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Andy Alkaline 03-17-2014 07:28 PM

EMF and RF Radiation
 
Any opinions on the possible dangers of EMF and RF radiation, and what acceptable levels might be? I understand no levels have been "established" yet by orgs like the CDC, EPA, or WHO, but thought some people in the Linux community might have some ideas about it.

I've recently read some articles and watched a few videos that seem quite plausible.

For instance, this is an excerpt from an article by the American Academy of Environmental Medicine. Their complete position on the subject is at the link I provided. Thirty-one citations are listed at the end of the article.

http://aaemonline.org/emf_rf_position.html

Electromagnetic and Radiofrequency Fields
Effect on Human Health

For over 50 years, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) has been studying and treating the effects of the environment on human health. In the last 20 years, our physicians began seeing patients who reported that electric power lines, televisions and other electrical devices caused a wide variety of symptoms. By the mid 1990's, it became clear that patients were adversely affected by electromagnetic fields and becoming more electrically sensitive. In the last five years with the advent of wireless devices, there has been a massive increase in radiofrequency (RF) exposure from wireless devices as well as reports of hypersensitivity and diseases related to electromagnetic field and RF exposure. Multiple studies correlate RF exposure with diseases such as cancer, neurological disease, reproductive disorders, immune dysfunction, and electromagnetic hypersensitivity[...]

brianL 03-18-2014 04:55 AM

Maybe. I wear a tinfoil hat and underwear just in case. ;)

metaschima 03-18-2014 01:17 PM

Surely you have a microwave oven at home ... so you need to ask if it is dangerous ?

You also realize that if you stand in front of some of the more powerful radio emitters that exist you will be cooked to death.

However, this obviously depends on the power output of the device. Your microwave oven outputs between 600 - 1000 Watts of power ... enough to cook food and you. Cell phones have an output power of 1 - 3 Watts. This is not enough to cook you, but is enough to trigger nearby speakers to make that sound most people have heard (this only happens when you get a call).

There are regulations in place to limit your radiation exposure:
http://electronics.howstuffworks.com...radiation3.htm

As for harmful effects, studies vary:
http://www.fda.gov/forconsumers/cons.../ucm212273.htm
http://news.cnet.com/8301-30686_3-20067593-266.html

Personally, I use ear phones just in case.

mostlyharmless 03-18-2014 03:22 PM

See above, depends on power levels.

salasi 03-18-2014 06:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Andy Alkaline (Post 5136407)
Any opinions on the possible dangers of EMF and RF radiation, and what acceptable levels might be? I understand no levels have been "established" yet by orgs like the CDC, EPA, or WHO, but thought some people in the Linux community might have some ideas about it.

It is very clear that there are possible dangers; that hardly needs discussing. There are levels established by various authorities (FCC in the US, I imagine, ISO and the local standards authorities in the EU countries, and someone with an incomprehensible name in the (former) Soviet Union). The levels that they establish with frequency vary, but, in general, the former Soviet Union ones are the lowest, The EU and US ones are similar, with the EU being slightly lower than the US.

So, what would you intend to do with this information?

Quote:

Originally Posted by Andy Alkaline (Post 5136407)
By the mid 1990's, it became clear that patients were adversely affected by electromagnetic fields and becoming more electrically sensitive. In the last five years with the advent of wireless devices, there has been a massive increase in radiofrequency (RF) exposure from wireless devices ...

While you can argue with the timescales, it is certainly the case that from the mid 1980s, when outside of a few particular situations, the environment was generally 'RF Quiet' we have now moved to a situation in which an 'RF Noisy' background is so common as to be absolutely standard. Has this had any practical effect? This is harder to know.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Andy Alkaline (Post 5136407)
...it became clear that patients were adversely affected by electromagnetic fields and becoming more electrically sensitive. In the last five years with the advent of wireless devices, there has been a massive increase in radiofrequency (RF) exposure from wireless devices as well as reports of hypersensitivity and diseases related to electromagnetic field and RF exposure. Multiple studies correlate RF exposure with diseases such as cancer, neurological disease, reproductive disorders, immune dysfunction, and electromagnetic hypersensitivity[...]

This is the bit that isn't clear - anyone who has an 'agenda' of one particular cause inevitably argues '...what else can it be..', whether they are arguing pesticides in food, DNA damage, 'bad' air, polluted water, (ionising) radiation, or RF Exposure as 'the only possible cause'.

