Safety Advice for Electromagnetic Fields

EMFWISE

EMF smartphone wifi cordless low emf computer CFL cell tower electricity tower smart meter

Precautionary Measures

Wireless | Dirty Electricity | Power Lines | Electric | Ionizing
   
See: Computing | Cell Phones | Detection | Shielding | Nutrition

Practical Steps to Reduce Your Exposure

Below is a list of precautions for Wireless Radiation, Intermediate Frequencies, AC Magnetic Fields, AC Electric Fields, and Ionizing Radiation.

Microwave Radiation WarningRecommended Alternatives
Home Phones dect cordless phone cordless phones
Cordless Phones.

The potential dangers of the ubiquitous cordless phones have been raised in the European Parliament, the German Federal Radiation Protection Agency, Salzburg, Austria, and recently in Israel as well. See studies by Leonnart Hardell which indicate that cordless phones may be harmful.
  • Digital Cordless Phones such as DECT(left): DECT phones provide continual 24/7 wireless radiation from the station itself, the moment they are plugged in.
  • Old-fashioned analog cordless phones (right) are better in that they radiate only during the call.
  • Low-EMF Cordless Phones offered by Germany, and Switzerland ("No radiation when not in use"), and the UK, may also be safer than standard DECT phones.
wired speaker phone wired phone
Wired phones.

Traditional wired phones are scarcely found these days, but are still available at online stores like amazon.com and ebay.com.
  • A Speaker phone can provide some hands-free ability. Note, however, that some wired phones still have some power line magnetic fields, so a little distance should still be observed. An airtube headset can be used if there is a headset jack.
  • A skype account (with a phone number) and external microphone is another alternative, provided that the internet connectivity is also wired.
Internet Connection wi-fi
Warnings about potential health dangers from Wi-Fi have been raised in the European Parliament, European Council, German Federal government, and the public health department of Salzburg, Austria.

Wi-Fi Routers.
Wi-Fi routers provide 24/7 continual wireless radiation, even when no computer is on the network. If wired alternatives are not possible, keep the router at a considerable distance, e.g., 5-10 meters (see Distance Matters), and turn it off when not in use. One possibility is to use a timer switch that automatically turns it off at night. Another possibility is to find a router that allows for scheduling capability, as well as reduced power level, which can provide a significant reduction of radiation.

Wi-Fi Enabled Laptops.
Most laptops today come with built-in Wi-Fi. Depending on your luck, some models are on 24/7 even when you don't use it (e.g., some eeepc's); others are on when you use it, or once per minute when you're not using it (HP laptop). Note that even if you're connected by an Ethernet cable, your computer may still be transmitting Wi-Fi. It needs to be disabled. When no other internet options are available, distance can be achieved with a USB Wi-Fi adapter on a long 10' USB extension cord, while disabling the built-in Wi-Fi on your laptop, since it is much closer to you.
wired router
Wired cable/DSL router. A wired alternative can be used in place of a wireless router, with Ethernet cables to connect to your computers. See a sample network setup here.

Be aware, however, that intermediate radio-frequencies and electric fields can be injected from a wired router or switch onto Ethernet cables. Check with a sensitive AM radio and a non-contact volt sensor. If there are pulsing intermediate frequencies or especially strong radio-frequencies from a particular wired router or switch, try one with fewer ports or a different vendor. Body voltage, if detected, can be reduced via a grounding cord connected to the metal ethernet jack. The intermediate frequencies can be reduced with distance from the device and ethernet cables.

