EMF Testing Indoor Air Quality Radon Gas Testing: 214.912.4691 Dallas – Houston – Austin – Fort Worth

Powerline Home Safe Distance Cell Phone RF Surveys

Cell Tower Site on High Voltage Power Line near homes in residential area in North Dallas – EMF Testing and Surveys

EMF Testing / Magnetic Field Survey & Safe Distance Measurement Services

EMF testing for those concerned about living near powerlines and feeders is available for both residential and commercial clients with reports that range from verbal to complete reports with photo documentation and graphics. We also provide consultation on viable strategies and products for EMF protection. We travel all over Texas and cities in adjacent states including Dallas, Houston, Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio and Oklahoma City.

RF (Radio Frequency) Scans and Evaluations – Maximum Permissible Exposure (MPE)

We test RF energy for frequency and amplitude in order to find sources and evaluate safety with respect to FCC regulatory, compliance and precautionary guidelines, and to determine potential interference issues between wireless routers, cell phone repeaters / boosters, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) systems, and wireless microphone / audio / video data systems.

Magnetic / Electric / RF & EMF Shielding Consultations including proper grounding

If you have an issue with electromagnetic energy that is either a safety issue or causes equipment interference, we are fully qualified to assess, troubleshoot and make sound recommendations to fix or mitigate the situation.

Radon Gas Measurements & Surveys (Short / Long Term Testing)

With a background in radon and radiation safety, we are capable of evaluating and reporting on radon gas levels, how they compare with EPA standards and whether a mitigation solution is called for.

EMF Testing for Electrical Wiring Issues Indicated by Excessive EMF Fields

Whether you believe in the safety hazards of EMF or not, the most common source of high EMF fields inside the home is improper wiring which fails to conform to current NEC code. ScanTech can detect and direct repairs on electrical wiring that manifests as an abnormal magnetic field.

Preliminary Construction Surveys / Property Transfer Phase I Environmental Site Due Diligence Survey testing regarding Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) – EMF Consultation for Safety and potential EMI – Radon Testing for Multi-Family Dwellings and Commercial Buildings.

We are often called out to site before a structure or complex is erected in order to survey and communicate any possible issues and the potential impact of nearby power lines, substations, transformers, cell towers and other EMF/RF generating sources. We also make construction recommendations for minimizing electromagnetic field emissions for safety and electromagnetic Interference concerns with sensitive manufacturing and research equipment.

Indoor air quality testing for VOC levels regarding Certificate of Occupancy permits according to City of Dallas Green Ordinances.

Magnetized & Radiation Contaminated Metals, Stone and Imported Products

ScanTech has been in the radiation survey business for over 10 years and is routinely called upon to investigate cases of suspected radioactive contamination and magnetized ferrous metals which can cause unusual issues. Our instrumentation includes several Geiger counters with capable of detecting Alpha and Beta particle emissions, X-Rays and includes specialized Gamma radiation scintillation detectors.

Weak Cell Phone Signal Reception Issues & Wireless LAN Problems / RFID Interference

Weak Cellular Phone (including 2G / 3G / 4G LTE) & Wireless Strength Measurements with consulting for correction / mitigation in commercial buildings, residential and multifamily properties with poor coverage, slow data rates and dropped calls for all major telecom and communications carriers including Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, AT&T for smartphones, tablets, iPads, etc. Radio Frequency Identification system troubleshooting and interference issues investigated. We also perform FCC RF Compliance surveys for MPE (Maximum Permissible Exposure) including rooftop antenna installations.

Implanted Biomedical Device EMF / EMI Measurement Compliance Surveys and Testing for Patient Safety

Medical Device Compliance Testing (Pacemakers, Implantable Defibrillators, ICD’s etc. – Medtronics, St. Jude Medical, Boston Scientific, Mortara) for individuals returning to work or home after implant surgery to identify potential hazards from AC/DC Magnetic and Electric Fields, Microwaves, RF and general EMI (Electromagnetic Interference).

Hospital Infant Anti-Abduction Security Systems

ScanTech troubleshoots RFID integrated systems designed to protect neonatal care facilities that employ systems such as Hugs by Stanley Healthcare and MyChild by McRoberts Security Technologies.

Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) Testing, Consulting And Evaluation for Commercial, Industrial and Biomedical Companies / Applications / Clients

We have the equipment to determine the sheet resistance of ESD flooring material and if anti-static grounding is working as well as the ability to identify troublesome materials and processes which can cause equipment malfunction and electric shock / fire / explosion hazards. We can also measure relative air ion counts, humidity and the direct DC static voltage on surfaces (positive or negative) up to 30,000 V to determine which objects in the environment may be damaging your static sensitive equipment.

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Surveys to Determine Relative Air Cleanliness PM2.5 / PM10 / HEPA Filtration Efficiency / Formaldehyde / VOC / CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) / O2 Oxygen % Concentration & Contamination for Home, Building and Industrial Atmosphere Evaluations with expertise in Nanotoxicology and Medical Environmental Illness Testing

We have time based datalogging air laser analysis available to characterize particulate matter such as small particle contaminants (down to 0.5 microns such as bacteria) and large particle counts (2.5 um and larger) for potential pollen, dust and mold detection which are also known as RSPs. (Respirable Suspended Particles) We can also check for formaldehyde concentrations and VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) levels from outgassing materials such as pressed wood flooring or glues and other binders.

Elevated CO2 (carbon dioxide) levels are indicative of Sick Building Syndrome and poor air exchange characteristics in a structure.

New nanomaterials on the market have raised concerns about the potential toxic effects of nanoparticles (such as carbon nanotubes, titanium dioxide, silver NPs, etc.) in particulate, aerosol, aqueous forms and their in-vivo effects.

Commercial, industrial and residential applications.


OSHA Sound / Noise & Lighting Level Surveys for Safety Audits

Sound (Commercial) & Industrial Safety field surveys and measurement including for acoustic OSHA sound and STC (Sound Transmission Class) noise levels / ordinances / testing (meeting ANSI & IEC Type 2 standards) to determine compliance and evaluate potential issues with excessive or disruptive noise.

We also do photometric mapping to identify poor / insufficient illumination, security camera glare, ATM lighting security assessments, ADA lighting requirements / compliance, and privacy. We can also measure lighting flicker rates which can cause headaches and other performance issues as well as evaluate possible disruption of circadian rhythms which lead to insomnia and lack of restful REM sleep.

Thermal Infrared Imaging for Troubleshooting / Energy Audits / Predictive Maintenance

Our services in the EMF range have now extended to thermography / thermographic imaging in the Far IR band (7 – 14 um / microns) so as to find issues related to hot and cold areas in a structure which may correlate with poor insulation, moisture, overheating electrical circuits, etc.

Testing and atmospheric psycho-metrics can often reveal water leaks, fluid intrusion, condensation and moisture problems, vapor barrier issues and inadequate insulation.

Metallurgical Analysis & Consulting

Materials analysis for ferrous / non-ferrous metals / alloys. Tools and tool steel quality evaluations for carbon content. Also magnetic / RF / electric shielding capability, corrosion resistance, heat resistance, degree of temper, quench methods, elasticity, weathering, and electrical quality consulting. Metamaterial composite research for nanotechnology, biomedical, and exotic applications. (graphene, nanoparticles, carbon nanotubes, nanodiamond, etc.) Radioactivity testing for scrap metal or other suspected products.

Formaldehyde: Indoor Air Quality Pollutant and Testing


Formaldehyde Testing Dallas – Fort Worth

ScanTech offers selective testing of indoor formaldehyde testing in both residential and commercial buildings in the Dallas – Ft. Worth region.


Formaldehyde (Chemical formula CH2O and also known as Methanal) is a colorless, water soluble gas at room temperature with a pungent, irritating odor at less than 1 part per million. (1 ppm – and detectable as low as 0.83 ppm) It is an inexpensive chemical with excellent bonding properties produced in high volume throughout the world. A major use is in the fabrication of urea-formaldehyde (UF) resins used primarily as adhesives when making plywood, particleboard and fiberboard. In the 1970’s it was a component of UF foam insulation in sidewalls until it was banned in 1982 by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission because they found levels as high as 4 ppm. (but the ban was later overturned)

Due to it’s very low boiling point of -19 Celsius, formaldehyde is technically a VVOC (Very Volatile Organic Compound) and has very strong chemical and photo-chemical reactivity. It is commercially available as formalin which contains 38% formaldehyde and 6% – 15 % methanol.

Many common household cleaning agents contain formaldehyde and other sources include cigarette smoke and the combustion byproducts of gas / wood stoves and unvented space heaters such as kerosene heaters. It can also be found in paper products such as facial tissues, paper towels and grocery bags.

