Cell phone towers are the most obvious and most maligned of the sources of radiation. Understandably so, because these are the most obvious sources of radiation. However, the risk from EMF radiation exposure is more than just cell towers. Infact, cell tower radiation is just a third or less of our total radiation exposure. We detail (electrical/ electronic) Device EMF radiation in this post.
A few case studies of Device EMF radiation
Case 1: Ghaziabad-based Arun Verma (name changed) called us around April 2016 for a unique problem. He was of the opinion that borewells in his colony (required to pump water from low water table area) were causing vibrations – which made him sick. This was leading him to sick and lethargic when he was home – because these borewell motors were operating 24*7. He also complained about the death of someone in his family because of the same reason.
Case 2: Rohini-based Shyam Bajaj (name changed) complained of lethargy and joint pains. He believed that this was because of cell tower radiation close to his home.
Case 3: Gurgaon-based entrepreneur Aseem Bhatia (name changed) was concerned about cell towers coming up around his recently acquired villa.
Case 4:Greater Kailash based Mrs. Tandon (name changed) called us for a radiation inspection of her home – and we realized that her home was sitting next to a HV transformer/ substation.
While we audited these premises, we found that the borewell and the motors at the Ghaziabad complex were producing a high EMF (Electro-Magnetic fields) in the premises. Mr. Shyam Bajaj had a very high ELF (Extreme low frequency EMF) instance at his home because the colony transmission lines were hanging no more than 2 feet away from his bed head. Mr. Aseem Bhatia had done very costly fittings in his home – which aesthetically were great – but the interior designer did not bother about the open wires and the ELF/EMF component. The high Device EMF radiation and electrical radiation from conducting wires were the key concerns in all these three cases.
Device EMF radiation and electrical radiation
Any electrical system, device or appliance that is conducting electricity is also emanating Electro-Magnetic radiation. Most of this radiation is in the 50Hz frequency range. Therefore, device or electrical systems EMF is also called ELF (Extreme low frequency fields). The older the appliance, the less maintained or the higher the input current and voltage, the higher is the EMF radiated. EMF – is insensible – and we are not able to understand that we are dense EMF zones. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that we spend 12-13 hours daily in such environments – multiplying the effect multiple times over.
We have seen work spaces and work shops – with high voltage equipment also contaminated by extremely high EMF/ELF. The workers who work in such conditions are exposed to high EMF – potentially putting their lives under huge degree of risk.
EMF is a far more stubborn radiation field – and requires far more specialized solutions than cell tower radiation. It is easy to differentiate RF radiation and EMF. Radio frequency radiation (RF) is a by product of telecommunication systems – where as EMF is a product of electrical systems. RF is measured by a general range of instruments called Dossimeters – EMF is measured by Gaussimeters.
Risks from EMF radiation
Device EMF radiation or electrical radiation (from power distribution systems and controls) are associated with various health hazards. The limit for exposure to EMF radiation is .4 microTesla. Prolonged exposure to EMF radiation higher than .4 microTesla is associated with 200% increase in Childhood Leukemia (WHO/ IARC/ 2002/2007). EMF and ELF radiation are listed as Class 2B carcinogens by WHO/IARC. This is the same class of carcinogens as lead, vehicle exhausts, welding fumes, sulphur etc. Other common risks associated with device EMF and electrical radiation include Infertility, Fatigue, Sleeplessness (Insomnia and related effects), Tintinnabulation, miscarriages in pregnancy, headaches and body aches among others. Read – Who all are susceptible to EMF radiation?
RF radiation versus EMF radiation
So a cell tower, mobile phone, signal booster and repeater, WiFi router is a source of RF radiation, where as an invertor, generator, electrical machine, Geyser, TV, AC – are sources of EMF/ELF. Another source of EMF is damaged and unsheathed electric wiring – which causes extreme low frequency EMF radiation (ELF). Workspace EMF is a topic of discussion in the advanced economies of Europe and as of July 1st, 2016, United Kingdom has passed the Control of Electromagnetic Fields at Work Regulations – which monitors and limits the EMF exposures at the work space. This is a proactive step towards responsibly limiting the exposure of high EMF at workspace and factory shop floors. We see more advanced and responsible nations to be coming forward and enabling such statuettes for employee health and welfare in days to come.
Beware electrical radiation and Device EMF radiation
We often make the mistake of thinking that RF radiation from telecommunication equipment is the most important radiation risk. This is quite so. However, electrical radiation from power distribution and control systems around us are equally (if not more) dangerous. This also applies for Device EMF radiation – radiation from devices such as laptops, invertors, stabilizers etc. Most of these sources and radiation cannot be felt. It manifests itself as headaches, sleeplessness, fatigue etc. Therefore it is imperative that premise radiation audits are undertaken to identify threats and risks and take suitable preventive actions there-of.