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Tactics

Light at the end of the tunnel 

Practical tips and tactics to
reduce EMF exposure at home.

 

 

External powerlines

Internal wiring

Electrical appliances

Cordless and mobile phones

Using mobile phones

 
 Tactics

 

 

External powerlines and sub-stations can create electric and magnetic fields within the home, depending on their proximity and voltage. There will be different currents flowing at different times of day, (and in urban areas powerlines are often buried), so it is very difficult to predict the range and strength of these EMFs without measuring them.

The electric field component is largely shielded by the building structure, (or by the earth with buried cables), but the magnetic field has a much greater penetrating range. Unfortunately, little or nothing can be done to reduce external magnetic fields, apart from to minimize time spent in parts of the home with highest levels. At night there will be less power use in residential areas, so hopefully lower levels of magnetic fields while sleeping.

Only a small percentage of UK houses are significantly effected by nearby external powerlines, and when moving house it is worth evaluating the EMF environment of potential properties. 

 
Powerlines 

 

 

Internal electrical wiring is a big potential source of EMFs in the home. Where wiring is correctly installed, magnetic fields are cancelled out by current flowing equally opposite along the live and neutral wires, and this works best on radial (branching) circuits, as opposed to ring ciucuits common in the UK. To adapt wiring to radial circuits will require the services of a qualified electrician, and while this is not the cheapest or easiest approach, it is well worth considering, as it deals with the problem at source and long term. An American guide is provided by Karl Riley's Tracing EMFs in Building Wiring and Grounding, while more UK specific information can be found at EMFields.org.

    Electric fields are emitted from wiring in walls, floors (from light circuits in a room below) and ceilings. A grounded bed sheet will neutralize them in your immediate sleeping space, and if a microwave blocking fabric is being used to shield a wall, it can also be earthed (to plumbing may be simplest), providing a localized soak for electric fields. 
 internal wiring

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Electrical appliances

  • All plugged-in appliances - alarm clocks (unless battery powered or mechanical), electric cookers, storage heaters, hair driers, audio/video equipment, etc. - will create magnetic fields when in use, and the more power they use, the bigger the field. They will also produce electric fields, along with their cables, unless switched off at the wall. As a rule of thumb, keep at least 3 feet from domestic appliances and wiring.
  • Bedside lamps (including cables) are often the biggest contributors to the daily EMF dose, in the form of electric fields. Good old-fashioned incandescent bulbs were low EMF emitters, unlike newer ‘energy saving’ bulbs. The extra energy consumed by incandescent bulbs is lost as heat, which is not unwanted when lights are on during winter evenings. The light produced has a more natural range, they are not loaded with mercury, and don’t create dirty electricity.
  • TVs give off high EMFs, so place a TV at least 2m from your pillow. A lot of (wall penetrating) magnetic field is produced at the rear, and we should take account of anybody within range.
  • Laptops and iPads etc. are best not used on the lap, particularly by men and pregnant women, as dividing cells and DNA/epigenetics are EMF sensitive. A thick cushion will greatly help in providing distance from magnetic fields, and using only on battery power will greatly reduce electric fields.
  • Transformers, (such as mobile phone chargers), are becoming increasingly common, and are often built in to the appliance itself. They produce strong EMFs and should be kept at distance.
  • Microwave ovens have dubious effects on food, as well as leaking microwaves around and through the doors. Locate them so they are at considerable distance when in use.
Light bulb
 
TV radiation

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   Cordless and mobile phones
  • Mobile Phone Masts are springing up all around us, and the microwaves emitted are intended to reach us wherever we are in the UK. Masts are often disguised as street furniture to avoid local objections, but the location of most masts can be found at sitefinder.ofcom.org. Updates to this site are voluntary for network providers, and it may not be completely up to date.
  •                              Microwaves from masts are greatly reduced by walls, depending on materials, but windows do not provide any protection, (unless fitted with Pilkington-K glass, which is has a metallic coating and stops a high proportion). If you detect, or suspect, high levels, then shielding net curtains will help reflect them away from the house.
  •  Cordless phones, baby monitors and WiFi modems are effectively mini mobile phone masts, and will create more electrosmog in the home than the base stations outside. Removing these sources will mean a big reduction to your daily dose of microwaves - using a wired phone is the best remedy, or seek out an analogue model.The older analogue cordless phones only put out radiation while in use, but the newer digital models emit 24/7. There are cordless phones available, such as the Gigaset range, which only radiate while in use, and can be used handsfree.
  • Similarly, WiFi can be replaced with a wired network, or by a dLAN system, which transmits through the mains house wiring, allowing connection from any mains wall socket. dLAN creates a small amount of microwave radiation, but much less than WiFi.
  • The radiation from cordless phones and WiFi penetrates walls, and could be reaching you from the neighbors’ house. If worrying levels are detected, wall screening will help shield children’s bedrooms, beds, and other areas we spend most time.
  •  Mobile phones are of course also microwave transmitters. Even while on standby they emit regular power bursts to keep in touch with the base station. If they can’t be switched off at home, they are best placed on a windowsill, with the back of the phone pointing outwards, preferably towards the nearest mast of your network provider (check on sitefinder.ofcom.org). A shielding net curtain will help deflect radiation away from the room.
mobile phone radiation
 
Microwave wall screening
 
Microwave shielding net curtain

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Using mobile phones

  • Minimizing use is the obvious solution. Particularly for children under 18, with growing brains and less protective bone density in the skull, and they should be recommended for emergency use only.
  • Mobiles operate at full signal strength when first switched on, and when initially making and receiving calls, so wait a few seconds before putting them to the ear at these times.
  • Seeing a low signal strength indicated on the phone means less radiation is reaching you from base stations, but is not a good place to use the phone, which will massively increase power to contact the base station. Buildings and cars will hamper transmission, so use phones outdoors, or near a window, if possible.
  • On standby mobiles still transmit every few seconds to check where the nearest base station is, and some phones transmit for GPS location even when turned off. They should be carried away from the body, and not close to more vulnerable areas such as groin and breasts.
  • Avoid putting these portable microwave transmitters near the brain! Texting, speakerphone, and headphones are better options, although the latter can act as antenna, so air-tube headphones are preferred.
  • Most mobiles have antenna at the back, so less radiation is directed to the user, but more to innocent by-standers. Some phones (e.g. iPhone) have antenna built into the phones’ edge, so check specific models.
  • An attempt has been made to rate phones on emission strength – SAR ratings – but unfortunately this is not a very effective safety guide in practice, and low SAR does not necessarily equate to safer phone.
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