||The presence of electrical
wiring in homes and offices produce what are called electro-magnetic
fields, EMF. Electromagnetic fields are present near power lines,
electrical wiring, electrical outlets, lights, appliances and anything
that is plugged in to an electrical outlet. Just the simple fact that
the power is on at the fuse box energizes wiring and creates electric
fields near anything that is plugged in, even if it is turned off.
This can affect you biologically. Some peopleís biggest concern is about
power lines. While power lines may have large electromagnetic fields
near them, results of a recent study at K-12 schools indicates that
wiring errors may be a more important source of exposure than power
When something is turned on, current flows and a magnetic field is
created. Magnetic fields can be very high close to power lines. Magnetic
fields are not shielded by trees, landscaping or the walls of a
building. It seems common sense that living to close to power lines may
not be healthy. Unfortunately, schools are often built next to
right-of-ways for large power lines. Links have been made between
children diagnosed with leukemia and power lines next to their schools.
But before you panic because you see large power lines close to your
home consider that not all power lines are as bad as they look.
The strength magnetic fields decrease quickly with distance from power
lines. Itís not a simple as looking at the power lines and assessing how
big the field might be in your home from the power line out at the
street. Smaller power lines may have larger current flows and pose a
bigger health hazard than big, high-voltage lines.
The only way to know what level of field is present is to measure it
using a gauss-meter. Some power utility companies will take readings at
your home at no charge. Regardless of the reading, the power company
will tell you there is nothing to be concerned about. This is in
conflict with findings and reports from many research organizations
including the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and
the U.S. Department of Energy. Their research shows that electromagnetic
fields affect us biologically.
Electric fields come from the wiring inside walls, extension cords and
anything that is plugged in, even if it is not turned on. A voltage is
induced on the body similar to a battery. You can actually measure the
voltage induced on your body from household wiring using a multi-meter
available at the hardware store.
You will need two long pieces of any kind of wire. You can use an
extension cord. Cut the ends off and strip the extension cord into two
wires. Connect one end of one wire from the jack of the ground port of
the meter to a grounding rod outdoors. You can use a metal tent stake.
Connect one end of the second wire to the A/C V jack of the meter and
touch the other end of this wire while looking at the meter. Youíll
probably see something typical like 2-3 volts. Youíre like the energizer
Most people canít feel or otherwise notice if their home or office has
high electric or magnetic fields present. So why worry? It seems like
thereís enough home improvement projects to do on a Saturday without
going looking for more. If it ainít broke, donít fix it, right?
There are two reasons to be concerned. First, housed have burned down
because of wiring and grounding errors. Thatís why there is a national
electric code. Second, you quality of life may be being effected. The
non-cancer, biological effects of electromagnetic fields have largely
have been ignored in the news, perhaps because of all the focus on
whether or not power lines cause cancer.
Linked to electromagnetic field
- Insomnia and sleep
- Muscle cramps and
- Nerve problems,
- Attention Deficit
Non-cancer effects include stress,
difficulty concentrating and sleeping problems. Laboratory studies have
reported that exposure to electromagnetic fields may cause changes in
hormones including melatonin, changes in bio-rhythms, brain activity,
heart rate and alterations in the immune system7. While some scientists
dispute that power lines cause cancer, most agree that electromagnetic
fields affect us biologically and that prudent avoidance is in our best
Caner is also possible. Studies suggest that electromagnetic fields may
promote the development of existing cancers even if they donít initiate
report by the EPA classified electric and magnetic fields (EMF) as a
class B carcinogen.
report by the National Institute of Environmental Health and
Sciences concluded that EMF is possibly carcinogenic.
In July 2001, under pressure from a First
Amendment Coalition lawsuit, the California Department of Health
Services released a major report which summarized a decade of research
costing more than $7 million. It stated: "Some of the health risk
associated with exposure to electric and magnetic fields are
miscarriage, childhood leukemia, brain cancer and greater incidence of