EMF: How Do You Know If It’s Too High?

When we talk about EMF, What Do We Mean?

Aside: The air is considered a poor conductor. And yet, lightning occurs when water droplets encounter one another via convection, high up in the atmosphere, exchanging charge. Most lightning stays up in the clouds, but when the charge disparity gets high enough, even the air becomes a good enough conductor for it to discharge to the ground. Many of us in Tucson saw this happen several weeks ago, as the inciting incident of the Bighorn fire!

Aside: This is one of the bizarre tenets of quantum physics: energy behaves like particles when you’re looking at it, and like waves when you’re not. If this intrigues you (as I think it should!), I’d encourage researching the famous Double Slit Experiment.

Aside #1: an ion is an atom or compound with an electrical charge on it, either positive or negative. Chemical bonds occur between positively and negatively charged ions so that they become electrically neutral-every atom wants to achieve neutrality. When the bond gets broken, the ions are freed, and their charges return.

Aside #2: but aren’t infrared saunas good for you? Answer: yes, there are many proven health benefits. But infrared is still an RF wave, and will therefore still produce EMF-see below. So how do you get the health benefits without significant EMF exposure? If you have an at-home infrared sauna that plugs into the outlet, you can demonstrate with a gauss meter that the EMF declines exponentially the further you move away from the source. Even though there isn’t a lot of space in there, if you just scoot the chair all the way forward, EMF exposure drops dramatically. (They also sell low-EMF personal saunas, but they are considerably pricier, and I’m not sure if they work or not. I’ve purchased some of the products marketed to block EMF and tried them with my gauss meter: no change. I can’t find an explanation of how the low-EMF saunas work, though; perhaps it’s via a different technology than the EMF blockers I’ve tried.) If you’re using a public infrared sauna, there’s usually considerably more space in there; if you’re not right next to the heating unit, EMF should not be a problem.

Aside #3: when we say X-rays and CT scans impart “radiation”, yet MRIs do not, we’re talking about ionizing radiation. The frequency of X-rays are strong enough to ionize, or to break chemical bonds and free ions that were previously bound. MRIs run via a microwave current only, which is not strong enough to be ionizing. MRIs can get away with this because the microwave current runs through a superconductor, cooled down with liquid nitrogen. This means very low friction, making the current much more efficient at producing a massive magnetic field… see below.

Yet another aside: In the late 19th century, Tesla and Edison fought the war of the currents. Tesla espoused alternating current, while Edison pushed for direct current. Tesla won, and alternating current is what’s used the world over. This mostly has to do with financial efficiency: alternating current is much cheaper to deliver over long distances than direct current.

Aside: a magnetic field is not so much about charge, as it is direction of the spin of the electrons. Electrons always like to pair off, and they specifically like to pair off in opposite spin directions, called ‘spin up’ and ‘spin down.’ This renders them magnetically neutral. But if you have a single unpaired electron, the direction of its spin indicates the direction of the magnetic field. If all unpaired electrons in an object line up in the same direction, now you have a magnet. This can happen in a natural magnet, such as iron, when exposed to a strong magnetic field that causes all the electrons to line up in a single direction… but a current flow has a similar effect on the surrounding electrons in its vicinity. Think of it sort of like the wind tunnel created by a speeding object, by way of analogy: suddenly all the surrounding air molecules want to go the same direction.)

Aside: the sun of course produces visible light, which is pretty high on the frequency continuum, and super enormous. What about *its* EMF? The sun does indeed produce an enormous magnetic field that reaches to the outer edges of the solar system. This would be a big problem, except that the earth also has a magnetic field that repels the sun’s “solar wind.” Since the charged particles in the sun’s magnetosphere are attracted to our magnetic poles, they accumulate in the north and south poles and when they interact with oxygen and nitrogen in our atmosphere. This interaction triggers the release of visible light in varying wavelengths, producing what we call the aurora borealis, or the Northern Lights. (Thanks, God!)

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