Router vs. Switch: Note that a router should be used rather than a switch to connect to the cable or DSL modem, if more than one computer needs to use the internet. If more ports are needed, a switch can then be used to extend the connection to further computers.
Cell phones blackberry android iphone
Warnings about cell phones have been raised in France, Finland, Israel, Russia, India, and the European Parliament. Read the government health advisories.
  • Some Smart Phones are set up to operate 24/7. Make sure to tune your smart phone settings so that it does not transmit continually. For example, check the Wi-Fi, airplane mode settings on the iPhone or set the autosync interval to on demand on the Android. See Safer Cell Phones.
  • Beware of differences in signal modulations. For example, some scientists suggest UMTS could be more damaging than GSM and that pulsed radiation may be more dangerous than non-pulsed radiation.
  • SAR can be deceptive.. Buying a low-SAR phone can be deceptive, because of time and spatial averaging. Furthermore, measurements are not readily comparable because they can be performed at different distances from the body.
  • Avoid Bluetooth since it's used directly at the ear.
cell phone airplane mode
auto-sync
  • Stop your cell phone from chatting when you aren't: Set the Auto-sync mode to be on-demand as described in the 10 Precautions flyer.
  • Keep a distance from the head and body with an air tube headset, speaker mode, or texting.
  • Use Sparingly, even after observing distance. See Safer Cell Phones for reasons why.
  • Turn off your phone whenever possible, but especially in these situations:
    • When the wireless signal is low, high power is used to compensate.
    • When sleeping, use "airplane" or "flight" mode, and keep it away from your body.
    • On trains, phones may transmit frequently to handle region changes
    • In cars, trains, elevators, and other closed spaces with metal walls, the reflection off the walls can magnify signals.
  • Forward your number to a landline when possible, e.g., *72+phone number for Verizon.
Wi-Fi Enabled Devices wi-fi enabled printer
Printer, projector, etc. with Wi-Fi Capability
Many of these radiate continually 24/7 as soon as they are plugged in.
wireless keyboard wireless mouse
Wireless keyboards and wireless mice.

iPod Touch, iPAD, Mobile WiFi, etc.: Look for software options to disable Wi-Fi. There may be occasional bursts of radiation even in standby mode, i.e., when the device is not used, as long as Wi-Fi is enabled.
wireless module
Get a Wired printer or physically remove the Wi-Fi module from the Wi-Fi printer or projector. In the above photo, the Wi-Fi module was removed from the printer with the help of a Philips screwdriver. (The software option to turn off the 24/7 radiation may not always exist.)
wired mouse wired keybaord
Use a wired keyboard and mouse instead of a wireless one. A ball-corded mouse is one possibility. Note, however, that these wired devices still contain some intermediate radio-frequencies, and that USB cables may carry some digital harmonics also from the computer and its power supply.
Cell Tower/mobile phone mast

External wireless radiation
cell tower  antenna  disguised cell tower
The radiation of a cell tower is continual (24/7) and living within a 300 to 400 meter radius could be dangerous. Perform due diligence before purchasing a home or apartment, to ensure that mobile phone mast levels are low. Check with antennasearch.com and your town's zoning board to ensure that no new masts are planned in the area. Note that poor signal reception on your mobile phone may be misleading, because it may be low for one provider but high for another. Relying upon visual inspection is also difficult, since some cell towers are concealed (see the pine tree disguise at right). The best way to check is with a meter.

Neighbors next door may also contribute to your external wireless radiation, e.g., if they have a Wi-Fi router or DECT cordless station on the other side of the wall. Again, you need a meter to be sure.
microwave shielding silver curtain
In some cases, a metallic cloth can be attached to the outside of a curtain (front or back) for a significant reduction in microwave radiation.
  • Certain Metallic cloth
  • Certain Metallized Plastics
  • Certain Metallized Films
  • Low-E Windows with Metallized Coatings
See Protection for more details.

