You know that manual that no one reads? The one that comes with your smartphone? Well did you know that in that manual it says that your smartphone should never be within an inch of the body? That’s kind of weird don’t you think? An inch away means we can’t carry our phones in our pockets. An inch away from our bodies technically means we can’t even carry it in our hands! Or put it up to our ears!
The reason behind this super fine print is the harmful effects of electromagnetic fields on the human body. This isn’t breaking news– in fact there is research dating back to the 1950’s that shows radiation from electric fields and magnetic fields causes significant health effects at levels way below than what the government says is safe (1).
Sure, wireless technology has brought a huge amount of economic benefits and convenience but exposure to radiation 24 hours a day is detrimental to our health. In 2011 the World Health Organization said that wireless technology can be carcinogenic and now scientists are saying it definitely is. With all this evidence and now, solutions, we can take precautions to keep ourselves and our family safe.
This article is an easy-to-follow guide to EMF detectors– meters that everyone concerned with the negative health effects of radiation should consider. I’m going to take you through what exactly EMFs are, the issues with them, and how to find and use your own EMF device to detect levels in your home.
What is EMF?
EMF stands for electromagnetic field. Though invisible to the human eye, EMFs occur in a physical plane when an electric field and a magnetic field fall perpendicular to each other. EMF radiation comes from any object that is charged and can affect any object that is charged as well–and since our bodies have a magnetic field, EMFs affect us. Since every object has an electrical charge it can be confusing trying to differentiate between the good and the bad.
Where does EMF come from?
EMFs are categorized by natural and man-made. While natural EMFs has been around since the beginning of time, artificial EMFs are relatively new and super controversial. It’s crucial to understand where EMFs come from, how they work, and how they affect the human body so you can protect yourself and your family.
Man-made EMF sources include computers, cell phones, wi-fi routers, MRIs man-made UV light, microwaves and all other kitchen appliances. Basically, things that weren’t around a little more than a hundred years ago.
Artificial radiation falls into 2 sub categories: low frequency and high frequency. Don’t be fooled though, low frequency doesn’t mean minor effects. Chronic low frequency exposure is just as harmful as high frequency.
Low levels of man-made EMFs are non-ionizing (they don’t carry enough energy to completely break a molecular bond but have a chronic effect) and have lower frequencies than visible light. These include EMFs from microwaves, smart meters, computers, WiFi, Bluetooth, cellphones, MRIs and power lines.
High frequency EMFs have frequencies higher than visible light making them ionizing. These include visible light, gamma rays, and X-rays.
Natural EMF radiation comes from trees, rocks, dirt, and light from the sun and moon! Your brain, heart, mitochondria, and liver enzymes are all electric too. Since humans have evolved with radiation from the earth, natural EMFs work in harmony with our biological rhythms.
Issues with Man-Made EMF
Issues with EMFs occur when man-made radiation collides with natural– the artificial interferes with what is naturally occuring in the body therefore causing an imbalance.
Overexposure to man-made EMFs creates health issues like:
- Hormone disruption
- Infertility/lower sperm quality
- Lowered libido
- Increased risk of cancer
- Difficulty Sleeping
- Heart Arrhythmia/Palpitations
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- Skin Rashes (facial redness)
- Reduced Immune System Function
- Cardiac, Nervous and Endocrine System Dysregulation
When man-made EMF circulates through our bodies and interferes with our own electricity, our biology is disrupted making inflammatory problems worse. Chronic exposure (even at low-frequency) interferes with our sophisticated electromagnetic systems and these adverse effects are magnified by micronutrient deficiency and exposure to toxicity (2).
The International Commission for Electromagnetic Safety expressed worry in 2009. “We are concerned about the body of evidence that indicates that exposure to electromagnetic fields interferes with basic human biology and may increase the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases.” (3).
Children are particularly susceptible to EMF radiation because they absorb more than adults. This is because their skin is thinner, bones are thinner, and their tissues have more water (3).
