How To Measure EMR

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How To Measure EMR 
Measuring Electromagnetic Fields/Frequencies (EMF’s) Explained

Building biologists generally measure EMF’s / EMR in three different ways:

  • AC Magnetic Fields - with a Gauss Meter
  • Radio Frequencies - with a Radio Frequency (RF) meter
  • AC Electrical fields - measuring body voltage with a multimeter

Once you have identified the levels of EMR you are being exposed to, then:

  • Remove the source of EMR (where possible);
  • Remove yourself from the source of EMR (where 1 is not possible);
  • When 1 and 2 are not possible, minimise your EMR exposure as much as possible, and;
  • Protect yourself and loved ones from all EMR - to learn how, CLICK HERE

1)  AC Magnetic Fields

AC Magnetic Fields (Low frequency - 50 Hz) are measured with a Gauss Meter

These include EMF’s coming from power lines, sub stations, household or industrial wiring, lighting, building power meter boxes and all electrical equipment and appliances. Anything that runs on mains AC electricity can be measured by a Gauss Meter for potentially harmful low frequency magnetic fields. A wide range of health complaints and diseases have been linked to long term exposure to high level AC magnet fields - more serious conditions include childhood leukemia, breast cancer and immune-related disorders.


Childhood Leukaemia
Breast Cancer

Magnetic Field Level

2 to 4 mG
16 mG
12 mG

Source: Healthy Home, Healthy Family by Nicole Bijlsma, page 66

The less time spent in high level AC magnetic fields the better. Typical danger spots include sitting or sleeping against a wall that backs on to a fridge. Electric motors such as those in fridges throw out a powerful magnetic field which will travel through virtually anything including thick concrete or metal walls. As shielding is not an option for magnetic fields, simply remove the source or remove yourself away from the source. Luckily magnetic fields usually only extend a few feet from the source and the strength drops off very quickly. Another area of concern is sleeping or working in a room near the houses power meter box. Again move your bed or chair away from the meter box so you are not bathing in a huge AC magnetic field.

Use a Gauss Meter to discover the AC magnetic hotspots to avoid in your home or work place. Especially check areas where you spend a lot of time e.g. your bed, favourite chair, etc. Make sure you check for magnetic fields from clock radios and phone chargers, plus wiring in the wall at your bed head.

Note - While you can measure the magnetic field coming from a buildings power meter box, a gauss meter will not measure radio frequencies being emitted by a smart meter, for this you need a Radio Frequency Meter (see below)

What are safe levels of low frequency EMF according to Building Biology?

Measurement unit is milligauss - mG

  • No concern - under 0.2 mG
  • Slight concern - 0.2 - 1 mG
  • Severe concern - 1 - 5 mG
  • Extreme concern - above 5 mG


2)  Radio Frequencies

Radio Frequencies (High frequency - typically 10MHz - 8GHz) are measured with a Radio Frequency (RF) Meter

Devices that emit RF include mobile phones, cordless phones and their base stations, WiFi routers and devices, Bluetooth devices, smart meters, microwave ovens, GPS devices, baby monitors and communication towers, “smart” or WiFi-enabled devices, to name a few.

On May 31, 2011 the World Health Organisation (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), officially classified all radio frequency electromagnetic fields as a (class 2B) “Possible Human Carcinogen”. To read the WHO Press Release CLICK HERE

In addition to cancer, here is a list of other health disorders that have been linked to RF:

  • Sleep problems (insomnia, difficulty falling asleep, night waking, nightmares)
  • Stress, agitation, anxiety, irritability
  • Headaches, sharp pain or pressure in the head
  • Ringing in the ears, ear pain, high pitched ringing
  • Concentration, memory or learning problems
  • Fatigue, muscle or physical weakness
  • Disorientation, dizziness, or balance problems
  • Eye problems, including eye pain, pressure in the eyes,
  • Cardiac symptoms, heart palpitations, heart arrhythmias, chest pain
  • Leg cramps, or neuropathy
  • Arthritis, body pain, sharp, stabbing pains
  • Nausea, flu-like symptoms
  • Sinus problems, nose bleeds
  • Respiratory problems, cough, asthma
  • Skin rashes, facial flushing
  • Urinary problems
  • Endocrine disorders, thyroid problems, diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Changes in menstrual cycle
  • Hyperactivity or changes in children’s behaviour
  • Seizures
  • Recurrence of cancer

A recent Swedish study, published in October 2014, suggests that people suffering from a certain type of brain tumour (Glioma) will have a lower survival rate if they were long term users of mobile and/or cordless phones. If they began using mobiles before the age of 20 their survival rate is even lower.
You can read the study HERE

From their findings the study researchers have said,

"Due to the relationship with survival the classification of IARC is strengthened and RF-EMF should be regarded as a human carcinogen requiring urgent revision of current exposure guidelines."

