EMFs, or electromagnetic frequencies, are seemingly unavoidable in our fast-paced modern world where we are increasingly surrounded by electronics. There’s a lot of fear surrounding this topic, paired with an abundance of conflicting information, confusion, and expensive products claimed to fix the problem. It also appears there’s not an abundance of conclusive scientific data on the risks, but there’s certainly enough out there to warrant practicing caution. According to a few studies, EMF exposure can increase the risk of certain diseases such as leukemia. A 1993 Swedish epidemiological study reported an increased risk of leukemia for children at levels of 2.0 mG or more (Feychting & Ahlbom, 1993). A Canadian study has reported increased risk of leukemia starting at 1.5 mG for children under age six (Green, Miller Villeneuve, Agnew, Greenberg, Li & Donnelly, 1999). And a German study has linked exposures as low as 1.0 mG to reduced survival rates for children recovering from leukemia (Svendsen, Weikopf, Kaatsch & Schuz, 2007).
To start off with- I am not an expert in this topic whatsoever; I am not an engineer, a doctor, or anything of the sort. I bought this meter myself and have no ties to any product mentioned in this article. But because there is so much conflicting information on the internet, I myself have a difficult time knowing what to believe. In my profession I try to guide my clients to make the best choices for their health while minimizing exposure to health risks, so I thought exploring where the risks truly are at would be not only helpful but also put to rest some of the confusion. So I set out to test common items that my family is exposed to on a daily basis, to see where the risk really lies. And there were a few scary items… but it wasn’t what I was expecting!
Now that being said I did speak with an electrical engineer with 20 years experience who used to work on smart meters, so I do have some valuable professional insight into this topic. I’ll include his commentary as we go along. One point he made is that a part of these readings are magnetic and not purely electric as those forces work together. It’s a complex topic that I am not qualified to elaborate on the details of so my goal is simply to show where you are being exposed in your home, where you are not, and whether or not popular EMF blocking products actually work.
To test these items, I used a TackLife brand EMF meter, which according to Amazon rated excellent for accuracy and quality. I tested all of these objects from multiple angles while they were powered on, and have recorded a few videos of the meter taking readings to show the range. I used the milligauss setting, which has a range from 0.1-199.9 mG. The green light indicates less than 4 mG, which according to the manufacturer is safe. The yellow light is 4-40 mG, and the red light is over 40 mG. I did not test electric field, as that does not apparently carry the same risks as electromagnetic field.
One thing I found interesting was that my entire home was at 0 for both electromagnetic energy and electric fields (which is another setting on the meter). Despite us having many electronics and Wi-Fi in our living space, there is no measureable amount of the frequencies lingering in our air like you tend to read about. There really was only EMF exposure when you were touching said object, or at least within a few inches of it. I was pleased to find that the EMFs dissipate rather quickly; when you keep even some of the worst culprits at least 10 inches or so from your body, you are getting literally no EMF exposure. This is a comfort, as some of these items are unavoidable. By simply creating more space between you and these objects, you can live with minimal daily EMF exposure.
I wanted to note that we don’t have many items that I had testing requests for such as wireless earbuds, so I do not know how they rate.
Let’s start with some of the lowest EMF readings. Mind you, this is not an expensive top-of-the-line product, so there may be some minute some level of electromagnetic energy in some of these items that are below 0.1. I personally have no health and safety concerns with items that test 0 on this meter.
• HP computer monitor – 0
• Fitbit- 0
• HP Envy wireless printer- 0 when powered on. However, we have been having issues with computer to printer communication, so I do not know what the levels are at while actively receiving signals or printing.
• Vizio TV with Firestick- 0 in the front, 2.7 at the back base. When moved just two inches away, levels went back to 0.
• Asus computer tower- 0 in the front, 1.4 in the back. As with almost all of these items, levels were at 0 when a couple inches away.
• PS3- 0
• Himalayan salt lamp- 0
• My son’s Leapfrog Lettersaurus- 0
• My car running with Bluetooth connected- 0. What was interesting was where there WAS a source of EMFs in my car. Only in the driver’s side well, on the right side next to my leg. As I revved my engine, the levels gradually went up to about 4 when at 3000 RPMs and 40 mph, and down to just below 1 when idling. Therefore… levels are relatively low, but only nearing the yellow indicator light when accelerating. I did not test it while at higher speeds on the highway.
