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Electromagnetic Fields

DEFINITION
CONSIDERATIONS
COMMERCIAL STATUS
IMPLEMENTATION ISSUES
GUIDELINES

  1. Guidelines to reduce EMF exposure in a home
  2. Electric Fields and Magnetic Fields
  3. Exposure Levels


CSI NUMBER

114 000
157 100
157 200
161 165
161 800
162 100
162 300


DEFINITION:

Electromagnetic fields (EMFs) are created by electric power charges. There are two types of fields – electric fields which result from the strength (voltage) of the charge and magnetic fields which result from the motion (amperage) of the charge.


CONSIDERATIONS:

There is considerable scientific inquiry into possible health impacts from electromagnetic fields. There are several studies indicating that health risks exist, but little agreement as to why. A draft study by the EPA, which reviewed 50 epidemiological studies and hundreds of biological studies acknowledge that low level electromagnetic fields may increase the risk of cancer. The study indicated the need for more research into understanding the risk components and exposure levels.

The recommended course of action at present is “prudent avoidance.” This means it’s a good idea to pursue no-cost or minimal-cost strategies that reduce exposure to EMF’s. Major investment in minimization strategies is not considered “prudent,” due to the lack of adequate understanding of what is or is not safe.

Electromagnetic fields diminish quite rapidly with distance from the source (the inverse square of the distance). Thus, a primary strategy is to increase the distance between sources of EMF’s and parts of the home where people spend the most time. Reducing the sources of EMF’s can also be accomplished to a limited extent.

EMF sources include electrical distribution lines and common household and occupational electrical appliances.

Commercial
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EMF’s Minimized Satisfactory in Limited Conditions Satisfactory in most conditions Satisfactory Satisfactory Satisfactory in Limited Conditions Satisfactory
Satisfactory Satisfactory
Satisfactory in most conditions Satisfactory in most conditions
Satisfactory in Limited Conditions Satisfactory in Limited Conditions
Unsatisfactory or Difficult Unsatisfactory or Difficult


COMMERCIAL STATUS

This consideration will apply to EMF minimization strategies.

TECHNOLOGY:

The prudent avoidance strategies listed are basic approaches that reduce exposure to EMF’s. More sophisticated approaches are not readily available.

SUPPLIERS:

Very few consultants or technicians.

COST:

These strategies are low-cost or no-cost approaches.


IMPLEMENTATION ISSUES

FINANCING:

Available.

PUBLIC ACCEPTANCE:

Few people are aware of EMF issues.

REGULATORY:

None.


GUIDELINES


1.0 Guidelines to reduce EMF exposure in a home:

Electric meters and subpanels are powerful EMF emitters. Place these on walls of spaces where occupants spend the least time. Both sides of the wall should be in low usage regions as EMF’s are not blocked by walls. An example of a suitable location would be an outside garage wall.

Keep heater/air conditioner blowers away from high usage areas of the house.

Use romex wire exclusively.

First floor fluorescent ceiling fixtures should not be located under second floor areas of high use at floor level such as a children’s playrooms. .i.fluorescent: EMF’s and, E 15.;

Grounding by rods into the earth near the meter eliminates EMF’s emanating from water pipes due to electrical grounding

Locate the overhead secondary service wire or the underground secondary service trench in a little-used area of the yard.

Locate the wiring in the walls, floor, and ceiling away from high use areas of the home. If practical, run wires under the roof and drop them down through the walls to reach switches, outlets, etc. .i.wiring: EMF’s and, E 15.;

Due to the number of appliances in a kitchen, it is an area of high EMF’s. However, it is an area of short-term exposure in most cases. Locate kitchen appliances on a wall away from high use areas that may adjoin the kitchen such as bedrooms or living rooms.


2.0 EMF Characteristics – Electric Fields and Magnetic Fields

2.1 Electric Fields

EMF’s are measured in volts or kilovolts per meter for electric charges (V/m or kV/m).

Electric fields can be partly shielded by objects, particularly grounded objects.

Electric fields over 20 kV/m will cause a tingling sensation.

2.2 Magnetic Fields

Magnetic fields are measured in teslas, Gauss, and milliGauss (mG) (10,000 Gauss equals one tesla).

Magnetic fields are not affected by objects.

Magnetic fields are not felt.


3.0 Exposure Levels

Negative health effects are suspected even from very low fields.

Studies indicate negative health risks at three (3) milliGauss.

The International Radiation Protection Association has issued draft exposure guidelines for power frequency electric and magnetic fields of 5 kV/m for continuous exposure for electric fields and 2 Gauss for magnetic fields.

Fields can be measured with special meters. See Resources section.

Fields decrease rapidly over distance (the inverse square of the distance).