Dr. Lennart Hardell, Swedish Oncologist, MD PhD, Orebro University Hospital, Orebro, Sweden

As mentioned above, all RF radiation, e.g. from mobile devices, is classified by the World Health Organisation (WHO) IARC as a class 2B "Possible Human Carcinogen" - Based on this study and many others like it, these radio frequencies need to be urgently upgraded to the Class 1 "Carcogenic to Humans" category.

Use a Radio Frequency (RF) Meter to discover the RF hotspots in your home or work place. Once you identify the RF source, you can take action to minimise your exposure to it - ideally remove it by either disconnecting or removing the RF emitting device.

Note - Measuring RF fields is very complex. While many affordable RF meters will give a good indication of the presence of far field RF, they are not completely accurate. Also, they are not meant for measuring RF close to the source (near field) and cannot be used for working out the SAR (Specific Absorption Rate) of mobile phones. Measuring near field RF requires very expensive specialised equipment operated by highly trained technicians.

Exposure Standards for Radio Frequencies

For radio frequenices between 3KHz and 300GHz many countries, including Australia, have adopted standards set by the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation (ICNIRP) which have been endorsed by WHO.

Here are the exposure guidelines set by ICNIRP and adopted by ARPANSA (Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency)

Frequency Range

Public Exposure Limit

Occupational Exposure Limit


  • 900MHz
  • 1800MHz

4.5 W/m2 (4.5 million μW/m2)

9 W/m2 (9 million μW/m2)

22.5 W/m2 (22.5 million μW/m2)

45 W/m2 (45 million μW/m2

3 G Base Stations

  • 2100 MHz


10 W/m2 (10 million μW/m2)




4 G Base Stations

  • 900 MHz


4.5 W/m2 (4.5 million μW/m2)





Please note the above standards have been heavily influenced by industry and are completely inadequate according to many experts. For more information on the dodgy processes used to set standards in industry we recommend reading “The Procrustean Approach” By Don Maisch PhD – It can be downloaded from the internet as a PDF.

What are safe levels of high frequency RF according to Building Biology?

Measurement unit is microwatts per square metre – uW/m2
(Note: mW/m2 = milliwatts/m2. 1 milliwatt = 1000 microwatts)

  • No concern - under 0.1 uW/m2
  • Slight concern - 0.1 – 10 uW/m2
  • Severe concern - 10 – 1000 uW/m2
  • Extreme concern - above 1000 uW/m2

The Australian College of Environmental Sciences recommends the following levels of RF for living spaces.


Living Area

Sleeping Area

Pulsed Radio Frequency/ Microwaves

< 10 μW/m2

< 5 μW/m2


As you can see Building Biology Standards are millions of times lower than those set by authorities.

3)  Electrical Fields

Like 50 Hz magnetic fields, electrical fields emanate from many AC power sources. They are inherently tricky to measure. Just the presence of a human body will affect the reading on many electrical field meters. Instead of measuring electrical fields directly, many building biologists instead measure AC body voltage with a Multimeter

The human body naturally has a minute DC current. All AC voltage is man-made and therefore un-natural in the human body. Because we live and work in close proximity to AC power (building wiring, power lines, appliances etc) and our bodies are conductive we inevitably end up with elevated AC voltage readings in our bodies. We are not aware of any studies indicating a safe level of AC voltage in the body so the lower the better. Here is a possible guideline.

What are safe levels of AC voltage in the human body according to Building Biology?

Measurement unit is Volts (V) AC

  • No concern – under 0.1V AC
  • Slight concern – 0.1 – 2V AC
  • Severe concern – 2V – 15V AC
  • Extreme concern – above 15V AC


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