EMF measurements

by Nenad Uzelac, MSEE


This is a second post in series on Electromagnetic Fields (EMF). You can read the first one here.

In the words of Swedish neuro-oncologist Leif Salford, you, me, our friends and family... we ALL are participating in an unauthorized experiment - "the largest biological experiment ever". All the electronics around us generate certain levels of EMF; cell phones, baby alarms, night clocks...

So what are the health effects to EMF exposures?

That's where the experiment lies.

The science of EMF to date about bio-effects resulting from exposure to EM radiation is in early stages. We can't predict that a specific EMF exposure (say using cell phone for 10min a day, or sitting next to the WiFi router 8 hours a day) resulting in complicated debate over effects of EMF exposure.

The debate has two sides. On one side, there are those that feel we should wait for definitive proof of harm before taking any action (for example - representatives from the industry).  On the other side are those who are for adoption of a precautionary approach as we continue to effects the health effects of EMF exposure (for example - scientists that took part in this Bioinitiative Study

 

 

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Unfortunately,  debates about harmful effect of manmade products  (X-radiation, tobacco, asbestos ....) take decades. Given the scientific uncertainty of EMF exposure health effects, my hopes that this debate will be resolved in my lifetime is low. Therefore, I've decided to be on the precautionary side and start making changes in our lives in order to minimize EMF exposure. 

There are simple ways to mitigate's one's risk associated with EMF exposure. The key principles are:

- Learn to recognize and measure EMF sources.

- Minimize the use of equipment that produces EMF.

- Stay as far away from EMF sources, as long as you can.

 

Measure EMF sources:

We need tools to detect the fields, to determine where they are high, and to determine if we can lower the exposures by increased distance, EM-shielding or filtering. 

There are 4 types of EM fields that we need to measure: 

  1. Low Frequency Electric Fields (60Hz appliances, lamps, clocks, plugs, ext. cords, etc.).  Need Electric Field Meter. 
  2. Low Frequency Magnetic Fields (60Hz hair dryer, el. stove, alarm clock, el. blanket etc…). Need a AC Gaussmeter 
  3. High Radio Frequency (cordless phones, Wi-Fi, microwaves, etc.). Need a Power-Density meter - measuring at least up to 3GHz frequency range. 
  4. Dirty Electricity measurements (“high-voltage transients” on electrical wiring in the house). Need a dirty electricity meter. 

You can either rent of purchase EMF meters. The good online store would be www.lessemf.com . Keep in mind that EMF fields can run in any direction. Therefore, I recommend purchasing a triple axis meter, that can detect EMF fields regardless of its position. Otherwise, you'll need to repeat the measurements in each axis. 

You also want to take measurements that reflects daily habits. If you are spending lots of time in your home office, I would start the measurements there. You shouldn't be much concerned about EMF in the basement if you go there once a month.  Lastly, you want to measure the EMF from electrical sources when they are both ON and OFF. That will give you a better idea of your exposures in daily life.

Note: Greenpediatrics offers the service for EMF measurements. If you would prefer to hire the professional rather then DIY, please see  Tri-fold brochure - EMF 

 

Compare measurements to Precautionary EMF limits

I recommend using values as depicted in sections 1 - 4 in SBM-2008 Standard of Building Biology Testing Methods:   Building biology RF limits

 

 

Reduce your exposure to EMF

Once you determined in which areas you want to reduce the EMF, here are some suggested tactics that you may adopt to minimize your personal EMF exposure:

- Live as far from cell phone antennas as possible

- Don't use Electric blankets and heated waterbeds

- Run extension cords clean and at least 2-3 feet away

- Switch from Electric to battery alarm

- Don't use fluorescent lights. If you use it consider installing dirty electricity Stetzer filters

- Don't use dimmers and 3 position switches. If you have them, consider installing dirty electricity filters

- Don't use radiant electrical floor heating

- Don't use microwaves. If you use them, please go outside the kitchen when it's turn on.

- Put the cell phone on your nigh stand in "airplane mode"

- Don't put cell-phone in your pocket.

- Use a headset, preferably one with "airtube" that reduce radiation. 

- Don't put  laptop that plugged in the wall on your lap. 

- Switch off your WiFi during nighttime.

- Move the router 10-15ft from the areas where you spend most of your time.

- Move the baby alarm out from the baby room. 

- Don't have extension cords running under your bed

- Prepare food 6 ft away from the electrical stove or oven. 

Note: once you apply those strategies, re-measure the EMF. 

MaximizeDistance_MinimizeUsage 

straling-binneshuis

 

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Depending on its source, the EMF will reduce following one of these inverse functions. That's why increasing the distance from the source is an effective mitigation strategy. 

 

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EMF from the 30mW router

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