Ever wondered if that electric cable buried in your wall from the light switch that runs down behind your head is affecting your brain? Or those pylons outside your window affecting not only your mood, but your health?
After meeting Lyn McLean of EMR Australia recently, Stu and I decided to put our humble abodes to the test to see if we are actually living in safe locations.
We decided to blog about it in two parts:
- Part 1: Testing Stu’s unit for magnetic fields
- Part 2: EMF interview with Lyn McLean
Pictured below are the meters offered for testing:
- Picture 1: Measures magnetic fields
- Picture 2: Measures wireless radiation and is called an Acoustimeter (we’ll cover wireless radiation in a later post)
Today we focus on the magnetic fields in Stu’s unit.
What are magnetic fields ?
Simply put, magnetic fields are emitted from electrical sources such as:
- household appliances
- electrical equipment
- conductive pipes
When an appliance (like your digital alarm clock in the bedroom) is operating, its electrical current produces a magnetic field. These magnetic fields are measured in milligauss (mG) or microtesla (uT). For the purpose of our home testing we’ll be measuring in milligauss (mG).
How can magnetic fields affect our health?
Our body is a finely tuned piece of electronic circuitry. Our cells are comprised of atoms that have an electrical charge and our heart and brain emit electromagnetic waves 24/7. Magnetic fields are difficult to block and can pass through the human body so whenever we are exposed to these fields it will have an impact on us in some way. Ever wondered why the interference on your radio disappears when you approach or touch the aerial? It’s because your body is like an aerial.
Lyn advises testing our levels of exposure at home (by taking readings with a magnetic field meter) and making an effort to reduce them. EMR Australia says some of the benefits of having an EMR-safe home include:
- improved sleep;
- reduced depression, stress and anxiety;
- improved immunity;
- better concentration, memory and focus;
- improved fertility and libido;
- reduced risk of health problems (those most associated with EMF/RF are childhood leukemia, Alzheimer’s disease, infertility, cancer and brain tumours).
So what levels of magnetic fields in our home are safe?
This really is a can of worms with radically different international guidelines that appear to be based on outdated information and faulty assumptions so say the independent scientists and doctors who wrote ‘The BioInitiative Report’.
“Over the last three decades a number of studies have found evidence of health problems at levels of exposure of 4mG and under. This is what led the International Agency for Research on Cancer to classify magnetic fields of 4mG and more as ‘possibly carcinogenic” - The BioInitiatitive Report
Lyn recommends keeping exposure to magnetic fields below 4mG and as far below as possible. Ideally, they should be no more than 1mG in beds, she says. The BioInitiative Report also recommended a limit of 1mG for areas that will be occupied by children or pregnant women. Based on these findings, it makes good sense to keep exposure levels as low as possible.
So time to test Stu’s home for magnetic fields…
Please watch this 2 minute video to gain an understanding of how we took the readings. Lyn used the magnetic field meter shown above and tested the 6 areas below. Our main concerns were the sleeping areas for the family as this is where we spend most of our time and would like the readings to be as low as possible:
Location: Main fuse box in the kitchen
This is a high source of EMF but the readings drop considerably the further we moved from the box (a distance of about a metre did the trick). This would be more of a concern if the fuse box was located on the other side of the wall from the bed!
Location: Electric oven
Before the oven was turned on the meter read 1.6mG so there was a considerable jump in magnetic fields with it on. Of course, these fields aren’t really a problem if you don’t spend much time standing next to the oven while food is cooking.
Location: Dining room table
The readings were much lower once outside of the kitchen and could be influenced by external factors. One side of the table had higher readings due to being closer to a high voltage powerline outside.
Location: iMac computer (spare room)
The highest reading was at the bottom right hand side. This is probably due to the electronics there. Again, this reading dropped the further back I moved, so don’t hunch over the screen and keep the screen and modem as far from your body as you can manage.
Location: Children’s bedroom
Both beds in the kids’ room measured the same and the magnetic fields increased the closer we were to the powerline outside the window. This made us reconsider the positions of the beds.
Location: Hot water heater in the laundry
Our laundry backed up onto a bedroom so the magnetic fields on the other side of the wall were high. This is quite common, so bed placement should be carefully considered in this situation.
So what did the magnetic field readings mean for our family?
After delving into the world of electromagnetic pollution, I became aware of two things. The first was the external power lines that ran along the length of our unit, and the second was the fact that my sleep quality had consistently declined since we’d moved in. I found high magnetic fields in the exact spot where I slept that ranged from 10mG-45mG (from head to toe). These were due to communal light fittings on the other side of the wall and floor. We moved the bed to the other side of the room and my sleep quality improved out of sight!
I’ve got three young daughters who like to share a bedroom and the readings at their pillows were all in the range of 4.5mG. We turned the beds around so that their pillows were farthest from the lines. This dropped the readings on their pillows but they were still on the high side.
This exercise made me realise how important it is to measure magnetic fields before renting or buying a home. Small changes really can have a big impact on our health and wellbeing – Stu
If you have any questions regarding magnetic fields or would like to test your home or office, Lyn has advised that you contact EMR Australia on their website here.
On a side note: I truly enjoy writing these posts, hence our frequent blog posts. At the end of the day though, these are just my thought’s and feelings around a topic I’m passionate about. I encourage everyone to do their own research and check out the facts for themselves.
If you did enjoy the post and got something from it or have something to share on the topic, I would love to hear your thought’s in the comments section below. If you feel others would benefit from this then it would be great if you could share it using one of the icons below (Facebook etc). Cheers, Guy…