In general, emission or outgassing rates of formaldehyde increase with temperature, humidity, wood moisture content and decreased formaldehyde in the air. (due to passive diffusion) Generally, some remediation can be found by decreasing humidity and temperature, sealing materials with vinyl wallpaper or non-permeable paint and increasing ventilation. (air exchange rates)

Plywood is composed of several thin sheets of wood glued together with UF copolymeric resin which originally had a high HCHO to urea ratio of 1.5 to 1 to ensure adequate chemical cross-linking of all primary and secondary amino groups. Because the excess HCHO outgasses significantly and subsequently caused health complaints, this ratio was reduced to 1.05 to 1. Particleboard (compressed wood shavings mixed with UF resins at high temperatures) can emit formaldehyde continuously for comparatively long times; from several months to several years. Medium density fiberboard (MDF) was found to be the highest emitter of formaldehyde. Elevated levels are more likely to be found in newer homes with pressed wood materials such as flooring lumber mixed with the UF resin.

UF wood adhesives have excellent bonding performance, but are somewhat chemically unstable and release monomeric formaldehyde due to hydrolysis of the methyol end groups and sometimes the methylene bridges themselves. This means that hydrolytic decomposition and outgassing of HCHO is dependent on moisture levels, so UF-bonded wood products are primarily for indoor use where humidity levels are typically controlled.

Emissions do tend to decrease with time as the materials out-gas, age and cure. It is also used in the production of urea-formaldehyde foam insulation. (UFFI)

While there are several other sources of formaldehyde such as wood and forest fires, cigarette smoke, motor vehicle combustion, and decomposition of methane by sunlight and oxygen, etc. indoor levels are generally higher than outdoor levels. (10 – 20 parts per billion or 0.010 ppm – 0.020 ppm but may reach levels of 50 ppb in areas with significant photochemistry / smog )

Formaldehyde Molecule

Formaldehyde Molecule

Formaldehyde is also produced in the human body in small amounts as it is a metabolic byproduct of drinking alcohol (ethanol) among other chemical pathways. But the amount is relatively small and rapidly broken down into formic acid.

Individual sensitivity to formaldehyde varies, but from 10 – 20 % of the population appears to be highly sensitive to relatively low concentrations. This may be a result of TVOC (Total Volatile Organic Compound) synergy with other pollutants. The principle symptoms experienced are irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, dry facial skin and asthma like symptoms. (difficulty breathing, constriction of the bronchial tubes) Higher concentrations may even lead to headaches, fatigue, insomnia, nausea, unnatural thirst, menstrual irregularities, epistaxis, (nosebleed) coughing, chest / abdominal pain, and rapid heartbeat. (tachycardia)

Allergic dermatitis may occur from skin contact. There are also neurological-like symptoms in some, (including depression) with the chance of potential sensitization and even upper respiratory system cancers. There is some controversy about the cancer causing / carcinogenic effects with some evidence showing that risk only substantially increases at very high exposure levels such as in occupations which deal directly with formaldehyde such as embalmers and anatomists. But formaldehyde has been shown to be genotoxic in cell cultures which causes damage through DNA cross-linking, single strand breaks and chromosome aberrations which indicate that HCHO is mutagenic as well.

Regardless in testing, levels as low as 0.25 ppm (which is below the detectable odor threshold) significant eye and throat discomfort increases in frequency. Chronic bronchitis and asthma are more prevalent in children in homes with HCHO levels in the 0.06 – 0.12 ppm with a 22% decrement between the two values.

Testing Particulate Matter and Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)

Respirable Suspended Particles (RSP) are particles or fibers in the air that are small enough to be inhaled. Particles can exist in a number of states including solids, liquids, a combination of the two. Particulate matter that is either inherently organic life (such as viruses or bacteria) or are given off by biological life (such as mold spores, pieces of fungi, pollen, plant fibers, etc.) are what is known as bioaerosols.

There is another class of compounds which are chemicals released by biological organisms known as Microbial Volatile Organic Compounds or MVOCs. These are typically low molecular weight chemicals which have a high vapor pressure so they tend to remain in the air long enough to be detected and/or breathed in. Often they are responsible for odors that result from bacterial / toxic black mold growth or other primary/secondary metabolic byproducts of microorganisms.

