Electromagnetic Field Testing

Electromagnetic radiation is present throughout the entire universe. It is quantitatively measured in units call "gausses", which are line of magnetic flux per square centimeter.

Humans are routinely exposed to geomagnetic fields, and since these are naturally present in the earth and more importantly non-pulsating, they are considered "normal exposures", such as the sunrays. However since electric power has proliferated, the amount of electromagnetic fields to which we are now exposed has increased significantly.

Electromagnetic radiation is produced in various frequencies, identified as high, middle, low and extremely low. High frequency waves, such as X-rays, have been identified as carcinogenic in certain doses of exposures. Middle frequency waves, such as microwaves, have in some cases been shown to be harmful.

Low frequency waves, such as television waves, have not been shown to be harmful. Extremely low frequency waves (ELF) such as those emitted from power lines, appliances and house wiring are the waves that have been receiving increasing attention on potential health hazards.

Considerable public and private research (New England Journal of Medicine, American Journal of Epidemiology) publications) has shown that ELF can impair human functions by slowing heat rates and altering brain waves. The human immune, circulation and psychological systems can be impacted by increases stress from bodily magnetic penetrations.

Statistical links between cancer rates and proximity to certain kinds of electrical equipment have been conclusively identified in laboratory animals, according to the American Assessment Association and recent articles related to breast cancer in woman working with hair dryers and computer monitors.

Just as with tobacco products there are currently no Federal or State guidelines published by the regulatory agencies or other laws to define the acceptable legal limits of EMF radiation from utility lines. There are guidelines on other EMF emissions such as VDT monitors. In California, developers in some areas have been restricted in certain areas from building homes where more than 2 Mg exposure at maximum loads.

The U.S. Department of Energy published a question and answer on EMF booklet DOE/EE-0040 in January 1995 of which some excerpts are included in this presentation. We recommend that you log on to the Internet and obtain a full copy of the same for your review. The Following is their introduction page:

(Stock Number: 061-000-00824-1 Price: $6.00 Description: DOE/EE-0040. Provides some answers to common questions about the possible health effects of electric and magnetic fields ( EMF ). Defines some basic electrical terms. Describes EMFs. Discusses recent scientific studies. Addresses questions people have about their own exposure to EMFs. Tells how to obtain more detailed information. Contains a moderate level of technical detail. Prepared by Oak Ridge National Laboratory for the EMF Research and Public Information Dissemination (RAPID) Program. Item 0429-A-33. Publisher: Energy Dept., and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Oak Ridge National Laboratory) Web Page: Bookstore.gpo.gov

The lack of regulatory intervention is not necessarily an approval of the safety of abnormal EMF fields. Just as if a person were to approach this environmental specialist and ask if cigarette smoking is harmful to their health, this specialist based on current information about the subject could very well state that yes indeed smoking tobacco products are harmful to your health. This specialist would not refer you to Phillip Morris research department for additional information, for they have been proven to have a conflict of interest in their research findings.

The same can be likened to EMF fields, this specialist would not refer you to a utility company or a utility funded EMF information "hot line" for they have a conflict of interest that is clear and thus their response would greatly differ from this specialist's viewpoint based on the weight of the evidence.

To make a point on Friday November 1st, 1996 an article was published in the Houston Chronicle in which the headlines read "Power line radiation doesn't cause illness, scientific panel says", however within the article states that "...but there is compelling evidence that there is a problem", and thus goes the misinformation to the public.

In the web at: http://www.mcw.edu/gcrc/cop/powerlines-cancer-FAQ/toc.html#1 we find questions and answers sections of which the following is an excerpt:

What is the difference between the electromagnetic (EM) energy associated with power lines and other forms of electromagnetic energy such as microwaves or x-rays?

X-rays, ultraviolet ( UV ) light, visible light, infrared light ( IR ), microwaves ( MW ), radio-frequency radiation ( RF ), and magnetic fields from electric power systems are all parts of the electromagnetic ( EM ) spectrum. The parts of the electromagnetic spectrum are characterized by their frequency or wavelength. The frequency and wavelength are related, and as the frequency rises the wavelength gets shorter. The frequency is the rate at which the electromagnetic field goes through one complete oscillation (cycle) and is usually given in Hertz ( Hz ), where one Hz is one cycle per second.

