Radio Frequency, Electricity & Health

*Electromagnetic Fields
and their Impact on Health*

Oram Miller, BBEI
Certified Building Biology Environmental Inspector
Excelsior, Minnesota

What is Bau-biologie?

The study of the relationship between the built environment, human health and planetary ecology Buildings are considered the “Third Skin” Originated in Germany 35 years ago Brought to North America 17 years ago by Helmut Ziehe, German Architect

Helmut founded the International Institute for Bau-biologie and Ecology (IBE) in Clearwater, Florida (
Known in the USA and Canada as “Building Biology”
Seventy Certified Building Biology Environmental Inspectors (BBEIs) in North America
Goals of Building Biology

First, find and reduce sources of toxicity in the home or office
Second, recommend ways to strengthen the occupantÂ’s tolerance to exposure to toxic influences that remain in the home and in other buildings

This second goal specifically includes reducing nighttime exposure to electric and magnetic fields, which increases the depth of sleep and the normal nighttime production of melatonin by the pineal gland

Sick Building Syndrome

First noted in 1970s during the oil embargo
Buildings were tightened up to improve energy efficiency; use of vapor barriers expanded
Regulated ventilation rates were lowered
Simultaneous dramatic increase in the indoor use of synthetic chemicals
Recognized by WHO in 1984
Saw cluster of symptoms in people associated with a particular building: irritation of eyes, nose, throat, headaches, dizziness, respiratory symptoms, general fatigue, nausea
Caused by the over-abundance of airborne chemicals in poorly ventilated buildings
Includes formaldehyde, petroleum-based chemicals
Found in carpeting, cabinetry, upholstery, wall & roof sheathing, subflooring, trusses, vinyl flooring
More than 70,000 chemicals introduced since W.W.II
Hundreds of new ones added annually
Far outweighs the ability of regulatory agencies to evaluate chemicals for safety pre-market
We also do not know their synergistic interrelationships
Building-Related Causes of Illness
Unhealthy Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)
VOCs, Formaldehyde and other “outgassing”
Airborne Particulates
Natural Gas & Carbon Monoxide Leaks
Exposure to “EMFs” caused by:
Electric Fields
Magnetic Fields
Radio Frequency (RF) Fields
“Dirty Electricity” from harmonic frequencies (RF)
Electric & Magnetic Field and Radio Frequency Exposure
EMFs are considered by electricians and the population at large to be relatively harmless
Pose a significant health risk to everyone in virtually all homes and workplaces, even if you donÂ’t feel them
Most research comes from Europe
A growing problem as we enter the “wireless age”
They interfere with treatment from health care practitioners; patients often “plateau”
Most people with chronic illness improve with identification and mitigation of Electric, Magnetic Field and RF exposure
Electric Field Basics
Electric Fields are produced by differences in electric voltage, not by current
They decrease with distance from the source
Can be present even if no current is flowing; that is, no appliances are turned on
Extend up to 10 to 15 feet from the wiring in your walls and from power cords to lamps, clocks, etc.
Unknown by those who otherwise know about EMFs, which generally refer to Magnetic Fields only
Shielding is effective against Electric Field exposure using grounded conductive materials, metal clad wire
Sources of Electric Field Exposure
Within 10-15 feet of unshielded plastic-jacketed wiring in walls (Romex), not 2-4 feet like Magnetic Fields
Also within several feet of unshielded plastic-jacketed power cords, even if grounded
Amplified by metal, such as a metal bedframe & headboard and springs in the mattress & box springs
Accurately measured with the “Body Voltage Test”
Most homes in America have significant levels of Electric Field exposure
Health Effects from Exposure to Electric Fields
Have been thoroughly researched in Europe
Strongly suspected to cause cancer & immune system impairment, as with exposure to Mag. Fields
Causes a rapid attraction/repulsion of cells, 60X/sec
Prevents deep, Stage Four sleep
Reduces normal nighttime production of melatonin
Safe levels considered to be below 40-50 milliVolts (0.04-0.05 Volts) relative to outside earth
Most bedrooms have levels of 1-10 Volts, avg. 4 V
These levels are considered by Building Biology to be 1-10 times the “Extreme” level of biological risk
Health Benefits of Normal Melatonin Production
Melatonin production by pineal gland normally spikes each night, resulting in the following health benefits:
