Category Archives: RF Testing Cell Phones Smart Meters Weak Tower Reception

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 commercial clients and limited residential 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. Also known as the 804.2 Post-Construction, Pre-Occupancy Baseline IAQ Testing which is a 4 hour test for 500 uG / m^3 or less of VOCs.

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 Commercial Building and Industrial / Occupational 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, occupational health and limited residential applications.

http://www.indoorairqualitytestingdallas.com/

OSHA Sound / Noise 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.

Photometric Glare & Illumination (Lighting Level) Surveys for Safety, OSHA and City Ordinance Compliance

Photometric mapping to identify poor / insufficient / excessive illumination, security camera glare, ATM lighting security assessments, ADA lighting requirements / compliance, and privacy. Many cities have enacted ordinances which limit the amount of light emanating at the property line at night in foot candles. (fc) 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.

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.

Counties & Cities Served by ScanTech Technical Consulting

Service Cities for EMF – Indoor Air Quality Testing Smart Meter – RF (Radio Frequency) inspection services include: Plano, Highland Park, University Park, Park Cities, Arlington, Fort Worth, Grapevine, Frisco, Denton, McKinney, Allen, Lewisville, Irving, Mesquite, Bedford, Euless, Richardson, Coppell, Grand Prairie, Garland, Addison, Farmers Branch, Rockwall, Carrollton, Parker, Rowlett, Lucas, Fairview, Park Cities, Keller, Roanoke, The Colony, Highland Village, Lake Dallas, Corinth, Prosper, Austin, Houston, Round Rock, Spring, The Woodlands, Bastrop, Duncanville, Lancaster, Rowlett, Royse City, Trophy Club, Southlake and Hurst. Counties served include Dallas, Collin, Denton, Tarrant, Travis, Harris and Rockwall County.

ScanTech EMF & Radon Service Area

ScanTech Dallas – Fort Worth EMF, Indoor Air Quality & Radon Testing Service Areas

www.emfinspectordallas.com

Radiation & EMF Mythology Promulgated by Media and TV Shows

Sometimes I am dismayed by the lack of what I consider to be “common sense” science knowledge and critical thinking skills displayed by not only the mainstream public, but also by supposedly educated individuals. Even some experienced medical doctors I have personally met display an alarmingly poor understanding of even basic physics and draw conclusions that range from dubious to plain ridiculous.

While I have enormous admiration for anyone who achieves a doctorate degree, particularly in the health sciences field. and I am not detracting from their actual medical skills and experience which I know well outweighs my ability in that arena, the intersection of how physical forces and energies interact with the human body exceeds a knowledge of anatomy, experience with disease and how to perform surgery.

As a recent example, I was watching an episode of Dr. House which is a medical mystery drama series loosely based on the character of Sherlock Holmes, but set in our modern 21st Century. I am a huge fan as I enjoy the acerbic wit, sharp dialog, medical jargon, dark human dynamics and brilliant acting which is fairly consistent throughout the show’s history.

In Season 2 Episode 19, Dr. House orders Chase to investigate the patients house for sources of radiation with a Geiger counter. Chase dutifully walks around with the device while holding the probe up to different appliances while the ominous crackling rate of the counter increases to a near continuous ripple of static. At one point in a cell phone conversation, Chase laments to Dr. House: “You know how many electrical devices give off radiation?”

I am well aware that the series takes a very liberal Hollywood treatment of distorting facts to fit a story better, but given that there was a legitimate episode which involved accidental radiation poisoning, I found this on the edge of inexcusable. The kind of radiation that a Geiger counter detects has nothing to do with the electromagnetic fields found in any kind of modern home appliance, even a microwave.

Geiger counters typically detect Alpha radiation if the detector itself has a mica window, (high energy Helium nuclei) Beta Radiation, (high energy electrons) Gamma Radiation, (high energy photons) and in some cases X-Rays depending on the model.