Warning: Conductive materials, while blocking microwave frequencies, may potentially spread electrical field exposure. Thus, it is best to turn off circuit breakers and unplug wires affecting the area to be shielded.
Wireless Smart Meter wireless smart meter
Many next-generation electrical meters are using wireless frequencies to transmit electrical usage information, in contrast to older analog meters, which require meter readers to check the electricity level. Unfortunately, many of these wireless meters are reportedly transmitting frequently (sometimes every few seconds) at levels up to 10 or 100 times higher than a cell phone. They have reportedly resulted in health, security, and privacy issues, as well as fire risk and rate hikes.
analog meter
The analog meter(which looks almost the same, except that it has dials instead of digits) is preferrable. Some areas in California have a delay list for smart meters, and opt-out options are being considered. Advocates say that a wireless smart meter with a radio-off option will not solve the "dirty electricity" resulting from the switching-mode power supply. For more information, see Smart Meters.
Microwave Oven microwave oven
The microwaves that leak out of the microwave oven are very strong, and power line magnetic fields are also high, although the microwave radiation is only for the short duration when you are actually using it. Stand back at least 10 meters if possible. Microwaves can also alter the chemical composition of your food.Some of the newer microwaves may have energy-saving features that add to the EMF.
portable oven
Use a portable oven instead to heat your food. It may take 3 times as long, e.g., 9 minutes instead of 3 minutes.
E-book Readers amazon kindle
The Amazon KindleTM uses wireless communications by default. The wireless transmissions can be disabled, however, and the USB cable which is built into the 2-piece power cable can be used as an alternative method of transfer. Distance is still advised, even with the wireless functions disabled, since the graphite Kindle eInk readers still contain intermediate frequencies, in standby mode, as well as during page turns. These frequencies can be detected with a Radio Shack $15 radio in AM mode at the lower frequency setting.

The iPad uses LCD and so it may have digital harmonic frequencies. The iPad may also use Wi-Fi and/or 3G, which should be disabled on the iPad, when not in use.
sony ebook
Although eInk technology is generally expected to use less power and fewer digital harmonics frequencies than LCD, additional electronics may be added on top of eInk technology, which add to these frequencies.

The Sony pocket reader (shown above), which uses a wired USB cable, may be a safer choice, from an EMF point of view.
Wireless Baby Monitor wireless baby monitor
Digital wireless baby monitors (in particular, DECT baby monitors) have been observed to cause more problems for babies than the analog wireless baby monitors.
An analog monitor may be a better alternative, or else a wired system can be used, e.g., using a web camera. However, keep it a distance away and make sure not to run the wires near the crib, as the electrical field can be problematic as well.


Intermediate FrequenciesWarningRecommended Alternatives
Light CFL bulb
CFL's and Fluorescent lighting: Compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs), and fluorescent lighting, create intermediate frequencies above the fundamental 60 Hz frequency, which may affect health, so distance is advised.
incandescent light bulb
Prefer incandescent bulbs if possible. If you want to be energy conscious, you can choose incandescent light bulbs with the lowered wattage numbers (e.g., 90 instead of 100, 52 instead of 60, etc.). Consider also grounding your lamp for electrical exposures.
Switch dimmer switch
Dimmer Switch.
Dimmer switches put out a wide range of radio-frequencies in the kHz range when turned on. They are mentioned in recent books covering EMF remediation, such as Prescriptions for a Healthy House, Radiation Rescue under "Experts' Action Plans", The Powerwatch Handbook, and Zapped.

An AM radio from Radio Shack can be used to detect the intermediate frequencies from dimmer switches. Note that a special type of dimmer switch, the "full-on bypass" dimmer switch, when turned completely on, will bypass the dimming circuitry. However, regular dimmer switches will have digital harmonics as long as the switch is in the on position. These may travel along the wiring to pollute an entire home.
on/off switch
An ordinary on/off (dipole) switch is a safer alternative, since it does not put out a wide range of radio-frequencies.
TV plasma TV
Plasma displays.
A Grundig G8 AM radio from Radio Shack can be used to measure and hear the very strong intermediate frequencies from plasma TV's when they are turned on. These frequencies may travel as far as a quarter mile and may also be carried by electrical cables. Ham radio operators have complained about interference from Plasma TV's.
LCD TV
LCD Flat Panel Displays.
A CCFL-Back Lit LCD or Edge Lit LED flat panel display looks similar from the outside, but tends to have much weaker intermediate frequencies than a plasma TV. Still keep a distance of at least a yard, and limit one's exposure duration.
Projector projector EMF
Above: Projector measuring 82 dBµ on the Grundig G8 the moment it is plugged in.
Keep a distance from the projector and do not use it for extended times. It should not be used as one's primary monitor.
Cooking ventilation Cooking ventilation
Some cooking ventilation systems come with strong intermediate frequencies.
Computer Setup Other sources of digital harmonics include LCD displays (including computer monitors, eReaders with LCD screens, and smart phones with LCD screens), laptops, ethernet switches, ethernet cables plugged into ethernet switches, and so on. See an example video of intermediate frequencies from a computer setup. A proper distance must be kept from these varying sources of intermediate frequencies. This may vary from several inches from a smart phone to several feet from an LCD monitor, depending upon the source. A Grundig G8 radio from Radio Shack can be used to gauge the signal strength.
Refrigerator Some people with EHS have limited tolerance for refrigerators. Some people with EHS have set up systems which turn off the refrigerator upon entering the kitchen. Others have recommended using gas-powered solutions, available at Lehman's, a store serving the Amish.