Quote:

...but thought some people in the Linux community might have some ideas about it.
I'm not sure that you are saying that being in the Linux community gives an opinion some privileged status, but, probably, what we need is actual credible testing rather than opinions. Opinions we've had for many years without it reaching a position where everybody has agreed with them.

@metaschima
Quote:

Cell phones have an output power of 1 - 3 Watts. This is not enough to cook you, but is enough to trigger nearby speakers to make that sound most people have heard (this only happens when you get a call).
Well, given that the (possibly academic) debate is about the exact conditions needed to damage biological material, you should probably not throw around statements like that without a little more consideration. 'Cooking' or 'not cooking' (roughly) may or may not be the issue and that is a focus of serious academic work.

Incidentally, and irrelevantly, the RF doesn't really trigger speakers - try to excite this reaction out of the speakers alone! The RF causes a problem with the driving electronics and that causes the audible output from the speakers. And, it doesn't only happen when you make a call - there are cell data events that occur, outside of calls that you make, that trigger the same outcome.

metaschima 03-18-2014 07:21 PM

Alright, sed 's/cooking/causing increased molecular vibration in water molecules/g'

salasi 03-18-2014 07:28 PM

Fair enough - I was just concerned that if this thread did take off, with the 'tin foil hat brigade' piling in, that I didn't want stuff that could be misinterpreted/manipulated by people with an axe to grind to be sitting there, as a hostage to fortune. Having said that, this will probably be the last post...

metaschima 03-18-2014 07:39 PM

The tin foil hatters are coming ? Here ? Well, I will leave too if they do, but it doesn't seem too likely to me. They prefer political/religious threads.

jefro 03-18-2014 08:40 PM

Pretty sure all this stuff has to be bad. What limit is deadly or harmful I can't say. My advice would be to limit it. Many many examples of mans efforts find their way into later life and next generations and harms the environment.

Andy Alkaline 03-19-2014 07:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by salasi (Post 5137044)
[...]
So, what would you intend to do with this information?
[...]
I'm not sure that you are saying that being in the Linux community gives an opinion some privileged status, but, probably, what we need is actual credible testing rather than opinions. Opinions we've had for many years without it reaching a position where everybody has agreed with them.
[...]

In the absence of empirical data, I'm falling back on opinions of those who may be more technically savvy than myself, or opinions from those who have spent more time researching it. I won't argue that what's needed is hard evidence.

As for opinions in the Linux community, that's just poor wording on my part. More accurate would have been, "I thought I'll post on Linuxquestions.org since I'm already a registered user, they have a general forum, and usually many people respond so I can get different viewpoints."

This is one video I saw, 3 cell phones places in a "T" position, a few inches apart, with a few kernels of corn placed in the center. The kernels popped in about 30 seconds.
http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xk2...ur-home_people

I'm not sure what that means. 3 cell phones generate enough heat to pop popcorn? Multiple RF sources increase heat exponentially? One phone heats up cells near your brain, but not enough to cause immediate damage?

Anyway, so far I'm of the opinion that limiting exposure until more facts are in would be prudent.

salasi 03-19-2014 09:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Andy Alkaline (Post 5137315)
This is one video I saw, 3 cell phones places in a "T" position, a few inches apart, with a few kernels of corn placed in the center. The kernels popped in about 30 seconds.
http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xk2...ur-home_people

That video probably renders the problem in a particularly/unduly dramatic light. Kernels of corn have a fairly low heat capacity, so heat up pretty quickly, and you already know what a microwave can do to corn (albeit, with a lot more power and a lot more corn). But it certainly should remind you that there is the potential (sorry) for a problem.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Andy Alkaline (Post 5137315)

I'm not sure what that means. 3 cell phones generate enough heat to pop popcorn? Multiple RF sources increase heat exponentially? One phone heats up cells near your brain, but not enough to cause immediate damage?

roughly, in order
  • Yes
  • No, not exponentially. Essentially, it is additive, but there can be some cancellation depending on wavelengths (and who knows how long it took them to get the most dramatic demo out of those phones and how much tweaking of the distances for best effect?)
  • The SAR figures on phones indicate the amount by which biological matter would be heated. But, it is a tricky test to do repeatably and, in that sense, and easy test to influence by seemingly innocent looking slight modifications, and the 'lab test' only correlates to experience in the field slightly weakly (because the 'in the field' results will be influenced by those subtle modifications). And anyway, most people ignore the SAR figures on their phone, so whether, if the figure was different, that would change anybody's behaviour is questionable...
  • The question is whether there is either immediate or long-term damage. It is clear that there must be some heating, but does it cause damage?