The Electromagnetic Spectrum

The Electromagnetic Spectrum

Power-frequency fields in the US vary 60 times per second ( 60 Hz ), and have a wavelength of 5,000 km. Power in most of the rest of the world is at 50 Hz. Broadcast AM radio has a frequency of around 10^6 (1,000,000) Hz and a wavelength of around 300 m. Microwave ovens have a frequency of 2.54 x 10^9 Hz, and a wavelength of about 12 cm. X-rays have frequencies above 10^15 Hz, and wavelengths of less than 100 nm.

This FAQ sheet will use the term " power frequency " to refer to both the 50- and 60-Hz alternating current ( AC ) frequencies used in electric power systems, and the term " power frequency field " to refer to the sinusoidal electric and magnetic fields produced by 50- and 60-Hz lines and devices. The phrase "EMF" will be avoided since it is an imprecise term that could apply to many very different types of fields, and because the term has a long-standing usage in physics to refer to an entirely different quantity, electromotive force. The terms "electromagnetic radiation " and "nonionizing radiation" will be avoided since power-frequency sources produce no appreciable radiation (see Q5 ).

Power-frequency fields are also properly referred to as extremely low frequency (or ELF ) fields. In strict electrical engineering terms, ELF refers to frequencies between 30 and 300 Hz, but the term is often used in the biological and occupational health literature to cover the range from above 0 Hz to 3000 Hz (everything above static fields and below radio-frequency).

On occasions consumers call the utility company or electricians and find themselves speaking with persons who have limited knowledge of the seriousness and complexity of EMF and thus receive misleading information.

It is true that appliances such as an electric razor give off more EMF than the readings that are found in utility supply line areas. However they fail to mention that these are "point" sources that reduce to zero (0) within a few feet from the source, and thus the consumer does not have long term exposure to EMF emissions. This condition differs from power lines that affect a property 24 hours a day on a constant basis. Studies have concentrated on long-term exposure and not the short-term exposure from point sources.

To date, there are over 100 different epidemiological studies that have been conducted and over 12,000 laboratory studies. In 1979 Nancy Wertheimer and Ed Leeper published a paper liking childhood leukemia in Denver with 60 Hz magnetic fields from overhead distribution lines.

The Wertheimer and Leeper studied 344 Denver Colorado children who died of cancer. Those children exposed to 2-2.6 Mg were two and a half times as likely to die from leukemia. The study showed that children with cancer were 2-3 times as likely to have lived near high current power lines than the control group.

The following is an excerpt from the DOE booklet on Questions and Answers on EMF:

In 1985 HL&P (Houston Light and Power) in Houston lost a case to the Klein Independent School District in which HL&P had condemned land for the right of way in 1981 and constructed and energized in 1984 a 345-kilovolt-transmission line.

In the above case Klein Independent School District was able to CONVINCE A JURY , using the Wertheimer study as its basis that the magnetic fields from the HIGH POWER ELECTRICAL LINES WOULD POSE A HEALTH THREAT to the students (children). The judge ordered the line to be taken out of service and re-routed away from the school.

The Wertheimer/Leeper study was later repeated by David Savitz who was commissioned by an independent scientific advisory body as part of the 765 KV New York Power Lines Project and correct the shortcomings that were in the original study. The Savitz results were published and supported the Wertheirmer/Leeper study and IMPLICATED 60 Hz magnetic fields that are stronger than roughly ONE MILLIGAUSS !

As all studies conclude, more studies are recommended because there are many other factors that need to be taken into account, and thus some studies may end as non-conclusive as a whole but which does not discount the findings within the study. As with any other research the source of funding of the study must be taken into account to discount any conflicts of interest that may be present.

The following table summarizes the relative risks (RR) for the studies of residential exposure.

Cancer and Residential Exposure to Power Line Fields

Type of Cancer

Number of


Range of

childhood leukemia




childhood brain cancer




childhood lymphoma




all childhood cancer




adult leukemia




adult brain cancer




all adult cancer




Relative Risk of Childhood Leukemia

Relative Risk of Childhood Leukemia

Relative risk (RR) of childhood leukemia and exposure to power-line fields. Relative risks are

Dr. Indira Nair, a world acclaimed physicist in Carnegie Mellon Department of Engineering and Public Policy and who is co-author of the Office of Technology Assessment paper that redirected the scientific community's attitude about EMF bioeffects was one of the team members who coined the term p prudence avoidance.