• As expected, my Technicolor brand Wi-Fi router tested at a maximum reading of 28.8, but only in the back. The front ranged from 0 to .2, and was gone when moved a few inches away. According to the electrical engineer, this number should be higher at times. He recommended not keeping the router in a room where your family spends much of their time.
• Lenovo laptop computer connected to Wi-Fi – 0 on the top parts, not surprisingly the bottom center that rests on your lap was 15.2. The back left end was 11.9. These levels did not change when streaming videos. Moral of this story- do not sit with your laptop on your lap. The EMFs dissipate just a couple inches away from the hotspots, so if you rest your laptop on a desk you are fine.
• My daughter’s iPad tested 4.1 at the top right corner, and 3.1 on the center of the back side of it.
• Dryer while running- maxed at 3.5, only near the control panel.
• Surge protector that my tv is plugged into- 17.8
• My Samsung phone charger went up to 29, and the frequency was detectable about 10 inches away from the outlet. This seemed to be one of the items that sent a frequency out farther. Keep your chargers away from your head!
• I unplugged the charger, and that same outlet came out at 13.3 and there were still detectable EMFs until I moved it about 10 inches away. However, my home is 94 years old, and the wiring is 11 years old. I don’t know if these numbers are different in more modern homes, but either way best not to sit next to outlets.
• Infant Optics digital baby monitor- the camera itself measured 10.7, and the monitor at 15.2. At just 5 inches away from both, EMFs were undetectable.
• My friend’s Alexa was at low levels on the top, but 23.5 at the bottom near the barcode. At a distance of about 8 inches, there were no EMFs.
• My circuit breaker was much lower than expected- only 16.8 at its worst and didn’t send energy more than a couple inches. See the video below for ranges.
• My smart meter. Recently installed by Kaukauna Utilities, I wasn’t too pleased about it because of all the buzz you hear about them being high in EMFs. After a discussion with the company I realized it wasn’t a choice I had, so I would have to live with it. On the top of the meter the EMF reading goes up to 117 which is high. It pulses and ranges from about 10 to 117 over the course of a few seconds. But… as with all of the other items tested, these levels only radiate out a couple inches. So I tested my living room wall, directly behind this meter. My house was built in 1926, and has no insulation on the outer walls. It is just what is called “glazed cinder” which is similar to brick, and plaster on the inside walls. The reading on the other side? Zero! There was literally no electromagnetic energy entering our house from our smart meter when I measured it. However… the electrical engineer said the problem is that there is a single VERY strong pulse that’s sent out once per month by the meter, and takes just a fraction of a second. So even if I were waiting at the right second in that month to measure it would be quite difficult. Therefore it is not a surprise that my meter didn’t measure anything, as it isn’t currently transmitting. So how do we solve the problem of this one super high EMF pulse? That’s a great question. I may call my provider to see if there’s a way I can find out when they get the reading, and leave the house during that time. The electrical engineer agreed that might be an option, but it’s unlikely they will be able to tell me when it transmits as it’s all automatic and computerized. But it does sound like this one fraction of a second is one of the highest EMF source in most homes.
• My husband and I were both genuinely surprised that the reading we got from our Samsung Galaxy smartphones wasn’t higher. The entire phone reads 0 except for the top, which maxed out at 14.8 with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi on. During an active phone call, however, it shot up to 22.6 at its highest. You know that warm feeling you get near your ear when you’ve been chatting on your smartphone for a while? Makes sense to me, as there’s a pretty hefty amount of electromagnetic energy radiating a couple inches into your ear and head. I’d suggest putting your calls on speakerphone and keeping a few inches from your head to eliminate this issue.
• We tested my friend’s Google Pixel smartphone, which she had purchased an orgonite EMF blocker for. Her phone also only had detectable EMFs at the top, like ours. With the blocker on it, it came out at 4.1 max. Without the blocker… also 4.1. Her expensive blocker product did nothing. During an active call, hers went up to 4.8. It was interesting to see such a huge difference in EMF levels between brands.