Support of the immune systemÂ’s ability to fight infectious diseases
Production of “happy hormones” by the brain
Suppression of hormone-dependent cancer growth Growth-inhibition of cancers throughout the body
Detoxification of the liver and lymphatic system
Health Effects of Suppression of Melatonin Production by EMFs
Reduction of normal nighttime melatonin secretion caused by exposure to Electric and Magnetic Fields can result in the following deleterious health effects:
A hypersensitive immune system, causing allergies, asthma, rashes, and/or eczema
Chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, sleep disorders, hyperactivity, depression, headaches
Growth of cancer, especially hormone-dependent
Loss of nighttime detoxification of liver, which aggravates multiple chemical sensitivities
Improvements Seen with Reduction of Electric Fields
Individuals notice the following after reduction of exposure to Electric, Magnetic and Radio Fields:
Deeper levels of Stage Four sleep
Increase in vitality and alertness
Reduction of muscle pain and joint stiffness
Increase in flexibility and range of motion
Greater response to therapies provided by health care professionals; eg, adjustments hold better
Less sensitivity to triggers of chemical sensitivities in the environment
Increased tolerance to lifeÂ’s stressors
Protect Yourself from Harmful Electric Field Exposure
Unplug all appliances near bed at night (“current tap”)
Avoid running extension cords under or near beds
NEVER use an electric blanket, heating pad or water bed heater while sleeping (E-Fields up to 40 Volts)
Follow guidelines presented in “Tips for a Healthy Home” for more detailed steps you can do at home
For best results, Electric Fields are easily mitigated through a professional Building Biology evaluation to determine which circuits to shut off at night
If you attempt this yourself, you will miss hidden circuits running within 10-15 feet of the bed
Protocols to Avoid Electric Field Exposure for Occupants
Choose metal clad (MC) cable for all wiring (code for all commercial applications)
Ground all MC cable connections (per code)
Eliminates electric field (E-field) exposure from house wiring
Include shut-off switch for bedroom outlets
Educate client to use the shut-off switch at night to avoid E-fields from plastic power cord to lamps, etc.
Makes house electrically “quiet” and healthy night and day
Magnetic Field Basics
Produced by current flow through a closed loop
Decreases with distance from the source
Appliances (lamp, clock) must be turned on to produce a Magnetic Field
Fields extend 2-4 feet from typical source in a home
Occurs when wires are separated (hot from neutral)
This is the field usually referred to as “EMFs,” a term that usually does not include Electric Fields
Shielding is difficult and requires special materials
“Distance is your friend”
Sources of Magnetic Field Exposure
Four major sources of Magnetic Fields in homes:
1. Overhead or underground power lines, where hot conductors are separated from the neutral conductor
2. Point sources, such as motors (refrigerator) or transformers (black box, or inside stereo or TV), electric meter & panel
3. Wiring errors in branch circuits (neutral-to-neutral or neutral-to-ground interties) ; Knob & Tube wiring
4. Current on the grounding system from neighbors; measured on incoming water pipes as well as ungrounded Cable TV and/or phone lines
Health Effects from Exposure to Magnetic Fields
Most studies are published in Europe
8 out of 10 peer reviewed studies worldwide show a 1.3 to 4 fold increase in the risk of blood cancers (leukemia, lymphoma) and brain cancers when living near transmission and distribution lines
Confirmed in Sweden with study of 500,000 children
Canadian power company utility workers have similar increased risk of developing blood cancers
EPA now agrees that magnetic fields are harmful to your health
Health Effects of Magnetic Field Exposure (Continued)
Nighttime melatonin production is reduced in the presence of Magnetic Fields, similar to the suppression caused by exposure to Electric Fields
Children are more susceptible because they are active, developing, low to the ground, and therefore closer to sources of exposure
Studies show the cancer risk is 11 times higher if you are exposed to both Electric and Magnetic Fields
Magnetic Fields have additional health effects, similar to Electric Field exposure
Protect Yourself from Harmful Magnetic Field Exposure
Do not sleep on the other side of the kitchen wall where the refrigerator is located, or on the other side of living room wall if the TV is on during the evening
