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Physics/RF pollution

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Question
Hi Steve,
I'm buying a house with a fancy home automation system.  I'm concerned about the EMF it would generate.  I think I am somewhat electro sensitive.  I have tinnitus, which might be exacerbated by EMFs.
If I just turn the system off, would that stop the EMF's?  Or do I need to rip it out?
Thanks.
Joan

Answer
Tinnitus sufferers are sensitive to transformers and (more so) chopping power supplies.  Really very little to do with EMFs, and a home automation system only emits absolutely tiny levels of EMF due to the ultra-low frequencies it works on.  We're not talking anywhere near the same league as a single cell phone in the next house over, for most of the schemes I've seen.  Don't bother turning it off, it'll manage power and actually lower the EMF levels in your house, properly used.  Worry about the things that use and (especially) modify the power in your house.  Flourescent lighting (the old kind with the big gas ballast, not the new little ones).  Again, digital power supplies and motors.  You clearly have a computer...how big is the case?  I'd go to a laptop if you're concerned about that.

Lots of people think they're sensitive to such things, but currently there's absolutely no reputable (and I stress reputable, there are a lot of fear-mongers out there who have nothing better to do than espouse unproven claims) research to support this.  There's a huge amount of anecdotal advice (not trustable, but very human to believe it) and some reason to believe that truly large EMFs from large transformers might have some remote biological effects.

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Dr. Stephen O. Nelson

Expertise

I can answer most basic physics questions, physics questions about science fiction and everyday observations of physics, etc. I'm also usually good for science fair advice (I'm the regional science fair director). I do not answer homework problems. I will occasionally point out where a homework solution went wrong, though. I'm usually good at explaining odd observations that seem counterintuitive, energy science, nuclear physics, nuclear astrophysics, and alternative theories of physics are my specialties.

Experience

I was a physics professor at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin, research in nuclear technology and nuclear astrophysics. My travelling science show saw over 20,000 students of all ages. I taught physics, nuclear chemistry, radiation safety, vacuum technology, and answer tons of questions as I tour schools encouraging students to consider careers in science. I moved on to a non-academic job with more research just recently.

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Ph. D. from Duke University in physics, research in nuclear astrophysics reactions, gamma-ray astronomy technology, and advanced nuclear reactors.

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