In the previous post we touched briefly on what is EMF and the potential dangers it can cause. Now we’ll look at what governments around the world are doing to combat electro magnetic radiation as its dangers are becoming more common knowledge.

Firstly, we’ll touch on something called Electrosensitivity. Electrosensitivity (ES) – is a condition recognised in Sweden, Canada, Germany, U.S.A (to name but a few) and is becoming more noticed, with people reporting symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, palpitations, depression and sleep problems as a result of exposure to electromagnetic fields. Considerations about long-term effects aside, it is thought that up to 30% of the population are at least slightly sensitive to electromagnetic fields, experiencing immediate symptoms after exposure. As we are increasingly surrounded by electronic devices in every day life, ES and other allergies to electromagnetic radiation is becoming more and more common especially now as children have constant access to electronic devices and wifi.

Not only has CANADA recognised ES as an illness but the largest teachers union in Canada, the Elementary Teacher’s Federation of Ontario has voted to ban the use of mobile phones in classrooms as part of a series of motions requesting that radiation from cell phones and wifi be recognized as a potential workplace hazard for teachers.

An understanding of ES and other public concerns have prompted numerous studies and resulting legislations passed on exposure to EMF. A lot of other 1st world countries are now introducing limits and guidelines for exposure to EMF see below:

• FRANCE is currently one of the most proactive countries in regard to awareness of electro magnetic levels. Information reducing exposure is mandatory, all citizens have the right to measurements of cell towers near homes and also, wifi is banned in nurseries. In addition, a French woman won a court case and got a disability grant after telling a court she suffers from an allergy to electromagnetic radiation from gadgets. She was able to claim 800 euros a month for 3 years. (Although no court cases relating to ES have occurred in the UK, there have been numerous claims won by people living in close proximity to pylons and substations as they’re deemed potential property devaluing factors. See companies such as Cambridge Land Consultants)
• ITALY has introduced a target that new homes and new lines shouldn’t exceed levels of 3 µT. These levels are still very high in regard to the SAGE and SBM guidelines, however it is a start.
• SWITZERLAND have gone slightly better than the Italian guidelines and have stated that overhead lines and underground cables greater than 1 kV, substations, and railways located near regularly occupied locations have a limit of 1 µT.
• DENMARK and NORWAY use the limit of 0.4 µT and anything above that is to be evaluated for potential reduction methods.
• Netherlands also use the limit of 0.4 µT on dwellings and homes. With their government issuing the following “Aim of the advice is to prevent new situations where people stay for a long time in the area near overhead power lines where the magnetic field exceeds 0.4 microtesla”

As you can see, countries are continually making productive changes to EMF exposure limits in the work place but also, in homes. There is no doubt that electro-magnetic fields are going to be a constant factor in modern day living because of the importance of electrical appliances, however that doesn’t mean that more stringent guidelines and laws can’t be put into place to help prevent exposure to high levels of EMF. One I’d personally like to see changed is the requirement to lay underground cables 1.5 meters or more below surface as the current laying of underground cables in the UK follows British Standard Regulation 522.8.10 which says, “Buried cables, conduits and ducts shall be at a sufficient depth to avoid being damaged by any foreseeable damage to the ground.” The words ‘sufficient depth’ are too subjective in my eyes and in the eyes of many, keeping in mind that an 11KV cable is one of the most common laid underground.

The UK currently doesn’t have set guidelines for EMF exposure in homes or schools.

However, believe it or not the UK government is starting to introduce more effective ways to minimize potential risks caused by high EMF exposure.

In June 2016 the government passed The Control of Electro Magnetic Fields At Work Regulations, which states that work places are required to (in a nutshell) assess EMF levels and to take action if these levels were deemed high enough. Naturally, companies who do not get an EMF assessment done are susceptible to potential claims at from employees. Find the government website link below:

This is understandable as the awareness of the adverse effects that high EMF levels cause is growing and growing. With every research study, more information supporting the danger of exposure to high EMF levels is found. For instance, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has labelled magnetic fields a class 3 carcinogen joining the likes of Parasorbic acid and Mercury.

Finally, I’ll leave you with this:

• As awareness grows, how long will it be before a legislation is introduced here in the UK stating its mandatory for homes to be assessed for Electro-magnetic field levels?
• What would the implications be for homes that don’t meet the guidelines?
• How would this affect the current property market?
• What would this mean for landlords and their potential liability?
• Would it be a tenants right to access an EMF report?

As it stands, a recent survey shows that a visual presence of a substation near a property reduces the potential buyers by 63%. From the people that were put off by the presence of the substation, the biggest reason was health concern. However, if the property in question had an EMF survey done giving it the all clear with a report stating the EMF levels were not a reason for further concern, then are these people more likely to become potential buyers again?