ElectricWarningRecommended Alternatives
Wall Wiring
Plastic Romex covered Wiring in walls and floors are energized up to the electrical socket or light switch. As such, they give off electric fields all the time, even if nothing is plugged into the socket.
remote control demand switch
Metal-clad shielded wire is preferrable, but is typically only found in office buildings and very old housing (e.g., from the 1950s), as opposed to newer residential areas. For homes with Romex cable, the circuit breakers can be turned off. A remote control demand switch (above) can be used to automatically de-energize the wires in the walls and floors around sleeping quarters at night. A shielded, grounded power cable can then be routed in from another room for electricity needs.
Bed metal frame coil mattress
Metal bed frames can increase one's electric exposure if they come in close contact with electrical wiring. According to Building Biology guidelines, some mattresses with coil springs in them can alter Static Magnetic Fields (DC), as detectable with a compass. They might also re-radiate wireless radiation. Make sure to position beds away from electrical cables hidden behind the wall and below the floor. Distance from ethernet cables and phone cables should be considered in addition to regular power cables, since they sometimes carry intermediate frequencies and voltage.
unfinished wooden frame futon mattress
Some distance can be gained with a wooden non-metallic bed frame and non-coil mattress. For chemical safety, choose wood with nontoxic varnishes/finishing, such as unfinished wood. Additionally, be wary of flame retardant chemicals such as BPDE's used in mattresses to meet recent flammability laws set for mattresses. An organic futon mattress (without flame-retardant chemicals), Tempurapedic mattress, or other metal-free mattresses made from natural materials, is recommended. Wool is said to have some natural flame-retardant properties.
Appliance Cables 2-prong cable
With a regular 2-prong plug, the electricity is not grounded and this may contribute to higher body voltages. With most regular appliance wires, there is no internal metal foil shielding to reduce electrical exposure. The wire remains energized from the outlet to the on/off switch, even when the appliance is not in use.

Devices commonly lacking the grounding prong include laptops, ethernet switches, routers, and lamps.
3-prong cable shielded cable
With a 3-prong plug, body voltages may be lowered and with a shielded cable, electrical field exposure is reduced.
grounding cable on/off switch
A grounding cord can sometimes be connected to a metal surface of the appliance to be grounded. Otherwise, an on/off switch can be used so that the cable is no longer energized when the switch is turned off. For more info, see Safe Computing and Electric Fields.
Ethernet Cables Ethernet Cables, when plugged into ungrounded ethernet switches can also carry electric fields. Use a grounding cable to ground the ethernet switch.

Powerline MagneticWarningRecommended Alternatives
Computer Monitor CRT monitor
CRT Monitor:Old-fashioned box-sized monitors not only emit ionizing radiation (the screen may be doped with lead to provide some protection from the front), but also power line magnetic fields. It may be dangerous to sit too close to the front or back for many hours a day.
LCD panel TCO
LCD Flat Panel Monitor: In general, emits far lower power line magnetic fields than CRT monitors. Check for the TCO'99 standard or later (TCO'03, TCO'06, etc.).

