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Electromagnetic pollution

EMF Readings From Various Devices We Use Every Day

Monday, May 26, 2008 by: John Cole
Tags: electromagnetic pollution, health news, Natural News

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(NewsTarget) I first bought a Gauss meter a couple years ago because I was concerned about my electric blanket. When I got the meter home and tested the blanket with the sensor just touching the surface of the blanket, as your skin would, it gave a very high reading. Fortunately, I found a "99.98% EMF Cut" electric blanket, which gave a reading of near zero.

Two recent articles on Natural News prompted me to dust off my Gauss meter and do readings on many things I use every day but never really suspected: "Scientists Agree That EMFs Pose a Threat to Your Health" (http://www.naturalnews.com/023078.html) and "Reducing Electromagnetic Frequency Exposure May Improve Your Health" (http://www.naturalnews.com/022926.html) . At first I thought both articles were a little extreme, but as I proceeded with my Gauss meter testing, I was astounded at some of the things I learned.

The focus of this article is ELFs (extremely low frequencies), a category of EMFs (electromagnetic fields) that are produced by typical household electric currents and magnets. The Gauss meter does not measure microwaves; and although it can measure RFs (radio frequencies), the process is very time-consuming, complicated, and prone to error.

My Gauss meter cost about $40. It consists of a main unit about the size of a short, wide remote control, and a probe or sensor with a wire about 2 feet long that you plug into the main unit when you want to measure ELFs (the probe is not used when measuring RFs). You move the probe slowly at different angles around the device you want to measure.

I measured EMFs at various distances in consideration of the device in question. A computer LCD monitor, for example, would not normally be in contact with your skin, and so a measurement at a distance of 1 or 2 feet is reasonable. On the other hand, hair clippers, personal hair trimmers, and electric toothbrushes are normally used in contact with the body; and cell phones (yes, ELFs from cell phones) are routinely carried around in pockets or on straps around a person's neck, and therefore a measurement taken in contact with the device is appropriate.

The Gauss meter measures in units called milligauss, abbreviated mG. A gauss is technically a "unit of magnetic flux density". On my Gauss meter, I found no place indoors or outdoors with a reading of zero; typical "background" levels are 0.5 to 2.0 milligauss. The manual says that many experts recommend avoiding levels of 2.0 milligauss or higher, and so I have reported my findings as <2mG when I found "background" levels, and specific numbers for higher readings. The limit of my meter is supposed to be 50 milligauss, but, because on very high readings the needle swings way over to the right at what would be 60 and 70 milligauss if there were markings, I have reported very high levels as >70 milligauss. "Contact" means the probe is touching the device; distances are given in inches or feet. So, here we go with the readings.

Personal hair trimmer (1 AA battery): cutting tip, contact 10-20mG; shaft/handle, contact >70mG. Electric hair clipper: cutting head, contact >70mG; handle, contact >70mG. Hair dryer, 1200 watts: low & high, 6 inches from nozzle 5-10mG; handle, contact >70mG.

Electric toothbrush: brush tip, contact <2mG; brush shaft middle, contact 4-5mG; handle, contact 40-50mG.

Refrigerator: front, 1 foot 3-5mG.

Microwave oven: front, running, 1 foot 40-50 mG; front, unplugged, 1 foot 4-5 mG.

Electronic dictionary (2 AA batteries): contact <2 mG.

Desktop computer: LCD monitor, 1 foot <2mG; 2 feet <2 mG. CRT monitor, 1 foot 2-5 mG; 2 feet <2mG. CPU fan, 6 inches 4-5 mG. Right speaker, power off, 1 foot 2-3 mG; power on, 1 foot 4-5 mG. Computer mouse, contact <2 mG.

Laptop computer: LCD, 6 inches <2mG. Keyboard and bottom of laptop, generally <2mG, But over area of CPU/fan, >70mG when CPU is busy and/or cooling fan is running (also >70mG from the bottom, which contacts your "lap", so be careful where on your lap you have it, and for how long).

Electric clock radio: 6 inches, <2mG; but AC/DC adaptor, 6 inches 30-40mG, 1 foot 2-3mG.