Do not put bed against the wall where electric meter or service cable is located, or near electric panel
Avoid the path of the grounding conductor from the electric panel to the water service supply pipe
Have panel checked for branch circuit wiring errors
Avoid CFL or halogen lights, or clock radio near bed
Have a professional evaluation to determine Magnetic Field exposure
Protect Yourself from Magnetic Fields (Continued)
Make computer work stations safer by moving the CPU away from your knees, out from under desk
Move power cords and surge protectors as far away as possible; they usually have transformers on them
Purchase a flat screen monitor when you can
Push your older VDT monitor back as far as possible
Replace computer & monitor power cords with shielded power cords (Radio Shack Part Number 61-2860) to reduce Electric Field exposure
Follow guidelines spelled out in “Tips for a Healthy Home” for more detailed steps you can do at home
Protocols to Avoid Magnetic Field Exposure for Occupants
Design electric service with the following in mind:
Locate electric meter and first disconnnect on pedestal near transformer or utility pole
Run four wire cable in trench to house main panel
Use plastic (non-metallic) conduit throughout
House main breaker panel is wired as a sub-panel
Design house to avoid point sources of magnetic fields, avoid wiring errors in installation, and isolate house from neighbors electrically
Avoid bedrooms near refrigerator, TV/stereos
Protocols to Avoid Magnetic Field Exposure – Continued
Avoid bedrooms near panel or meter
Avoid electric heating sources (always use 240 V)
Wire the panel to avoid excess magnetic fields
Wire house per code to avoid neutral-to-neutral and neutral-to-ground wiring errors; avoids parallel paths
Isolate house from neighbors by using plastic water service supply pipe (WSSP); also use for domestic water lines
Prefer Cross-linked Polyethylene (PEX), HDPE or ABS over PVC
Protocols to Avoid Magnetic Field Exposure – Continued
If must use copper WSSP and copper domestic lines, install a dielectric union (DU) above shut-off valve
Separate grounding conductors above and below DU (“system” GC below and “equipment” GC above)
Route “system” ground away from occupied space; will carry large current, cause unhealthy mag. fields
Avoid grounding system from touching concrete slab or any source of metal; both can conduct electricity
Will cause unhealthy ground loops
Avoid metal rebar, mesh, studs, siding
Use fiberglass, wood, mineral alternatives
Reduce Harmful Radio Frequency Field Exposure
Radio Frequency Exposure is becoming a serious threat worldwide (cell phones, Wi-Fi routers)
Considered by some to be “the largest human biological experiment ever” (Salford et. al. 2001)
Public is unknowingly exposed in “hot spots”
Exposure goes beyond physical boundaries of walls
Harmful frequencies enter homes from the outside
Also produced by base units, Wi-Fi routers inside
Effects are cumulative and aggrevate the harmful effects from Electric and Magnetic Fields
Sources of Radio Frequency Field Exposure
Cellular Telephones
Cordless Telephones
Wireless Internet (Wi-Fi)
Blackberries & Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs)
“Smart Homes,” including radio-controlled devices (TV remote controls are line-of-sight, infrared devices, which are harmless)
Cellular Telephone Broadcast Towers
AM, FM, & TV Broadcast Towers
Radar Transmitters (airports, military installations)
Dimmer switches; CFLs (“Dirty Electricity”)
Health Effects of Radio Frequency (RF) Field Exposure
Portrayed as controversial in America but substantial evidence exists in Europe of the harm to your health
Physicians and scientists are very concerned
Review links on my website under “Articles, Part 4”—Assn. for Comprehensive Neurotherapy (search on “cell phone”)
Thermal (heating) and Athermal (non-heating) effects
Pulsed Digital Frequencies cause the harm
Effects of exposure to RF Fields drop off exponentially with distance as you move away
Health Effects of RF Field Exposure (Continued)
“What Americans need to know, and are not being told, is that three out of four independent (non-industry sponsored) research studies worldwide are showing biological effects from low-level, nonionizing radiation similar to that used in wireless communications. These are called ‘nonthermalÂ’... The telecom industry, and the FCCÂ’s safe exposure guidelines, recognize only thermal ‘heatingÂ’ effects. That means that exposure at intensity (power) levels below that threshold are officially being considered ‘safeÂ’ while the research is suggesting otherwise.”—Margaret Meade Glaser, EMR Network