In general, particles of 10 um (microns) or greater in diameter will tend to get caught in the mucous membranes of the nose before they have a chance to settle in the lungs. But particles between 2.5 um and 10 um (known as PM10 which is short for Particulate Matter 10 um) can migrate to tissues of the upper respiratory tract where they can cause health issues depending on the nature and the concentration of the contamination. Particles smaller than 2.5 um (known as PM2.5) can actually penetrate the alveoli, or small air sacs of the lungs and enter the blood stream.

The particle counter used by ScanTech measures both small (0.5 – 2.5 um) and large (2.5 – 10 um) particles to warn of potential hazards in the air you breathe.

Particle Size Penetration Respiratory System

The smaller the particles, the deeper they penetrate into the respiratory system


Using the Wrong EMF Meter for EMF Testing and Home Inspections: A Case Study in Professional Judgment

EMF Inaccuracy Analog vs. Digital

EMF Meter Comparison for Home Inspection with SIGNIFICANT DISAGREEMENT in magnetic field readings

I always find it both interesting and gratifying when clients who hire me already have their own meter and yet are willing to pay an additional fee to interpret the results. They will call and express concern about either a home they are considering purchasing or one they are already occupying as they are alarmed at the high readings they see on the EMF meter they purchased.

What instigated this post is two separate clients a week apart who both purchased a Trifield 100XE analog EMF meter and got readings that indicated a field of 100 milliGauss or greater. I was a bit skeptical of this being true and for good reasons:

1) It was based on my long experience in doing EMF testing and surveys in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

2) And what I know about using something other than a high quality meter for making a decision on something as important as where you and your family including children plan to live for the next 5 – 20 years.

Now, I am not putting down either the meter, the manufacturer or the homeowner for using this type of meter for a professional inspection. But as you will see in the story I tell, it is more than worth the money to have an expert opinion as a “sanity check” because of the likelihood that you can either get a false positive or a false negative as it were.

As you can see in the above picture, the 100XE is set to the 0 – 100 mG scale and is nearly pegged at 100 mG. The digital reference meter I use shows nowhere near that level at 7.49 milliGauss. That error is off by more than an order of magnitude which means that the Trifield is reading more than 10 X the amount that is actually present. And yes, my meter is calibrated as I periodically check it against another meter.

In this case, if the homeowner had merely relied on the meter they purchased online, it would have potentially meant that they would have passed up a home they might have been otherwise happy with based on erroneous information. This is more time and hassle for them, the seller, agents, etc. all based on a faulty needle indication.

EMF Meters Home Inspector

Two Analog Trifield Meters compared with a digital reference meter

The second case came a week later with another Trifield 100XE on the scene. In this case, it was not nearly as inaccurate, but it still reads 2.5 mG while the reference meter reads just under 1 milliGauss. Not as dramatic, but still enough difference that a family with young children might have shied away from this property when it was not really an issue.

Now as an aside, take a look at the reading of the Natural EM Meter (blue label) to the right. This is one of my personal meters and it reads low at less than 0.5 mG. More accurate, but it is still reading lower levels than what is actually present. So why do I even use this meter? Because one thing I do like about analog meters is that they are good for seeing trends and odd fluctuations – but I never use them for absolute values on a survey.

You may think I am saying the Trifields are not any good, etc. but they do have their uses as long as you understand their accuracy limitations. To be blunt, the reason these have become so popular is because of the interest in the paranormal and ghost hunting fields and the ways in which they can be customized with outputs, alarms, backlighting, etc. but these features are not of direct use to a serious prospective homeowner or professional EMF inspector. There is more commentary on this in the following post regarding a technical conversation I had with the manufacturer.

At the end of the day, a proper EMF inspection is about more than just reading a meter; it is about having judgment and recognizing errors when they do not fit with conventional experience and wisdom. It is about being knowledgeable about the different kinds of meters, single axis vs. triple axis, true-rms averaging and how the frequency range of an individual model of meter can weight the readings differently. It is also about risk assessment, diplomacy and seeing a larger picture than just a scary needle sweeping across a meter face.


Why A Professional Digital EMF Meter Should Be Used For a Survey

In my previous post, I commented on a recent phenomena this past year in which a number of customers who had purchased an EMF meter online or elsewhere to do a survey on a prospective property contacted me after finding what appeared to be anomalously high readings and wanted a second opinion.