The energy levels of EMF and RF even well up into the microwave and thermal infrared range simply do not have enough energy to ionize atoms and thus set off such a detector. And by the way, thermal radiation causes molecules to vibrate more rapidly, which is a very different effect than knocking subatomic particles (such as electrons) off of an atom.

But this anecdote underscores a fundamental issue that I find in educating the general public:

Most people do not understand the electromagnetic spectrum, the difference in physics and physical effects that different regimes of frequency manifest and will often confuse one with another. Visible light is a form of electromagnetic radiation, but it is not the same thing as X-Rays or gamma radiation. This lack of understanding can lead to a fear of things which have no demonstrable effect on the human body, and I have clients purchase instruments or shielding gear that is not designed for the concern they have.

More than once I have seen a customer purchase an RF meter (instead of an EMF meter) to measure power lines and vice-versa. Or the meters are of insufficient consistency, quality or display their information in a confusing or misleading manner such as labeling different readings by color code (green, yellow and red) which have no real world correlation to any particular standard.

This is why consultant services such as ScanTech exists – not simply to read numbers on a meter, but to supply context and meaning to what exactly is being measured and what risk factors / effects are associated with that.

DNA Damage in the Cell and Mechanisms of Cancer: A Quick Overview Part I

EMF causes cancer. RF causes cancer. Smart meters cause cancer. Cell phones cause cancer.

Are these statements true and if so, how exactly do they work to cause malfunctions in cell replication? This is the science of etiology, or the causation mechanism of imbalance and disease including cancer.

Broken Chromosomes (at arrow points)

Broken Chromosomes (at arrow points)

First, we have to understand how cancer can arise. Since there are around 130 different types of cancer each with a different metabolic and chemical pathway, it is beyond the scope of this website to address them all in detail. But some underlying themes regarding all cancers are:

1) The abnormal growth and replication of a single damaged cancerous cell through several stages into a malignant tumor which (if untreated) may metastasize and spread throughout the body.

2) Cell damage leading to cancer comes from a variety and / or combination of factors including genetic predispositions and environmental factors.

3) Environmental factors account for most (90% +) of all cancers and include air pollution, ionizing radiation, (including radon gas) carcinogenic chemicals, bacteria, viruses, tobacco use, diet and a lack of exercise. (lifestyle) Your body and the cells within it are constantly repairing damage from these conditions. This in combination with genetic predispositions determine the “tipping point” at which a rogue cell escapes or overruns the body’s ability to halt a cancerous cell as illustrated below:

DNA Damage Mechanisms and Repair with regard to Cancer: An Overview

DNA Damage Mechanisms and Repair with regard to Cancer: An Overview

BTW, exogenous damage means “from outside” while endogenous damage comes from chemical processes generated by the body.

4) It can be impossible to tell exactly what caused a particular cancer, as most cancers have more than one possible instigating agent. But in some cases, certain causes are more likely than others.

Some Carcinogens and Linked Cancers

Some Carcinogens and Linked Cancers

A DNA adduct is a part of the DNA molecule which is covalently bonded with a carcinogenic molecule. Notice that there is more than one type of carcinogen that could be responsible for liver cancer, bladder cancer, and lung cancer. One carcinogen is found in Chinese herbs, while leukemia can also be induced by chemotherapy for other cancers. As this table illustrates, Western and Eastern medicine are not perfect.

The World Health Organization lists both ionizing radiation (such as UV or Ultraviolet Light) as being a carcinogen and NON-IONIZING radiation (which would include EMF, RF, Cell Phones, Smart Meters, Microwaves, etc.) as being a POSSIBLE carcinogen though the mechanism through which that could happen is not known or proven.

As an aside, the difference between ionizing radiation and non-ionizing radiation is that ionizing radiation is a photon/electromagnetic wave with enough energy to knock electrons off of an atom (typically in the outer valence shell) so that a charged particle called an “ion” is created. The line between the two types is typically found in wavelengths of radiation shorter than 400 nm (nanometers) or in frequency terms around 700 THz. (Terahertz) At the frequency ranges of ionizing radiation or higher, it is common to express the photon or electromagnetic wave in terms of energy, which at the aforementioned boundary is slightly over 3 eV. (electron Volts)

Ionization of an Atom by Displacement of an Electron from a Radiation Event

Ionization of an Atom by Displacement of an Electron from a Radiation Event

So back to the original question – could EMF cause damage to a cell in such a way that cancer can arise? To answer that, we have to look at actual DNA damage in more detail which will be featured in the next post.