In a town meeting held at New York University concerning a residential community's concern over high EMF fields, Dr. Nair stated, "If the fields near your house are much higher than normal ambient fields, move away!"

Thus many experts at all levels advice to the consumers is to use prudence avoidance, which means avoid high fields from interior sources (clocks, electronics, etc), and exterior fields, high tension wires that give off above normal EMF levels.

Exposure of Cancer Cells:
When cancer cells were exposed to abnormal (high) fields by Dr. Jerry Phillips when he was at the Cancer Therapy and Research Center in San Antonio (he is now at Lo Melinda in California), he discovered that when colon carcinoma cells (human cells) were exposed to magnetic fields, they proliferated in an accelerated manner.

Furthermore, exposed cells became increasingly resistant to the body's immune system cells. The cells that normally fight tumors (natural killer cells), exhibited both structural and chemical changes, thus he concluded that EMF was acting as a CANCER PROMOTER and thus it is clear that such abnormal fields should be avoided (prudence avoidance).

Thus a person should avoid high EMF fields in the home, workplace or a places where much time is spent by the weight of the evidence, prudence avoidance.

Brain Tumors:
In 1985, Dr. Ruey Lin of the Maryland Department of Health reported on an epidemiological study of people whose occupations would expose them to higher levels of electromagnetic radiation. He found that a significantly greater number of the exposed group developed cancer of the brain.

Shortly after Lin's report was published, doctors Margaret Spitz and Christine Cole of the M.D. Anderson Hospital in Houston, reported that "children of fathers employed in occupations with electromagnetic field exposures were at a significantly increased risk."

Embryonic effects:
Dr. Jose M. R. Delgado, with a major laboratory in Madrid Spain, studied the behavioral effects of ELF at the Centro Ramon y Cajal in Madrid. Dr. Delgado is a world class neurophysiologist, well known for his research on brain behavioral mechanisms.

Embryonic malformations were produced with frequencies of 10, 100, and 1000 Hz by fields as low as ONE (1) Mg. This was later confirmed by Dr. Jocelyn Leal and later in 1986 by a U.S. Navy research team in a project named "Henhouse, involving six (6) different laboratories in the U.S.

Genetic Effects:
According to Dr. Robert Becker, M.D. and Biological Researcher, twice nominated for the Nobel Prize, a study by Dr. S. Nordstrom at the University of Umea, Sweden, reported that the exposure to the electric power frequency fields produces abnormalities in chromosomes of the sperm of the switchyard workers in Europe, which resulted in birth defects in their children.

Dr. Becker goes on to state, "all abnormal, man made electromagnetic fields, regardless of their frequencies, produces the same biological effects such as:

a. Effects on growing cells increase in the rate of cancer cell division.
b. Increase in the incidence of certain cancers
c. Developmental abnormalities in embryos
d. Alterations in neurochemicals, resulting in behavioral abnormalities such a suicide.
e. Alterations in biological cycles
f. Stress responses when prolonged lead to declines in immune system efficiency.
g. Alterations in learning ability

In 1996 Congress authorized a five-year EMF research and Public Information campaign. The entities involved included the Department of Energy, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Rural Electric Utilities Service, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, OSHA, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Department of Defense Office of Naval Research, Energy & Safety Department of Transportation, and EPA.

The Electromagnetic fields are tested and quantified by means of a gauss meter. The readings are constantly varying due to the fact that the readings are based on real time current flow through the electrical lines being considered.

The testing is considered "spot" testing because it is based on a time and spot reading. This means that if the property was tested at approximately 12.00 pm (noon) at approximately 72 degrees in temperature and can vary when the electrical current demand increases in the afternoon or in a warmer day when the current demand for the area increases and thus the readings (exposure).

The testing is performed taking readings at different spots of the area desired to be tested in order to give a grid type of resultant. Readings are taken at corners of the property and/or area of interest in order to determine the "background" of EMF exposure to the property and not to confuse it with faulty interior wiring (if any) in the interior of the property.