Every time it was a Trifield 100XE which is easily recognizable with the yellow label, brick-like construction and familiar needle movement which distinguishes it as an analog meter versus the digital EMF versions. The variations in accuracy varied from moderate to extreme when compared with my 3-axis professional grade meter and I began to wonder what was going on.

I recently contacted the manufacturer of the Trifields (AlphaLab Inc.) and one of their electrical engineers cleared up the mystery as to why the readings seemed to vary so wildly. The 100XEs are typically sold as frequency weighted which means that even slightly higher frequency magnetic fields will add even more to the indicated reading than a meter with a “flatter” frequency response. Also, they measure from 40 Hz – 100 KHz which is a VERY broad band for an AC gaussmeter used in a EMF survey for testing the influence of power lines. Typically, for measuring 60 Hz and any relevant power harmonics, an EMF meter that measures in the range of 30 Hz – 3 KHz is a broad enough range and even 30 Hz – 300 Hz will cover 60 Hz plus the 5th harmonic. The strength of the harmonics gets progressively weaker as frequency increases.

60 Hz Power Line Harmonics

60 Hz Power Line Harmonics

In other words, you may have a 3 milliGauss magnetic field at 60 Hz, but a weaker magnetic field at 120 Hz will weight the reading even more strongly and register as 6 milliGauss when in fact it is only 3 mG.  (from an excerpt on the company website) So the standard Trifield 100XE weights the “harmonics” (multiples of 60 Hz such as 120 Hz, 180 Hz, etc.) differently than a flat frequency EMF meter. Ordinarily, any instrument that is frequency weighted has an attendant chart which tells you how much more weight at different frequencies is measured than over the non-weighted frequency point of the meter.

Below is an example of this sort of chart for the Natural EM Meter (blue label) which is very different from the 100XE model. (This was taken from the vendor website – I know the word “frequency” is misspelled)

EMF Meter Frequency Magnetic Field

Natural EM Meter (not 100XE) Frequency Weighting Chart

A little confusing?

Based on my experience, I can interpret the chart, but what I wanted was the chart for the 100XE model Trifield and I could not find it on the manufacturer’s website. This is what initiated the call to the vendor. When I spoke with an electrical engineer, she explained that the 100XE is not particularly accurate (rated as +/- 20% according to the specs on their website) and is not recommended as a reference for any type of serious EMF survey.

Furthermore she went on to explain that even the manufacturer has NO SUCH chart for the 100XE model so you really don’t know what you are reading and how much is due to the 60 Hz magnetic field that you are interested in and how much is distorted or misrepresented by the high frequency harmonics.

And to further dispel another myth, the Trifield is named for the fact that it measures 3 types (tri) of fields: magnetic, electric and radio frequency, NOT because it is a 3-axis meter in every mode as the RF (radio frequency) measurement is only in SINGLE or 1-axis and will alter greatly depending on the orientation of the meter with respect to the RF source.

But I am not disparaging the company at all (they make some excellent equipment for certain applications and their website is very informative) and the 100XE has some viable uses, but it seems to be more towards something more subjective like the paranormal field rather than what a serious EMF consultant would choose for an official EMF testing survey. I DO like the needle movement as it does help you to track slow or fast fluctuations so I do keep a Trifield with me, but the difference is that I know under what circumstances it can be used and also when I would not use it as an absolute for helping a client decide on a property decision because of the proximity of power lines.

EMF Meter Phone Apps – Do They Work and/or Indicate Dangerous Conditions?

EMF Meter App for Android Phones and Tablets

EMF Meter App for Android Phones and Tablets (and similar ones for iPhones / iPads) with design based on the Trifield 100XE analog meter

I was recently contacted by a commercial client who was concerned about purchasing office space in McKinney due to a number of factors:

1) The close proximity of some imposing high voltage powerlines directly outside of his office

2) Recent inexplicable computer equipment failures in the office

3) That cute app that you can download onto Android (and probably your iPhone) that measures magnetic fields.

So does this app really work?

DC Magnetic Field Reading (not 60 Hz AC Powerline frequency)

DC Magnetic Field Reading (does NOT read 60 Hz AC Power Line frequencies)

Yes, but NOT in the manner that you think. It works as far as measuring the NATURAL DC magnetic field of the Earth which varies according to locale and the proximity of ferromagnetic building material. But DC means there is no frequency or fluctuation in the field; it is by definition 0 Hertz or 0 cycles per second as opposed to the North American power grid frequency of 60 Hertz.