Cancers, Diseases and Other Physical Illnesses Believed to Be Linked to EMF/RF Radiation

This is a list of the various conditions whose risk factors are believed to be correlated to EMFs (electromagnetic fields) from power lines, cell towers, cell phones, smart meters, microwaves and other electrical/electronic devices. This is not a confirmation or affirmation that any of these are necessarily true or to suggest hard safety level limits; but it is part of the continuing blog and educational journey of determining the true causation and effect relation.

Where applicable, I have put abbreviations and/or descriptions of these conditions as they traditionally appear in research literature for convenient reference to coming articles on the epidemiology of possibly EMF related diseases and conditions. Also the risk factors they are allegedly linked to are listed as well.

CANCERS

In the developed world, about 50% of all adult men and roughly 33% of all adult women develop cancer during their lifetime.

Cancer is generally described as an unwanted / unregulated growth of cells with malignancies having a potential to metastasize and invade other organ systems and tissues. Cancer types are organized by organ and cell type they originate from and by the morphological characteristics of the cancer cells themselves.

Carcinogenesis is a multi-stage process which may include genetic (alteration of DNA composition and structure) and epigenetic (alteration in gene expression without DNA alteration) changes. It is suggested that external stimulus such as certain types and levels of EMF/RF may contribute to the multi-stage cancer process by influencing epigenetic changes resulting in effects such as abnormal cell proliferation and differentiation, apoptosis or modified adaptive responses.

LEUKEMIA

Leukemogenic factors are agents which are or believed to be related to promoting the development of leukemia.

Childhood Leukemia (CL) – Power lines  (rates are 4.5 per 100,000 developed world and 2.7 per 100,000 in developing countries) CL is a family of biologically heterogeneous neoplasms and represents the most common cancer in children with 30-50 new cases per million children developing worldwide annually.

subtypes include:

Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) – Represents 80% of all cases of CL in white populations aged 0-14 years but has a peak incidence between 2-5 years. Most common chromosomal aberrations in ALL are hyperdiploidy (35%) and the presence of the TEL-AML1 gene fusion. (25%)

Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) – Represents 15 % of all cases and incidence rises with increasing age and has few causative agents, but include benzene, alkylator, topoisomerase II inhibitors and ionizing radiation (which includes radon gas in up to 13% – 25% of all cases estimated worldwide) which is of a wavelength far beyond that of power lines.

In general from birth, the incidence of leukemia rises to a peak of around 3 years of age, then declining briefly before steadily rising throughout life. This is unlike most cancers as it has a peak incidence early in life and a short latency.

Acute Nonlymphocytic Leukemia (AnLL) – In adults, benzene exposure is causally related. ( > 40 ppm cumulative exposure = >120 ppb annually over a 76 year lifetime)

Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia – Limited evidence of benzene related exposure causality.

Multiple Myeloma – Limited evidence of benzene related exposure causality.

Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma – Limited evidence of benzene related exposure causality.

Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL)

Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML)

 

BRAIN CANCERS

Glioma  (a malignant form of brain cancer) – Allegedly linked to cell phones as it has a short latency and is fast growing.

Glioblastomas (most common form of brain cancer)

Astrocytomas

Meningioma (a diverse set of tumors in the meninges of the brain; usually benign) – Allegedly linked to cell phones though the Interphone study shows reverse causality.

