EMF (or Electromagnetic Field) is a broad term which includes electric fields generated by charged particles; magnetic fields generated by charged particles in motion, and radiated fields such as TV, radio, and microwaves. Electric fields are measured in units of volts per meter or V/m. Magnetic fields are measured in milli-Gauss or mG. The field is always strongest near the source and diminishes as you move away from the source.
Despite the many wonderful conveniences of electrical technology, the effects of EMF on biological tissue remains the most controversial aspect of the EMF issue with virtually all scientists agreeing that more research is necessary to determine safe or dangerous levels. Iron, necessary for healthy blood and stored in the brain, is highly effected by EMF. The permeability of the cell membrane of our nerves, blood vessels, skin, and other organs is affected. The intricate DNA of the chromosomes has been shown to be effected by EMFs as well.
On June 27, 2001, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) joined other prestigious committees around the world, including the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, to conclude that power frequency electromagnetic fields (EMFs) are a possible carcinogen with a potential of doubling the leukemia risk among children consistently exposed to fields above 4 milliigauss (mG).
EMFs In Your Home
It’s important to protect your family from the potentially harmful effects of EMFs and this includes your pets. Here are some common sources of EMFs that you should consider.
Sometimes, the source of a high magnetic field is incorrect wiring. If you suspect that your home is wired improperly, obtain the services of a licensed electrician. Warning: Do not touch electric wires, even if you think the current is turned off. If you need to disconnect electrical circuits to determine the source of magnetic fields, call a licensed electrician.
Computers are a complicated subject. Know this: EMFs radiate from all sides of the computer. Thus, you must not only be concerned with sitting in front of the monitor but also is you are sitting near a computer or if a computer is operating in a nearby room. The radiation emitted by wireless communications is also a concern. The radiation decreases linearly, so you have to put a significant amount of distance between your dog and the source to sufficiently reduce exposure.
If you have a wireless Internet router set up in your home, you and your dog are receiving considerable EMF exposure. Wi-fi heath damage cam be limited by turning cable modems and DSL routers off at night ow when not in use. Connecting your machines to the internet, whether you’re surfing or not, will flooding your space with EMFs 24/7. Whenever possible, use wires to connect to your router.
Electric clocks have a very high magnetic field up to three feet away. If you are using a bedside clock, you are probably sleeping in an EMF equivalent to that of a power line. It is wise to place all clocks and other electrical devices (such as telephones and answering devices) at least 6 feet from your bed or other locations where you or your dog spend a lot of time.
Fluorescent lights produce much more EMFs than incandescent bulbs. If possible, choose incandescent bulbs.
Telephones & answering machines
Telephones can emit surprisingly strong EMFs especially from the handset. Cordless phone bases are a MAJOR source of exposure, and should never be kept in your bedroom or your dog’s sleeping area. While the handset is a source of exposure while you’re talking on the phone, the base transmits constantly, whether the phone is in use or not. Answering machines, particular those with adapter plugs (mini-transformers) also give off high levels of EMFs.
What You Can Do
Remember that EMFs can easily travel through walls. Whenever possible, place appliances, computers, phones and other sources of EMFs on the outside walls of your home. You should also limit the number of electric devices in places where you and your family spend the most time. Move all electrical appliances at least 6 feet away from your bed and your dog’s sleeping area. Eliminate dimmers and 3-way switches.
The Electric Power Research Institute estimates that no more than a quarter of homes exceed 2 mG of overall background electromagnetic radiation. However, EMFs from appliances can cause localized fields well in excess of the 4 mG mentioned in the study. Milligaus refer to a unit of measure for the strength of an electromagnetic field.
What is your family’s risk for exposure to EMFs? One way to find out is to rent or buy a gaussmeter (a gauge for measuring EMFs) to determine your exact exposures in your home and work environment. Find sources for gaussmeters here.