• My Sunbeam electric heating pad was a shocker- it went up to 39.2. Obviously this product is designed to be up against your body so there’s no way to lessen EMF exposure. It looks like I’ll be taking more hot baths when I dislocate. However, I did find that once it was up to temperature the max levels dropped down to about 10. So if you have to use one, let it heat up first before touching it.
• My husband’s new pride and joy, our Shark Ion Vacuum. 153! Yikes! The good news is if you keep it away from your body, EMF exposure is minimal.
Now here are the worst offenders. The first one was a shock to me, but I felt good about the fact I only use it maybe once a year. Ironically the second two are items I use regularly to keep my family healthy… and the amount of EMFs coming from them are downright alarming.
• My John Frieda hairdryer MAXED OUT THE METER! That means it’s at 200 mG or more, which is very high. See the video below.
• My new Nutribullet… MAXED OUT THE METER! Yikes. I’m not giving up my smoothies any time soon, but now I know to stay a fair distance away. It registered 0 at about 10 inches away.
• And the one that hurts my heart the most… my Breville juicer MAXED OUT THE METER! Again, there are so many benefits of juicing fresh fruits and veggies, but now I’m going to just keep a distance while it’s running.
• One thing I did not get to test because I do not have one in my home, is a microwave. The electrical engineer I spoke to said they are off the charts for EMFs, far higher than the juicer and Nutribullet. I do have access to one at my office, however, so I’ll update this as soon as I get readings. He had mentioned I likely would need a different type of meter to get more accurate readings on high EMF things like microwaves and smart meters.
So what about “EMF blocking” products?
Per request I did use shungite stones between the meter and objects, and even a large quantity of them made no difference in the levels. Fluorite stones had no impact. I had one request to see if aluminum foil made any difference, and it did not. A friend brought over her large plasterite octahedron EMF blocker… and it also did nothing.
Edited to add- I used 16 layers of tin foil when testing, both as a sheet and on a faraday cage. Because those both did nothing I literally wrapped the 16 layers of foil around the end of my meter to see if that would help. The levels actually went up from my initial 5 readings and maxed out the meter. I may have coincidentally caught it was pulsing higher, or the foil may have amplified it somehow. That I do not know.
So let’s defer to the expert on this topic, because it seems like it isn’t as simple as placing an object between you and the EMF sources. He says “Simply put you would have to cover your whole body, or the EMF blockers are useless. Something like an EMF blocking ring or other item could at the very most block only the area it is on the body, if it just happens to be between the specific thing causing the EMF. But the rest of your body is still exposed. An EMF blocking paint would have to have metal in it and would take many coats of paint to even sort of work, and it would have to cover every single surface of a room or the EMF would just come from a different direction. So the easy way to avoid high levels of EMF as you stated would be to stay a safe distance from these things that as you found is usually 10-12 inches. The items that would probably be the worst would be standing right next to a Wi-Fi router and talking on a cell phone with it up to your ear during an active call. I understand why people go fanatical with this stuff. As we (him and his wife) went over this we even discussed how we could relocate our router in our home to reduce our own exposure as it is something to be concerned about. It is in our family room now, where we spend the most time and proximity. Ideally we would have it farther away from us as the farther away the more those levels drop off. But instead of these considerations many people are buying products that really only give them a false sense of security. There is just so much more to it. Like so many things, if there is a buck to be made people will try to capitalize on it. But yes, even an electrical engineer has concerns about EMF, you just need to recognize that there are some things to be more concerned with than others.”
One thing I can certainly conclude from this experience as he said, is there really isn’t a need for any special type of “blocker” product unless you’re insistent upon cuddling with a running Nutribullet. Keep a bit of distance and you’re fine. In summary- most objects do not need to be feared, there are unsuspecting items in your home to be mindful of, EMF blockers appear not to work and if they do you’d have to cover your body in them, and ultimately keeping your distance from high EMF sources is your best way to stay safe.
So what surprised you the most? Are there any objects you’d be interested in having me test? Comment below and let me know!
Megan Normansell, CHC, AADP, CFH
Certified Holistic Health Counselor/ Certified Herbalist/Holistic Nutritionist/Wild Edibles Guide
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