Warning: Even with TCO-compliant monitors, CCFL backlighting still contributes to intermediate frequencies, so one should still keep a distance, and limit one's exposure time. For additional guidelines on recommended distances, refer to Safe Computing Tips.
Alarm Clock alarm clock
Alarm Clock:Plugging in an alarm clock next to your bed, as shown above, is not recommended due to strong power line magnetic fields at close proximity as well as electric fields from the cable. If this is done, keep the alarm clock about 1 meter away from your bed or further, and make sure it is plugged into an outlet further away from the bed, due to electric fields from the wire.
battery-powered clock
A battery-powered clock does not register as having AC magnetic fields. DC magnetic fields should be less biologically active than alternating current, but it might still be good to keep a little distance. (Note that other battery-powered devices can have AC magnetic fields if they contain a motor, e.g., a battery-powered hand-operated sewing machine has AC magnetic fields.)
Laptop laptop
A laptop may contain magnetic fields, as well as intermediate frequencies, RF, and electric fields. Thus, it is advised not to be placed directly on one's lap. If possible, prefer a laptop with a 3-prong plug over a 2-prong plug to reduce body voltage, or use a grounding cord. Keep some distance also from your laptop's battery supply. See Safe Computing Tips.
wired mouse wired keyboard
To keep a distance, use a wired external USB keyboard and external USB mouse (ball-corded mouse), and observe a distance of 1m from the laptop & its battery. Keyboards have some magnetic fields, but typically much less.
A USB extension cable can be used for extra distance.

Note: Not all USB keyboards are safe. There are some mini USB keyboards with high magnetic fields, or even AC electric fields in one case. A wired mouse still has intermediate frequencies, so it may help to cover the outside with aluminum foil to reduce these intermediate frequencies.
Audio Headset headset
AC Magnetic Field strength depends upon volume. Can be low, but it is right at the ear.
Limit use of headsets, or turn down the volume to reduce the magnetic field.
air-tube headset
An airtube headset can be used to reduce magnetic fields.
Otherwise, you may want to attach a microphone only, and play the sound from the speakers, which should also be kept at a distance.
Lamps and Light Bulbs halogen lamp
Halogen lamps: These have higher power line magnetic fields in general than incandescent lamps. Observe some distance.
incandescent lamplight bulb
Prefer incandescent lamps and incandescent light bulbs. Note that since these lamps usually use a 2-prong plug and an unshielded cable, they are likely to add to body voltage, so try to plug them in further away, and position the lamp further away. An outlet switch can be used to turn them off from the outlet itself rather than from the socket (which allows electric fields on the wire even when the lamp is off). The lamp can also be grounded from the base, using a specially-purchased shielded grounded cable, with the help of an electrician, if it has a conductive metallic structure.
Power Supply UPS laptop power supply
UPS power backup, computer power supply: These also can have very high levels of power line magnetic field in comparison to regular power strips, so that I would recommend at least a meter, if not 2 or 3 from it. The laptop computer supply may generate low frequencies that may be carried along USB cables of the computer as well.
surge protector
Observe at least 1 meter distance from power surge protectors, UPS (uninterruptible power supply), electrical & circuit breaker panels, and the like, especially where you sleep.
If UPS is not needed, use a regular power strip, and still observe a 1 meter distance. The on-off switch is convenient to turn off the power strip when the devices on it are not in use. Note that the wires are unshielded, so there are still electric fields.
Power Lines and Wiring Errors
electricity pylon
Electricity Power Lines
For reduced magnetic fields, a home should ideally be >150 meters from a large 400kV power line and >15 meters from a 11 kV power line (The Powerwatch Handbook). Note, however, that the gases that accumulate around power lines may affect a larger radius. See Distance Guidelines.
Even homes that are not near electricity towers may have high levels of powerline magnetic fields due to violations of wiring code, such as ganged neutrals (see Karl Riley's book on tracing EMF). Correcting wiring errors can often remediate high ambient magnetic fields inside buildings.