Acoustic Neuroma or Vestibular Schwannomas (benign intracranial tumor, but can be dangerous) – Allegedly linked to cell phones

 

OTHER CANCER TYPES

Breast Cancer

Lymphatic Cancers

Hematopoietic Cancers

Pituitary Gland Tumors

Uveal Melanoma (cancer of the eye)

 

NEURODEGENERATIVE DISEASES

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) / Motor Neuron Disease

Alzheimer’s Disease

Parkinson’s Disease

Dementia

Myeloproliferative Disorders (MPDs)

Lymphoproliferative Disorders (LPDs)

Idiopathic Environmental Intolerance (IEI-EMF)

Epidemiology of EMF: The Science of Cancer Risk and EMF / RF Safety Levels

Epidemiology, or the study of disease patterns as they relate to a particular health hazard or set of potentially harmful hazards as applied to a range of biological effects, is a complex field in it’s own right.

When studying the epidemiology of EMF & RF fields as they apply to the incidence of childhood leukemia, brain cancer, Alzheimer’s and other dread conditions, it becomes even more complicated and controversial for a variety of reasons.

As a part of my ongoing consulting research with regard to the health impact of power lines and EMF, I continue studying epidemiology, biology, medical geology, probability and statistics in conjunction with and in the context of my electrical / biomedical engineering education and considerable technical experience in order to structure and ask the relevant questions to this topic.

So why is it so difficult to get a straight answer about whether EMF or RF radiation is harmful? And why can no one agree upon a set of EMF safety levels?

1) EMF and RF does not come in one simple flavor or dose like a known chemical or ionizing carcinogen / hazardous material does. For instance, benzene is a scientifically acknowledged carcinogen whose effects have been well studied, documented and most of all REPRODUCIBLE. Benzene comes in only one form, one structural formula of C6H6 with an aromatic ring structure. The amount presented to a test subject is a simple measure of volume vs. the mass of the test subject.

Not so for EMF as it can present at a variety of frequencies, waveform shapes, amplitudes and time weighted exposure levels. It is easy to feed a lab rat 1 gram of benzene a day to see the effects. You can subject it to an ionizing UV light at a specific frequency for a given amount of time. But because of the constant electromagnetic fluctuations that a human is subjected to in suburban / urban activities throughout a daily routine, you do not have a firm control over the independent EMF variable like you would with benzene or UV light.

It is essentially inhumane and technically impractical to keep a single person, let alone a number of control subjects substantial enough to warrant a valid study on EMF effects in a completely homogeneous magnetic or RF field for the length of time required to see any possible effects.

2) Which leads to the next issue:

A “zero EMF exposure” control group with which to compare to an “exposed group” virtually does not exist in our culture. So how do you make a true comparison between groups as in a valid epidemiological study? As one famous epidemiologist once pointed out, if everyone smoked, then lung cancer would be considered a genetic disease, not an environmental one.

3) Time lag between exposure and actual disease manifestation. Even with some carcinogenic habits like tobacco smoking, years or even decades can elapse between the event and any serious health effects depending on what you smoke, how often and genetic predispositions.

How do you keep a person in a uniform 1, 5 or 10 milliGauss field for that length of time? The cost involved would be enormous and it would essentially be a prison. Then you have to look at diet, the quality of air and water, and the probable lack of exercise given the confined space this would dictate.

So a true epidemiological study in the strictest tradition is virtually out of the question.

4) Even if you do see some apparent effect, how do you know it is the EMF and now some other agent that is responsible? Correlation is not causation, so if there is a true link between the electromagnetic fields from power lines and cancer, it is important to identify and understand the actual metabolic pathways and mechanisms by which this operates.

What if areas of greater EMF exposure happen to correlate with higher urban density? (which tends to be true as a higher population density also means that more electricity / current is used which will tend to produce higher magnetic fields) But is it the magnetic fields that are responsible, or the stress, pollution and other factors that come with inner city living?

5) And let’s say there is a correlation between exposure to EMF and RF fields and some health effects; (which I suspect there is at least something to it) at what level and for how long is this necessary for it to even be apparent within your lifetime? How does it compare with other risk factors that you might be more susceptible to?

