main breaker box near bed. little one on the way

jks55February 1, 2012

Hi guys

Ive come here often to read the posts, but this is my first time posting. Hope someone can help...

We live in a house where the main breaker and electrical service to the house are on our master bedroom wall. To make matters worse, its right by our headboard of our bed.

We just found out that we have a little one on the way. So my dad instincts are kicking in.

We have read on some websites that EMF can cause health problems and those same websites offer meters for sale/rent for us to check the strength of the fields.

I was hoping to hear from some folks here, who dont have a financial gain if they scare us, can tell us whether we have a valid concerns to move the bed or if needed, move the meter to the other side of the house (probably wouldnt be cheap, but its my family here, so if thats whats needed, then so be it).

Is there any valid health concern here?? Are the meters worth renting? Are their results worth much?

thanks guys!

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IMO in a regular home this is NOT AT ALL an issue.
Issues like this are raised by folks who wear tin foil hats and for some reason HAVE to have a problem with, or worry about, SOMETHING.

Unfortunately you've been coerced into reading the propaganda already, which means you already have that mindset. Hopefully you are not too far go to be recuperated back into a normal person. :)

    Bookmark   February 1, 2012 at 4:37PM
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I have not kept up on the field. Here is a good place to start:

    Bookmark   February 1, 2012 at 4:46PM
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As long as you have the required 30"X36" clearance around the panel, you're fine.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2012 at 7:45PM
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Here is a quote from the article. All the tin foil hat people needed to do was sow the seed to get people to think like them:

"Studies conducted in the 1980s showed a link between magnetic field strength and the risk of childhood leukemia. After reviewing more than two decades of research in this area, NIEHS scientists have concluded that the overall pattern of results suggests a weak association between increasing exposure to EMFs and an increased risk of childhood leukemia."

    Bookmark   February 2, 2012 at 6:57AM
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No clean study exists that shows anything approaching a dose response relationship.

Not a single one.

A large part of the problem is the inability of the medical folks to admit they do not know very much about EMF, and their obstinance at actually measuring the fields.

Instead they keep relying on various schemes of counting wires and noting proximity, without measuring the fields.
It is not very hard to do, though using a hand held probe will result in erroneous readings.

The probe needs to be completely still to avoid fixed magnetic fields (like the earth�s field) from influencing the readings.

Maintain the required clear are in front of the panel and you will be far enough away.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2012 at 9:07AM
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Daddy instincts would be to kill and get some fresh meat. We have not been exposed to electricity for sufficient time, in evolutionary terms, to have instincts to deal with that.

The language of the quoted passage is telling. They used both "suggests" and "weak" in the same sentence. If you go and look at the data you will probably find that the leukemia numbers were higher in the population with higher field exposure but it was not statistically significant, That, in turn means no measurable effect.

Compare that to looking into the amount of time it takes you to get to work on two different routes. You time each route 10 times and analyze the data. The average weakly suggests that one route is faster because in a 30 minute commute there is a 30 second difference in the average time. You can do an analysis taking into account the variation in times, that says if the pattern holds up, you can get a statistically-significant if you drive each route and record the results 10,000 times. I am making these numbers up, but they would not be unusual. What you can conclude from timing the trip 10 times in each route is that there is not much difference.

Translate that to checking into the health effects of electrical fields. Look at their data. If this weak suggestion is from a low number of people, the effect will be small. If it is from a large number of people, smaller still.

Then there are there are the questions about the study design (which brick eyee approached) including the endpoint measurement. You have to decide how good all that is. The study design might obscure or maximize an effect.

I don't think I am ready to rule out EMF effects on human health, especially in the light of the measurable effects on other animals in some really neat experimental systems. I am not, however, ready to start worrying about the wiring in my house or your house.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2012 at 10:53AM
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Excerpt from the World Health Organization -

"Conclusions from scientific research
In the area of biological effects and medical applications of non-ionizing radiation approximately 25,000 articles have been published over the past 30 years. Despite the feeling of some people that more research needs to be done, scientific knowledge in this area is now more extensive than for most chemicals. Based on a recent in-depth review of the scientific literature, the WHO concluded that current evidence does not confirm the existence of any health consequences from exposure to low level electromagnetic fields. However, some gaps in knowledge about biological effects exist and need further research."

Here is a link that might be useful: WHO

    Bookmark   February 2, 2012 at 1:34PM
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If you had a 750,000V line coming into your house, I'd be worried.

If your microwave operated with the door open, I'd be worried.

If you live near a Superfund site, I'd be worried.

If you live downstream of a frakking site, I'd be worried.

If you live near an interstate highway, I'd be worried.

But as to the low frequency low power stuff we have around the home, I would not worry.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2012 at 2:56PM
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Relative risk is very difficult to determine sometimes. You are probably more likely to die of an electrical fire in the home than from the effects of EMF. If install a residential sprinkler system, you cut that risk, but there are probably still others that rank higher than EMF. If you take out the electricity and use candles, you darn well better have a sprinkler system, but do you have to use chlorinated water?

weedmeister, can you rank your worries rather than just list them? Please add living within a mile of a main rail line ;-)

    Bookmark   February 2, 2012 at 3:18PM
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I grew up living a 1/4 mile from a main rail line. The only thing bothersome about it was the noise.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2012 at 5:54PM
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I am thinking of all those tank cars with large volumes of stuff that could be released in a mishap.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2012 at 10:22PM
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This is akin to having the service in a clothes closet or a linen cabinet where we have found panels, not to mention bedrooms. To the OP, what is the brand of the panel?

