How to find a property with low radiation levels

  • What to look for when searching for a property with low electromagnetic field exposure
  • What are the disadvantages of low and high floors
  • With which radiation sources you should avoid proximity with and what are the safe distances
  • Which radiation sources affect the resale value of the property the most

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This guide helps you make an initial assessment of the electromagnetic radiation levels of the property that interests you.

Before proceeding to the selection or rejection of any property we suggest that you use a electromagnetic fields meter to measure the actual radiation levels, since:

  • The theoretically most burdened properties might actually have low electromagnetic fields.
  • High radiation values are caused by a variety of other cases which are not mentioned in this article.

"The European Parliament, (…) whereas in recent decades, environmental exposure to man-made sources of EMFs has risen constantly, (…) whereas every individual is now being exposed to a complex mixture of electric and magnetic fields of different frequencies, both at home and at work, (…) whereas wireless technology (mobile phones, Wi-Fi/WiMAX, Bluetooth, DECT landline telephones) emits EMFs that may have adverse effects on human health (…) whereas the EU has laid down exposure limits to protect workers from the effects of EMFs; whereas on the basis of the precautionary principle such measures should also be taken for the sections of population concerned, such as residents and consumers, (..) calls on the Member States to make available to the public, jointly with the operators in the sector, maps showing exposure to high-voltage power lines, radio frequencies and microwaves, and especially those generated by telecommunications masts, radio repeaters and telephone antennas.” European Parliament resolution on the health problems associated with electromagnetic fields (2008/2211) [1]

1

Avoid properties with high levels of high frequency electromagnetic fields

These fields are generated by mobile phone antennas, broadcasting antennas, wireless internet modems, bases wireless phones etc.

What you need to know:

  • Wireless radiation in densely populated areas is increased both in intensity and in signals variety due to the presence of more antennas.
  • In apartment buildings high frequency radiation values are often recorded due to the multitude of cordless phones and wi-fi internet modems
  • The lower floors are usually less exposed to wireless radiation from external sources (radio antennas, mobile telephony antennas, radars, etc.) while the higher floors and houses with an open view are more exposed to wireless radiation.
  • Avoid homes that have visual contact with a cell phone mast in distance <500 meters (common mast sites: next to busy roads, buildings of telecommunications companies, in corporate buildings, factories, in areas with many offices, shops etc.)
  • Cell phone masts are often camouflaged as heaters, signs, chimneys within steeples etc. to avoid confrontations with the neighbors.

mobilephonemastscamouflaged

  • Avoid proximity to radio and television broadcasting sites, military premises, airports and ports.
  • Try to visit the terrace of the property to visually check the possible existence of any type of antennas.

"Too often do we observe a marked concentration of particular illnesses in correspondingly high -frequency microwave radiation (HFMR) polluted areas or apartments. Too often does a long-term disease or affliction improve or disappear in a relatively short time after reduction or elimination of HFMR pollution in the patient's environment. Too often are our observations confirmed by on-site measurements of HFMR of unusual intensity." The Freiburger Appeal - Union Resolution of Environmental Medicine, Germany ( IGUMED) [2]

How can you measure high frequency electromagnetic fields in a property

You can buy a high frequency electromagnetic field meter.

2

Avoid properties with high levels of low-frequency magnetic fields

These fields are mainly emitted by power cables due to power consumption.

What you need to know:

  • Usually, the more populated and densely build the areas, the higher the magnetic fields emitted by the power cables.
  • low voltage power lines Prefer properties with distance> 10 meters from low and medium voltage power cables (the most common cause of high magnetic fields).
  • Prefer properties with distance> 150 meters from high voltage power lines.
  • Avoid basements and ground floor apartments where the power distribution cables are not visible, which means they are underground.
  • Avoid properties adjacent to power transformers or substations.
  • Avoid houses with floor heating system (with the exception of water pipes or shielded dual-core conductors).
  • In homes with metal water pipes and / or radiators high magnetic field values are often recorded due to the existence of leakage currents (net currents).