In the current society we live, kids and teenagers are constantly using electronic devices. Whether you’re giving your toddler your tablet to play games, watch shows or your teen is scrolling through snapchat for hours on end, our cultural habits play a huge part in chronic EMF exposure.
Kids between the ages of 8-12 spend approximately 6 hours a day consuming media and for teens 9 hours. And if that wasn’t already worrisome enough, cell towers are being placed way too close to churches, schools and even our homes, creating a hotspot for our children (1).
Problems with Regulation
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is an independent agency of the US government that is supposed to regulate interstate communications by wire, satellite, cable, TV, and radio. But they’re not doing a very good job. Regulations are almost 20 years old and with our new advanced technology, these regulations no longer apply. These rules are based on a concept that is nearly 50 years old (ie if microwave radiation doesn’t heat us than it doesn’t hurt us). That couldn’t be more wrong (1).
There are hundreds of studies that prove this is false. The FCC is not working to protect the public due to industry influence. What’s happening between the FCC and the wireless lobby is something we refer to as “the revolving door”- when science is influenced by industry funding.
Dr. Henry Lai researched 326 studies based on biological effects of cellphone radiation and discovered that half of the studies showed effects and the other half didn’t. It became suspicious when he looked at who funded the studies. He found that 70% of independent studies showed negative effects and only 32% of funded studies showed effects (1).
It’s more than not being able to fall asleep at night, its infertility, cancer, DNA damage…it’s our children. That’s why we came up with a comprehensive guide to EMF detection, to help you understand what EMF levels are in your household and protect your family.
What is EMF Detection?
EMF detection is the measurement of electromagnetic waves with a radiation device. Since there is tons of evidence surfacing about the adverse effects of man-made EMFs on the body, EMF detection has became pretty mainstream making it easy to check for yourself.
If EMF detectors come off as total ghost hunting props to you, you’re not alone (and that’s because a lot of people try to use them to detect the paranormal). But that’s not why we’re using them. With video tutorials and easy to follow user manuals, your EMF detector won’t seem so foreign to you. So, what does an EMF detector do? How are electromagnetic fields measured?
- Low frequency radiation EMF detectors measure EMFs from electronic/electrical devices and power cables
- High frequency radiation EMF detectors measure EMFs and RFs (radio waves) from wireless phones, WiFi, Bluetooth, TV, antennas, radars, alarm systems and microwaves
How do EMF detectors help your health?
Using EMF detectors will help you identify obvious sources and maybe not so obvious sources of radiation so that you can make changes to avoid chronic exposure. You will be able to remove yourself and your family members from hot spot areas and decrease levels with shielding materials and other solutions. Removing all sources of EMF radiation would be impossible especially if you live in a highly populated area but minimizing exposure to common household items will make a difference.
Using EMF detectors is a good step to take if you or someone you love has experienced any of the symptoms mentioned above. These symptoms can sometimes be a good sign because they can push someone to find out the root of the problem. Taking simple steps to reduce exposure sooner than later is necessary for a healthy life. Evidence shows that people who ignore these symptoms end up with illnesses related to immune and nervous systems, endocrine, and cardiac in addition to cancer, Alzheimer’s, and dementia (1).
In addition to negatively affecting these critical systems, EMF pollution has caused disabling reactions in a small percentage of people called Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity (EHS) also known as EMF sensitivity. EHS has been around since 1932 and has officially been recognized in some European countries like Sweden, who have recorded 300,000 citizens with this condition (5).
As a father with 3 small boys, taking small steps to avoid chronic exposure to EMFs was a no brainer for my family. Because children are affected more than adults, it’s important for me to know where sources of EMF pollution are coming from in the house so I can take action to reduce them.
There are tons of EMF detector manufacturers. Before recommending our picks for EMF meters we looked at specific features to make sure that your meter will be not only effective, but also affordable. These features include:
- Frequency range (coverage of the most common sources)
- Measurement span (does it detect the lowest and highest radiation sources)
- Easy to use
- Affordable price
Another option if you don’t want to detect yourself would be to use an EMF detection service. This is a super reliable option but may not be as convenient for you.
