EMF stands for electromagnetic frequencies. This term is slightly misleading as the electromagnetic spectrum of frequencies includes sunlight, which is vital to all life on earth. When “EMF’s” are mentioned, it is usually describing the unnatural frequencies that are filling our living environments (see my video here). It is these unnatural EMF’s that are creating problems for biological life. We have been evolving with the natural EMF’s (sunlight, earth’s magnetic field, etc) for thousands of years. It is the unnatural, artificial frequencies in our environment which are so new to us, that pose the danger.
There are 4 types of EMF’s that Building Biologist measure and work to clean up. These are all measured and mitigated differently and can have different biological effects.
AC stands for alternating current and is the way electricity is delivered to homes and businesses. It is called alternating current because the electricity is “alternating” its direction many times per second. This allows the electricity to travel much greater distances. Depending on where you live the frequency of electricity delivered to your home will either be 50 Hz or 60 Hz. This means the electricity is “vibrating” 50 or 60 times per second. It is this alternating, or vibrating, aspect of electricity that allows these fields to extend into our living spaces.
AC Magnetic Fields
AC Magnetic Fields are found where there is current flowing, a device that is turned on. They emanate out from their source in concentric rings. A more powerful device will produce a higher magnetic field. The strength of these fields deceases with distance. Common sources in the home are lamps, radios, power adapters, charging stations, fans, circuit panels, computers, appliances and wiring errors.
AC Electric Fields
AC Electric Fields are produced by the presence of electricity, and present wherever there is voltage. A device does not need to be turned on, as long as the wire is live, with electricity, it will be producing an electric field. These fields emanate out in lines 6-8 feet from their source and decease with distance. These fields are always looking for a way to ground and our bodies act as an excellent antenna, essential sucking these fields in. Our homes are filled with live electric wires and as such this can be a continual source of exposure throughout the home. Other sources within the home include ungrounded computers, power adapters, charging stations, extension cords, circuit panel, electric blankets, overhead lights and the wiring within the walls, floors and ceiling.
Also known as Microsurge Electrical Pollution (MEP), this is a term used for the higher frequencies that come off our power lines and devices due to newer technology. The normally smooth sine wave of 60 Hz or 50 Hz electricity coming into our homes gets manipulated by a variety of devices (energy saving devices, light dimmers, switch-mode power supplies) and this creates higher frequency voltage transients or harmonics. These vibrate out into our living spaces attached to the AC magnetic and AC electric fields, creating a jagged or “fuzzy” looking sine wave of electricity.
Radio Frequency (Wireless)
As AC Electric and AC Magnetic Fields approach higher frequencies they become airborne and in this condition they are called Radio Waves. These Radio Frequency Waves are used to transmit information from one place to another and make up the backbone of all of our wireless technology. They have become increasingly prevalent in our environments over the past few decades and continue to increase in power density as we introduce more and more wireless technology into our lives. Common sources include Wi-Fi, cellphones, wireless mice, keyboards, and headphones, Bluetooth devices, computers, gaming systems and anything else that is connecting wirelessly. There are also external sources such as cell towers, Smart Meters, and radar towers.
Unnatural EMF’s are all around us. However, when we start to become aware of the different sources in our living environment it becomes clear that there is much we can do to improve our living and sleeping spaces. There’s a variety of options that can be done to bring our exposure levels more in line with nature and increase our health and wellness.