Electromagnetic Fields and Immune System Disorders

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Studies warning of the detrimentals effects of longterm exposure to high levels of EMFs prompted my husband and I to purchase a hand-held EMF scanner 3 years ago to check for "hotspots" where we were living. At the time we lived in a 2nd floor apartment that faced a utility pole with 3(!) transformers on it. The trandformers couldn't have been more than 30 feet from our living room window. I was pregnant at the time. The scanner revealed no dangerous levels of EMFs emanating from the transformers but I still kept to the opposite side of the apartment as much as possible.

Luckily we moved to our own home when our son was 18 mths. No transformers! But that nifty scanner did reveal a "hotspot" (off-the-scale reading like when you put it against the side of the computer screen) emanating from the floor directly under where our son's bed was going to be. Needless to say, the bed was moved to a safer place and once our budget permits, I'll get an electrician to come and fix what we suspect is unshielded wiring running under the bedroom floor (the house is 35 years old).

I don't feel EMFs caused my son's pa but I have wondered if they don't contribute to the whole messy problem of environmental pollution wreaking havoc on human immune systems.

If anyone is interested, the scanner (same size as a cellphone) is made by a company called AMPROBE. It's called the "Fieldprobe" Electromagnetic Field Meter - model PY-17.

Unfortunately I don't have contact info for Amprobe (I'll try to find it) but only for the shop we purchased the scanner from which was Projean Instruments in Montreal. Their 800# is 1-800-361-1042. The gizmo cost us about $60 Cdn back then.

On Nov 6, 2000

If anyone interested in the scanner calls the company and they only speak French, let me know here and perhaps I can field any questions on your behalf to them.

On Nov 6, 2000

This may be the stupidest question of the year, but I am going to ask anyway. Do electric blankets put out EMFs? I am currently using an electric mattress pad on my bed, and just last night began wondering if it is safe to use since I am nursing my baby. (I do not nurse him in bed; I'm just wondering if anything "bad" could get into my milk.) I know my OBGYN told me not to use it while I was pregnant. Does anyone know if it is O.K. to use while breastfeeding? I was actually planning to call a lactation consultant today, but figured I'd ask it here since it may be related to your post. Thank you!

On Nov 6, 2000

California Mom - Yes, electric blankets do emit an EMF. I found a good weblink to a study on EMF, done by Ohio State University. Basically, it says that EMF's have not been proven to be harmful, but they haven't been proven to be safe, either. They recommend exercising caution not to become exposed to EMF long-term.

Other examples of items that give off EMF's: Blowdryers, computer monitors, microwaves and waterbeds. Here is the link: [url="http://www.ag.ohio-state.edu/~ohioline/cd-fact/0185.html"]www.ag.ohio-state.edu/~ohioline/cd-fact/0185.html[/url] The name of the article is "Are Electomagnetic Fields Hazardous To Your Health?

[This message has been edited by Cayley's Mom (edited November 06, 2000).]

On Nov 6, 2000

I have an electric heater under my desk, I suppose that would count, too, huh?

On Nov 6, 2000

Some years ago, in another life, I was a Realtor in Southern California. The EMF issue was hotly debated there with study after study coming up inconclusive. This got started because a high percentage of children who lived near above ground power lines seemed to get cancer. It got so bad that my buyers would insist on an EMF inspection in conjunction with their new home inspection. One particular condo I sold was within 100 yards of a major power pole running through a canyon. The EMF inspector (from the electric company) took readings at the garage, front door and at each window of the condo. His readings were insignificant in relation to the microwave heating a cup of water in the kitchen. All electrical appliances emit EMF's. The degree to which they are shielded determines the output they have. Yes electric blankets emit EMF's. The list of items that does this is innumerable.

The studies that were done several years ago only focused on the power line issue. Therefore they didn't take into account what was mentioned above about interior sources of EMF's such as poorly shielded wiring in older homes. It may be that many of these children lived in high EMF homes, not because of the power lines. Who knows? Nobody has really determined a cause and effect as yet.

Where I live the biggie is Radon gas. My house has a rating of 4.5. The "official" party line is anything about 4 is worth noting. However, this rating was taken in a basement, the right location, in February when the windows had been closed for months. My husband and I are big on fresh air, don't have air conditioning and always have the windows open when possible. Radon tends to build up unless vented to the outside - so we took the reading and said "so what". I sold another house here that had a reading of 72.5. Personally I would have run away from that house - but there is a buyer for everything, they were informed and purchased anyway (yes, they had small children). Go figure.

On Nov 9, 2000

Do power substations radiate a high amount of EMF. I am pretty clueless about this, but my son has many allergies and a birth defect, and an immune system that doesn't work very well. I would appreciate anyones opinion. Also, I wonder if the power company would come out with one of those hand held machines and test for me. (we live in Alaska)

On Nov 9, 2000

There are studies linking higher incidents of leukemia to living in proximity of power lines/stations. Somehow, I don't think the power company would send someone with a scanner to check since it would be against their best legal interest if you catch my drift... You'd probably have to get an independent agency to do this.

On Nov 9, 2000

The Condo I mentioned earlier was tested for free by the local electric company. I'm sure each company is different but they were very willing to come and do the testing. A simple phone call to your utility company would give you an answer for your area.