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EMF Survey report interpretation: this article explains how to interpret the results of an electromagnetic field (EMF) or electro-magnetic radiation EMR measurement survey.
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Readers are urged to consult expert sources and to give any suggestions regarding these notes to the author. Some studies by some experts have suggested a possible link between exposure to electromagnetic fields and various cancers or other health problems. Other studies suggest that no definite correlation could be demonstrated. It is likely that the jury will be out on this matter for some time, for both economic and political reasons.
It is risky and may be misleading for untrained personnel to express opinions for which they have no scientific basis. There are very few standards for allowable exposure to EMF. See Definitions of Gauss vs Milligauss for details about gauss and milligauss and definitions of these terms
The health studies are, according to some experts, inconclusive. Some health studies showed an increase in childhood leukemia and other diseases at long exposure to field strengths as low as 1 or 2 mG. However, keep in mind that "doubling" the risk of a disease may in some cases be doubling a number that was extremely small to start with. Doubling a very small number yields still a very small number. If your clients are worried about EMF but smoke, or don't fasten seat belts, or have dangerous stair or railings, their attention has been misdirected.
Pending acceptance of conclusive research by the scientific and engineering community at large, the most accurate position which can be taken by a consultant is that this is a controversial subject.
There may be a health risk from EMF exposure, but regardless of the real level of health risk, there are definitely economic risks because of fear felt by some property buyers.
Building owners and occupants should not let this topic distract them from attending to other high risks that may be at a given property such as tripping hazards, fire hazards, shock hazards, and carbon monoxide hazards.
While the health risks remain under argument, with some recent studies suggesting that there may really be a risk, it is possible to infer whether or not a given property is likely to be exposed to EMF:
Small absolute health risk from EMF: Most researchers indicate that where a risk is present, the absolute risk level from EMF is likely to be small, and less than other less obscure hazards. (Automobile accidents, trip and fall, fire, and shock hazards, smoking and other health risks.) Consumers should not let focus on a specific emotionally-charged hazard distract them from these other more mundane but more dangerous concerns.
The EMF Field strength at any given moment depends on the load on the power line: A serious problem has limited research and conclusions regarding possible hazards of electromagnetic fields in the U.S.: the lack of publicly available load data. EMF field strength varies depending on the load on the system/conductors. Measurements made at different times and under different conditions will vary widely. Additional explanation of the causes of variation and error in measurements of electromagnetic fields can be found at my article on Enviro-Scare and EMF this website.
In our opinion if you can establish any field measurement at a property it is likely that under some conditions the field strength will be greater than the time of your measurement. Further, even if you measure no field effects, if the property is close to large power transmission or some power distribution lines, it is possible that at some times and conditions it's in a measurable field.
This material represents research thinking. Anyone having any comment, content correction or suggestion is welcome to contact the author.
Instead of contacting us with a request to perform EMF Electromagnetic or RF Radio Frequency Field Strength measurements, in most cases it is more economical and convenient for a property owner to purchase their own instrument, making measurements under varying conditions. See Recommended EMF Measurement Procedure for details of how to collect EMF measurement data.
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. 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.
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