How to Choose the Right EMF Detector
What are you looking to measure? If you want to measure radiation from wireless phones, WiFi, tablets, baby monitors, microwaves or cell towers than you need a high frequency (think wireless) radiation meter. If you are looking to measure EMFs from magnetic fields like power cables, transformers and electrical devices etc than you need a low frequency radiation meter.
Choosing the right EMF detector comes down to finding a reputable source that includes all your basic features and is reliable.
The Best EMF Detectors
Our top rated EMF detectors are going to be combination meters, meaning they will give EMF readings for high frequency and low frequency radiation. These meters are sworn by both professionals and amateurs. After, I’ll give you high-frequency and low-frequency stand alone options.
Trifield EMF TF2
The Trifield Meter Model TF2 is the highly popular, modernized version of the 100XE. The best part about the TF2 is that it measures all three major types of EMF radiation: Electric, Magnetic, and Radio Frequency/microwave. Something that is super cool about this meter is that it can measure radiation in the human body!
Its 3-axis sensor gives you accurate readings no matter which way you’re holding it or pointing it (unlike 1-axis sensors). Its new LCD digital display makes testing easy and loads you up with a ton of info. Another awesome feature of this detector is its auto output which allows you to hear radiation around you. This feature makes it easy to locate sources of radiation in your home.
- Cell towers
- Power lines
- Smart meter RF radiation
- Home appliances
- Laptop/desktop computers
- Bang for your buck
- For beginners or experts
- New display
- Measures all 3 EMFs
- Audio and backlight buttons can only be accessed behind battery cover
- Weighted mode option might be confusing
Cornet ED88T EMF Meter
The Cornet ED88T is a combination meter that measures all three types of radiation. When you’re detecting radiation in your home and office, it’s important to have a combination meter. The Cornet will give you an exact frequency that it’s picking up (100 Mhz to 2.7 GHz.).
The Cornet also features a sound output which is super helpful for home or work as well. A bonus is that it shows a reading history by displaying the last 30 readings so you can look back and see if your EMF exposure has decreased once you start implementing solutions in your home.
- Combination meter
- Exact frequency reading
- Sound output
- Reading history
- some beginners don’t find it user friendly
High Frequency EMF Detectors
High frequency EMF detectors will measure EMF waves (radio frequency as well). Use a high frequency meter to detect pollution in homes close to broadcaster cell towers, buildings with a significant amount of WiFi (top floors especially), and highly populated areas.
A high frequency EMF reader measures in a range with values as low as 1 μW/m2 .
How to use high frequency detectors
- Hold the meter at arms length
- Measure close to walls, ceiling and floor next to neighbors to detect internet modem-routers, cordless phones etc.
- Measure close to windows and walls facing outside to measure radiation from cell phone masts. Windows are vulnerable to radiation penetration while walls absorb or reflect some external radiation.
Rotate the meter in different directions when measuring in a specific area. Make slow and steady movements to get an accurate reading.
Reducing high frequency pollution can be done with EMF shielding curtains, blankets, and paint. You can also replace a cordless phone with a low-radiation cordless phone because the base will only emit when you talk on the phone.
High frequency detector options
Made in America by cornet MICROSYSTEMS Inc, this new combination meter measures high frequency and low frequency with audio signal for $199.
Acousticom 2 is a high frequency detector made by EMFields Solutions Ltd in the United Kingdom. While this device is easy to use, it doesn’t give a precise reading, but has 8 radiation corresponding level lights that are easy to understand. At $250 this device is perfect for beginners.
This advanced high frequency meter is made by Gigahertz Solutions GmbH in German and sold at an an affordable price of $200. It is probably the best device for its price. Includes an antenna for locating sources, helping you find where your radiation comes from.
Low Frequency EMF Detectors
Low frequency EMF detectors measure radiation from high-voltage cables, power lines, electric devices, computers, laptops, transformers etc. Main sources of electric fields are electrical appliances when they are not connected and cables in the walls that power sockets, outlets, and lights. Another source is outdoor high-voltage power line cables.
