Is There Any Such Thing as Safe EMF Levels?


    Did you know that more than 160,000 miles of high-voltage power lines make up the US electricity grid? On top of that are millions of miles of power lines where low-voltage current flows.

    Thanks to these power lines, 100% of the US population has access to electricity. Unfortunately, the same cables produce high levels of electric and magnetic fields (EMFs).

    If that’s the case, how high is too high, then? What do experts even have to say about safe EMF levels?

    This guide answers all those questions and more, so be sure to keep reading.

    Why Should You Care About EMFs?

    EMFs are areas of energy that envelope any electrical device. They come in two categories: high-frequency EMFs and low-to-mid frequencies.

    High-frequency EMFs include x-rays, which, in turn, classify as ionizing radiation. EMFs that belong to this class can cause direct damage to living cells or DNA and even cancer.

    Low-to-mid frequency EMFs, on the other hand, are non-ionizing. These include overhead and underground power lines, electrical wires, and electronic devices.

    Such electronics include the stuff you use at home, like phones, screens, and radios. The same goes for microwave ovens, Wi-Fi, smart meters, light bulbs, and radiators.

    The problem is that magnetic fields pass through objects, such as walls and windows. As such, outdoor EMF sources, like power lines, can add to your home’s EMF levels.

    What Are Safe EMF Levels Then?

    Despite extensive studies, there are still no standard safe levels of EMF exposure. However, engineers, scientists, and health experts have formed alliances to study EMF’s effects. One of these is the International Non-Ionizing Radiation Committee (INIRC).

    In 1988 and 1990, the INIRC published guidelines limiting EMF exposure to 50/60 Hertz (Hz). Then, in 2020, it updated its guidelines, bumping up the limits to 100 kilohertz (kHz) to 300 gigahertz (GHz). These limits, however, apply to larger radiofrequency EMFs.

    At the same time, the guidelines suggest limiting exposure of the general population to 2 mA m-2. This translates to 2 milliamperes per meter squared. The expression 2 mA, in turn, equates to 2/1000th of an ampere.

    Other researchers advise limiting EMF exposure to under 3 milligauss (mG). That’s because they found a link between EMF exposures of 3 mG and a higher risk of childhood leukemia.

    By contrast, other organizations conclude that low-to-mid frequency EMFs aren’t a health risk. These include the National Institute of Health and the National Research Council.

    How Can You Maintain Safe EMF Levels at Home?

    There’s no doubt that exposure to very high levels of EMFs can be detrimental to health. However, it’s not guaranteed that the same applies to low-to-mid frequency EMFs. Still, it’s better to be safe than sorry, which is why you may want to consider reducing your EMF exposure.

    To start, find out the EMF levels in your home using an EMF meter or detector. You have several options, including the TriField meter, Acoustimeter AM-10, or Cornet ED88T.

    Either way, you’d want your meter to give you a reading of no more than 3 mG.

    If it does, that means you may be too near an EMF-emitting device, such as a microwave oven. This doesn’t mean it’s time to throw them out; you can increase your distance when using them. For example, if you want to reheat food in the microwave oven, pop it in, set the timer, and then move away from the device.

    It’s also a good idea to unplug electronics, such as TVs, computers, and other screen devices when not in use. Keep in mind that as long as electricity flows in them, they would produce some level of EMF.

    Don’t Risk It: Reduce EMF Exposure Whenever You Can

    Since scientific data and opinions on safe EMF levels vary, it might be best to abide by the lowest limit of 3 mG. This may be even more crucial if you have kids, as they may be more sensitive to EMFs.

    Besides, lowering EMF levels by unplugging devices may also help you trim your energy use.

    Interested in more of the latest on tech, health, wellness, and lifestyle? Take a look at our most recent blog posts for other informative guides like this, then!

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