Personal "sex toy" vibrators: Mini vibrator (one battery about two-thirds the size of one AA battery), contact 10-20 mG. Standard-sized vibrator (3 AA batteries in the separate control case, attached by a wire), contact >70mG with rotation function, >70mG with vibrator function. (Disclaimer: These items are, of course, not mine! I merely borrowed them, for testing, out of intellectual curiosity...)

Electric carpet: contact >70mG. Electric foot warmer: contact >70mG. Electric blanket, "99.98% EMF Cut": contact <2mG, but the wire from the control to the blanket and the plug into the blanket, contact >70mG. (My old electric blanket, now long gone, gave a reading similar to the electric carpet, >70mG on contact.)

Wristwatch (button battery): contact <2mG.

Gas fan space heater: plugged in but turned off, 1 foot 3-4mG; turned on, 1 foot 4-5mG. Air cleaner: turned on low, 1 foot 3-4mG; medium, 1 foot 4-5mG; high, 1 foot 5-7mG.

Remote controls: for TV, DVD/video, air cleaner: all, contact <2mG.

Fluorescent tube round, 20-watt: 1 inch 40-50mG; 6 inches 2-3mG (just at the top of my head). Fluorescent tube straight, 20-watt: 6 inches 3-4mG, 1 foot <2mG. Fluorescent bulb: company A, 20-watt, 6 inches <2mG; company B, 12-watt, 6 inches 3-4mG, 1 foot <2mG.

Outlet, wall or at the end of an extension cord: not being used <2mG; but with something plugged in and running, 6 inches 3-4mG, contact >70mG. Any wire with current running through it: contact >70mG.

TV, 21 inch, CRT: 2 feet 4-5mG. DVD/video deck: 1 foot 3-4mG, 2 feet <2mG.

Washing machine: running, from the front, 1 foot 4-5mG.

Rice cooker: 1 foot 4-5mG.

Sunlamp, 800 watt: 6 inches 5mG, 12 inches 3mG, 18 inches 2mG. (This is a full-spectrum Sperti sunlamp.) The company recommends you use the sunlamp no closer than 18 inches.

Electric power lines about 10 feet away from my balcony here on the second floor: 3-4mG on the balcony; extending to 3mG 1 foot inside the bedroom adjacent to the balcony.

Hamster warm house floor: low heat side, contact 3.0-3.5mG; high heat side, contact 3.5-4.0mG. (I tried several layers of aluminum foil, but that did not reduce the level at all. Then I read that only iron can block EMFs, so I went to the home center and found a wok made partially of iron. I took it over to the fluorescent bulb section, found a bulb emitting strong ELFs, then held the wok between the bulb and my Gauss meter probe. The wok reduced the reading to almost background levels. So I've got until winter to find a small iron plate to protect my hamsters from EMFs.)

Cell phones: This is not related to RF emission, which is a separate problem. I've tested about 12 cell phones from several different companies, and each one emits ELFs from different points of the cell phone even when you are not talking on it or using it in any way. Company A, with the batteries removed, contact 350mG, strongest near the antenna. Company A's battery: 2-3mG. Company B, with the battery installed and the phone turned on but not using it, contact 3 to >70mG, strongest near the internal antenna. (I have stopped carrying my cell phone in my pocket or anywhere in contact with my body. It may be just coincidence, but on my right side, just where my right side pants pocket is, and where I carried a cell phone for 5 years or more, I've got a small lump. It's probably just a subdermal lipoma, not malignant, and as I said it might be merely coincidence, but I believe it's better to be "safe than sorry".)

A hundred years ago, the multitude of ELFs that humans are now surrounded by was non-existent. After all my testing, I finally agree with the authors of the two articles mentioned in the first paragraph. I now have every electrical device I'm not using here unplugged or switched off at a surge-protected extension cord switch, and am extremely cautious with especially cell phones, laptop computers, microwave ovens, and any kind of electric blanket, carpet, or pad that you can lie or sit on.

About the author

John H. Cole has been editing medical manuscripts for publication in mainstream U.S. and European medical journals for the past 15 years in Japan. He also has a small English school in Gifu City, Japan. He believes that natural foods, superfoods, herbs, exercise, sunshine, good sleep, and avoidance of pollution are the answers to most people's health problems. He is a friend of nature.
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