The inspector then proceeds to test the center of each room and makes his notations. In case of an excessive interior reading the background interpolated amount can be subtracted and you then have a reading that is due to the immediate influence (interior faulty wiring).

The results are then recorded and interpreted by the inspector as per current select epidemiological studies and findings in the industry and compared to the Department of Energy magnetic Field Measurements conducted in 1993 by Dr. Zaffanella. Thus the interpretation of the data gathered by the inspector on site becomes more objective and less subjective.

We use Dr. Zaffenella's field measurement report as a comparable for normality since it was performed in close to 1,000 living areas all over the United States and thus it is considered an unbiased benchmark. If other such unbiased benchmark exists we would have no inconvenience reviewing it's testing results and comparing the same to the subject property.

For testing, we used the state of the art equipment, we used a Teslatronics, three axis electromagnetic field measurement instrument, which measures single axis as well as three axis Flat frequencies with proper filtration devices. The device meets all 60 Hz field-testing.

We test the interior of the home with the breaker on, and recorded the interior readings in survey report form. With the test figures on hand and in order to place them in perspective, we use one of the only large studies that compare a substantial amount of single family residences and published by the U.S. Department of Energy. The intensive study was conducted by Dr. Zaffanella found on the Questions and Answers about EMF U.S. Department of Energy and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences booklet page No. 49 in which the mean average is 0.6 Mg. In about 50% or the majority of the homes tested. Considering this as a typical average, the readings are then compared to the data collected and an opinion is then a fair and unbiased opinion is provided by the inspector.

We recommend that if further information is needed that you begin by calling the U.S. Department of Energy, Bonneville Administration document request line, at 800-622-4520 and ask for Electric Power Lines, questions and answers booklet DOE/EE-0040 on Research into Health Effects.

Suggested reading is a book with the title Warning the Electricity around you may be hazardous to your health by Ellen Sugarman, published by Simon & Schuster 1992. If you wish to have additional information call Microwave News and subscribe to their publication at (212) 517-2800 or EMF News in Washington D.C. 202-508-5425.

The inspector who provides writes the report and provides an opinion, Mr. Genaro Lopez, is considered an expert in the subject matter. Mr. Lopez has received specific training in San Diego California from the leading testing experts from Germany on EMF testing and mitigation. Mr. Lopez has a background in Mechanical Engineering at Cullen College of Engineering, and has studied Physics and Electromagnetic fields at the University of Houston and San Jacinto College, as part of the standard Physics Curriculum for Engineers.

The inspector is also a Licensed by the State of Texas as a Real Estate Inspector, and is also a Certified Environmental Inspector by the Environmental Assessment Association. Mr. Lopez has received training in Environmental testing and issues from the Texas Engineering Extension Service at Texas A&M occupational and Environmental Safety Training Division. Mr. Lopez is also a certified code inspector by the ICC and holds the certification as a Residential Building Inspector.

Mr. Lopez also has over 200 hours of training in Mediation and Arbitration matters including Environmental issues and has served as a mediator in various cases for the Harris County Courts. Mr. Lopez has received specific training in Environmental Mediation Practices at the John Gray Law Institute, other legal related training at the A.A. White Dispute Resolution Institute, Harvard School of Law and the American Arbitration Association.

As for the testing, the testing is very simplistic, the meter gives out a reading and one records it, period. The controversy can develop in the interpretation of the data gathered. In the EMF issue case, Mr. Lopez simply compares it to published data gathered by Ivy League investigators and from there an opinion is formed. The complexity of the issue is expanded when mitigation or location of critical abnormal fields sources is essential and necessary.

Mr. Lopez is trained to perform EMF surveys for developers where future EMF exposure is needed to be known when properties with erratic topography are close to power transmission lines. This is a common need for California developers and builders.

In cases where mitigation is required due to improper wiring, Mr. Lopez has special training in the location and mitigation of erratic electromagnetic Fields within a home, industrial complex, or commercial buildings.

Mr. Lopez has performed over one year in research on the EMF issue and has substantial support documentation and contacts. He has thousands of dollars in equipment to properly define fields, record, short or long term, and located high fields in enclosed walls. Mr. Lopez has performed over 100 EMF surveys over the past years.