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MagazineMay 2005 (Vol. 16 Issue 2)Electro-pollution

Electromagnetic field (EMF) levels are calibrated according to a variety of measures, the most common of which is 'microteslas' (uT)

Electromagnetic field (EMF) levels are calibrated according to a variety of measures, the most common of which is 'microteslas' (uT). In the UK, the government body responsible for advising on EMF safety is the National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB). It has recently drastically revised its limits downwards to fall into line with the European Union guidelines, setting the acceptable levels for public exposure at 100 uT. In contrast, the Swedish 1999 National Institute Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) report recommended an upper safe limit of 0.2 uT - 1/500th of the UK acceptable dose.

Nevertheless, the medical evidence "consistently" shows that the number of childhood leukaemia cases roughly doubles at 0.2 uT, and triples at over 0.35 uT, levels way below the UK official guidelines (Annu Rev Public Health, 2004; e-pub, ahead of print).

EMFs drop off rapidly the further you are from the source. Nevertheless, the table below shows that some common household appliances radiate levels that are not only above the UK guidelines, but even above the Swedish maximum levels.

Up close One metre away

Electric razor 2000 0.3
Hairdryer 2000 0.3
Vacuum cleaner 800 2.0
Television set 50 0.2
Washing machine 50 0.2
Bedside clock 50 0.02
Fridge 2 0.01
Electric blanket 3 -

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