If you are the type of person who likes to know everything about a subject before you begin your journey, you have a long road ahead of you. Here is some practical advice for the beginner that will help you get started immediately, and lead you towards effective solutions right away.
1. Diagnose your EMF exposure
Please don’t call and ask us how much exposure you are getting from your TV, toaster, iPad or any other device. We cannot know the answer to this question. First of all, you will find that emissions vary from model to model, that they vary with distance, and that they vary over time (Is the device plugged in? Is it turned on? Is it running? Is it on the high setting? Is it charging? Etc. etc.) In addition, your total exposure is the sum of exposure from ALL sources in your vicinity. It is possible that the majority of your exposure is coming from a source different from what you think it is (Is the refrigerator next to the toaster? Is there wiring under the floor that you don’t know about? Is there a TV on the opposite side of the wall? Etc, etc.)
You must determine your exposure with a meter. Period.
Get a meter and begin by making measurements of where the people are. It doesn’t matter if there are high levels where there are no people. Check your bed, your couch, your car, your kitchen. Check the areas where you spend time. And take your meter with you throughout the day to make measurements while you are actually doing your activities. (There could be a big difference between day versus night levels in your bedroom, in your kitchen when the stove is on versus the microwave, or in your bathroom when the fan, hairdryer or heat lamp is on.)
Here are our recommendations for simple, economical meters to begin with:
Low frequency EMF (from the presence of electricity):
Digital Combination meter
High frequency (radiowaves, microwaves, wireless signals):
High frequency meter
3 Axis RF meter
Dirty electricity (high frequency signals on the wiring):
Line noise meter
Body Voltage (voltage induced in the body from exposure to EMF):
Body Voltage meter
If you find high levels where the people are, the only next step is to determine the source(s) for these high levels. Use your meter to sweep the area, sweep the walls, floor, ceiling, and the objects in the room. As you get closer to the source, the EMF levels will increase. If necessary, unplug or use switches and circuit breakers to turn on/off certain things to see if that is where the trouble originates.
Once you have determined the sources of EMF in your environment, pick one… usually the worst one… to take care of first. It’s tempting to start with the easiest problem, but common sense and experience tells us to start with the worst problem first. Then move on to the next most urgent problem. Most importantly, take SOME action. For any given source, consider all of the following:
Use distance to reduce exposure
Can I move the EMF source(s) away from the people? (Move the refrigerator to the garage or basement. Alarm clocks do not need to right next to the person, neither do printers, modems, TV’s, refrigerators, etc.)
Can I identify areas of low exposure and move the people to those areas? (Examples: Move the bed to another part of the room. Rope off a safe distance to a hot spot. Put a book case or closet over a hot spot to keep people away.)
Move if necessary.
Get rid of EMF sources
Replace dimmer switches with flip switches.
Replace halogen, LED, and fluorescent lights with incandescent ones.
Instead of wifi, run cable.
Use a towel instead of a hairdryer.
Ask yourself, “Do I really need a microwave oven, google glasses, electric pencil sharpener, etc.?”
Use timers so devices don’t run when you are near them.
Install switches so you can easily turn off circuits or individual devices.
Select low EMF alternatives.
Use magnetic shielding in your car.
Wear shielded clothing.
Sleep under a shielded canopy.
Make a shield to slide over your blender when in use.
Shield your walls and windows, smart meter, breaker box, laptop, etc.
Contact us, we can give specific shielding advice for your circumstances.
I am already EMF sensitive and I know what bothers me…So why do I need an EMF meter?
Avoiding what you are sensitive to is important, of course. But consider that there are several types of EMF, and there are many possible frequencies. It may well be that you are sensitive to certain types, but there are likely to be many to which you are not (yet) sensitive. That leaves a whole variety of EMF exposure to which you are totally “blind”. Without a meter, you will have no idea about your total exposure. Sensitivity to EMF is not the only danger. Even exposures to which we have no symptoms and no knowledge, can be harmful. After all, MOST people who develop symptoms or even illness have no “sensitivity” to exposure. Reducing your overall exposure can reduce the overall irritation to your system, and could allow for some degree of calming and healing… increasing your tolerance to occasional exposures. In fact, it could be that exposures for which you have no awareness are the underlying cause of your sensitivity by keeping your system in a constant state of irritability.
