ELF Vs. EMF Radiation? All You Need To Know (To Stay Safe)


If you are new EMF radiation you might be wondering what the differences between ELF and EMF radiation.

The two terms are used it a lot as well as a long list of other abbreviations. I have included some of the most commonly used abbreviations below before we get started. Take a look at them so you are well-prepared to understand what ELF and EMF is.

Let’s look at how the terms ELF and EMF are connected.


Abbreviations used in this article:
EMF: Electromagnetic Fields (All types of radiation)
RF: Radio Frequencies (Radiation from wifi, cell towers, and other wireless technologies)
ELF: Extreme Low Frequencies (Radiation from power lines)
EHS: Electro-Hypersensitivity (Syndrome where you are very sensitive to EMF radiation)
V/m: Volts over meters (How we measure RF radiation)


What Is The Difference Between EMF and ELF?

The short way to explain this us to start by clarifying what EMF radiation is.

As we mentioned above, EMF stands for “ElectroMagnetic Fields”. It’s a collective term that includes several different types of radiation, Including ELF radiation.

Said in another way, ELF radiation is one of many types of EMF radiation.

I couldn’t find a good diagram that showed all the different types of EMF. So I decided to create a diagram in order to make it easier to understand how the many types of radiation are connected.

Here’s the diagram I have come up with in order to explain the many types of EMF radiation:

As you can see, ELF is the type of radiation with the lowest frequency on this spectrum off EMF radiation types. That also means that it’s less dangerous.

As we move to the right at the diagram above the wavelength gets shorter and shorter as the frequency gets higher. The higher the frequency, the more dangerous the type of the EMF radiation is.

ELF stands for “extremely low frequencies”, and we typically find this type of radiation from power lines. As soon as we passed the 30 Hz we start to classify it as radio frequencies even though some people include 50-60 hertz as ELF.

ELF radiation is electromagnetic radiation which means that it is found around electric sources. It has a very long wavelength. It varies from around 10,000 kilometers to 100,000 kilometers (6,200-62,000 miles).

Commons Sources Of ELF Radiation

ELF radiation always comes from electrical devices and sources such as wires, electronics, chargers, courts, etc.

Here’s a list of common sources of ELF radiation:

  • Power lines (high-voltage and household)
  • Power strips
  • Electrical outlets
  • Cords
  • Household wiring
  • Chargers
  • Transformers
  • Light bulbs

We can also see elf radiation when lightning strikes. So, ELF radiation is not only found in man-made inventions such as power lines and electrical devices.

As you can see, you left radiation heights inside your walls and below your floor. It’s everywhere because we have built-in electrical wiring inside our homes.

How Are ELF Radiation Different From RF Radiation?

As we move toward the right at the diagram above, we find radio frequencies (RF) right next to the ELF radiation.

RF radiation comes from a long list of devices in our everyday lives. Some of the strongest signals we find around cell towers and smart meters. That we also find that RF radiation around everything from baby alarms and wifi signals to smartphones and tablets.

These types of EMF radiation are quite different from ELF radiation because they have a much shorter wavelength even though they are placed right next to each other at the diagram above.

Electrosmog from cell towers and smart meters can reach much longer than RF radiation from powerlines. This is when we look at safe distances and how far you need to get away from the radiation source in order to stay within the recommended radiation levels, according to building biologists.

Here are the safe levels you should aim for:

EMF Type Safe Level (Daytime) Safe Level (Nightime)
RF Radiation 0.2 V/m 0.06 V/m
Magnetic fields (ELF) 1 mG 1 mG
Electric fields (ELF) 10 V/m 1.5 V/m

As you can see, we measure ELF radiation as magnetic fields and electric fields. The two different types of electromagnetic fields are always connected and you cannot have one without the other.

You can read much more about RF radiation here. There’s a long list of radiation sources and easy explanations to let you understand what’s going on around RF radiation.

How Do We Measure The ELF and EMF Radiation?

