Building Health Services

Electromagnetic Fields (EMF) and Radio Frequency (RF) Radiation

Do you have questions regarding electromagnetic fields, cell phones, wireless technologies or smart meters? IET has the knowledge, skills and equipment to make visible this invisible world and provide you with an understanding of how your home, workplace or area of concern is affected by these invisible sources of environmental interest. All of our bodily cellular functions are electrochemical and prudent avoidance suggests that we should minimize our exposure to man-made EMFs whenever possible. Nerve impulses for large muscles are in the milliVolt (mV) range and brain waves are in the microVolt (µV) range. Manmade electrical fields in some areas we have tested have exceeded 87,000 mV (87 volts) and have been strong enough to light hand held four foot florescent light tubes under transmission lines in close proximity to homes immediately adjacent to the utility right of way. And what about WiFi and cell phones?


Electromagnetic Spectrum -- source:howstuffworks.com

 

What are safe levels for EMFs?

IET has been performing EMF surveys since 1992. We have adhered to the IBN standards and protocols as outlined by the BBM 2008 standard for our present inspection protocols. For more information on baubiologie (Building Biology) click on the links below.

http://www.baubiologie.de/downloads/english/ENG_Broschuere.pdf

http://www.baubiologie.de/downloads/english/standard_questions_%202008.pdf

Bear in mind, these are conservative and designed for sleeping areas; though they can be incorporated into building design to create a very healthy home from an EMF perspective.

As far back as 1979, pioneers in the field of EMF and epidemiology, Dr. Nancy Wertheimer and Ed Leeper published a ground breaking study indicating that power line frequencies as low as 4 milliGauss (mG) were responsible for a statistical increase in childhood leukemia. The great publication Microwave News has been publishing relevant data on perceived health effects related to EMF exposure all across the electromagnetic spectrum since the late 1980's and have been a staple of our research and background knowledge since our first EMF inspection in 1992. Other experts like Dr. Robert O. Becker of Cross Currents fame recommend levels less than 1 mG. And how the landscape has changed over the years.

There is a general disagreement as to what values are safe. In our opinion, levels less than 1 mG are considered acceptable for the sleeping or high occupancy areas, but it is possible to build a house of locate an existing home with levels as low as 0 mG if you are diligent. Some experts say levels as high as 3 mG are acceptable, others 20 mG and the EPA is even considering levels as low as 1 mG. Again, prudent avoidance must be considered and the only true way to evaluate the conditions of your property is to accurately measure. It has been our experience that if the ambient level outside your home does not exceed 0.5 mG, the indoor level should not exceed 0.75 to 1 mG unless in close proximity to a point source like a stove or TV set. A good rule of thumb is to avoid long term exposure to point sources by keeping a six foot space between you and the source.

Even back in the 1950s there was awareness of potential EMF radiation from new appliances like TV's whose screens were similar to X ray video machines of that same vintage. Children were advised by their parents to keep six feet away from the front of the TV. Prudent avoidance was practical even back then.


Click to enlarge

There are lots of other point sources we should be aware of and by understanding how EMFs can impact our world we can make conscious decisions about how and where we spend time in the indoor environment. You should consider avoiding having a portable phone base station and charger or clock radio plugged in next to the head of your bed. There are remote control alarm clocks that can be placed across the room and turned on and off with the push of a button. There is little to worry about for large appliances unless they are on the other side of a bedroom wall where the bed is located. Using a Gauss meter to determine field strengths in a baby's room, an inspection in the early 1990's had just that scenario where the baby's crib was on the exterior wall common to the sprinkler timer clock (10 mG within two feet of the baby's head coming through a concrete block wall) and the poor child could not get a good night's sleep. After a quick look around and moving the crib to another wall, the child slept soundly at 0.5 mG. It is all about understanding these conditions that allow us to make informed decisions. So make sure the sprinkler timer, electric panel, large appliances or HVAC condenser are away from where you sleep and remember the six foot rule.

