Elecromagnetic fields—or EMFs—are all around us. EMFs are generated in a variety of ways. Whether it’s from naturally occurring sources, power lines, radios, microwaves, televisions, other home appliances, or our wireless devices, EMFs have become an almost inescapable part of life in our current technology-centric world.
The technology that produces EMFs has made our modern lives much more convenient, but the EMFs themselves may be putting our health at risk. There has been strong evidence for an association between leukemia and exposure to EMFs in the home and at work.1 The risk of at least two neurodegenerative diseases is increased by exposure to extremely low frequency (ELF) EMFs.1 For more information on EMFs and ELFs, go to EMFs and ELFs.
Protecting yourself from these invisible health risks starts with an awareness of the level of EMFs you are being exposed to. To determine this, you will need a Gauss meter, a device used to measure the strength of magnetic fields.2 Invented in 1833 by Carl Friedrich Gauss, our modern version of the Gauss meter comes in two types: scalar meters, which measure a magnetic field’s strength, and vector meters, which measure both strength and direction.2
Gauss meters are readily available, and can be found with a quick Google search, at Amazon.com, or by taking a trip to your local electronics store. Less expensive versions are available, but expect to pay in the hundreds of dollars for a professional model.
Finding the level of EMFs in your living environment with a Gauss meter is a simple operation. Reading the manual will give you the best information on using your particular meter, but the process for detecting EMF levels is going to be similar with all models. All you really need to do is walk around your home or office and pay attention to what the meter tells you. Simpler Gauss meters may only feature red, yellow, and green lights to indicate the strength of EMFs.3 More sophisticated units, whether digital or analog, will most likely show you numbers for electric and magnetic fields. Electric fields will be measured in volts per meter (V/m), where 0 to 10 is an average reading for your home.3 Magnetic fields will read out in milliGauss (mG), a unit where 0 to 2.5 mG is low, 2.5 to 7.0 is medium, and 7.1 or higher is considered high.3
Using your Gauss meter will give you an opportunity to determine where your EMF hotspots are. Having the information about where EMFs are strongest gives you a good starting point for reducing the exposure you and your family experience on a daily basis.
1 Carpenter, David O., MD “Human Health Effects of EMFs: The Cost of Doing Nothing,” IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science (EES), Vol. 10 (2010)