I am not here to minimize concerns, but I will point out that there are a lot of environmental factors to consider when it comes to health (radon gas or indoor air quality for instance) and you should prioritize them in order of which is most likely to affect you.

6) It is a politically charged subject.

If exposure to EMF is indeed a major health issue, then this opens utility and power companies up to litigation which is impractical for the normal functioning of our modernized society. For what it is worth, they will never admit if it is a problem or not and for understandable reasons. They are in the power generation business, and they already have a lot of policies, procedures and regulations regarding the safe production and distribution of electricity. Electricity is potentially dangerous to their employees and customers, so they already have plenty to worry about in terms of conducted power, let alone radiated fields. Also, their strength is in power engineering and infrastructure, not playing doctor, or being bio-electromagnetic experts.

And for those who say the power and utility companies try to hide the truth about the effects of EMF to protect their bottom line, I will point to the opposite side of the spectrum where there are individuals who make a living by scamming and scaring the crap out of people by inventing / exaggerating concerns, amplifying fear and then selling some solution or gadget which does nothing but drain your wallets. The reason I consider this dangerous is because the misdirection of attention and distorting risk has the potential to create tunnel vision, and leaves people open to being blindsided by the real and present dangers that already exist.

Also, there are some electropollution extremists that have such ridiculously stringent standards for protection from EMF levels that they would essentially insist on society living in the dark ages without the electrical and communications infrastructure that contributes in many ways to our comfort and safety. What about the importance of lighting, 911 access, air conditioning and modern research and medical facilities? Or is the very real and measurable mortality rate of populations who live in 3rd World conditions where infectious disease and lack of potable water cause widespread death, shortened lifespans and a high infant / child mortality rate more desirable?

A large part of the problem is the lack of understanding about how electricity and electromagnetism works along with incomplete knowledge about basic biological processes.

Even modern biophysics does not have all of the answers about DNA replication, protein synthesis, etc. so this is not a criticism, just the fact that most people do not or cannot invest the time necessary to learn about these subjects (and keep up with current research) in enough detail enough to make an informed opinion / decision.

But I do, and my education is forever continuous because I believe in the right of a client to be able to have access to enough information to make a decision they can live with comfortably. Also, I want to get to the truth myself as I find the subject matter fascinating, and it leads me along a valuable process of discovery.

I hope these postings help to dispel the mythologies and ignorance which pervades the subjects of how our environment can or could influence the function of the human body.

What people typically know about electricity is that it is everywhere, the effects of lighting and powering motors can be seen, and it is absolutely lethal or dangerous if you do contact a sufficient voltage / amperage to stop your heart or cause other bodily harm.

Everyone knows that you should not climb a transmission tower and touch a wire, so there is already a built in fear or at least respect for what a sufficient amount of electrical power can do to your body. This association I feel is responsible for why so many people have a primal response which varies from uneasy to negative when observing an imposing 238 kilo-Volt primary feeder with tall metal towers looming over their backyard.

Whether You Believe in EMF / RF Health Effects or Not… The Killer in The Shadows

Over the many years of performing surveys and residential / commercial consultations, I encounter a wide range of attitudes towards powerlines, and cell phones. Some are extreme, believing that everything even remotely electronic is killing us just by looking at it. Others scoff that invisible waves can do any real damage to the human body. But most people are at least curious and ask me: “Is there anything to all of the alleged studies that point towards our increasingly electromagnetically saturated life that is harming us?”

I feel the answer is both and in the middle of the extremes, but there are secondary effects that many people do not consider. For one, excessive stress of any kind is a proven killer, so if someone has a perception strong enough that a transmission tower or their smart meter is physically damaging them, the connection between the emotion and the chemicals generated in your body as well as the resulting metabolic changes tend to make it a self-fulfilling prophecy.

For example, cortisol is a hormone released by stress that also depresses the immune system. If you are chronically worried about something, your health is likelier to be impacted in a negative fashion. Also hypertension (high blood pressure) is definitively linked to stress and has been long denoted as the “silent killer”. Then there is the distraction factor; it is well known that those under extreme and / or prolonged stress are likelier to experience illnesses or accidents.