What is the difference?

Quite a bit.

There is very little evidence that DC magnetic fields are harmful in any way (except higher intensity fields than Earth normal to those with certain biomedical implants such as pacemakers, ICDs, implantable defibrillators, etc.) and in fact there are patents on medical devices which use low level DC fields to speed the healing of broken bones.

But look at the overall reading above showing 834 milliGauss (mG) with the bar graph registering ominously in the red. And speaking of which, the “green – yellow – red” color coding scheme is something I object to in EMF / RF testing instrumentation as it is completely arbitrary from a technical standpoint and induces needless fear-mongering with regard to actual safety levels. It is done partly as a marketing feature to make it look cool, but also as an attempt to give some kind of intuitive user knowledge about the EMFs in the environment, but in fact instills false confidence and infers incorrect information.

While I can give a brief overview of bio-electromagnetics to my clients while consulting, diving into the details is an incredibly complex subject that even a B.S. in Electrical Engineering does not fully prepare you for. You also have to have biomedical knowledge of human and cell physiology (thus, my continuing education and credentials as a biomedical engineer) plus at least some understanding of disease epidemiology and probability / statistics which makes this a truly interdisciplinary field that few understand well.

While the Earth’s magnetic field is typically around 500 – 600 mG, this can be either concentrated or attenuated significantly when inside of the frame of a steel building. What can potentially scare people with this app is that they read about Swiss safety limits of 10 mG, 2.5 mG or even 1 mG and then they assume this reading means they are in some sort of danger. I can guarantee that this meter does not measure anything having to do with health or safety with respect to AC power lines.

The reason for having DC magnetometers built into a smart phone is so that it can relate relative positions of the phone (such as when you turn it on it’s side) with respect to the Earth’s magnetic field and respond accordingly.

It is a cool app to play with and I have it on my phone, but it is not something I would use for a professional EMF inspection, nor would I use it to advise a client on the health, safety or risk conditions of their environment.

The Natural Electromagnetic Background Fields of Our Planet Earth

What types of energy (including electromagnetic fields) emanate naturally from the earth?

This can get a little murky as the Earth receives energy from the sun and other extraplanetary sources and retransmits a certain amount, but I will delineate as best I can.

These are the known and scientifically accepted forms of energy:

DC Magnetic Fields on the order of 500 – 600 milliGauss from the magnetic core

DC Electric Field of 150 Volts/meter (can vary from -5 to 192 V/m depending on weather and up to 100,000 V/m in a thunderstorm) up to a maximum of 300 kV at a height of around 30 – 50 km. But note that the field is not uniform with height and typically falls off to 30 V/m at 1 km above the surface. Interestingly, dust devils can create radio noise and electrical fields of up to 10,000 V/m and magnetic fields of 3 – 30 Hz.

ELF (Extremely Low Frequency) AC field emanations known as the Schumann resonances which are characterized by multiple frequency peaks starting at the fundamental of 7.83 Hz  with harmonics of 14.3, 20.8, 27.3, 33.8, etc. up to about 60 Hz which happens to coincide with the North American powerline frequency. Many of these frequencies also fall into the same frequency bands as human brainwaves. (Alpha, Beta, Delta, Theta, Gamma & Mu bands)

Please note that these Schumann emanations are very faint (300 milliVolts per meter for the electric field and 10 microGauss for the magnetic component) compared to the other electric and magnetic fields mentioned.

Radio Frequency background noise from lightning (known as sferics which typically extend from 1 – 30 KHz) and interstellar radiation such as microwaves and cosmic rays

Geothermal Energy (heat) from the molten core

Reflected Solar Energy (from the infrared to ultraviolet wavelengths)

Chemical Energy (converted and stored primarily by plant life and to a lesser extent by animals)

Kinetic Energy (any mechanical action from wind to tectonic shifting would fall into this category as well)

Negative and positive ions as a result of electric discharges in the atmosphere, natural ionizing radiation, (UV) wind shear, and radon gas. The typical ion density is about 10^10 /m^3 or 10 billion ions per cubic meter with an average lifetime of a few minutes per ion. Increased positive ion counts can be indicative of radioactive decay such as from radon gas.

Background radiation from the decay of uranium and other radioactive elements including radon gas.