Even more important, if you have a meter you can identify “hot spots” immediately. Rather than walking blindly into a burning haze of electromagnetic field and not reacting until you “feel” it could mean minutes or even hours of unwanted exposure.
Furthermore, a meter can help you determine the types of EMF to which you are most reactive. Is it electric fields? Magnetic fields, Radiowaves? Dirty electricity? Knowing the cause of your sensitivity will help you quickly and effectively address the offending sources, use the proper shielding materials, and reduce your exposure. A meter will help you locate specific sources including unseen wires inside the wall, appliances that are not really “off” when turned off, and wireless devices in the pockets of the people around you for example. And once you take some action to reduce exposure (shielding, shutting off, moving away), your meter can check again to ensure that you have achieved what you had hoped to and not possibly made matters worse.
Finally, a meter will stand guard to changes in your environment and alert you before you become ill. Did a new cell tower go up? Was a smart meter installed? Did your neighbor get a new wi-fi device? Did your church install a new wireless microphone system?
Using your sensitivity as your only guide is like using your stomach as to learn if your food is poisoned. By the time you know your have a problem, it’s already too late… the exposure and its damag have happened.
If you are electrically sensitive, you must have an EMF meter. Your health depends on it.
Because magnetic fields are oriented in space, a sensor will only detect the field properly if it is aligned with the field. A single axis meter has only one sensor in it. Therefore to get a correct reading with this type of meter, you must slowly rotate the meter until you find the maximum reading. This will be the correct reading. If the meter is turned 90° from the maximum reading, it will read nearly zero. See Pro 1-Axis Gauss Meter for an example of a 1-axis gaussmeter. It is easy to understand how it is possible to get a lower than actual reading if the meter is not properly aligned.
A three axis meter has 3 sensors in it, all aligned at right angles to each other. Therefore, this type of meter is always correctly aligned and no rotation is required to get a correct reading. This type of meter takes less time to use but generally costs more than its single axis counterpart. See 3-Axis Digital Gaussmeter and Trifield Meter for examples of 3-axis gaussmeters.
Whether is it electric fields, magnetic fields, or radiowaves, the source of the field will always be in the direction of the strongest signal. It is critically important to avoid being fooled by thinking that the meter points in the direction of the source.
A perfect example of this phenomenon involves powerlines. You should remember that the direction of magnetic field lines around a current carrying wire is circularly perpendicular to the wire. So alongside the wire, the field lines are vertical, while underneath the wire, the field lines are horizontal. The proper orientation of a single axis meter may point the meter at the wire, or straight up and down, or even horizontal, depending on the orientation of the sensor in the meter and the position of the meter relative to the wire. Furthermore, the orientation of a 3-axis meter is irrelevant to the reading, so it could be pointing in virtually any direction and still give a correct reading.
Only by moving the meter bodily toward, then away, from a suspected source can one determine the location of the source. Just like the “Getting warmer.. getting colder” game, the meter will indicate if you are moving into an area with higher field strength (closer to the source) or lower field strength (moving away from the source).
There is much concern about the health effects resulting from microwave radiation from cell tower and radio antennas. Biological effects have been clearly established at levels well below the government exposure limits.
However, people are often surprised to learn that the strength of the signal from a cell tower or radio antenna is extremely small if you are any distance at all from the antenna. At 100 yards, the signal strength is well below the sensitivity of most meters. In order to measure these signals, you need an extremely sensitive meter. You also need a meter which can accurately process a digital signal (which is different from an analog signal in the way it interacts with a meter), and it would be useful to have a meter which is directional, so that you can take a measurement of a specific tower, without interference from extraneous sources behind or to the side of you.
