Feedback On Our Microwave Article From An Expert
By Nurse Mark
It’s always good to receive feedback on our articles, and we especially like to know that our writings can survive the scientific scrutiny of those who are expert in their field. Our article Microwave Oven Safety – A Special Investigative Report which exposed the myths and urban legends and just plain bad science that is bandied about by those who oppose microwave ovens (and often almost all other technology) was well-received by our readers and we’ve had plenty of positive feedback and as yet no negative feedback.
Still, we are always concerned that our research has been complete and our statements are accurate. It was gratifying to receive the following note from Andrew, whose return email address was at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, or IEEE. – leading me to believe that he may have some expertise in this subject – and indeed, he mentions that he is an electronics engineer.
On the Microwave.htm page you state, “I don’t use an electric blanket and avoid having EFM’s [sic] within 8 feet of my sleeping space.” The rest of the information about microwave ovens on that page is great, well-written and sensible, but the statement about electric blankets and EMF (electromagnetic fields) is pure superstition. Just look at the diagram on your page, “Types of Radiation in the Electromagnetic Spectrum”. You’ll see that power lines and all the wiring in houses connected to the grid, radiate at 60 Hz, at the far left of the chart. The electromagnetic wavelength of 60 Hz is 5 million meters, or 3106 miles, about the width of the United States from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans. As any electronics engineer (such as I) or amateur radio operator will tell you, antennas shorter than 1/4 wavelength are very inefficient in launching radiation into space. Unless you live in a VERY BIG house, with rooms that are tens of miles in length and width, I candidly submit that the wiring in the walls, and certainly any electric blanket one might choose to use on a cold night, are all very INEFFICIENT radiators and LESS capable of inducing electromagnetic fields in your house or your body than that high-voltage transmission line located 20 miles from your house. To avoid EMFs from power line sources, you’d have to completely give up AC-powered lights and appliances and sequester yourself in a Faraday Cage for the rest of your life, like Bubble Boy. That’s silly. Enjoy your microwave oven, electric blanket and AC-powered alarm clock and don’t worry.
And here is my reply to Andrew:
Thank you for your feedback and for pointing out my typo. I am pleased that found our article to be worthwhile – we often tread a very fine line when writing these articles as we must be accessible and understandable to our lay readers, while presenting information that will survive the critical scrutiny of scientifically trained people like yourself.
As amateur radio operators Dr. Myatt and I are both familiar with just how poorly antennas of less than 1/4 wavelength perform – even the “rubber duck” types that are supposedly designed to perform as if they are much longer…
We have however made informal readings with our little “Gauss Meter” and found that many of our a.c. – powered appliances and conveniences are emitting something, even if only at very low levels and very close ranges. So, until we are absolutely satisfied that there can be no risk from cumulative exposure to such minimal emissions, we’ll err on the side of caution.
After all, there are those who would argue that the human organism was evolved in the complete absence of these sorts of emissions, and that by bathing ourselves in the various frequencies of man-made radiations that we do in our modern world we are engaging in a grand experiment with the long-term results unknown.
We have 500KV transmission lines not 20 miles, but actually less than 1/4 mile from our home, so we are familiar with the drop-off of effect that can be seen on our little gauss meter, and also familiar with the fun of illuminating fluorescent tubes beneath the lines at night.
Odd that you would mention living in a Faraday cage – our home is wrapped in wire mesh and finished in stucco – the mesh is grounded, and the roof is steel. Not a complete or true cage, but close for practical purposes…
With regard to the a.c. alarm clocks, in addition to any concerns about EMFs there is research to indicate that the artificial illumination provided by many of these can be sufficient to interfere with normal melatonin production.
Electric blankets, in addition to any concerns real or imagined about EMFs, have certainly been implicated in burns and fires resulting from their use over or under sleeping persons. We love our electric mattress cover (we sleep outdoors, under the stars much of the year) but we find that once our bed is pre-warmed, we can unplug – body heat is more than enough to keep us comfortable under our down cover.
We’ll not be giving up any of our electrical conveniences – the boons of our technologic civilization – we’ll just enjoy then with due respect and caution so that we needn’t worry.
Again, thanks for your feedback!
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