How Common and Dangerous are EMF?
Electromagnatic Fields, called EMF, are mentioned often when the topic of infrared saunas is discussed. EMF are the combination of magnetic and electrical energies that accompany and surround any electrical device. The amount is measured in milligauss (mG).
But is it really an important area of concern? In the past several decades, these levels from human-made sources have increased as new technologies and new uses of electricity have increased. Research into the dangers of increased exposure has also increased in recent years.
According to many experts, it is becoming more important every year. The World Health Organization (WHO) had this summary statement:
WHO | World Health Organization
Electromagnetic fields of all frequencies represent one of the most common and fastest growing environmental influences, about which anxiety and speculation are spreading. All populations are now exposed to varying degrees of EMF, and the levels will continue to increase as technology advances.
The EMF Project is open to any WHO Member State government, i.e. department of health, or representatives of other national institutions concerned with radiation protection. The project is fully funded by participating countries and agencies. WHO | World Health Organization
We can see that it is definitely important. But is it important when selecting a low emf infrared sauna and what are your potential risks? Let’s first examine that question and conclude with whether or not the infrared sauna industry has been unfairly targeted as many other devices, including cell phones have much higher levels.
Specifically, Electromagnetic Fields are electric energy waves at frequencies below 300 cycles per second. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Sweden Agencies consider levels below 3.0 milligauss to be safe. The important point is to limit the amount of time exposed to higher levels.
Is EMF Harmful to You?
It has been suggested that nearly a third of the population has sensitivity to emf levels and approximately 3% can have severe reactions to exposure. Studies have shown that people using a cell phone before the age of 20 have a five times greater risk of brain cancer.
During 1989 and 1990, research gained more exposure when Paul Brodeur wrote a group of articles in the New Yorker Magazine which raised awareness to many scientists. Even stronger articles were written in Time magazine, the Wall Street Journal and Business Week. Soon after specials on the topic aired with Ted Koppel at ABC and on CBS’s Dan Rather reports.
The health effects reported to be linked to high levels vary but include memory loss, headaches, a weaker immune system, depression and energy loss.
Later in 2002 the California Electric and Magnetic Fields Program published its risk and analysis report. This program was based on education, assistance and research in regards to the potential health risks and dangers of Electric and Magnetic Fields. It focused not only on large power lines, but also small electrical products.
The stated purpose was to find and report a balanced, fair and responsible analysis of any risks imposed by the electrical fields. Three scientists employed by the California Dept of Health Services reviewed numerous studies and their report included these summaries:
THE CONCLUSIONS AFTER REVIEWING ALL THE EVIDENCE:
· To one degree or another, all three of the DHS scientists are inclined to believe that EMFs can cause some degree of increased risk of childhood leukemia, adult brain cancer, Lou Gehrig’s Disease, and miscarriage.
· They strongly believe that EMFs do not increase the risk of birth defects, or low birth weight.
· All three scientists had judgments that were “close to the dividing line between believing and not believing” that EMFs cause some degree of increased risk of suicide, or
· For adult leukemia, two of the scientists are “close to the dividing line between believing or not believing” and one was “prone to believe” that EMFs cause some degree of increased risk. http://emfsafetynetwork.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/CDHS_ExecSumm.pdf
In a similar fashion, the EPA has agreed that studies are not conclusive on the existence or level of potential dangers:
Electric and Magnetic Fields | RadTown USA | US EPA
- Scientific experiments have not clearly shown whether or not exposure to EMF increases cancer risk. Scientists continue to conduct research on the issue.
- The strength of electromagnetic fields fades with distance from the source. Limiting the amount of time spent around a source and increasing the distance from a source reduces exposure.
However, several websites including lauralee.com, reported that the Director of Analysis and Support for the Environmental Protection Agency had this opinion:
Laura Lee News – Are EMF’s Hazardous to Our Health?
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warns “There is reason for concern” and advises prudent avoidance”.
Martin Halper, the EPA’s Director of Analysis and Support says “I have never seen a set of epidemiological studies that remotely approached the weight of evidence that we’re seeing with EMFs. Clearly there is something here.” Laura Lee News – Are EMF’s Hazardous to Our Health?
We can see that it is a big area of concern. However, we think it does not need to be an area of anxiety.
Have Infrared Saunas been Unfairly Targeted Regarding EMF?
We think they have. Using a high quality infrared sauna typically will have less exposure than using a cell phone. The important thing to remember is that levels below 3.0 mG are considered safe. It is definitely best when you have the choice, to choose one with lower levels.
We applaud companies like Heavenly Heat that has had low readings on their heaters for years and companies like Vital Health and others that continue to upgrade their heaters. Clearlight and other names helped pioneer low EMF. Sunlighten has reduced level below 3.0 in their Signature line.
But while we really like seeing Clearlight’s levels being tested at 0.05 mG, the difference between even 2.0 mG and 1.0 mG may not be nearly as important as a few other factors. What is more important is having heaters that have high emmissivity so that you are actually getting a tremendous amount of healing infrared. The second factor is simply using your sauna regularly.
Brands such as HealthMate, Clearlight, Sunlighten (for one of their models) and others are now posting the third part testing results on their websites. This is great to see.
In our opinion, it would be better to not use a cell phone and have a reading of 3.0 mG in your sauna, than to have readings of 1.0 and use the cell phone 5 hours per day.
We support the companies that have truly lowered EMF levels. They are to be commended. The units we recommend have models with low levels. But there is no need to be afraid of the levels in a top rated brand. The stress of worrying about it while in the sauna may do more harm that the actual electromagnetic fields.
Buy one of the brands that we have rated high based on evidence and research. Then use it regularly and know you have avoided any potential dangerous levels of Magnetic fields.