in that area. What EMF Level Is Safe? There's a heated debate as to what electromagnetic field (EMF) level is considered safe. Since the experts have not come to an consensus, you'll have to decide for yourself... Many government and utility documents report the usual ambient level of 60-Hz magnetic field to be 0.5 mG.
Thus, any reading higher than 0.5 mG is above the "usual" ambient exposure. Many experts and public officials, as well as the few governments that have made an effort to offer public protection, have adopted the 3 mG cutoff point. The EPA has proposed a safety standard of 1 mG. Sweden has set a maximum safety limit of 1 mG. Dr. Robert Becker, an MD who has been studying the effects of EMFs for 20 years, states a lmG safety limit in his book Cross Currents. When electricians try to solve a magnetic field problem they do their best to drop the level to 1 mG or below. Dr. Nancy Wertheimer, a Ph.D. epidemiologist who has been studying EMFs for 20 years, has been looking at the epidemiological data in a different way -- she is trying to associate EMF levels with health rather than disease. The level she is coming up with is a cut off of 1 mG. The BioElectric Body believes that there are several stages of health between "optimum wellness", "degenerative disease" and "Cancer". Thus, we maintain our own living and sleeping quarters at 0.5mG and below. There is disaagreement as to what electromagnetic field (EMF) level is considered safe. Government and utility documents report the usual ambient level of 60-Hz magnetic field to be 0.5 mG. A reading of more than 0.5 mG may be too much exposure. Some experts say that 3 mG is the cutoff point, and the the EPA proposes1 mG. However, what is the level that sustains health vs. the level that causes disease? We don’t know. Some researchers claim that 1/1000ths of a mG should be the standard!