The IARC and WHO have listed low frequency magnetic fields as possible carcinogens. These fields will penetrate all areas since they aren’t affected by building materials.
How to use low frequency detectors
First, it is recommended to use a triple axis meter which works as easily as turning it on and measuring. Single axis meters require rotation in all directions. Measure around devices and home (6).
Low frequency detector options
From Germany, Gigahertz Solutions GmbH is your basic single axis detector that allows you to obtain reliable and reproducible measurements. For $150 you get a digital display with a 2 year warranty.
From the USA, Magnii Technologies created a device with bonus analysis of dirty electricity and harmonics. This is a triple axis meter, easy to use and accurate. With a 2 year warranty this detector is high tech and available for purchase for $290.
You can also purchase a combination meter like the trifield TF2 mentioned above to get low frequency and high frequency measurements.
Other options for EMF detection
For the best quality detection, consider hiring an EMF expert. Professional building biologists or experts can come to your home with a professional EMF meter. If you are concerned that radiation pollution is harming your health, consider investing in a professional.
Tips to minimize EMF exposure
EMFs are a bunch of positive ions. You know about free radicals? Those nasty little lurkers that cause oxidative stress, inflammation and make you age? Well that’s basically what EMFs are. In addition to causing a load of biological problems, they make you age! The good news is that we can take steps to neutralize these free radicals. Check out our post on What You Need to Know to About EMF Protection for more tips. Here’s a couple you can start with today.
Use your cellphone wisely
Keep your cellphone a foot away from you when you’re not using it. Put it on speaker phone when you’re on the phone or plug in headphones. At night, turn it on airplane mode (your alarm will still work).
Turn WiFi off at night
Turning your WiFi off while you sleep will significantly decrease a main source of harmful EMF radiation. Invest in a Super-Feeder like the ETU-63A that will automatically turn off your WiFi at bedtime.
Unplugging your toaster and coffee maker when you’re not using them will save you money and reduce EMF exposure.
Download Games and Media
Whether you’re listening to a podcast or you’re giving your kid your phone to play a game–make sure they’re downloaded. This means you can still use them without all the radiation from the wi-fi.
Get outside, take your shoes off, and soak up the neutralizing ions from the earth. This is a simple way to combat the negative effects of EMF exposure and it’s also really good for reducing stress and supporting a healthy mental state.
Now that you know how EMF detectors work and why they are beneficial to support the health of your family, let us know what next step you’re going to take to reduce EMF exposure. Or if you’re someone that’s already doing everything you can to reduce EMF, share your tips for the benefit of everyone by dropping a comment below. We can’t wait to hear from you!
- Talks, TEDx, director. Wireless Wake-up call Jeromy Johnson. YouTube. YouTube, YouTube, 18 Feb. 2016, www.youtube.com/watch?v=F0NEaPTu9oI.
- Wells, Katie, and Katie WellsKatie Wells. “Is EMF Exposure Really a Big Deal? | Wellness Mama.” Wellness Mama®, Katie Wells Are Thank You Notes a Thing of the Past? They Shouldn’t Be! Learn the Research-Backed Ways Expressing Gratitude Not Only Feels Good for the Sender and the Receiver, but Also Benefits Physical Health!, wellnessmama.com/129645/emf-exposure/.
- Administrator. “Shocking Warnings for the Effects of Modern Day Electromagnetic Radiation Sources.” Home-Biology, 2009, www.home-biology.com/electromagnetic-radiation/emf-radiation-health-effects/health-warnings.
- Morgan, L. L., Kesari, S., & Davis, D.L. (2014), Why children absorb more microwave radiation than adults: The Consequences. Journal of Microscopy and Ultrastructure, 2 (4), 197-204.
- Jeromy. “Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity (EHS).” Protect Your Family from EMF Pollution, www.emfanalysis.com/ehs/.
- Administrator. “How to Measure Low Frequency Radiation + Gauss Meters Comparison Guide.” Home-Biology, www.home-biology.com/electromagnetic-field-radiation-meters/low-frequency-meters.