Electrical

EMFs (electro-magnetic fields) can be dangerous in the home if exposures are large or prolonged.  EMFs occur when electricity is flowing through a wire.  In addition, all of the appliances, lights, transformers, etc. in your house not only create EMFs, but also create “electrical noise” in your wires, sometimes causing “dirty electricity”, which can also be dangerous to your health.

 

Extra Cost:  $0


What: Minimize your family’s exposure to EMFs in your house.  


Why: There is a growing body of evidence that EMFs can be dangerous to your health, and the more exposure to higher levels of them, the worse it is for you.1  On the web, you will see many arguments for why EMFs are harmless, but I do not agree. Unfortunately, there are many industries, both public and private, that would be greatly harmed by the admission that EMFs are bad for you.  Hence, there will likely never be any public admission of the danger, or publicly funded research that points to the danger.  Forget the debate and simply protect yourself and your family.


How: The easiest thing to do, which costs nothing, is to make sure that there is no electrical wiring running anywhere within 4 feet of the places you spend the most time (bed, couch, desk).  The further you are from the wires, the lower the EMFs.  More than 4 feet is usually a safe distance from home wiring.   Since the danger from EMFs is relative to the amount of exposure as well as the amount of time, if you keep wires away from the places you spend the most time, you will greatly minimize your exposure.  



Extra Credit:

If you want to truly eliminate the vast majority of EMFs throughout your house, you can shield all of your electrical wires. This type of electrical construction is done in all commercial buildings, but rarely done in residential construction because it is a lot more expensive.  However, it works very well and I highly encourage it.2


Extra Credit 2: 

Don’t use florescent lighting. “Green” building advocates using florescent lighting because it uses less electricity for the same amount of light. While this is true, florescent lighting is actually bad for you for several reasons, including the fact that fluorescent lights add great amounts of harmful electrical noise into your wires and living environment.  You would be much better served by keeping incandescent lights, or using LEDs. However, if you use LEDs, either use a system with a centralized transformer or use plug-in LEDs that have low harmonic distortion.  This way you avoid lots of transformers adding lots of noise in your electrical wires, and you avoid being in close proximity to the large level of EMFs that transformers emit.3


References


1. http://monographs.iarc.fr/ENG/Monographs/vol80/volume80.pdf

2. http://www.copper.org/applications/architecture/arch_dhb/fundamentals/radio_shielding.html

3. http://www.lrc.rpi.edu/programs/NLPIP/lightinganswers/pdf/view/LAEMI.pdf

 
Keep wires four feet away from where you will spend time
Shielded electrical wires