Many scientific reports have indicated that the health risks associated with electromagnetic radiation are much higher than initially understood. Governments have responded by lowering the allowed exposure limit for humans from electromagnetic radiation. Yet at the same time the proliferation of electromagnetic radiation emitters escalates an alarming rate.
Beyond conventional high tension power transmission lines crisscrossing the landscape, we now contend with high density cell networks, LAN and WIFI systems, all operating in the microwave region. Because there are long term health risks associated with electromagnetic radiation, it is prudent to locate areas of exposure. Many electromagnetic radiation sources investigated in this report are quite common, though less known sources merit attention especially due to the practice of concealing emitters.
Figure 1 shows the portion of interest of the electromagnetic spectrum with the red line indicating ANSI exposure limits:
Electromagnetic radiation measurements used in this report were obtained with a Heliognosis emm, an omni-directional broadband monitor. More information about its specifications can be found on the EM2 page.
Sources of Radiation
Very low frequency AC fields, such as from power lines, drop off rapidly as you move away from the source following the inverse square of the distance. This is not the case with radio waves that decrease quasi-linearly with distance. Cell transmissions and microwaves also fall off somewhat linearly but may be directed to keep their intensity over large distances. In practice the fields around electromagnetic sources are much more complex due to the landscape, atmospheric conditions and antenna geometries. Proximity to the ground, being inside structures with significant amounts of metal are factors which can also reduce the field strength.
Measurements Inside the Home
The AC electrical wires inside a house or apartment surround the occupants with an almost uniform very low frequency electromagnetic field. The AC voltage in relation to ground may be at a very high level inside a house (180V peak) but variations in the field will be much smaller. These variations are perhaps a few volts and will result in readings of about 0.1uW/cm2. The actual electromagnetic power density between head and foot for a human might actually be over 1mW/cm2.
Several appliances and electrical fixtures tend to produce large amounts of electromagnetic radiation. The worst offenders are usually microwave ovens, compact fluorescent light bulbs and televisions. Wireless phones have low output but their frequency of operation is typically in the most dangerous region of the electromagnetic spectrum. Cell phones are especially hazardous since the microwave radiation they emit is close to the user’s head. The newer digital phones however have less average power than the analog types. In any case it is always prudent to use an external headset to keep the antenna away from the body. Exposure is also cumulative therefore short conversations give less radiation. When cell and wireless phones are waiting for calls, the radiation levels are very low on average and are not dangerous.
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Category: EMF & Radiation