EMF SCAMS PROVIDE A DANGEROUS FALSE SENSE OF SECURITY
1. "EMF NEUTRALIZING" PENDANTS, DIODES AND CHIPS, AND MY TESTING OF SOME OF THESE DEVICES
I am an open minded person, and have experienced things that cannot yet be explained by science. That includes electrical sensitivities and healing energies. Because we don't yet have an explanation for something does not mean that it cannot be real. But many of the marketing claims that accompany these devices are nonsensical quasi-science double-talk, with totally inappropriate references to topics such as tachyons, quantum coherence and superconductivity. The marketing hype not only claims to go beyond science, but actually contradicts physical laws that have been proven to be true. In spite of this, because I heard a few persons who thought they were electrically sensitive say that one of these devices did help them, and because I always want to be as certain as possible about any advice that I give, I decided to run some actual tests on one of the oldest and most well-known devices.
I ordered and sent a supposedly powerful "oriented microcrystal-type EMF neutralizing" device, first to one electrically sensitive client, and then to another. Both are objective men who had become sensitive to their computers and then to many other electrical devices including cell phones. One of the men is an electrical engineer and computer programmer, and the other a high-powered businessman. They both need to be able to use a computer to continue their work, and both would do or try anything to get their lives and professions back. For many months both men have been keeping logs of how long it takes their symptoms to begin after turning on their computers. In one man the typical symptoms are tinnitus, headache and chest pains, and in the other burning arms and brain fog. Then records were kept for two days with the "EMF neutralizing device" device on top of the screen, and then for 3 days with the device taped to the center of the rear of the screen. Both men reported no difference at all in the length of time it took for their symptoms to appear, the type or strength of the symptoms, or the length of time it took for the symptoms to disappear afterwards. In the case of the computer programmer, tinnitus in 15 minutes, headache in 1 hour, queer feeling through whole body at 1 1/2 hour, and chest pains at 2 hours. In the case of the businessman, arms burning inside and out at 45 minutes, and brain fog at 1 hour. The businessman also tried an "oriented micro-crystal" cell phone "neutralizing/protection" card on the back of his cell phone on three different days. No difference - his usual symptoms occured: immediate burning fingers and hand, then 30 seconds later, brain fog and burning arms that took 36 hours to disappear.
CONCLUSION: The devices we tested do not work. These devices are not only a waste of money, but they give a false sense of security which encourages greater exposure to damaging EMFs.
The trials and tribulations of people suffering from ES (Electrical Sensitivities) are enough of a burden without their being preyed upon by companies who market "EMF protection devices" such as "EMF neutralizing chips, diodes, pendants or clocks (and even computer software). The people who "invented" these devices are either naive and self-deluded, or dishonest. The research or "experimental proof" they present is either an elaborate fabrication, is conducted without proper controls or is grossly misinterpreted. There is no good scientific evidence that any of the devices work, nor would they be expected to work, since at best the mentality of their "inventors" appears to approach that of a child who shows you they have assembled a working radio from a string of beads. One inventor claimed that his device turned electrons into neutrons, which of course is impossible and nonsense. In the case of EMF, imagination does not create reality. The reality here is financial profit and more sensitization to EMF. These devices are scams that are not believable to anyone unless their judgement is biased by wishful thinking. My knowledge of science and my background in the workings of EMF, my intuition and my common sense all tell me that that the only way any of these devices could work is via a placebo effect, on persons who think they are electrically sensitive but are actually not.
For another expert opinion on EMF protection devices, see Louis Slesin's link given in his message below:
"Tempted by one of those gizmos that
promises to protect you from EMFs of
one type or another?
Are you impressed when someone
tells you about the wonders of
Sympathetic Resonance Technology?
Then, you better read our latest post at
Even if you already know better, take
a look anyway.
2. "ZERO EMF" LCD MONITORS
Most gaussmeters (see the article: Gaussmeters) are designed to only detect low frequency magnetic fields, not high frequency RF/EMI. Most of the sensitizing emissions from computers and monitors are in the high Kilohertz, the Megahertz and up into the low Gigahertz range. Thus a zero reading from a gaussmeter positioned front of a monitor or computer means only that there is not much low frequency magntic field, but it will miss high frequency emissions, which consititue the bulk of monitor and computer emissions. There is no such thing as a zero emission monitor or computer, even if customized with filtering and/or shielding. (Zero EMF is an oxymoron in the case of a device that contains high-frequency switching power supplies, microprocessors with clock oscillator chips, and the repetitive addressing of a LCD matrix.) Shielding can never be more than partially effective, especially where one side must be a glass surface that is transparent to light. "Zero EMF" can only result when measured by a meter that is not sensitive to the frequencies being emitted. A bright room will appear dark if you are wearing an opaque blindfold. In fact, the same company that advertises "Zero EMF LCD Monitors" also markets a "Cell Sensor" EMF meter which is not sensitive in one of the ranges of frequencies that it claims to detect. Also, they told me that they have a transparent filter which reduces flicker by integrating photons over time, which I know to be absolutely impossible for computer monitors - when I told them this, they responded "you know enough to be dangerous". Furthermore, they have a reputation for not honoring their money-back guarantee. Their shielding of monitors may provide some degree of reduction of EMF in the low frequency range, but a significant reduction at radio or microwave frequencies is highly unlikely. Prove it to yourself with a high frequency meter. For an inexpensive high frequency sensor, use the Radio Shack AM radio described in my article: "AM Radio HF Sensor".