This is not saying that it is simply: “All in your head.” This diminishes concern to fantasy or delusion, whereas the physiological effects are real and can be empirically measured, regardless of the direct effects of the high voltage tower or cell phone repeater.

And what goes on in your head is very important as it directs your attitude, mood and where your attention is at a given moment.

Also, you should take into account the indirect dangers of our radiation emitting technology that have nothing to do with the EMF or RF itself. Consider the distraction of a cell phone while driving, or the sedation of sitting on the couch watching hour after hour of TV. How about spending hours a day on Facebook without having genuine face to face human interaction? It doesn’t take a genius to see where I am going with this.

Look at how it can potentially skew epidemiological studies. There is a factor called “confounders” which can mislead the directions of cause and effect. Are you aware that the original epidemiological study in 1979 by Ed Leeper and Nancy Wertheimer which suggested a link between childhood leukemia and high power lines did NOT actually involve EMF measurements? They simply drew conclusions based on “cancer clusters” and the diameter of the wire used to distribute electricity using the reasoning that a thicker wire carries more current and therefore the magnetic field is higher.

Knowing the actual physics of EMF reveals that this is a reckless and scientifically ignorant manner in which to gauge a potential cancer causing metric as there are many other factors which affect the actual net magnetic field as discussed in one of my previous posts. Poor critical thinking skills such as this is akin to linking the condition of a street sign with local crime. The sign itself does not have a direct bearing, but the social and demographic factors that the sign exists in may also give rise to conditions that affect crime rates.

Correlation is not causation.

Perhaps it escaped the original researchers that a higher density power lines also means you are closer to high population densities where you also have more traffic causing pollution, increased noise levels which can induce stress, industrial centers potentially releasing toxic chemicals into the air and so forth.

When you choose about where to live and what the risks are, you need to think holistically if you want to get an approximation of what falls into your acceptable definition of “safe”. Humans are predictive beings, but they are historically poor at realistic risk assessment. People worry about getting murdered or crashing in a plane when they are far more likely to die in a fall at home. So they buy a gun, or refuse to fly, but then try to paint on a roof while standing on the top step of a ladder which has a clear warning label.

Typical EMF & RF Sources in the Home

Homes have several potential sources for high EMF and RF sources including:

  •  External high voltage power lines (both primary and secondary feeders) which can produce elevated levels – particularly in densely populated urban areas / cities such as Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, Austin, etc. or in homes near utility easements
  •  The main 120/240 volt feed entering the home through the power drop
  •  Breaker boxes
  •  Fluorescent lights (some also have an RF component as well which can cause equipment interference)
  •  High output halogen lamp banks such as those used in track lighting (uses a lot of current)
  •  Appliances with motors or heating elements (washers, dryers, refrigerators, etc.)
  •  AC Adapters
  •  Wiring Errors
  •  Outside Air Conditioning Compressors and Pool Equipment
  •  Wireless Routers, Cell Phones, Bluetooth and Cordless Phones (radio frequency only)
  •  Smart Meters (but fairly low level)
  •  Dimmers (though the range tends to be very short, but I have seen them wreak havoc with sensitive electronic equipment)

The focus should primarily be in areas exposed to EMFs where occupants spend 90 % of their time or greater – this sample schematic gives examples.

Focusing on areas where people spend 90% of their time

Focusing on areas where people spend 90% of their time

LFE means Low Frequency Electromagnetic – this is the typical ELF (Extremely Low Frequency) band for 60 Hz AC power

Typical Low Frequency 60 Hz EMF

Typical Low Frequency 60 Hz EMF Sources

Higher frequency RF sources in the home including wireless routers, printers, laptops and other portable cell phone / tablet devices – DECT means Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications

Typical High Frequency RF Sources in the Home

Typical High Frequency RF Sources in the Home

Weak Cellular Phone Reception: Why and What you Can Do About It

Cell tower survey, weak cellular reception

Weak or no cellular signal

One bar.

Or none.

