Comments on survey reports produced by "EMF Commercial"
Our whole approach with this site is aimed to provide you with the information we consider it is helpful for you to be aware of to take an informed view on the relevant issues.
We do not recommend either for or against any particular commercial service providers, but - so far as we are able - we do attempt to address queries which are raised with us regarding services and reports produced.
We receive a number of queries regarding EMF services provided by, and survey reports produced by, "EMF Commercial". To the extent that we are able to comment, we set out our observations below.
SAGE was the UK's Stakeholder Advisory Group on ELF EMFs. It has, incidentally, finished its work and been wound up; reports that refer to it as ongoing are incorrect.
If a report refers to a "SAGE Guideline" of 400 nT (0.4 μT), this is wrong. SAGE did not recommend any exposure guidelines, at 0.4 μT or any other level, and it is wrong to state that it did. Nor did SAGE state that the risk of childhood leukaemia is doubled above 0.4 μT. Statements to the effect that these values are "undisputed" for human biological safety or that the property footprint itself and all living areas must be below 400 n/T to pass as "bio-electromagnetically acceptable" do not seem to correspond to anything in the SAGE process.
If a report says that SAGE "recommend a minimum distance of 60 meters from 275/400 KV lines", that is also wrong (SAGE did reference the 60 m distance but did not recommend it).
- full details of what SAGE actually said and recommended
- the exposure limits that actually apply in the UK (for magnetic fields, the reference level is 100 μT)
- the scientific evidence on childhood leukaemia and the 0.4 μT figure
Salzburg or "SBM"
The Salzburg SBM standard has no status in the UK, or, for that matter, any other country anywhere in the world that we are aware of. It is out of line with most other authoritative guidelines or standards. Statements to the effect that these figures are highly respected in the medical industry, or that they offer maximum human cellular regeneration and biological repair, are subjective statements that it is not possible to prove or disprove. But we have never been aware of the medical industry or health professionals giving any weight to the Salzburg SBM guidelines.
If a report states that the exposure limit for the public that applies in the UK is the latest 2010 ICNIRP value (reference level 200 μT), this is wrong. The value that applies is the previous 1998 ICNIRP value (reference level 100 μT). See more on why ICNIRP 2010 does not apply in the UK.
The degree of concern that is appropriate
We have seen some reports that conclude, e.g.:
The following statement is our overall final conclusion:
THE MAGNETIC FLUX LEVELS ARE ELEVATED AND THEREFORE, REASON FOR SEVERE CONCERN
Our whole approach with this site is to provide you with the information and let you decide for yourself how you then feel about it. Some people will feel considerable concern about any elevated EMF levels, and we respect that. However, the exposure limits are in place, at levels set by independent experts, with the aim of protecting the public, and all the exposures in homes - including all the ones we have seen measured by EMF Commercial - comply with those limits, usually by a considerable margin.
Terminology and measurement technique
We have sometimes seen statements in reports that don't appear to us to show a normal use of physics and electrical engineering terminology.
- If the symbol for "nanotesla" is given as "n/T", that is wrong - the symbol is "nT".
- If the bandwidth of a measurement is stated as "50 Hz", it probably doesn't mean that, it probably means that the central frequency of the measurement was 50 Hz.
- If 150 Hz is stated as the "second harmonic", that is wrong in electrical engineering terminology - 150 Hz is the third harmonic.
- None of the terminology "magnetic flux force", “magnetic force transfer”, “magnetic arc transfer”, "magnetic force radiation", magnetic lines of force generating “arc dynamics”, or the "official UK guideline for electric shock transfer" seem to correspond to conventional physics usage.
The values reported
On some occasions, a member of the electricity industry staff has had the opportunity to make their own measurements and compare these with measurements reported by EMF Commercial at the same locations (though, of course, at a different time). Sometimes the values have been in reasonable agreement. But on at least one occasion, the EMF Commercial reading was roughly four times larger than our reading, a discrepancy that would be implausible to explain by the field changing over time.