Recommended Electrosmog Meters

January 22, 2014.  Many portable meters are now available to measure electromagnetic fields and electromagnetic radiation emitted by wireless technology, power lines, computers, etc. and I am often asked to recommend meters for those interested in monitoring their own home and workplace environment.Screen Shot 2014-01-22 at 10.44.31 PM

What some people don’t realize is that a meter that measures the radiation from Wi-Fi is not the same meter you use to measure the magnetic field near power lines.  So the first question is what do you want to measure?  Here are the options for what we now call “electrosmog”.

1.  Radio frequency radiation (RFR):  This is the radiation generated by wireless technology such as Wi-Fi routers, cell phones, cordless phones, wireless baby monitors, some home security systems, smart meters, cell phase base stations, TV and radio broadcast antennas, and radar antennas.

2.  Extremely low frequency electric & magnetic fields (ELF EMF): These are two different fields (electric and magnetic) and are generated by anything that plugs into an electric outlet and uses electricity.  Some appliances produce high magnetic fields (based on the current they are consuming) while others produce lower magnetic fields.  Magnetic fields are generated whenever an appliance is turned on.  An electric field is generated when an appliance is plugged into an electric outlet.  So a lamp plugged into the wall socket has an electric field associated with it all the time (on or off) and a magnetic field only when it is turned on.  The main sources of ELF (extremely low frequency) electric and magnetic fields inside a home include appliances and wiring.  Sometimes metal plumbing may be surround by an electromagnetic field because of the grounding system we use in North America.  People who live near power lines, substations or transformers may be exposed to higher electric and magnetic fields.  Electric fields are shielded by building material but magnetic fields are difficult to shield and these penetrate windows and walls.  Ideally both the electric field and magnetic field need to be tested for those concerned about their exposure.

3.  Intermediate frequencies (IF):  Intermediate frequencies often called harmonics or transients are generated by electronic devices, switch mode power supplies, rheostats, arching and are commonly produced by  energy efficient devices.  These intermediate frequencies produce poor power quality, commonly referred to as  “dirty electricity.”   They are known to adversely affect sensitive electronic equipment, so most people use power surge protectors for their computers and entertainment units.  Power conditioners are also available to improve power quality and are often used by audiophiles.

These are the common types of electrosmog in a rural and urban environment that can be easily measured with minimal training.  Another type, ground current and/or contact current, is more difficult to measure and is not discussed here.

All types of electrosmog exposure mentioned above (low frequency electric fields; low frequency magnetic fields; dirty electricity; and radio frequency radiation) have documented biological effects and should be kept as low as possible especially in areas where people spend hours each day.  Children, pregnant women, people with a family history of cancer or miscarriages; and those with a compromised immune system may be particularly vulnerable.

If you want to measure these fields there are two websites that I recommend you visit:  www.lessemf.com  (US) and www.slt.co (Canada).

These two companies have lots of meters and the ones I normally recommend are provided in this pdf.  Click here for pdf.

What levels are safe?  This is a difficult question to answer.   In areas where you might spend several hours daily (bedroom, office, kitchen, school) you want the levels to be as low as possible and ideally less than the following:

ELF magnetic fields less than 1 mG;  ELF electric fields less than 5 V/m; radio frequency radiation less than 10 micro W/m2 (or less than 0.001 microW/cm2); and dirty electricity less than 30 GS units.  Please note these are the values that I recommend based on the literature showing potentially harmful effects above these values.  They are well below existing guidelines in most countries.  Higher levels of exposure for short periods are unlikely to be harmful except perhaps to those who have already developed a sensitivity to these frequencies.

 

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