Very simply, if you are concerned, hire a master electrician and pay a couple of grand to have the service moved to a more appropriate location as it appears the electricity dripping all over your house is clowding your judgement.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2012 at 10:20AM
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I had similar concerns as the OP and have a TriField meter that I got from Amazon. While I'm not convinced that low EMF have any definite health risks, it doesn't hurt to make some simple adjustments to your furniture arrangement, etc.

These are some of the household items that I noted which are above the 3 milligauss "threshold". Most of these levels will drop to acceptable in about 3 ft, but there are some "higher emitters" which radiate further.

Electrical panels - both sides.
Plasma TVs - both sides, but drops after 1-2 ft.
Portable radios, plugged in clock/alarms (on nightstand) - drops after 1-2 ft.
Dimmer switches - higher when dimmed - can radiate out 4-5 ft.
Running motors - eg washing machine - radiates 5-6 ft but fluctuates
Fridge - intermittent
Microwave when running - out to about 6 ft.
Induction cooktop - out to about 3 ft.
LCD monitors - 3-5 ft front and back
Random ? wiring in attic - can radiate 5-6 ft.
Portable space heaters - about 4 ft
Car dashboard - arms aren't long enough to get out of the way, but not high levels

The Capresso water heater is the worst - radiates out to about 8 ft.

Right now, sitting 2.5 ft in front of a 21" LCD monitor, my head is getting about 7 milligauss of exposure. And I sit here for hours per week :)

    Bookmark   February 5, 2012 at 4:10PM
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Are we to be concerned about magnetic fields or electric fields or something else? To keep the prior post in perspective, gauss is a measurement of magnetic fields. The average refrigerator magnet has about 50 gauss, and all magnetic fields dissipate over the square of the distance.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2012 at 6:27PM
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"The average refrigerator magnet has about 50 gauss..."[sic]

The bugaboo is over AC (time varying) fields, not static fields form permanent magnets.

60 Hz fields are endemic since that is our power line frequency.
Both electric and magnetic fields are created.

The electric field is always present if voltage is present.
The magnetic field requires that current be flowing in the circuit.

"sitting 2.5 ft in front of a 21" LCD monitor, my head is getting about 7 milligauss of exposure. And I sit here for hours per week :) "

You should see what an old style CRT produces.
They use magnetic fields to control the scanning of the electron beam in the CRT.
The frequency ranges from around 15 kHz to around 60 kHz.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2012 at 1:56PM
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I know it doesn't really answer the question, but can the bed be moved somewhere else?

    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 4:10PM
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I know it doesn't really answer the question, but can the bed be moved somewhere else?

I don't think that will help - the paranoia will just move along with the bed :-) .

    Bookmark   February 11, 2012 at 11:19AM
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I'd worry more about cell phone radiation than the main panel. Crazy place to put it, BTW.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2012 at 3:34PM
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Houses did not necessarily have electricity when they were built. The earliest electricity in my area was 1935. Hard as it may be to believe, houses were built before that time. The neighborhood where I live now was electrified in 1942-- don't know who they managed that with the war effort at the time. Some nearby areas got power in 1947, after the War. Wiring a completed house is not quite as easy as one might think. A refrigerator was the first purchase- and they cost $300.00 in 1947 if one could be found. Two months wages. So money for fancy wiring was just not in most budgets- in my area.
Crazy? Not at all. You got what you could pay for or did without. Now all the regulations do make for better houses. But those who cannot afford to build per those regulations live in public housing, are tenants or homeless. I'm not convinced that all the regulations are really for the better. We could make housing far safer than it is now -- and completely unaffordable.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2012 at 4:58PM
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How many inches will your heads be from the panel?

There is little that is special about the panel, per se, in terms of EMF, other than the fact that a lot of wires go by. But you would get the same EMF from proximity to your main line which may be buried in the wall in places you would not expect. Panel or no panel, it is primarily the total amount of current flow you are close to that determines EMF.

that being said...
Given that electromagnetic fields decay by square of distance, the EMF at your bed would be negligible. A couple of orders of magnitude less than what you would get from an electric blanket.

To get an idea of your danger sensitivity, are you worried about placing high frequency cell phones next to your head?

    Bookmark   February 11, 2012 at 7:43PM
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All of this prattle and nothing more from the OP. As I said before, if they are concerned, move the box.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2012 at 8:39AM
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The original questions were, "Is there any valid health concern here?? Are the meters worth renting? Are their results worth much?"

By just telling them to move the box you are implying that there is a valid health concern but you say nothing to justify that.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2012 at 10:31AM
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I never said the OP has a valid concern. IMO, I merely said the discussion has gotten rather esoteric. Further, IMO, I feel the breaker box has no place in the house. That includes bedrooms, bathrooms, kitcherns. Closets are a possibility as long as there are no combustable products within 3'.

My home was built in 1959, and the original General Electric panel was in the garage and the updated system is still there. In areas that have basements that certainly is an option. In many locations where homes are on a slab, we have moved the service to an outside location or the garage.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2012 at 2:02PM
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My parents first house was built in 1955. There was no garage or carport. The power panel was in the bedroom. The only choices for location would have been bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and dining room.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 3:32PM
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