The frustration of being in an out of service area, dropped calls, intermittent voice communication, slow download speeds… all issues we have experienced at one point or another. If you happen to work or live in a “dead zone”, then it can be exceptionally inconvenient to pay for a service which is inadequate for your needs.

So with all of the cellular towers that seem to be around, why does this scenario keep occurring into the 21st Century? There are several reasons:

Your carrier may not have particularly good coverage in areas you need your phone to work. In my surveys, I have definitively found that some cell phone companies have invested more in their infrastructure than others.

Your location may be in a non-ideal area geographically with respect to the cell phone signal such as in a valley or a heavily wooded area. In valleys, the signal from cell towers tends to pass overhead and/or is shadowed by the terrain. Trees and foliage have leaves which contain water; water tends to absorb cellular tower radiation (which is how your microwave oven works) and attenuates (weakens) the signal. Older neighborhoods with large trees tend to have more issues than the newer, wide open suburbs.

Inside certain buildings, there may be certain building materials including thick glass, stucco and metal in the structure walls and ceiling to act as RF shielding or significantly weaken the indoor signal. This is why getting closer to a window or stepping outside can make a significant difference. Have you ever noticed how you almost always drop a call inside of an elevator when the doors close? That is because you are effectively inside of a Faraday Cage, which is engineering talk for an enclosure which blocks off virtually all radio frequencies. Also, in a downtown area, large buildings can “shadow” you from a cellular repeater and lower the signal strength.

Your phone itself may not have the best reception which could be due to everything from a poor signal to noise ratio, insufficiently sensitive receiver, internal noise, etc. One big difference is that cell phones now rarely ever have external antennas which are almost always superior to the internal ones hidden inside on a printed circuit board. Why were they done away with? Some of it probably has to do with aesthetics, others practicality, (who wants a piece of wire that can snag on a pocket) and mostly I believe it was a warranty issue with the manufacturers.

With a relatively thin piece of metal sticking out, how many times do you think consumers brought their phone in because of a broken antenna? This costs the manufacturer if under warranty, downtime for the customer, etc. Personally, I wish the option to hook up an external antenna for areas of unusually poor reception were present, but that will probably never happen with the exception of repeaters. (discussed below)

Certain times of day and areas may experience high call / data download volume and use up available bandwidth. If everyone is trying to call using the same cell site, it can get overloaded which is why you get an occasional voice message telling you your call cannot be completed.

So what can be done?

Some of the obvious choices are changing carriers and/or researching phones for better reception. You can also get repeaters that are either specific to your carrier or will work with multiple carriers. Many phones can now be set to Wi-Fi calling, (and borrow the local Internet connection) but I find that sometimes my phone works more reliably if I leave it off as an open wireless connection may not always be available. (and tends to force some models into an annoying hunting loop that disrupts communications) If you really need to get a message to someone, text is far more reliable than voice. Why? Because voice calling requires a continuous stream of data and bandwidth in real time that is relatively error free, while a text message takes up far less bandwidth to send and can be reassembled in order that not dependent on happening in “real time.”

Another option, particularly for commercial applications and clients is to contact ScanTech regarding your needs for an cellular strength survey and evaluation. We cover all major carriers such as Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile and offer a variety of ways to assess what is causing the issue and how to best address it.

Smart Meters: Home Safety with regard to Actual RF Testing

Smart Meter, RF, Safety

Model GE I-210 Smart Meter

The controversy of Smart Meters is getting so prevalent that I feel a compulsion to share some of my data with respect to certain claims and fears that the public has about this deployed technology. There are a number of website and organizations dedicated to banning this device for various reasons. Some of them deal with potential privacy invasion issues or the theory that the power company can somehow selectively turn off certain appliances without your permission.

While I cannot comment on the political or civil liberties aspects of the Smart Meter debate, I have now done enough measurements to get an idea of just how much energy these devices are putting out and probable public exposure.

The short answer is: not that much.

