Guest blogger, Oram Miller, BBEI, of Create Healthy Homes explains how EMF’s effect our sleep in Part 4 of this series.
In my last post, we talked about the unknown EMF in the home, electric fields. Gauss meters only measure magnetic fields, which are actually better known and more harmful but less common than electric fields. If you don’t find any magnetic fields, don’t assume you’re free of EMFs in the bedroom. You likely do have electric fields, even if your Tri-Field Meter doesn’t show them on the “Electric Field” setting.
Building biologists use the “Body Voltage Test” to measure electric fields where you sleep. The client lies on their bed and holds a metal cylinder and volt meter grounded to earth in one hand and a walkie-talkie in the other. They tell us what the electric field readings are when we shut off all circuits down at the breaker panel. We then turn them on again one at a time looking for those circuits that raise the electric field levels in each bedroom to determine which ones need to be shut off when the client and their family sleep at night.
If you’re lucky enough to have metal wiring in your walls, you don’t need to shut off any circuits at night. You only need to unplug all lamps and any other electronic appliances where cords lay within eight to ten feet of your bed in all directions (up, down, sideways and through the wall in adjoining rooms). You can purchase a plug-in switch from the hardware store. First plug it into an outlet and then plug your lamp into the switch. Turn off the lamp at the switch by the outlet, not the switch on the lamp. That way the voltage in the plastic cord goes dead when the lamp goes off. You’ll sleep better as a result.
You can also purchase shielded plastic AC power cords from LessEMF and have a small appliance repair shop replace your bedside lamp cord so you don’t need a plug-in switch. That way, there are no electric fields from the cord and the metal in the lamp even with the lamp turned on. I can provide you with a protocol for the shop to follow. Grounded cords are only partially helpful because they still emit an electric field. A shielded cord has a special aluminum sheath under the plastic insulation that completely keeps electric fields from being emitted into the room from the “hot” wire inside. They cannot be purchased at a hardware store and are only available from LessEMF and other online sources.
These solutions only work if you have metal circuits in your walls. Most homes in America, however, are wired with plastic circuits, called Romex or NM (for “non-metallic”) wiring. In that case, you need to shut circuits off at night at the breaker panel that run through the walls of all bedrooms where people sleep. Be sure to keep circuits on that power smoke detectors and other appliances that need to stay on overnight (refrigerators, furnace, hot water heater fan, etc.). Sometimes new dedicated metal-clad circuits need to be installed for these appliances. You can use battery operated clocks and flashlights by the bed.
To avoid traipsing out to the garage or basement every night and morning to turn circuits off and on at the breaker panel, an electrician can install one or more Demand Switches right next to the panel that automatically shut off circuits when you turn your lamp off. Talk to a building biologist about this option.
Remember, it is plastic circuits and lamp cords that pass through an eight to ten foot bubble around your sleeping body that elevate electric field levels, not the lamp itself, and it doesn’t matter whether the lamp is turned on or not.
If this sounds complicated, it can be, and we honestly recommend that you contact a building biologist to conduct this test and map out a strategy rather than trying it yourself. Go to Building Biology and click on “Find an Expert” to locate one in your state. Oram can also walk you through this process long distance by telephone. If you live in Southern California, contact Ron and Lisa or Oram to schedule an evaluation.
Reducing electric field levels can give you the deep sleep you need. You will sleep like you’re camping while in the comfort of your own bed. This is one of the most important steps you can take to more fully improve your health.
In my next post, I’ll begin discussing magnetic fields: what causes them, how they affect our health, and what you can do about them.
Oram Miller, BBEI, is a Certified Building Biology Environmental Inspector. He provides EMF (electromagnetic field) evaluations for homes and offices locally in Southern California and nationwide over the telephone. You can contact Oram at 310.720.7686 or www.createhealthyhomes.com
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