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Overview of how to measure EMF exposure levels & field strengths: this paper provides an overview of the recommended procedure for performing electromagnetic field (EMF) or electro-magnetic radiation EMR measurements either by engaging a professional or by consumers using low-cost instruments which measure EMF exposure levels in gauss or milligauss.
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Because RF and EMF measurement tools need to be properly chosen to measure the particular type and frequency of RF or EMF signal that is of interest, be sure to also see EMF RF FIELD & FREQUENCY DEFINITIONS for a simple explanation of different types of radio frequency (RF) and electromagnetic frequency (EMF) types and where they are found.
Magnetic fields are directional; measurements are affected by position as well as location of the instrument within the area being examined, and by the distance of the instrument from the field source. Our field experience strongly suggests that results are quite variable depending on the particular direction aimed and positions held when using the measuring instrument.
Therefore, and consonant with recommendations from the manufacturers, each of our "measurements" is derived from at least three instrument readings, holding the instrument pointed at a suspected field source (e.g. nearby power line), pointed straight up, and held horizontally. Horizontal and vertical measurements are recorded as the highest obtained following a 360 degree scan of the area with the instrument held in that position.
During such a rotation in the presence of a strong magnetic field we find reading levels ranging widely.
We warn that measurements made by another professional will not duplicate our results unless our exact procedure is used with an instrument of similar performance at the identical locations. However our experience is that measurements with similar instruments in approximately the same locations and circumstances, produce results which are quite close.
For each instrument reading we record location, position, meter sensitivity settings, meter readings, and estimated distance to the suspected field source, if any. We also record observations of devices such as TV's or computers if they are seen operating nearby.
For the analog device measurements, actual meter readings are converted to milli/microgauss using tables provided by the instrument manufacturer based on the sensitivity range to which the instrument was set at time of use.
A range of sensitivity settings are required to protect this very delicate instrument from being damaged by the fields being measured. The manufacturer describes a mathematical procedure which we follow to combine these data into a single field level number for an area being measured.
For the digital device measurements, actual measurements are read on the instrument in gauss or milligauss, depending on a field strength sensitivity selection on the meter.
As with any potential poison, our concerns are first to establish a dose-relationship to effects of the poison, and next to establish a reliable way to measure the actual dose or exposure that a person may experience.
It's apparent that electrical utility workers, especially people who spend a good part of their working day up close to power transmission lines and electrical power stepdown transformers are likely to have higher exposure to electrical fields and EMF than occupants of a typical residential building.
We recommend close monitoring and scrutiny of the soundness of studies that are performed to examine the health effects of EMF exposure for this population.
Please see WORKPLACE EXPOSURE to Electromagnetic Fields for details about EMF exposure in the work place.
We include example EMF exposure limits and research citations below.
Please do not contact us with a request buy EMF or RF measuring equipment. We do not sell anything. To do so would be a conflict of interest for this website.
These EMF measuring and survey devices are readily available from many electrical equipment and home inspection equipment suppliers.
See Evaluation of Low-Cost EMF Instruments This article describes several low-cost and reasonably accurate EMF measurement devices that are readily available.
See Radio Frequency RF Detection Meters This article describes several low-cost and accurate radio frequency or RF detection and measurement devices suitable for radio, TV, cellphone, microwave, and similar signals.
Continue reading at EMF LOCAL SOURCES MAY EXCEED POWER LINE STRENGTH or select a topic from the More Reading links shown below.
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Questions & answers or comments about the basic approaches to measuring the level of exposure to EMF electromagnetic fields in the home or workplace.
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