Ahhhhhh. AC magnetic fields.

What I refer to as “stuff that’s powered on” – whether it’s powered by electricity or batteries.

And, you may be interested to know these are also one of the most commonly overlooked fields that can be pretty simple to mitigate and reduce your exposure to if (the big IF) you know what to look for.

So what’s the skinny on these fields?

First of all, this type of field ONLY exists if something is actually powered on. Like a lamp, a computer, or a light bulb. You get the picture.

Secondly, these fields radiate outwards from the source. For example, if a light is turned on, the field will radiate outwards from the cord as well as the light bulb and switch.

AC magnetic field

If it’s something that runs on batteries, such as a toothbrush, the field will radiate outwards from wherever the battery is and the switch itself. When it’s plugged in and charging, there will also be a field from the cord that’s plugged in.

This type of field can also go through materials, like walls, windows, doors, and… humans. For example, MRIs and CT scans that we use for medical diagnostics – which actually create very, very high magnetic fields.

How do you figure out what the impact is from these fields?

Here’s what you need to look for to reduce these EMF fields:

  • The strength of the field
  • How close you are to the field
  • How much time you’re spending around that field in close proximity
  • If the object is electric (such as a lamp or a clock) how close you are to the cord

And other key gotchas that you need to pay attention to and why:

  • If there’s a cord, is it grounded ( a three-prong plug) – ideally it IS because ungrounded plugs (which most of our electronics are) can emit lots of stray voltage
  • Is there a power converter – for example, a phone charger or laptop charger has a square or rectangular “box” that supplies it with electricity charges it so that it can run on battery. These can create what’s called “dirty electricity” – these step down the power coming from the wall and disrupt the electrical current by creating harmonics, or spikes in the power, which can have negative health impacts.

This is what it should look like:

AC magnetic field

But looks like this instead:

Can you vary the speed of the motor? For example, a hair dryer lets you set different speeds. These types of “motors” also tend to create very high magnetic fields

How to reduce AC magnetic fields

  • Similar to AC direct fields, distance is your friend, and the greater distance you can be from things that are powered on regardless of whether they’re powered by electricity or battery, the better. Many AC magnetic fields can drop off after one to three feet away from the source, however, it really depends on how strong the field is, so you really need to have a meter to measure how strong the field is and where it actually drops off
  • Unplug things that don’t need to be plugged in that you spend a lot of time around
  • Reduce the amount of time you spend around these types of fields in close proximity. What increases your health risks is a combination of how strong the fields are (remember, they can go through our bodies) and how much time you spend around these fields
  • What’s on the other side of that wall? Remember, these fields can go through walls, so again, if you a meter will come in handy to determine how strong the fields are and where they drop off

So now you’re just learned

  • What AC magnetic fields are
  • Where you can find them in your home
  • What to look for to reduce them
  • Some simple steps you can do right now to reduce your exposure

And this concludes the second of three articles which explains the three different types of EMF fields you can find in your home that you need to be aware of.

To your digital wellness!