Telluric currents through the earth’s crust that are geomagnetically induced and affected by several complex variables such as the interplay between the ionosphere and solar winds. Furthermore, they also change direction from day to night. I have had trouble getting empirical data on this except that the frequency band falls in the ELF range like the Schumann resonances.

Radon Gas Testing in Dallas / Fort Worth and Texas: More Critical For Home Safety Than You Think

Radon Gas Home Inspections in Dallas Texas    Radon Gas A Home Danger in Dallas

20,000+ Lung Cancer Deaths Annually in the United States

I had another radon gas inspection job in Garland recently and a remark by one of the interested parties got me to thinking. This was relayed by a third party, but I believe the statement was something along the lines of: “Texas homes do not have a radon problem” which I know to be patently false as I have found homes that tested beyond the EPA action limit of 4 picoCuries/liter including MINE. (I have measured 4.9 – 8.0 pCi/L in the Lake Highlands area which is equal to a pack of cigarettes a day) I have also personally been to several residences that had radon mitigation systems in place, and when they were turned off, the levels went back into the danger zone.

So how do myths and misinformation like this get perpetuated? Radon is a more common issue in other parts of the United States and tends to be more detectable in homes with basements, (as radon is heavier than air) but it is common enough in the North Texas region to be worth checking as a part of indoor air quality testing in Dallas and Fort Worth.

The number of homes in the Dallas, Tarrant, Collin and Denton counties exceed the EPA action limit 5 – 10 % of the time which IS statistically significant; up to 1 out of 10 homes. Furthermore if you add in the number of homes which are marginal (2.0 – 3.9 picoCuries/Liter) as radon gas concentrations vary throughout the day, year, etc. then the number of potentially affected homes in North Texas is closer to 16 – 24 %.

Also, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a lower limit than the EPA with the mitigation safety limit set at 2.7 pCi/L versus the higher limit of 4.0 pCi/L by the Environmental Protection Agency. And there is NO SAFE LIMIT of radon gas, any amount is bad, but you can’t get away from it entirely as even outdoor levels are typically 0.3 pCi/L and average indoor is 1.1 – 1.3 pCi/L.

So how dangerous is radon gas? Here is a quick risk comparison by the EPA:

Radon Gas Risk Statistics

Radon Gas Risk Statistics

This graph shows only 15,000 deaths annually, (the lower number is because the stats are derived from 1986 data quoted by Environmental Science Technology Vol 24 pp. 774 – 1990)  but a more recent EPA report (2014) shows closer to an estimated 20,000+ lung cancer deaths annually due to radon – 2nd only to smoking in direct cause – which is actually higher than the fatalities caused by drunk driving in which a great deal of energy has been focused on in recent years.

The problem with radon gas is that it is invisible, silent, and much harder to track than the erratic, weaving driving patterns of an inebriated driver. Couple this with a mythologies like: “Texas homes don’t have radon” or “You need to have a basement for radon to be an issue” and this becomes a significantly overlooked risk and safety factor that is relatively easy to test for and not necessarily that expensive to correct.

How does radon gas do it’s damage? By the emission of inhaled alpha particles that get into the lungs and whose ionizing radiation damages cell DNA. This mechanism works by attacking DNA molecules within the cells to form free radical ions, or changes the molecules themselves into excited molecules that can form biochemical pathways to cancer.

Radon Gas Inhaled Lung Damage Alpha Radiation

Radon Lung Damage Alpha Radiation

So even if your home has no basement (very few residences in Texas do) then why be concerned? Because the gas can still seep in through cracks in the foundation or gaps in a pier and beam construction. (you don’t need a basement to have a radon issue)

Radon Gas Home Inspection in Dallas / Ft. Worth to find potentially unsafe levels of radioactivity due to these various sources of entry

Radon Gas Home Inspection in Dallas / Ft. Worth to find potentially unsafe levels of radioactivity due to these various sources of entry

The solution is to first retest to make sure that the radon levels are consistently high enough to warrant attention and if so, proper ventilation is designed and installed by a professional radon mitigator, and then the residence retested to make sure that the system is working. Incidentally, ScanTech does no mitigation as we consider it a potential conflict of interest.

