By Cat, Jan 2019
EMFs (electro-magnetic fields) are a controversial topic regarding the damage to human health that they may cause, especially as the digital world is growing exponentially. Just what is an electro-magnetic field?
It is a combination of an electric field and a magnetic field produced by electrically-charged moving objects such as electrons. EMFs can be produced by (examples):
- electric wiring in your home;
- your cell phone, computer, radio, television;
- your microwave oven;
- smart meters (for your electricity usage);
- radio and cell towers;
- and so on….
We are exposed to EMFs wherever we are and every moment of our lives. They can have very negative effects on our bodies and our health, and there is serious concern that in our digital age, EMFs may be our undoing. For more on this, see two of Dr. Allen Christianson’s emails on this topic as copied below.
I also include several links by Dr. Mercola on the topic of EMFs, and a documentary on the dangers of smart meters.
Dr. Mercola’s articles:
- Harmful effects of EMFs explained
- Health effects of EMF exposure
- How electromagnetic fields damage your health
- Reduce EMF exposure
- How body voltage dictates health and disease
- Hidden hazards of electric fields
- Cellphones and brain tumors
- Dirty electricity: Stealth trigger of disease epidemics and lowered life expectancy
- “Take Back your Power,” a 1 hour, 24 minute documentary on the dangers of smart meters
Dr. Allen Christianson’s Email #1:
“EMFs could be a real threat to your health but howfar do you need to go? You cannot avoid them entirely.
Even if you were to live deep in the wilderness with no electrical or battery powered devices, you would still be exposed to naturally occuring EMFs. These include the earth’s own magnetic field and that generated by weather and certain geologic structures.
In order to find some answers, I tested my home, electronic devices, and my car to see how much EMFs they emitted. Here is a little background data on my project.
Field Type Tested
There are electrical fields, radio waves, and electromagnetic fields (EMFs). The device I settled on had the capacity to test all three. Because all of the human safety studies I could find were on EMFs, I focused the discussion on EMF levels. In every case in which radio waves or electrical fields were elevated, EMFs were also. For the video and the remainder of this discussion I will focus on EMFs, but please know that even if I were to talk about all field types, it would not change any of the conclusions.
How much is safe?
Prolonged exposure above 3 milligauss has been identified as a possible risk factor in childhood leukemia. The lowest level of prolonged exposure that has been shown to carry risk is 2 milligauss.
In the cases in which 2 milligauss was thought to be unsafe, people were exposed to it continually. The most common scenario is in which high power lines are close to one’s home and the fields encompass the entire living environment. In these cases, a person may spend 1/2 of their lives in a field of this level.
EMF power plummets with increased distance from the source. If you are 3 feet away, the field may be 1/9th as powerful. If you’re 5 feet away, it may be 1/125th as powerful. Having an electronic device that emits 2 milligauss 3 inches from its power source is not the same as living in a home in which 2 milligauss is the ambient level of EMF.
One can take a precautionary principle and easily avoid even occasional exposure to fields over 2 milligauss without too much trouble.
I read reviews from several engineers and product users and settled on 4 different units. After testing the four, I settled on one that gave consistent readings that fit expectations. Some units gave low readings near our electrical panel and higher readings in the backyard or gave different readings in the same spot when measured a few minutes apart.
Sadly we have no US federal guidelines on safe EMF exposure for the public or for workers. The World Health Organization has stated that EMF exposure can create a health risk and has found that 80% of countries do have legislation for safe limits.
Based on my findings, many of the common EMF recommendations were warranted, but others were not.
- Home Wifi created no measurable EMFs when on or off, besides 1-3 inches next to the modem and router. Turn off your wifi if you want to force yourself offline, but I can’t find a reason to do so for EMF exposure.
- Electrical panels did generate large amounts of EMFs. Please do not have your bed against a wall with an electrical panel on the opposite side.
- Apple’s wireless earbuds, Airpods, did not generate significant EMFs.
- Laptop computers did, but only within a few inches. Don’t use them on your lap. On a table they’re fine.
Dr Allen Christianson’s Email #2, includes 2 videos (references 1 and 2, below):
This topic is significant, and it’s crucial that we get it right. None of us want to miss any risk that we could be facing, and at the same time, none of us want to go through a lot of hassle for no reason.
Flowing electrons can also produce magnetic fields. In that case, it is correct to call it an electromagnetic field, even though it acts the same way.
Materials can not block magnetic fields, but the fields diminish considerably with increasing distance. The refrigerator magnet may stick when you set it on your fridge, but see what happens when you hold it even 6 inches away.
These fields are generated by voltage potential of static electrons in a current. A simple example is static electricity before it makes a spark. If you rub a balloon on your head and it makes your hair stand up, that is because you’ve made an electric field.
Materials that act as insulators like fabric, plastic, or rubber can block electric fields but not magnetic fields.
Radio waves and microwaves
These are both types of radiation that can be emitted by electrical devices. The term radiation is using two different ways that can quickly get confused. Radiation in a broader sense refers to all waves that transmit electromagnetic energy.
Cat’s side note: What is an electron?
I learned about this from my graduate school study of Quantium Physics and Quantum Chemistry:
An electron is a subatomic negatively charged particle, originally thought to travel in specific orbits around the atomic nucleus, but quantum theory has changed that perspective.
Instead, it is an energy wave of specific frequency moving randomly In an atom, the movement/behavior of an electron around the nucleus is calculated as a “probability distribution” or “orbital” rather than an orbit. For example, one can say it has a 90% probability to be somewhere within a specific orbital (and consequently a 10% probability to be outside that orbital. One cannot know precisely where it is at any given moment in time. Also, the electron is only perceived as a particle when it is observed/measured. Thus it has a wave/particle duality.