# Radiation and EMF whirlygigs

1. Dec 14, 2011

### ƒ(x)

Recently, someone I know has become convinced that the poor sleep I'm getting is the result of EMFs being emitted by anything near my bed that's electrical. I think this is complete ******** (Edit: look at that, the forum auto-censors). Although, if that was the end of the matter, I'd be completely fine.
Now, I've been receiving emails from said person containing product links to EMF Meters, like this one. They cost about \$200. This person is a little bit past middle aged and doesn't have a mind that's completely grounded in science or rationality. As such, she's (it would probably be simpler if I just told it's a family member), particularly vulnerable to pseudo-science and carries out all the instructions, which normally involve spending money, recommended by her homeopathic doctor. (Not that I have anything against homeopathy. Some of the stuff seems to work, and I can't argue with results.) It annoys me to no end that she gets duped like this, but all my arguments have been in vain so far.
This EMF issue seems like something that, given the appropriate facts, I could actually put an end to. Unfortunately, I'm not knowledgeable enough in this area, and my research attempts have been fruitless.
I'd greatly appreciate it if any of you guys had an points I could use to disprove the hypothesis that EMFs are causing my poor sleep.

2. Dec 14, 2011

### Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus
You defeat it by asking for published studies [in proper science journals ONLY] supporting his claim. I am quite sure there are none. The burden of proof is on him, not you.

Ask him to show actual evidence that this isn't total bs.

Last edited: Dec 14, 2011
3. Dec 14, 2011

### zoobyshoe

You say it's a relative, so is there anyone you both know who sleeps pretty well despite having just as many electrical things around?

4. Dec 14, 2011

### Staff: Mentor

5. Dec 15, 2011

### Ryan_m_b

Staff Emeritus
Are you aware of what homeopathy is? Every credible study shows it to not work. Even the very premises of homeopathy fly in the face of established science. Homeopaths believe that if a substance causes symptoms A, B and C in one dose it will cure symptoms A, B and C in a massively diluted dose. So diluted that there is literally nothing left but water, but that's ok because they claim that water has memory and that it takes on the properties of the substance that has been diluted.

It is pure crackpottery and I am disgusted that in the modern world there is not a greater effort to tackle these snake-oil salesmen who take millions of pounds of peoples money selling fake medicines.

6. Dec 15, 2011

### Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus
A lot of people confuse homeopathy with holistic medicine.

7. Dec 15, 2011

### Ryan_m_b

Staff Emeritus
And even that is itself mostly rubbish. When used by doctors or medical researchers it means treating various aspects of a person's needs e.g. dealing with the psychological and social ramifications of a patient's cancer as well as treating the cancer. However the term is often used by practitioners of alternative medicines to promote things like homeopathy, spiritual counselling, acupuncture etc.

8. Dec 15, 2011

### Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus
Yes, it gets pretty mucky.

When I first started here, I had no idea what homoeopathy was. I thought it involved eating healthy foods, and meditation. :rofl: It turned out that a lot of people had these wires crossed.

9. Dec 15, 2011

### ƒ(x)

She countered with this

http://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/topics/agents/emf/

10. Dec 15, 2011

### ƒ(x)

Guess I wasn't aware what it is.

11. Dec 15, 2011

### Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus
12. Dec 15, 2011

### CEL

13. Dec 15, 2011

### Staff: Mentor

You can point her to this.

http://www.aps.org/policy/statements/95_2.cfm

14. Dec 24, 2011

### ƒ(x)

The argument reached the point where she said something along the lines of "Thank you for your views. This has been very interesting."

15. Dec 24, 2011

### Dickfore

The Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation is a blackbody radiation corresponding to a temperature of 2.7255 K. According to Wien's displacement Law, this corresponds to a peak frequency:
$$\frac{f_{\mathrm{peak}}}{T} = 58.77 \, \frac{\mathrm{GHz}}{\mathrm{K}} \Rightarrow f_{\mathrm{peak}} = 160 \, \mathrm{GHz}$$

This falls into the Extremely High Frequency range of radio waves in the EM spectrum.

The total energy density is given by Stefan's Law:
$$u = A \, T^4, \ A = \frac{8 \pi^4 \, k^4_B}{15 \, (h c)^3} = 2.407 \times 10^{-16} \, \frac{\mathrm{J}}{\mathrm{m^3} \, \mathrm{K}^4}$$
$$u = 1.328 \times 10^{-14} \,\frac{\mathrm{J}}{\mathrm{m}^3}$$
This energy density corresponds to a total energy flux density ((energy flow per unit time = power flow) per unit area):
$$I = \frac{c \, u}{4}$$
$$I = 0.996 \, \frac{\mathrm{\mu W}}{\mathrm{m}^2} = 9.96 \, \frac{\mathrm{mW}}{\mathrm{cm}^2}$$

So, there is an all-surrounding intensity of about 10 milliwatts per square centimeter due to the CMB. What intensity levels do those devices that you were looking to buy measure?

EDIT:
This is an enlarged view of the picture of the device's scale:
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/81E4VvhNOLL._AA1500_.jpg
Look at the bottom scale! It measures intensities that are one order of magnitude lower than what the CMB has. So, blame the Big Bang for cancer!

Last edited: Dec 24, 2011
16. Dec 27, 2011

### FlexGunship

Just read that page... nothing about sleeping and EMF. Unless you're experiencing significant childhood leukemia, I don't see anything relevant.

Also, last I heard, the link between EMF and leukemia had been broken by an "outbreak" in undeveloped parts of Togo which has finally skewed the results to "trivial." I believe the conclusion was that there are far stronger genetic links than environmental links.