3. STETZER FILTERS
The Stetzer device is a capacitor-type filter that does remove some of the powerline noise, but only differential mode noise below 100 KHz. Many vendors of these filters are either ignorant or dishonest because they claim it eliminates most of the noise, and they base this conclusion on readings that they obtain with the meter they sell with their device with the meter plugged in next to the device. The problem is that their meter only measures the type and frequencies of the noise that they remove (differential mode noise below about 100 KHz), but does not measure the type that they don't remove (differential mode noise above 100 Hz, and common mode noise). Furthermore, the way that the Stetzer filters remove some of the differential mode noise is by converting it into additional common mode noise (which they don't remove), and they are not very effective at a distance from the outlet where they are plugged in.
Almost all computer-generated noise and switching power supply noise is at a much higher frequency than 100KHz. Stetzer filters aren't effective above 100KHz. Stetzer filters are used by plugging them into outlets throughout the house. But if the source of the noise is from within the house (such as computer equipment), the noise needs to be filtered out between the equipment and the outlet, before it reaches the outlet. If the noise comes from outside the home, filtering is best applied before the power enters the house. Although the latter would cost thousands of dollars and the Stetzer filters are far less expensive, this does not mean that Stetzer filters are an alternative that can have any significant benefit. The Stetzer filter is not a very effective filter. Any effective filter uses multiple stages of inductance and capacitance. Even the cheapest of computer filters employ both inductance and capacitance. The Stetzer filters do not use any inductors, only capacitors. Even in the very limited range that these filters operate (only differential mode noise and only between 4 and 100 KHz) the reduction is very small compared to the amount necessary to make a real difference for electrically sensitive persons - the noise reduction is only about 10 or 20 dB (see section 4. D) below), and it does nothing to common mode noise. Many electrically sensitive people have reported no benefit from Stetzer filters. And of course, powerline filters do nothing for ground currents or for emissions radiated directly from devices. The Stetzer filters can only be of benefit in situations where most of the noise is of the differential mode type and is below 100 KHz.
4. ADDITIONAL MISCONCEPTIONS THAT RESULT IN FALSE SECURITY
A) Some EMF mitigation consultants measure only low frequency voltage fields, and then show that they can reduce them with shielded line cords. This does not provide a significant improvement in the overall picture. It is more important to measure and mitigate low frequency magnetic fields, and also radio frequency emissions over the whole frequency range.
B) The fact that an electronic engineer has experience in the field of EMC (Electromagnetic Compatibility - the prevention of one electronic device from interfering with another and the meeting of FCC standards) does not necessarily mean that they understand the EMF reduction requirements and techniques needed for an electrically sensitive person. Often they do not.
C) Inadequate shielding and grounding techniques. Effective shielding and grounding for high frequency EMF is an art that requires a lot of knowledge, experience, and empirical trial and error. Suitable shielding materials, if improperly used, can easily be of no help at all. Grounding is a very complex subject, and does not automatically help unless properly done, and without creating ground loops. Using the third wire ground of house wiring to "remove" noise can radiatively re-emit high frequency noise throughout the house. Furthermore, the grounding requirements for high frequencies are much more demanding than for low frequencies, and a simple ground wire is usually not very effective (a short, very wide conductor such as a conductive braid or metal sheet is necessary to conduct high frequencies to ground efficiently).
D) Biological systems and senses are logarithmic. In the sensing of light, sound and EMF by humans, a ten-fold reduction of amplitude (10 dB) is sensed not as one-tenth, but as approximately one-half of the original intensity. For example, in order for sunglasses to subjectively appear to reduce brightness by one-half, they actually must block 90% of the light (a 10dB reduction); in order to appear to reduce brightness to 25% of the original, they must block 99% of the light (a 20dB reduction). Similarly, for EMF and electrically sensitive people, at ten dB of filtration (90% reduction) most people feel no difference, and 20 dB (99.0% reduction), is barely noticible. A minimum of 50 dB ((99.999% reduction) is often needed to be able to tolerate short-term exposures, and 70 dB or greater (99.99999% reduction) is usually necessary for longer exposure without symptoms.
5. Metal bed springs are not necessarily bad for EMF sensitive persons, as rumored by some. It may depend on the person and the situation. Experiment and be empirical. Act in accordance with the results of your experiments.