Health Effects of RF Field Exposure (Continued)
“We have previously shown that weak pulsed microwaves give rise to a significant leakage of albumin through the blood-brain barrier… We found highly significant (p < 0.002) evidence for neuronal damage in the cortex, hippocampus, and basal ganglia in the brains of exposed rats.

“We present here for the first time evidence for neuronal damage caused by nonthermal microwave exposure.”—Salford et al., Dept. of Neurosurgery, Lund University, Lund, Sweden 2003

Health Effects of RF Field Exposure (Continued)
“We demonstrate albumin leakage even 8 weeks after the exposure…
“We chose 12-16-week-old rats because they are comparable with human teenagers… because biological and maturational processes are particularly vulnerable during the growth process…
“In the long run (intense, frequent cell phone use) may result in reduced brain reserve capacity.
“We cannot exclude that after some decades of (often) daily use, a whole generation of users may suffer negative effects, perhaps as early as in middle age.”—Salford et al., Lund University, Sweden 2003
Health Effects of RF Field Exposure (Continued)
“Since October, over a hundred doctors in Germany have signed a document that they are seeing increased health problems among patients related to cell phone use and chronic exposure to radiation from cell towers and antennas. In France, a first study was completed this past year correlating health symptoms with cell tower proximity. Clearly something is going on.”—Maisch, D., “Children and mobile phone use: Is there a health risk? The case for extra precautions,” EMFacts Consultancy

Health Effects of RF Field Exposure (Continued)
“In the past twelve years there have been hundreds of studies showing these non-thermal effects:
DNA damage and non-repair
Opening of the blood-brain barrier (toxins enter)
Lowered immunity
Decreased melatonin levels
Effects on stress proteins (indicating cell damage)
Formation of micro-nuclei (markers for cancer)
Changes in calcium metabolism
Changes in brainwave patterns seen on EEG”—Glaser, M. M., EMR Network
Health Effects of RF Field Exposure (Continued)
“On October 9, 2002 twenty two medical doctors of the German Interdisciplinary Association for Environmental Medicine met to discuss their concerns… Some of the diseases they saw:
Learning, concentration, and behavioral disorders
Extreme fluctuations in blood pressure
Ever harder to influence with medications
Heart rhythm disorders
Heart attacks and strokes among younger population
Brain degenerative diseases (AlzheimerÂ’s)
Leukemia and brain tumors”—Maisch, D.
Health Effects of RF Field Exposure (Continued)
“The study, by Dr. Michael Klieeisen from the Neuro Diagnostic Research Institute in Marbella, Spain found that a single call lasting just two minutes can alter the natural electrical activity of a childÂ’s brain for up to an hour afterwards. It was also found that the microwaves penetrated deep into the brain and not just around the ear…

“The alteration in brain waves could lead to things like a lack of concentration, memory loss, inability to learn and aggressive behavior.

“My advice would be to avoid mobiles.”—Maisch, D.

Protect Yourself from Harmful Radio Frequency Field Exposure
Use headphone with air tube (
Put Wire Guard on headphone cord near plug
Use rooftop antenna when calling from car
Keep Wireless Internet (Wi-Fi) routers out of the house; at least out of bedrooms or day use areas
The city of Edina, Minnesota has banned Wi-Fi deployment city-wide because it was not proven safe
Avoid compact florescent lamps (CFLs) and electronic dimmer switches
Avoid cordless phones with multiple handsets; will be “always on”
Protocols to Avoid RF Field Exposure for Occupants
Design house to allow for wired telecommunications connections (will be low voltage, not a health risk)
This encourages occupant to avoid wireless routers
Encourage hardwired telephone connections
Discourage compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs)
Tube fluorescent lamps have no RF fields
Install incandescent bulbs (full-spectrum) until LEDs are affordable (as energy-efficient as CFLs)
Avoid electronic dimmer switches; rheostats okay
Avoid halogen bulbs (transformer causes magnetic fields, also produce radio frequencies)
Oram Miller, BBEI
Certified Building Biologist
Environmental Design and
Inspection Services
PO Box 147
Excelsior, Minnesota 55331

  Textile help