ELS radiation is measured as magnetic fields and electrical fields.

We use an EMF meter to do the measurements and it’s very easy to do when you have the meter.

Today we have user-friendly EMF meters that everybody can operate without a Ph.D. in engineering. I am personally using the cornet EMF meter which cost less than $200. It’s very simple to use and it’s calibrated to show when you are within the guidelines and EMF levels recommended by building biologists.

Tip
The Cornet is an instrument used professionals and amateurs alike for measuring these things. It’s actually quite affordable and easy to use. You can read more about it here (with a list of what it can test for).

This is what it looks like:

headset with electric field

On the picture above, I am measuring the electrical fields around a wired headset I have in my office.

As it turns out, this reading is well within the red zone, which means that we are being exposed to high radiation levels from the specific headset from Logitech. If you want to learn more about how to protect yourself in the office space you can read this article where I list 12 guidelines for lowering EMF radiation at the office.

I can really recommend this EMF meter. I haven’t so much about EMF radiation from having this.

Being able to do your own readings is absolutely critical if you want to recuse the radiation from ELF and EMFs around you and your family.

What’s The Difference Between Magnetic Fields & Electrical Fields?

The first time you try to learn about ELF it can be hard to wrap your head around the two different types of fields we are dealing with here.

Try to think of it this way:

  • The current of an electrical wire creates a magnetic field around it.
    This is also why you need to connect an electronic device to the electric cord in order to “activate” and measure the magnetic field.
  • The voltage inside the cord creates an electrical field around it.
    In other words, there is a constant electrical field around power cords. Even though nothing is connected to it at the moment we still find electrical fields around our power cords as long as they are connected to the power grid.

Just remember, the two fields are always connected as they come from the same source. It’s like

We measure magnetic fields in Gauss or Tesla and we measure electrical fields in volts per meter.

How Dangerous is ELF Compared To Other EMFs?

ELF is different from the other types of EMFs because it creates electric and magnetic fields. One of the main differences between ELF and the other types of EMF radiation is that electrical and magnetic fields weaken quickly over distance.

You don’t need to add much distance toward ELF radiation sources before the levels return to safe values.

Let’s take an electrical charger for your MacBook, for example.

The charger contains a transformer that converts the power that comes into the thing into a weaker power that can be used to charge your computer. Your computer cannot be charged on the full power from the household wires, it needs to be transformed to a lower level.

In order to do so, the transformer (inside the charger) creates magnetic and electrical fields. You can read more here about how transformers and chargers work.

But even the strongest transformers in our homes (such as those in kitchen appliances like blenders) are typically safe when you are 2-4 feet away.

Kitchen appliances are some of the worst sources of ELF radiation. You need to protect yourself when you are being close to induction cooktops, microwave ovens, and other strong magnetic and electrical fields in the kitchen.

Tip
Here you can see exactly how much ELF radiation your appliances emit. I’m pretty sure you will get surprised when you see the levels for induction tops and microwave ovens!

But remember, distance is your friend when we are dealing with radiation. That’s also why I haven’t thrown out the microwave oven (just yet). I just need to add more distance to it when I operate it. I have also decided to place it far up on the top shelf so my kids cannot access it.

Keep Kids At Safe Distances To ELF and EMF

It’s especially important to shield our babies and kids from ELF radiation.

The same goes for all the other types of EMF radiation, but ELF radiation tends to sneak up on us (and our kids!) because it’s invisible inside the walls in our houses.

Kits are more exposed to EMS radiation such as ELF. This is because they have thinner bones and their skulls are much smaller. As long as kids are growing they will be 2 to 3 times more receptive to radiation from electric and magnetic fields.

This is according to author Daniel DeBaun, who has written an excellent book called Radiation Nation.

Tip
Note: I can REALLY recommend this book if you are new to EMFs. You can get it here inside the author’s store which is full of amazing gear to protect you from EMF.

Another fact to help us understand how EMF affects kids much more than adults is thinking about their future.