Well, the standards are based on an allowable amount of heating and a certain small amount of heating can be dealt with by, eg, blood flow carrying more heat away. But what of the non-heat effects of the radiation? Well, as the standards don't really say anything about those, the best that you can say is that there is a hope that if the direct heat-related effects are kept well enough under control, it may be that the non-heat effects are too. Maybe. Oh, and the non-heat effects are easier to demonstrate in a Petri dish of low IQ cells than in something like a higher lifeform. Relevant? Well, it may be.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Andy Alkaline (Post 5137315)

Anyway, so far I'm of the opinion that limiting exposure until more facts are in would be prudent.

Well, you could probably argue that almost irrespective of the evidence. Prudence, a force for good or for evil, discuss.

metaschima 03-19-2014 11:58 AM

I think you have to place the cell phones just right in other for the effect to be additive.

Heating does cause damage to tissues. In fact one of my professors in college was doing experiments with microwave radiation on rat brains. Yes it did have cell-level effects even at low power. The next question is whether this increases the chance of getting cancer. That's left to other researchers to figure out. It doesn't really matter to me, because I don't want to heat my brain anyway, even if it doesn't cause cancer.

Andy Alkaline 03-19-2014 05:50 PM

Thanks for the explanations.

This is what I read a few days ago, what got me started asking questions. I'll post a few excerpts:
EMF - my story and its effects on me and others

Quote:

A Gaussmeter measures EMF. EMF is magnetic radiation caused by electro forces. Electric wires in the wall especially if they are unbalanced can cause a net current ie: more in one that in the other, together there is a net amount. Normally you have hot and neutral, current through one causes a rotational field of magnetic flux, the return current through the other has an opposite flow and direction of this flux thus canceling each other out.

In the case of my office in Pasadena, it was wired by someone that was the low bidder who saved money by cheaping out on the number of wires used. In one circuit there were 5 hots and 3 neutrals (12 wires in that 1 conduit) of which 2 hots and 1 neutral went through some conduit 3 ft to the left of where my desk is, from the floor up over my head to the light switch. This neutral was also shared with the downstairs circuit, there was a net current through the conduit of from 3.5 amps normally to 6.5 amps when they had the floor heater on downstairs. At 1 meter the calculations are 14 mg to 22 mg and such was measured. I was subjected to this for about 3.5 years, the higher amount in the winter only. When I finally figured it out was around Nov 2001. I was getting weaker each day and got to where I could not focus on the monitor well, the center of my vision was going away and I had many floaters. The monitor was a 17" set at 60 Hz refresh with a very slight flicker all the time. I got a new pro model Samsung 19" set at 85 Hz refresh and noticed that it flickered like crazy but not when set at 60 Hz. So the other monitor was hiding the emf problem in that office because it was in sync with the 60hz of the line current.
[...]
Over 2 weeks I called and talked to about 30 electricians in the area, not a one knew the term emf and that I must be crazy, only 1 had a clue after I explained it to him. So I got him and his son out to check it out, he even had an older meter that he had never really used because he never saw the problem before but got the meter just incase. He was astounded by the high readings, I had to train him some on the net current part and to get his current clamp out and voila we saw current around the conduit which should have been none. They took several outlets apart and could not figure out where or what wire was causing the problem, these things are a real rats nest as to what wire goes where. There were already two wires more than should be in one conduit coming from the fuse box yet not enough neutrals. He said the only thing he could do was run another conduit and rewire the whole thing taking maybe a few thousand $ of work, open ended. The boss was flipping out about this and I am like well I cannot work here then. Finally I figured that there was emf in the hall wall switch and trace down the wall to downstairs, I pull that outlet open and see current through 1 white wire and suggest for the electrician to disconnect that one wire. he does and all the emf goes away.
[...]
Anyway a year later my vision is a bit better than it was then but not back to normal yet. Health is better but not normal yet. High emf means anything over 2 mg for any extended amount of time and is deemed undesirable by all reports by any GOV agency with 2 mg causing leukemia and having been proved. No one has any studies on anything greater than 2 mg. Sweden and Russia have laws that it cannot be higher than .5 in the workplace or lower. The high tension lines about a half mile from here have 23 mg right under them where there are many vegetables being grown or construction stuff parked and a very expensive private school just the other side of it.
[...]
The guy in the office opposite me had from 4-7 mg under the same conditions and had been there for several years longer but not near as much emf as I yet way over the recommended 2 mg limit. About the time I found out about the emf he was diagnosed with prostrate cancer and had surgery to remove it. He has been telling me of emotional problems with his daughter (she is about 17 now) for years, she had clinical depression and associated anxiety causing her to keep to herself and shun contacts with other people. I told him to check out his house and he found that it was 10 mg where his daughter slept at her head. He said that the electrical box for the house was exactly on the other side of that wall. It took a few weeks for him to get his daughters bed moved away from there but guess what, now a year later she has no problems, not going to the shrink anymore and is participating in school now. Just how many others out there are affected by this hidden problem?
[...]
I've purchased an EMF meter (not an RF meter yet), found out the air purifier next to my bed (which I use more as a "white noise generator" when I sleep) is very high, over 60 mg. I put the meter on my pillow, and had a reading of 10. So I'll be looking for another white noise generator.

