Six simple steps can minimize EMF exposure

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Minimize EMF exposure

Minimize EMF Exposure

The following article was first printed on January 30th, 2013 in the Los Altos Town Crier

A growing number of Americans are concerned about electromagnetic fields (EMF) but don’t know what to do to mitigate the problem and minimize EMF exposure.

Many European and Asian countries have enacted more stringent EMF regulations than the United States. For instance, many cellphones in the U.S. exceed the permissible EMF emissions set by Sweden, Israel and China. Concerns over cellphones and smart meters frequently make headlines, but many homeowners want more regulatory protection and don’t know how to protect themselves.

The following is a list of ways to minimize EMF exposure.

  1. Use battery-powered alarm clocks. Plug-in alarm clocks are notorious sources of magnetic fields. If you cannot switch to a battery-powered system, keep the clock at least 3 feet away from your pillow.
  2. Locate beds at least 10 feet away from the main electric panel or subpanels. Electrical panels are significant sources of magnetic fields.
  3. Remove electrical cords and surge protectors from under the bed and push these point sources farther away from your body at work. Electric fields from power cords are often associated with sleep disturbances.
  4. Use a hard-wired router instead of Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi produces a relatively strong internal radio frequency (RF) signal. If Wi-Fi must be used, distance yourself from the router as much as possible and consider switching the Wi-Fi off at night while not in use.
  5. Use hard-wired telephones. Many wireless base stations emit relatively high levels of RF radiation. If you cannot part with cordless phones, keep base stations as far from your body as possible and consider unplugging them at night.
  6. Minimize use of cellular phones. Use a hardwired, landline phone whenever possible, and when you do have to use a cellphone, keep it as far from your body as possible. Using a speakerphone or a plug-in headset is preferable to holding the phone near your head.

The relative field strength of most EMF sources decreases exponentially with distance from the source. Therefore, distancing oneself from known sources is often the easiest and least expensive way to minimize EMF exposure.

Many people incorrectly believe that the most likely source of magnetic fields is high-voltage electrical transmission lines – the kind mounted on tall metal poles. In reality, however, you are much more likely to have elevated magnetic fields resulting from internal wiring errors than from external sources such as power lines and electrical transformers. The same is true for cell towers and smart meters.

During EMF inspections, it is common to find internal sources of RF that far outweigh external sources. Although surprising to many concerned clients, these findings are actually good news, because internal sources of EMF are much more easily managed.

Alex Stadtner is president of Healthy Building Science, which offers Healthy Building Inspections and Green Building Consulting services in the Bay Area. For more information, email or visit