Measuring the Electromagnetic Spectrum

Electromagnetic fields are broken down into three basic categories:

1) Extremely Low Frequency (ELF) and Very Low Frequency (VLF) fields (~15 Hz to 10,000 Hz) include transmission line frequencies, electrical transformers, sub-stations, electric trains and trolleys, electrical appliances and motors and building wiring. Problems occur the closer we are to the source of the fields (living under big transmission lines, an electric panel on the other side of our bedroom wall , building wiring errors, stray current and voltage and issues with the grounding systems. Measured with gauss meters and electric field meters. And data loggers

Dirty electricity is a rather new term and it is associated with the embedded high frequency transient components onto house wiring from the grounding or distribution lines as well as the power supplies of many electronic devices that chop the wave form from a clean sine wave to a jagged one to reduce the voltage. Our concerns stem from the earth ground of our electrical distribution system here in the USA and voltage shifts in the power supplies of modern electronic devices such as computers, dimmer switches and fluorescent light ballasts which can be carried throughout the wiring in a home or office and often originate from outside your home. This is becoming a health concern as well and is inherent in most new electronics and appliances we purchase today further compounding the exposure concern. We just don't know the long-term health effects or other unintended consequences of these aspects of our man made electromagnetic environment. There is an abundance of information on the internet about this condition, many devices sold that claim they can mitigate these conditions and an equal amount of conservative information discounting the reported health effects and efficacy of these products. Addressing dirty electricity will continue to be a hotly debated subject. Some people swear by these devices and others swear at them.

2) Radio Frequency (RF) fields (~10,000 Hz to 6,000,000 Hz for our measurement purposes) include information carrying radio waves from AM and FM radio and TV transmissions, mobile and portable phones, wireless computer networks, smart meters, microwave ovens, microwave data transmissions, satellite transmissions and radar frequencies. It is understood that the higher frequencies (including newer personal communication devices and wireless computer networks) are an increased concern because they vibrate faster and generate more heat.

Radio frequency health challenges can occur for sensitive individuals as a result of the proliferation of sources of RF exposure that we have never before experienced in history. In-house wireless networks, baby monitors and DECT mobile home phones have become a significant source of RF radiation within our homes. We liken it to having a small cell phone tower constantly transmitting within your home 24 hours a day.

Cell phones pose a special risk for children as the heat signature generated by them is displayed in thermal imaging penetrates much deeper into their little skulls and farther into their brains.

Penetration of heat signatures into mock skull studies for different skull sizes, Note the percentage of tissue coverage and penetration of the heat signature to the medial line of the brain for different skull densities. Children's brains are more susceptible to radiation. 1900 MHz at watts per kilogram of soft tissue from cell phone. Red is the highest temperature with purple the lowest.
Click here to read the full article.

Energy draws on a power grid of a region by remotely turning on and off various appliances within your home through the emitting of RF signals from the appliance to the meter and on to the power grid and back again all using a pulsed digital RF signal. This new technology creates the unintended consequence of another chronic exposure source to pulsed digital RF signals that can and do affect cellular functions in sensitive individuals.


Smart Meters: What We Do Know.
Want to know more about smart meters? Download this PDF to learn what smart meters are, why there is a concern and what types of radiation is transmitted by them. Click here »

 

3) Ionizing radiation or radioactivity is a portion of the upper EMF spectrum from ultraviolet through X-rays to gamma rays (nuclear medicine, nuclear power plants and radioactive fallout). The difference between this form of EMF radiation and the non-ionizing is the ability towards rapid cellular mutation and cell destruction. This is immediately dangerous where the non-ionizing radiation is more of a long term exposure consideration. You measure ionizing radiation with passive dosimeter badges or Geiger counters. The higher the frequency, the more biologically active the potential results.

Each unique aspect of this broad electromagnetic spectrum requires specific equipment to accurately determine the effects on the environment of concern. Our goal is to test, measure, and identify the source and provide you with the options available to reduce your exposure. We compare your building levels to our local reference values, international recommendations guidelines and industry standards. Although there is significant controversy about acceptable exposure levels, many in the scientific and medical community recommend reducing exposure where possible. IET also works very closely with clients in new construction creating a low EMF home or office.

 
What levels are safe for EMF?

Measuring the
Electromagentic Spectrum

Services Offered

Long-term measurements (data logging)

Power line surveys

Cell site and antenna measurements

Smart meter surveys

Real estate transactions

Commercial and residential property surveys

New construction low EMF/RF design

Shielding options

Measurements to NIOSH/CDC compliance as well as international and organizational guidelines




Downloads are provided in PDF format and require Adobe Acrobat Reader.
 
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