I started using computers when I was 19. I've struggled with depression most of my life, and anxiety. Over the years it got worse. Up until 6 years ago when I started regular meditation. I regularly do many things suggested by "professionals" to cope with depression and stress, etc. I believe meditation has helped me with being able to notice things that affect me (either negative or positively) more easily. And of course I make it a habit to rule anything out that could possibly be affecting me in a negative way. What I mean by that, more specifically, is my moods are prone to fluctuate, as well as my mental clarity, motivation, and energy level.

I don't know yet if I'll be able to be "mindful" of how radiation affects me. :) And I'm definitely not drawing any conclusions yet about if RF or EMF is affecting me.

I can say this: because of general pain issues I started having six years ago, I've had to place more stringent limits on how much time I spend on the computer. (Sometimes I screw up and spend way too much time). So I've found I'm more focused the less I use the computer (Although I do get a bit hyperfocused when working at the computer). It's easier to motivate myself to do some of the mundane tasks around the house I otherwise neglect. But still, I wouldn't be quick to attribute that to "radiation." I've always assumed the stimulation I get while on the computer (this I've noticed after I started meditating) has some side effects (short version). I generally feel better the less I use the computer, which is something I didn't notice before I began meditating regularly. So although my pain has improved to the point I can type this without having a "flare-up" that lasts for three days, I still make efforts to reduce the amount of time I spend at the computer. I actually go through "withdrawal symptoms" when I try to quit "cold turkey." Anxiety, restlessness, intense cravings to get on, just for a few minutes, inability to distract myself with other activites... And like an addiction, after about three days, the "symptoms" subside and it's much easier to forget about using the computer, or doing cool stuff with Linux.

I didn't mean to bore anyone with my life story or provide "TMI." To sum up, since I have certain problems which have to be explained, I'm frequently searching for things to rule out. Not just for myself, but some other members of my family have similar problems. My father committed suicide when I was a kid, well before the increased EMF and RF levels in the environment. Obviously it's most likely biology and environmental factors play a role in our family regarding the depression stuff, but if there's anything within my control, I want to know about it. Perhaps there are others that feel the same way, so I chose to share a bit more info than required.

metaschima 03-19-2014 07:21 PM

Certainly powerful magnetic fields can affect the brain in a very active way:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transc...ic_stimulation

However, note that these devices are specifically designed for this and have a large amount of current passing through them. They also have to be right next to your head.

A cell phone cannot produce enough current to do this, it's main effect is heating.

I also have a EMF meter and I can say that the only items in a computer that produce a noticeable field are fans and power supplies / transformers. The field dissipates quickly as you move away from the source (I believe to the power of 3 with distance), so it shouldn't really affect you.

I would say that it is most important to do what you enjoy doing.

EDIT:
Oh, and if you ever think negative thoughts contact your doctor or go to the ER right away. I'll leave this here preemptively just in case, because there was a similar thread not too long ago where this advice may have come too late.

Andy Alkaline 03-19-2014 08:22 PM

Thanks. Last time I had thoughts that negative was 12 years ago, but thanks for the preemptive suggestion. :)

I did measure my monitor and the front of the computer. Readings were pretty low (DELL LCD monitor 2.9 mg, 4 inches away drops to .3) (Desktop: 5.7 mg when I hold it against the top front. 4 inches away - drop to 1 mg) (Back of desktop, on top: 18 mg, 4 inches away, drop to 1 mg) below 1 mg on a HP laptop I have, the upper left quadrant of the keyboard shoots to 4 mg though. LCD display low. I do turn the wireless off on that now.


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