How much radiation do you think your kids will be exposed to during their lifetime compared to you?

Probably a whole lot more. They started getting exposed to radiation as soon as they are conceived in their mother’s womb. The teeny tiny skull of a fetus is very receptive to radiation and you need to take very good care of them as they grow up.

Here’s a very thorough guide we have made with many tips on how to protect our babies from EMF radiation of all sorts.

If you ask me, it’s much more important to do this sort of baby proofing than to cover all your tables and staircases with soft materials. Not that you shouldn’t do that, of course, but I think you get the point 😉

How To Protect Your House From ELF

Now you know that you should shield your home from ELF and EMF radiation.

But how do you do that and how to do you get the levels down to the recommended levels?

I mainly focus on the elf radiation during the nighttime. I want to make sure that my family can sleep in peace and in order for them to do so I always shut off the breaker panels that control the wiring to the bedrooms.

This might seem like a drastic step good as long as I don’t turn off the firing that controls the fridge in the freezer as well as our smoke alarms I think it’s a very smart move. And so do several building biologists I’m following.

I also make sure to make sure the electromagnetic ELF fields around our beds.

It’s really important to measure the EMF levels of the walls and the floor around the beds. You will typically find much more ELF radiation as you get close to the walls. Remember, that electrical wiring runs inside the walls.

How wifi radiation is blocked in walls

It’s also important to pay attention to your fridge, your washer, and your dryer.

These machines all have a strong electrical motor which means they create strong magnetic and electrical fields around them when they are turned on (which means ALWAYS when we talk about the fridge and the freezer).

I actually found out that my toddler was sleeping just behind the wall from the fridge. I really cringed when I measured that ELF radiation levels there because they were WAY off the charts.

I had magnetic fields that were 5-10 times higher than what is recommended!

The following couple of hours was spent measuring levels around all the walls in our house to make sure that nobody was sleeping, sitting, are resting around strong electromagnetic fields.

I quickly moved I talk prescribed to the opposite wall in his room. By doing that, I reduced the EMF radiation more than 10 times! I’m glad I found out about this but I regret not having found out much earlier.

If you find your kids to have trouble sleeping (or yourself!) try measuring the ELF radiation in your bedroom. And of course, turn off all Wi-Fi signals and electrical circuits in your bedroom because we don’t want to get fried while we sleep, right?.

ELF Belong To The Non-Ionizing Types Of EMF

When we are looking at the whole spectrum of EMF types we can divide them into non-ionizing and ionizing radiation. ELS radiation falls in the first category.

The non-ionizing types of radiation are less harmful than the ionizing types of radiation. It takes much longer time for non-ionizing radiation to affect your body on a cellular level while the ionizing radiation will quickly damage your cells. We only have parts of the UV-light from the sun within the ionizing spectrum and we also have the X-rays and the Gamma rays.

You probably know that to last types of radiation from the science books.

X-rays and Gamma rays are very strong and dangerous types of radiation. This is also easy to see because they are the very opposite end of the spectrum as the ELF radiation.

Because the ELF radiation has a very low frequency it is often considered harmless. Historically, we have also set very high limits for what we allow when we look at the ELF levels around us.

But recent research has shown that long-term exposure off even low-frequency radiation of the non-ironizing type can harm the body on a cellular level.

So, as a result, many people are starting to distance themselves from high-voltage power lines in the urban environment. Some do it because they feel immediate discomfort when they are around strong ELF radiation from the power lines.

Others do it just because research is starting to imply serious health issues.

Sources:
https://www.who.int/peh-emf/publications/facts/fs322/en/
https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/elfradiation/index.html

George Willington

I'm George Willington. I've researched EMF radiation in order to create a safe home for my family. My background is Information Science (University of Aarhus, Denmark) and I've worked with Wifi and router communication for many years. I believe I have a good understanding of the technical side of the various types of EMF. I hope you can learn something from my tips and guides.

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