EMF MEASUREMENT INSTRUMENTS - CONTENTS:Comparison of the accuracy & eas\e of use of several low-cost EMF measurement instruments. Accuracy of RF radio frequency & EMF electromagnetic field strength measurement meters
POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs about the accuracy, reliability, and usability of low-cost EMF, RF, and ELF exposure or field strength measurement tools
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Test Instruments for Measuring Electromagnetic Fields, Radio Frequencies, ranging from low to very high frequency and including low EMF:
This article explains the accuracy of and calibration methods for a variety of low-cost EMF measuring instruments used for performing electromagnetic field (EMF) or electro-magnetic radiation EMR and radio frequency (RF) field strength measurements to measure RF EMF exposure levels in gauss or milligauss or at other appropriate yardsticks of field strength.
sources of RF and EMF fields, and RF/EMF measurement error and variation in electromagnetic field strength measurements and we review and make suggestions for using several low-cost RF or EMF
measurement devices to determine the instantaneous electromagnetic field or radio frequency field strength exposure.
Because RF and EMF measurement tools need to be properly chosen to measure the particular type and frequency of RF or EMF signal that is of interest, be sure to also
see EMF RF FIELD & FREQUENCY DEFINITIONS for a simple explanation of different types of radio frequency (RF) and electromagnetic frequency (EMF) types and where they are found.
Separately, Radio Frequency RF Detection Meters describes several low-cost and accurate radio frequency or RF detection and measurement devices suitable for radio, TV, cellphone, microwave, and similar signals.
Small absolute health risk from EMF: Most researchers indicate that where a risk is present, the absolute risk level from EMF is likely to be small, and
less than other less obscure hazards. (Automobile accidents, trip and fall, fire, and shock hazards, smoking and other
health risks.) Consumers should not let focus on a specific emotionally-charged hazard distract them from these other
more mundane but more dangerous concerns.
For added confidence in our measurement results, we use two independent
measurement instruments - a Safeco™ analog meter and a Walker
Scientific™ digital meter.
Both instruments measure magnetic fields which
may be generated from power lines, transformers, household wiring,
computers, TV's, and other electric devices.
Measurements made by
these devices should be considered as a general screening procedure
designed to discover the possible presence of magnetic fields in
and around the building or site. Such measurements are not exhaustive.
Before making decisions involving any significant expense we recommend
that additional instrumentation and expertise be considered.
The Walker™ digital meter provides a direct readout of field strengths in
gauss or milligauss. The Safeco™ analog meter permits visual observation of
field orientation and strength, but requires mathematical computations to
develop a final field strength number.
Our staff are not experts in electromagnetic fields.
As the first and
currently the only home inspection professional firm to offer this service in
our area we have relied on the quality of instrumentation, information and
consulting provided by the manufacturer, and field experience at a range of
buildings and environments.
Accuracy and Calibration of Electromagnetic Field Measurement Instruments
Quite a few electromagnetic field strength metering devices are available to the public, and they're not costly. A typical price for a decent EMF measuring device is less than $200. with some instruments selling at twice that price.
Because some people offering to perform EMF measurement services are not careful about procedure, do not offer sound scientific advice, and may not themselves understand how to examine a property effectively, some consumers may be better off buying their own EMF meter or gaussmeter and using the procedures we describe here.
Please do not contact us with a request buy EMF or RF measuring equipment. We do not sell anything. To do so would be a conflict of interest for this website. These devices are readily available from many electrical equipment and home inspection equipment suppliers.
Field Calibration of EMF Electromagnetic Field Strength Measurement Instruments
Our standard measurement procedure includes confirming normal instrument
operation by measuring a known common field source - the electric meter at each
property as well as at a baseline meter. We measure at 1' and 2' distances from
the electric meter, typically finding a field strength between 2 and 7
milligauss in those areas.
Calibration of EMF Measurement Instruments With Electric Power Company Instruments for Measuring Electromagnetic Field Strength
we have compared our test measurements of specific sites with those obtained
by local electric utility company representatives and have found our
measurements and theirs to be in close agreement.
[Measurements made at the
same electric meter at the same distances produced results within 7% of one
another. Most power utility companies use equipment which is more
sophisticated (and costly) than our own and their personnel may have
additional training. See AHS Report #I9189105]
Instead of contacting us with a request to perform EMF Electromagnetic or RF Radio Frequency Field Strength measurements, in most cases it is more economical and convenient for a property owner to purchase their own instrument, making measurements under varying conditions. In this series of articles we describe how to make measurements using a consistent approach and using good documentation.
Following good procedure and using instruments properly are two steps towards making accurate, repeatable EMF measurements.
But because the signal transmission for RF sources such as radio, TV, or cell towers, the load on a power transmission line is not under control of an individual property owner, and because the EMF strength varies as the power transmission line load varies, it is important to have an idea of that condition as well when attempting to characterize EMF exposure at a specific location.
In contrast, EMF measurements are quite accurate and repeatable at other EMF sources such as close to electrical appliances and service entry cables.