Now before you think that I am on the side of the utility or power companies, I actually have some criticism of at least one power company’s portrayal of how low the levels from Smart Meters are:

Smart Meter RF Safety Homes

Smart Meter RF Comparison Chart (BTW, I do NOT entirely agree with this)

For one, I cannot believe that a Smart Meter puts out less RF than what emanates from a human body (I have no idea where they are getting that notion from – even brainwaves are severely attenuated outside of the body which is why electrodes are needed for EEGs) or the earth itself – at least not at point blank range.

And this brings up another hidden factor – at what distance from the source are these measurements taken? Because radiated power from an ideal isotropic antenna falls of with the square of the distance, if you even move the measurement meter a few feet from an RF source, the power levels drop dramatically.

Also, they are using milliWatts per cm^squared instead of the more typical microWatts/cm^2 (or uW/cm^2) which is more routine for measuring low level RF at a moderate distance. I suspect the reason why is because in using the milliWatts convention (in which 1 milliWatt or mW is = 1000 microWatts) you get to put all of those zeros after the decimal place and make the numbers seem even smaller.

There are specific reasons why I have chosen to point these specific concerns out besides just being picky – they also inform the reader to pay attention to the context in which this data is presented.

I just got done measuring my Smart Meter and at a distance of 3 feet which is as close as anyone would even causally walk past it, I only get a maximum of 1.5 uW/cm^2. That only occurs in a very short burst (less than one second) every minute or so, so the actual exposure averaged over time would be far less. (closer to the nanoWatt range) Please note that such an intermittent burst is NOT the same as the pulsed signals that you read about as being harmful. Those are frequencies are continuously pulsed in at least the MHz or GHz range – what I am talking about is more like a substantial fraction of Hertz or 0.016 Hz if it is one second out of every 60.

My cell phone when running at full power puts out over 2 uW/cm^2 and it is right next to my head when making a call. While the frequencies involved are somewhat different, the RF dosage is roughly comparable except that the cell phone is consistently much closer to my body for more extended periods of time. I doubt I spend more than 30 minutes a week being within 10 feet of my Smart Meter.

What non-technical critics also fail to realize is that the metal backing of the case on the Smart Meter which is in between the RF and the occupants inside the home is grounded and right next to the point source – therefore shielding much of what is already fairly low level RF.

Also what many people seem to forget is that the Smart Meter mounting locations are at the main power feed or drop into the home where the magnetic field tends to be the strongest. Therefore as a very respected EMF consultant pointed out recently, it is not the RF from the Smart Meter that should be such a concern, but the elevated magnetic fields that you get in the vicinity of any major power feed into the home.

But the bottom line is that if someone is convinced that a Smart Meter installation at their home is a threat to their health or the well-being of their family, then there is no sense in arguing the point.

Why?

My primary role is not to change someone’s mind, but to help them find peace of mind with a set of feasible solutions. Have you ever had something that seemed small, like a cupboard door that doesn’t hang quite right, or an argument with a coworker that just stuck with you all the rest of the day? We are unsettled because of the feelings of things not being symmetrical or completely in our control and regardless of the actual relevance or meaning, it causes stress and stress is definitely a factor in disease, accidents and our enjoyment of life.

So for legal Smart Meter mitigation, what I CAN recommend is a particular form of shielding that is currently approved by the local utility here in Dallas, Texas (ONCOR) that can be placed over your meter. By my measurements it reduces the RF by at least 95 % and I know someone who has at this writing has ONCOR’s express permission to install them. (installing one yourself can get you into trouble with the utility company if you remove the locktag to access the backside of the meter)

Please contact me at www.scantech7.com for details if you are interested.

BTW, trying to make one yourself such as a solid Faraday cage will probably block the data signal and also get you into trouble with the electrical company. The price of one installed by this particular gentlemen compares very favorably with other units sold on the Internet. Furthermore, it is rugged and designed to be vandal resistant so even if RF protection is not of interest, it may be a good investment for commercial customers looking to reduce the costs of malicious destruction.

SCANTECH EMF CONSULTING  214.912.4691