Q. During a home inspection, is it OK to walk around the property I am buying with my electromagnetic field meter in an effort to get a reading of the volume of frequency waves?
A. Absolutely. But, more importantly, what is an electromagnetic field, and why is it a concern? The Internet is loaded with tons of articles and studies on EMF and its impact. Let’s consider what EMF is and how it may relate to today’s common consumer.
Many things – at all times – are creating electromagnetic fields. A report by The World Health Organization, “What Are Electromagnetic Fields,” explains that even our own bodies produce these fields, but they are low intensity. Technology can produce a much more intense electromagnetic field. An example of these artificial EMFs would be a nearby cellphone service provider or even a power line.
Short-term exposure to very high-levels of electromagnetic fields can harm health, according to WHO.
But please don’t think that because you live near a power line that you’re quickly reducing your days left on this planet. Some individuals have suggested that low level electromagnetic exposure at home contributed to insomnia, cloudy thinking, and stress, but a study by WHO found such links scientifically unsupported.
EMF is measured in volts/meter. Electric fields are strongest when close to a charge or charged conductor, and as you place distance between you and that conductor, the strength of the electric field lessens. For example, electric fields from a power line outside your house are reduced by your home’s exterior, walls, trees and perhaps another building. When power lines are buried , those electric fields are hardly detectable at the surface.
YouTube has several videos showing these meters in action, and they react to common appliances in our home. I watched one where the meter holder turned on the microwave, and the meter quickly reacted into the red/high-frequency level. This person had an extended measuring tape stemming from the microwave all the way to the other side of the kitchen counter. It wasn’t until he got to the 11-foot distance did the meter reduce to a safe reading. We can’t always avoid it, but perhaps we can be more cognizant about its effects. – Suzie Harris is vice chair of the Hampton Roads Realtors Association’s Your Professional Network and a Realtor with RE/MAX Central Realty in Virginia Beach