Please do not contact us with a request buy EMF or RF measuring equipment. We do not sell anything. To do so would be a conflict of interest for this website. These devices are readily available from many electrical equipment and home inspection equipment suppliers. See Evaluation of Low-Cost EMF Instruments
This article describes several low-cost and reasonably accurate EMF measurement devices that are readily available.
Articles About Electromagnetic Fields, Hazards, Measurements
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"Questions and Answers about Biological Effects and Potential Hazards of Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields", Federal Communications Commission, Office of Engineering and Technology, US FCC, OET Bulleting 56, 4th Edition, August 1999
" Many consumer and industrial products and applications make use of some form of
electromagnetic energy. One type of electromagnetic energy that is of increasing importance
worldwide is radiofrequency (or "RF") energy, including radio waves and microwaves, which
is used for providing telecommunications, broadcast and other services. In the United States
the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) authorizes or licenses most RF
telecommunications services, facilities, and devices used by the public, industry and state and
local governmental organizations. Because of its regulatory responsibilities in this area the
FCC often receives inquiries concerning whether there are potential safety hazards due to
human exposure to RF energy emitted by FCC-regulated transmitters. Heightened awareness
of the expanding use of RF technology has led some people to speculate that "electromagnetic
pollution" is causing significant risks to human health from environmental RF electromagnetic
fields. This document is designed to provide factual information and to answer some of the
most commonly asked questions related to this topic." - original source: U.S. Federal Communications Commission Office of Engineering and Technology, http://www.fcc.gov/Bureaus/Engineering_Technology/Documents/bulletins/oet56/oet56e4.pdf
"Magnetic Field Exposure and Cancer: Questions and Answers [ copy on file as /emf/EMF_Fact_Sheet_NCI_NIH.pdf ] - ," National Cancer Institute, U.S. National Institutes of Health, web search September 2010, original source: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/magnetic-fields
makes these five key points about EMF
Electric and magnetic fields (EMF) are areas of energy that surround any electrical device. EMFs are produced by power lines, electrical wiring, and appliances (see Question 1).
Electric fields are easily shielded or weakened by walls and other objects, whereas magnetic fields are not. Since magnetic fields are more likely to penetrate the body, they are the component of EMFs that are usually studied in relation to cancer (see Question 1).
Overall, there is limited evidence that magnetic fields cause childhood leukemia, and there is inadequate evidence that these magnetic fields cause other cancers in children (see Question 2).
Studies of magnetic field exposure from power lines and electric blankets in adults show little evidence of an association with leukemia, brain tumors, or breast cancer (see Question 3).
Past studies of occupational magnetic field exposure in adults showed very small increases in leukemia and brain tumors. However, more recent, well-conducted studies have shown inconsistent associations with leukemia, brain tumors, and breast cancer (see Question 4).
US Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Pesticides
and Toxic Substances, TSCA Assistance Office (TS-799), 800-424-9065
"Evaluation of Potential Carcinogenicity of Electromagnetic Fields,"
EPA Report #EPA/600/6-90/005B October 1990. EPA: 513/569-7562.
"Biological Effects of Power Frequency Electric and Magnetic Fields"
background paper, prepared as part of OTA's assessment of "Electric Power
Wheeling and Dealing: Technological Considerations for Increasing Competition,"
prepared for OTA by Indira Nair, M. Granger Morgan, H. Keith Florig, Department
of Engineering and Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA
"Biological Effects of Power Line Fields," New York State Powerline
Project. Scientific Advisory Board Final Report, July 1, 1987.
"Extremely Low Frequency (ELF) Fields," Environmental Health
Criteria 35. World Health Organization, Geneva, 1984.
"Electric and Magnetic Fields at Extremely Low Frequencies:
Interactions with Biological Systems. In: Non ionizing Radiation Protection,
World Health Organization, Regional Office for Europe, Copenhagen, 1987.
"Electric and Magnetic Fields from 60 Hertz Electric Power: What do
we know about possible health risks?," Department of Engineering and Public
Policy, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA 15213 1989.
"Electromagnetic Fields Are Being Scrutinized for Linkage to
Cancer," Sandra Blakeslee, New York Times, Medical Science section, April
Books & Articles on Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, & Repair
Carson, Dunlop & Associates Ltd., 120 Carlton Street Suite 407, Toronto ON M5A 4K2. Tel: (416) 964-9415 1-800-268-7070 Email: email@example.com. The firm provides professional home inspection services & home inspection education & publications. Alan Carson is a past president of ASHI, the American Society of Home Inspectors. Thanks to Alan Carson and Bob Dunlop, for permission for InspectAPedia to use text excerpts from The Home Reference Book & illustrations from The Illustrated Home. Carson Dunlop Associates' provides extensive home inspection education and report writing material.
The Illustrated Home illustrates construction details and building components, a reference for owners & inspectors. Special Offer: For a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Illustrated Home purchased as a single order Enter INSPECTAILL in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
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The Home Reference Book - the Encyclopedia of Homes, Carson Dunlop & Associates, Toronto, Ontario, 25th Ed., 2012, is a bound volume of more than 450 illustrated pages that assist home inspectors and home owners in the inspection and detection of problems on buildings. The text is intended as a reference guide to help building owners operate and maintain their home effectively. Field inspection worksheets are included at the back of the volume.
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