But for a prospective homeowner who is interested in a property, it is important to get the radon checked as soon as possible once you are inside the option period. The reason why is because of the time delays in deploying the kits, waiting the 48 – 96 hours for the kits to develop, transit time to the lab and the radon lab processing / reporting time. This means a dead minimum of 4 days under IDEAL circumstances with rush fees and hand trucking the kits in to the lab. Otherwise, it can take up to over a week which can easily exceed the standard 10 day option period.

ScanTech does have the ability to check the radon levels with a special digital tester that can get results much more quickly (in as little as 1 – 2 days after deployment) with the same level of accuracy as the activated charcoal radon test kits described above and it is less expensive when comparing a return trip to retrieve the device and interpret the results versus a return trip for the charcoal kits.

The charcoal kit route is more feasible if the testing is not as time sensitive and/or the client is willing to either mail or hand carry the kits into the radon testing lab itself located in Dallas County.


RADON FAQ PAGE for Dallas / Fort Worth & Surrounding Counties



EMF Power Lines & Safe Distance for Protection – What is Wrong with this Picture?

Mark Twain once commented:

“Figures often beguile me,” he wrote, “particularly when I have the arranging of them myself; in which case the remark attributed to Disraeli would often apply with justice and force: ‘There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”

So what is beguiling about this figure?


Deceptive depiction of EMF fields from high voltage powerlines.

It gives greatly oversimplified answers to alleged effects based on solely on DISTANCE instead of actual ELECTRIC OR MAGNETIC FIELD STRENGTH. It is understandable that most clients and residential home owners want a simple formula or guideline to the question “How far or what distance from high voltage power lines is safe, or within safety levels for my family and I?”

Unfortunately, the answer isn’t that simple for the following reasons.

Because of the poor coupling between electric fields and the human body, even strong external AC electric fields have a vanishingly small effect on the voltages induced in the body compared to the bio-electric energies already present in the heart, brain and nervous system. Magnetic fields have a stronger potential for affecting the human organism, but the only parameter mentioned is the 765 kilo-volts present on the line which pertains to the electric field, not the magnetic component which would relate to current measured in amps.

There is also a fine nuance in the graphic itself that most people not familiar with electromagnetic theory would miss. The field is shown as radiating out from three different points on the tower in concentric circles. This is indicative of a magnetic field, not an electric field. The electric field comes straight out of the wire and that is based on voltage which is the only metric given. So the implication is that the main parameter for an electric field is given, but a magnetic field illustration is given by mistake instead.

Notice that certain critical information is lacking. There is no mention of any parameters that actually govern magnetic fields such as amperage, phasing or physical specifications of the tower. Furthermore, in my experience of measuring high voltage towers, I have never seen one that could influence ambient fields (EMFs) out to 2 kilometers (over a mile) with any conventional AC gaussmeter or electric field meter.

And with regard to the safety levels, what does the term “stunted growth” mean or apply to? Is it based on studies of children or even human beings? How is the term “stunted” even quantified? Is it 1%, 10% or 34.25%? Do certain effects such as abnormal EEGs actually begin (or end) at exactly 507 meters? This figure is presented without any form of context, explanation, references or other supporting data and very little clarity. This sort of anti-information only serves to distort known physical laws into a neat and convenient visual bite that gives the reader a false sense of knowledge.

The only concept the diagram illustrates to any degree is the idea that electromagnetic fields “fall off” or diminish with increasing distance, though it does that rather badly by not explicitly stating it. But notice what is so compelling about the graphic; it is attractive, neat and gives a tabulated numbers versus certain biological effects causality that urges a viewer to adopt it as accepted fact without argument.

To re-invoke the perennial wisdom of Twain:

It ain’t so much what we know that gets us into trouble. It’s what we know that just ain’t so.

Then this sort of pseudo-scientific mythology gets incorporated into the bylaws of how EMF works (such as proliferating on the Internet) and only dilutes the cause of actual knowledge by displacing it with misdirected garbage which is worse than useless.

I have sat in on numerous high level PhD thesis defenses and if the presenter had used a slide like this, I guarantee they would be discredited on the spot for the aforementioned reasons. But without peer review or challenge, there are some who think they can become an authority on a complex subject merely by skimming some articles found online.

A phrase found in Nature (one of the most highly respected scientific journals known) in 1885, page 74 Nov 26, 1885 exemplifies this phenomena:

“A well-known lawyer, now a judge, once grouped witnesses into three classes: simple liars, damned liars, and experts.

More information can be found here:  http://scantech7.com/EMF_Survey_FAQ.htm

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