EMF, or Electromagnetic Fields - The invisible "second-hand smoke" of the digital age
What are electromagnetic fields?
- They are commonly experienced as heat, light, magnetic attraction/repulsion, and of course, electricity
- They are a type of FORCE, or "that which changes either the state of rest or motion in matter"
- They are one of the 4 elemental forces: gravity, strong nuclear, weak nuclear, and electromagnetic
- They are the basis of all chemical and biochemical reactions
- They exist everywhere, in various types and intensities, and a huge range of frequencies
- They can be dangerous or healthful, depending on their intensity, type, frequency, and dosage
- They can only be seen if their frequency is in the "visible range", red through violet
- They are invisible above and below that range, but can still have major impacts on health and well-being
- They can easily be detected, located, and quantified with the right equipment
- They can be made less harmful through avoidance, type-substitution, "grounding", and shielding
- EMF has a cumulative effect on humans, and does not care whether you "believe in it" or don't
- It has been estimated that about 3% of the general population is highly sensitive to EMF; about 30% is moderately sensitive, with the percentage rising over time
- Exposure can be direct through conduction (touching a wire or other conductive path), more indirect through convection (breathing in ionized particles), or from radiation (close-up magnetic fields or more distant electric fields from wiring, antennas, metal surfaces, etc.)
- Some types have irreversible effects while others abate with reduced exposure
- High frequencies (cellphone, WiFi, "smart meters", power-line harmonics, etc.) can directly and indirectly, through both physical and chemical means, cause DNA and other protein malformations along with other changes in cellular processes which can, most commonly in individuals with other risk factors, initiate cancer
- Low (power-line) frequencies at best just keep you from getting a good night's sleep, increasing your stress hormone levels, but at their worst accelerate tumor growth, making them a possible cancer promoter
- "Stray voltage" pathways, more precisely called "returning neutral ground currents", can cause a range of problems, from EMF exposure symptoms to instant death, depending on the situation.
- "Dirty electricity" consists of harmonic frequencies and transient bursts, possibly causing "Type 3 Diabetes".
The Earth's magnetic field (or magnetostatic field) is caused by DC electrical energy flowing deep in its interior. As we get beyond this direct current field into alternating fields we see some naturally occurring AC electrical energy (Schumann/Tesla waves) generated both by the Earth's spin through the Sun's "solar wind" of electrically-charged particles, and by the grand display of lightning flashes happening each minute all over the planet, causing the atmosphere's resonant cavity, from ionosphere to ground, to "ring". Our bodies don't mind these flavors and frequencies since we've had loads of time to adapt to their rhythms. They're actually good for us, and without them we can become disoriented and sick.
But as we began the Twentieth Century and the Tesla-Westinghouse electrical Grid began pumping out 60 Hz (60 cycles per second) current (or 50 Hz in some countries), humans began to use large amounts of electrical power, often transmitted over great distances. The low-voltage, high-amperage loads of motors, for instance, caused huge, pulsating magnetic fields. The power-lines had very high-voltage, lower-amperage electric fields emanating outward around them. And these were all beyond levels found in previous human experience, except for those having close encounters with lightning. Now, these power-line frequencies dominate most home environments and the power-lines themselves have gotten so huge, in both voltage level and amps carried, that they can light fluorescent tubes placed under them and adversely affect sensitive electronic equipment.
Effects on Humans
The human body has plenty of electrical circuitry inside. Nerves are highly complex combinations of electro-chemical batteries, conductors, and "relays" that both send and receive tiny electrical impulses. The more evolved nervous system uses pulsed DC signals at specific frequencies to operate all of our conscious sensory and muscular machinery, while a "perineural system" existing in even the most primitive creatures uses a steady DC signal for detecting injury and activating the healing process. And these weak signals can easily be overwhelmed by outside interference of the wrong "flavor", frequency, or strength of electricity. The electrical engineers have agreed that a sensitive "frequency window" exists for humans that ranges from about 2,000 Hz. to well over 100,000 Hz. Among practitioners who work with electrically-sensitized clients, below 2,000 Hz the maximum recommended electrical field level is 20 Volts per meter (V/m). But within the biological "window" the recommendation drops to 2.0 V/m or less.
Indoor Grounding and Shielding
Unless your AC-powered home was wired with metal-shielded "BX" or "MC" cable, or EMT metal conduit, and metal boxes with metal covers, every wire in every wall and ceiling, and every junction box, outlet, and switch will be radiating a powerful AC electric field, including the harmonic frequencies that shouldn't be there.
If you DO have shielded wires and boxes but DON'T have shielded power cords going to your lights and appliances, every power cord radiates the same field. So what's the next worst offender if you replace all of the cords with shielded ones? We have to deal with all of the magnetic fields that surge outward from any large appliance that's running, like electric stoves, refrigerators/freezers, water heaters, air conditioners, etc.
The solution? Stay as far from them as possible! Or look into MuMetal foil shielding (MuMetal is a trademarked name for annealed, 80% nickel alloy, available from, among others, LessEMF). If you find a large magnetic field in a wall, your house wiring may have been done incorrectly. Magnetic fields always spin in one direction based on the direction of current flow. If the house wiring is done so that the outgoing and returning currents on each circuit are in adjacent wires, the magnetic fields from the two wires will be reversed, almost totally canceling each other. If not, there's a magnetic field and it's time to call an electrician. And what about your other exposure sites?
Outdoor EMF Problem Areas
Cars and trucks can have large magnetic fields near the dash and front floor areas. The solution? Limit your time on the road! The other alternatives would be buying a vehicle with fewer digital gauges, or fastening an aluminum window screen (to shield electric fields) and one of the commercial magnetic-shielding fabric or foils over the "hottest" areas of the dashboard.
And is there an overhead power-line near your home? The voltage of typical distribution wires, before they reach the "transformer can" that lowers it to 120/240 volts, is around 7000-14,000 volts. That's a mighty big electric field you're standing under! The solution? Join with your neighbors to lobby the local power company into installing underground wiring. The Utility may not be overjoyed at your request, but the Earth is very good at sucking up strong electromagnetic fields (that's where the term grounding comes from!) and the Utility will enjoy fewer problems from storm-related power-line damage.
Our local electric co-op just buried a mile of 7000-volt, 3-phase distribution line as part of a wire size upgrade near our home. The electric field at head level, along the lines, dropped from 150 volts/meter (V/m) to less than 0.2 V/m. The magnetic field varies with power transmission at different times of day, but its former level was up to 2 milli-Gauss (mG) and it is now less than .02 mG.
A Note on "Stray Voltage"
So-called "stray voltage" isn't really straying at all. It's the predictable result of electric Utility bottom-line thinking; in other words, cheapness! The problem with this stuff began in the 1930's when utilities started to connect their inadequately-sized neutral (returning current) wires to the Earth (Ground) at frequent intervals. This was supposedly done to protect wires and transformers from lightning strikes. But it was also a way to cheaply increase power-line capacity by using the Earth itself as an alternate path for current returning to the power plants and electrical substations. This uncontrolled experiment on the entire grid-connected surface of the Earth is the cause of many animal herd health problems. And it's the reason for plenty of frustrating litigation against an entrenched corporate electrical power monopoly. It can even modify the Earth's subtle energy fields, radiating upward from the depths, turning a normally beneficial energy geopathic. For a terrific article explaining more about the problems with grid wiring and stray voltage try this link.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not evaluated any of the information contained herein (nor is it likely to!), and said information is not intended to replace the advice of a physician, nor is it intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.