“As safety guidelines for future planning, the committee recommends that: 1) New day care centers, schools and playgrounds should not be built where ambient 60 Hz magnetic fields exceed 0.2 μT; 2) New housing should not be built under existing high voltage transmission lines, or in such close proximity to these lines that measured ambient field levels would exceed 0.2 μT for periods longer than two hours daily; 3) New transmission and distribution lines should not be built in locations where they would produce fields exceeding 0.2 μT in existing housing; 4) In new office and industrial environments, design considerations should encompass problems of personnel exposure to high magnetic field levels, with the aim of reducing intermittent and ambient exposures to a 0.2 μT level, over the spectrum from near-zero to 3.0 kHz.” National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP) Scientific Committee 89-3 on Extremely Low Frequency Electric and Magnetic Fields [3]

How to measure the low frequency magnetic fields in a property

You can buy a low frequency magnetic field meter.

Magnetic fields measurements are considered the most important for assessing the electromagnetic burden of a property because these fields are not easy and / or too expensive to reduce afterwards.

3

Avoid properties with high levels of low-frequency electric fields

These fields are emitted from power cables, electrical panels, electrical appliances etc due to electrical voltage.

What you need to know:

  • high voltage power lines Electric fields inside homes are especially dependent on the presence of nearby electrical devices and cables in the walls and there are many easy ways to reduce them. Older homes may have higher values of electric fields due to deterioratied insulation of cables, earthing etc.
  • Electric fields from external sources such as high voltage power lines, do not enter inside houses because they are grounded from most buidling materials (except wood). High values of electric fields may be recorded outdoors at a distance <200 meters from high voltage cables.
  • However, high electric fields around the high voltage power lines, are a noise source (especially in wet weather).
  • Also, electric fields attract microparticles from the atmosphere and charge them, which makes them easier to attach to the skin and lungs [4].
  • The problem of ionization of the microparticles can be significant in regions with high atmospheric pollution (e.g. adjacent to busy roads, in factories). The charged particles can travel with the help of air up to 5 km away. To a lesser extent this phenomenon is also observed near medium voltage lines.

How to measure the low frequency electric fields in a property

You can buy a low frequency electric field meter.

Which radiation sources affect property value the most

As more people become aware of the health effects related to high electromagnetic field levels, there is trend to avoid buying properties adjacent to obvious and well known sources of radiation and this greatly the properties value.

  • Research from the University Oxford Brooks [5], showed that high voltage power lines reduces the number of prospective buyers up to 80%, depending on their distance from the property sale. Any property located less than 75 meters will suffer a discount on the selling price. Up to 46% of shoppers had problems getting a loan for the property, depending on the distance from the pillars and wires.
  • Anecdotal evidence indicates that mobile phone masts are also a great disadvantage for houses for sale. The phenomenon still has not gotten large dimensions because usually byuers do not recognize cell phone mast (also sometims the masts are camouflaged). 
  • In Great Britain, a growing number of people report that their home can not be sold due to the proximity with cell phone masts. On its website, Powerwatch [6] published a letter of a real estate agency to owners trying to sll their house: "Please be advised that due to the mobile antenna construction to the point near your home, you should reduce the sale price down 60.000 £. Our experience shows that mobile phone masts have a negative impact on potential buyers'
  • The British organization Mast Sanity, which conducted a survey on the value of properties before and after installing cell phone mast, found that their value declined 20 to 25% [7].


 

[1] European Parliament resolution of 2 April 2009 on health concerns associated with electromagnetic fields (2008/2211(INI))

[2] www.laleva.cc/environment/freiburger_appeal.html

[3] Section 8 of the June 13, 1995, draft of the report of NCRP Scientific Committee 89-3 on Extremely Low Frequency Electric and Magnetic Fields

[4] Fews AP, Henshaw DL et al - 1999, Corona ions from powerlines and increased exposure to pollutant

[5] Sims S & P Dent - 2005, Urban Studies Journal, April, http://usj.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/42/4/665

[6] www.powerwatch.org.uk

[7] Alasdair and Jean Philips, Mobile Phone Masts and Wireless Computing