Perform due diligence before purchasing a home or apartment, to make sure that powerline magnetic levels are not too high. The powerline magnetic levels are especially important to measure, because they are difficult and expensive to shield against. If you can cut down the exposure where you spend the majority of the time, you will greatly reduce your overall exposure.
Sewing machine sewing machine
Motors give off high magnetic fields, and may result in greater incidence in Alzheimer's disease in industrial sewing machines operators.
hand-crank sewing machine
Hand-sew or look for an antique mechanically powered sewing machine (treadle or hand-crank) such as from allbrands.com.
Hair Dryer hair dryer
Hair Dryers emit strong power line magnetic fields near the motor, but they are only used for a brief period of time.
hair dryer with hose
A hairdryer with a hose can increase the distance between the motor and your head. Alternatively, towel dry your hair.
Massage chair Power line magnetic fields are high at the motor. The motor can in some cases be shielded with mumetal, a nickel-based metal foil (the metal must have a high permeability rating to redirect the magnetic fields).
Electric blanket Power line magnetic fields are of concern, as well as electric fields. An electric blanket should be unplugged after it is heated and before use. Use an external space heater at a distance and hot water bottle instead.
Cars, Buses, Trains, and Airplanes With cars and buses, power line magnetic fields, as well as intermediate frequencies, can be high near the engine and dashboard in the front. Some cars have higher magnetic fields on one side of the car, e.g., in one case on the right hand side, in another case in the back, etc. It differs for different cars, depending upon the location of car parts like the alternator. See Car EMF Safety for more tips.

High-speed trains may have high power line magnetic fields, as compared to regular trains. This can be checked with a gaussmeter.

Airplanes also have certain seats with higher magnetic fields in various sections of the plane, which you may want to avoid for long flights. Bringing a cheap (<$30) gaussmeter can help you to identify which seats are preferable on a particular aircraft, for your next flight.
In a school bus, avoid sitting in the first row, which is closer to the engine in the front (possibly ~1 mG). Keep some distance from the front engine of your car, which might approach 50-100 mG in some cases, and contain many electronics which emit low frequencies detectable by an AM radio. Consider checking your car with a magnetic field meter and AM radio in advance of purchase. See Detection for more information.
Treadmill treadmill
-An automatic treadmill is a source of power line EMF too!
manual treadmill gazelle
Consider a manual treadmill or gazelle or simply walk outside (assuming no other exposures, e.g., mobile phone masts).

Ionizing RadiationWarningRecommended Treatment
RadonThis does not fall under the category of microwaves or power lines, but still worth mentioning because the basements which are typically low in microwave radiation, carry this other invisible risk of radon. At the EPA limit of 4 pCi/L, one source suggests it is the equivalent radiation of ~200 chest X-Rays per year. The EPA still recommends treatment for levels between 2 and 4 pCi/L. Radon may cause lung cancer. The common type of radon treatment is called sub-slab depressurization, which uses an exhaust piping system to draw out radon from under the slab. (Note that this will involve an electric-powered fan, so take care to also minimize the resulting electromagnetic fields.)
Airplane FlightsAn airplane flight will result in some ionizing radiation, more or less depending upon how long the flight is and how high the plane elevation is. The EPA estimates 2 to 5 millirem for a typical cross-country flight.
X-RaysBe cautious about your X-Ray exposure, especially for pregnant women, and inquire how it compares to one's annual exposure. Some X-Ray procedures have much higher radiation than others. For example, a CT scan could be several hundred times the radiation of a chest x-ray, according to the EPA. However, even lower exposures can be carcinogenic. (Davis, Disconnect, 19). A 2011 Yale study in the journal, Cancer, found that the higher-radiation dental x-rays of the past may increase risk of Meningioma, a type of brain tumor. In some circumstances, the benefits of x-rays outweigh the risks. In such cases, Russell Blaylock recommends vitamin supplementation to reduce the cellular damage caused by x-rays, started several weeks before the x-rays if possible.
UV LightSome people develop sensitivity to UV light, from the Sun, or from CFL bulbs. Avoid heavy dosages of sunlight. On the other hand, some UV-B light (10-15 minutes) from daylight, is highly recommended as a source of vitamin D.




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