Each of us spends about one third of our lives in one small area - the bedroom - where we sleep, where we sometimes work and where we often have our sacred space for meditation or relaxation. It is most important that this area be kept as a healthy space. These tips also apply if your work area is limited. Since each person's long-term sensitivity to electrical and magnetic fields may vary, depending on genetic, immune system, stress, environmental and dietary factors, these are just guidelines. In general, to date, there seems to be tendencies for sensitivities to develop quicker in persons who have weak immune systems from chronic illnesses, allergies or multiple chemical sensitivities (MCS).
Research programs are finally beginning to investigate the unwanted raw signals (transient spikes & switching surges) which may be on your local power lines, on your water pipes or generated by home appliances and wiring. Interest is being focused on the sharp pulse repetition rates (how many times per second), and what other frequencies or waveforms are present besides the normal 60 cycle [also, called Hertz (Hz)] power line frequency. Information about the length of exposure time, when the exposure occurs (especially at night), the electromagnetic field (EMF) intensity [called milliGauss (mG)], and the interactions with people and other living creatures in the environment is now being gathered. We are becoming more aware in recent months of the sensitivity of various life forms to EMFs via their sensory system reactions, immune system effects, allergy reactions, etc. So it is not simply 60 Hz magnetic field strength that determines whether or not a given EMF will have biological effects. Undesirable transients on the power line and in the home or business will vary, depending on what is switching on and off, how often, how long and when (day or night, weekdays or weekends). Five recent epidemiological studies in the United States and. Sweden have shown weak, but consistent, cancer correlations with proximity to transformers, the local wiring code and the number of appliances in the home. Because a specific subject EMF sensitivity profile has not been developed yet, it is likely that the weak epidemiological results were diluted by the overall test population age and locations selected, and the variability in human immune system response to irritating stimuli.
Repetitious transients and surges (pulse spikes) occur on power lines too, but the more influencing transients are created by factors in home and business wiring, water piping (poor grounding/balancing), appliances and equipment. This repetitious long-term exposure may provide a kind of irritation or suppression factor, posing potential hazards to our health. EMF effects have been discovered, at night, reducing brain pineal melatonin hormone production, which affects immune system efficiency, especially in older persons. These effects appear to be caused by the sharp rise and fall of the pulse spikes created by motors and switches (electric blanket thermostat switch, for example) turning on and off. That's the reason for 'prudent avoidance' of operating electric blankets and water bed heaters by children and pregnant women. Dr.s Wilson and Reiter made these discoveries during the past year at Pacific Northwest Laboratory and University of Texas Health Science Center, respectively. This points to a probable irritating or suppressing type of influence which would create symptoms in a variety of confusing ways, due to personal health and immune system factors. Persons at risk would be those exposed for years in constant proximity to power line components (transformers, sub- stations), appliances (electric blankets, hair dryers), power tools, TV's and computer monitors, switching systems, and other sources of potential rapid transient (switching) EMFs.
Hot Tips For The Bedroom: More restful sleep in the bedroom can be obtained for everyone by eliminating all electrical devices and wiring in the immediate area. If it is not possible to cut off all electrical service to the bedroom at the breaker box, then at least practice 'prudent avoidance' by removing, unplugging (the best option, if circuit breakers not handy) or moving back at least 4 feet from your bed, all electrical devices and wiring in your bedroom. This includes: digital clocks, electric blankets, water bed heaters, heating pads, little transformers plugged into wall for telephone answer machines and lights such as fluorescent, halogen, and high intensity reading lights. Lamps of metal body construction should not be used for bed lamps. Regular incandescent lamps are best and the lamp bodies should be totally made of wood, glass or ceramic - no external metal except the tube going through middle of lamp to bulb socket. Keep all lamp wiring as far from your body as possible where you sleep. And preferably use a wide/deep bookcase headboard on the bed to get away from wiring in the wall.
Best to cut off circuit breakers or remove fuses to bedroom just before going to bed at night. Get a battery alarm clock and battery radio if desired at night and keep a flashlight handy. Don't forget that the fixtures in the ceiling are often on a different breaker circuit or fuse than the wall plugs. They both need to be cut off. If desired, you can buy a remote breaker cut-off switch for about $200.00 that can turn off your bedroom electricity from anywhere in the house.
The dimmer switch, or dimmer lamp, puts out a strong pulsing, choppy field when it is used, affecting every wall plug in the circuit they are in.. Best to only have dimmer switches in areas where you do not spend much time...definitely a no-no in sleeping, reading and office areas.
Note that there is an electromagnetic field in and around equipment when it is operating, however the electrical field is in the wires all the time any time the electrical device is plugged in...the only way it can be eliminated/reduced is to use a three wire shielded and grounded cord, or pull the plug. Any metal in lamp or appliance will pick up and radiate the electrical field all the time, like an antenna! This is easily demonstrated with the "Buzz Stick" (See BEM98 booklet*) Use hairdryers and cell/mobile phones as little as possible. Stay at least 4 feet from TV screens and be sure sleeping areas--the head of a bed-- is not on other side of wall from back of TV..the magnetic field goes right through the wall!
Stay a good arms length back from your computer monitor....the biggest computer monitor screen you can afford the better, so you can keep your distance. The field in back of the computer is the strongest, so avoid having anyone working or sleeping in back of an operating computer monitor or regular TV. Take frequent breaks when working long hours at the computer. Special electrical field grounding shield-screens are available to put on the front of your monitor and for those who are electrically hypersensitive (EHS), a magnetic shielding material called 'Magnapermalloy" can be obtained. Anyway its best to get outdoors and walk as much as possible on your breaks - preferably in the country or a park.
Make sure bedroom or office areas are not close to high tension wires or transformers outside. and be sure the breaker box and high tension lead-in wires come into the house in an area that has very little long-term stationary human presence (garage or closet is best). Stay away four feet or so ('rule of thumb') from any operating kitchen appliance, especially the microwave.