For these reasons, there is only one best meter we recommend for measuring antenna: High-Frequency Meter. It has the sensitivity (10 picoWatts/cm²) to measure an antenna miles away, process analog or digital signals correctly, and it’S antenna is directional.
The 3-axis RF Meter is probably the best pick for non-technical users. It is very easy to use, very sensitive ( down to 0.4 nanoWatt/cm²) and gives a calibrated, digital readout of field strength.
This is perhaps the trickiest measurement you are likely to attempt. The reasons include:
- Because the phone is used directly against the head, the only valid measurement of cell phone radiation is close up to the phone. At cell phone frequencies, the NEAR FIELD is on the order of a few inches. Therefore measuring the field accurately within about 2 inches of the phone requires a NEAR FIELD probe. Most low cost meters are FAR FIELD meters.
- Most cell phones today use digital signals. An analog meter may pick up some radiation, but it will never give a correct reading due to its inability to process the digital signal properly.
There are NEAR FIELD probes that can be connected to a spectrum analyzer for a cost of $30,000 or more. And of course, there are $100,000 SAR machines for doing SAR testing. But what can an ordinary person use to measure the output from his phone or check the effectiveness of a shield?
We recommend the 6 GHz RF Meter with Near Field Probe accessory. For about $240, you can use this NEAR FIELD meter to check all surfaces of your phone and establish where the hot spots are.
When measuring distance, you can use a variety of units: inches, centimeters, miles, fathoms, etc. Some units are larger than others. Some are more familiar than others. However, regardless of the units you use, the distance you measured remains constant but the number you get can vary widely.
Similarly, when measuring radiofrequency signal strength, many different units can be used. They are all equally valid*, and you can convert from one unit to another. But some units are much bigger than others.
You wouldn’t measure the distance from Paris to Rome in inches; you would use a bigger unit… perhaps kilometers. Likewise, you would use a very small unit to measure the thickness of a human hair. So, when measuring the generally low levels of background RF radiation, you can use a small unit, such as V/m. When measuring the relatively large amount of radiation that leaks from a microwave oven, you can use a larger unit, such as mW/cm2.
The image shows the relative size of some units compared to 1 V/m. Notice that A/m is a much larger unit, almost 400 times the size of one V/m. A/m is better suited for measuring very strong radiation.
* Engineers will have a preference for one unit over another, particularly when measuring in the near field.
How do I convert units of measurement?
Units of field and power can be converted. Use the formulae at the right for radiofrequency conversions. Below are some additional conversion equations:
- 1 Gauss (G) = 103 milliGauss (mG) = 10-4 Tesla (T)
- 1 milliGauss (mG) = 10-7 Tesla (T) or 0.1 microT
- 1 mT = 796 A/m = 104 mG
- 1 mW/cm2 = 10 W/m2
- mW/cm2 = (V/m x A/m) / 10
All meters have a range of exactly zero feet. This means that all gaussmeters, electric field meters, RF/microwave meters, etc. can only measure the strength of the field AT THE LOCATION OF THE METER.
What distinguishes one meter from another is the sensitivity. In other words, what is the smallest field strength that the meter can detect? A gaussmeter with a sensitivity of 0.1 mG is more sensitive than a meter which can only detect down to 1.3 mG. While the meter which is more sensitive can be successfully used further away from the source of the field, it is still only measuring the field at the location of the meter.
So the next question is: if you have a meter with a certain sensitivity, how far from a source of field is it useful? The answer to that depends on 3 factors:
- what is the strength of the field at the source?
- at what rate does the field decrease with distance (1/d, 1/d², 1/d³ etc.).
- what is the pattern of radiation from the source? (You may remember that the magnetic field is concentrated at the poles of a magnet. Some sources may have symmetrical field patterns, some may not.)
Without knowing a great deal about the nature of the source, it is impossible to determine at what distance a given meter will begin to detect its field. What you can do is easily compare the minimum sensitivity of one meter to another. This specification is given in the description of most meters.