EMF in electrical rooms ( Safe ? )

WasGSOHM

Senior Member
Location
Montgomery County MD
Occupation
EE
I get harassing mail and phone calls about Takata airbag recalls. Maybe 30 people have died over 20 years from this, so it's down in the noise. Way down.
The dealerships want to sell me service using this fear, with my car held hostage once they get it.

8000 people die each day in the US from any and all causes. I can't imagine how far down the list "death by EMF" would be. Less than shark attacks and lightning strikes. Maybe less than meteorite injuries.

The health insurance companies know how risky elec. work is compared to other careers and the premium cost will reflect this. Compare the prices with those of roofers, for example.

Controlled, double blind, etc., studies would be needed to confirm EMF as the cause of symptom X. In a free country this would never be done unless done on the sly or on prisoners as part of a deal.

And correlation unfortunately does not necessarily mean causality.
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
I get harassing mail and phone calls about Takata airbag recalls. Maybe 30 people have died over 20 years from this, so it's down in the noise. Way down.
The dealerships want to sell me service using this fear, with my car held hostage once they get it.

8000 people die each day in the US from any and all causes. I can't imagine how far down the list "death by EMF" would be. Less than shark attacks and lightning strikes. Maybe less than meteorite injuries.

The health insurance companies know how risky elec. work is compared to other careers and the premium cost will reflect this. Compare the prices with those of roofers, for example.

Controlled, double blind, etc., studies would be needed to confirm EMF as the cause of symptom X. In a free country this would never be done unless done on the sly or on prisoners as part of a deal.

And correlation unfortunately does not necessarily mean causality.
The thing is if there is problems with EMF's it won't be quick and done deaths like shark attack or lightning strike, it will be cumulative effects over possibly a long time similar to smoking, exposure to lead, asbestos, maybe low level radiation...and the list can go on with thousands of items being possibilities, and increases by at least a factor of 10 if you live in California:)
 
I get harassing mail and phone calls about Takata airbag recalls

I got mailers for a while, then someone from Honda America came to my door to say "We'd really like to replace this. If you're going to be home this afternoon, we can have a tech here around 1, job takes about 20 minutes."

I was home, tech arrived, it took about 20 minutes, done. Zero cost. (If you schedule with the dealer, it'll probably take about the same amount of time, then they want you out the door.)
 

infinity

Moderator
Staff member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Journeyman Electrician
We did a large apartment building. Owners had some company come in and check for EMF's. They found "very high levels" from our metal raceways and service switchgear so they installed thousands of square feet of 1/4" welded aluminum for keep the levels down. In the service room that contained 3-4000 amp services they covered the entire ceiling in 1/4" sheet aluminum and welded all of the seams. Here's a few photo's of our risers that ran through an apartment ceiling and their mitigation effort.
EMF Protection 001.jpg EMF protection 002.jpg
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
Dealerships get paid (by the manufacturers) for warranty and recall work.
Yes but some that are high pressure sales types will always do a "free inspection" and tell you what recommended services are coming up or other items that may be needing attention soon, and will already have quote printed for you to make those services or repairs when done with what you initially were scheduled for. This can be good, but often they identify something that is just starting to show some wear that maybe still has a lot of life left in it.

One time they told me I needed ball joints - I had another guy that at the time did mostly front suspension work that I would have had do the job if needed, he said he's seen worse and these weren't to the point they needed replaced yet. That particular vehicle new joints have more movement than some other vehicles normally have.
 

ActionDave

Chief Moderator
Staff member
Location
Durango, CO, 10 h 20 min without traffic from wing
Occupation
Licensed Electrician
We did a large apartment building. Owners had some company come in and check for EMF's. They found "very high levels" from our metal raceways and service switchgear so they installed thousands of square feet of 1/4" welded aluminum for keep the levels down. In the service room that contained 3-4000 amp services they covered the entire ceiling in 1/4" sheet aluminum and welded all of the seams. Here's a few photo's of our risers that ran through an apartment ceiling and their mitigation effort.....
It's odd that they chose aluminium since that does nothing to stop any "EMF". There is some stuff called Mu metal that is supposed to be more effective.
 

synchro

Senior Member
Location
Chicago, IL
Occupation
EE
It's odd that they chose aluminium since that does nothing to stop any "EMF". There is some stuff called Mu metal that is supposed to be more effective.
Yes. aluminum would be good for RF frequencies or for electric fields, but is not very effective in stopping low frequency magnetic fields like at 60 Hz.
Mu metal has very high permeability which provides shielding with a low reluctance for conducting and concentrating magnetic flux that's induced by applied magnetic fields. An analogy is having a low resistance material for conducting electric currents.
Mu metal is named after the Greek letter μ (pronounced mu) which is the symbol for permeability.
 

twm22

Member
I don't doubt there can be health issues from EMF's but why is it not a problem for the electricians to potentially spend the entire day in that room doing what they do, but as soon as you place a desk in there the EMF's are a potential problem?
I always find it curious when a discussion (or thread, like this one) scoffs at safety issues, as though the safety department is somehow trying to make your life more difficult. Sit in on a trial where a safety staffer is being cross examined for something he missed. Or just look at the history of hazard exposures that became billion dollar sources of claims.

And to answer your concern, an electrician who believes that EMF can't hurt me because if it could, I wouldn't be allowed in here, will sit at this desk for more time than necessary despite extensive evidence that EMF does cause bodily injury.

The original question is a good question and one I'm interested to follow further
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
I always find it curious when a discussion (or thread, like this one) scoffs at safety issues, as though the safety department is somehow trying to make your life more difficult. Sit in on a trial where a safety staffer is being cross examined for something he missed. Or just look at the history of hazard exposures that became billion dollar sources of claims.

And to answer your concern, an electrician who believes that EMF can't hurt me because if it could, I wouldn't be allowed in here, will sit at this desk for more time than necessary despite extensive evidence that EMF does cause bodily injury.

The original question is a good question and one I'm interested to follow further
I'm not scoffing at whether or not EMF's are a safety issue but rather at the fact that no one seems to even consider that electricians doing electrician work in same room seems to be mostly disregarded but put someone at a desk in that room and we now potentially have a hazard that wasn't there before. That is stupid.
 

Hv&Lv

Senior Member
Location
-
Occupation
Engineer/Technician
I guess these same safety people used cell phones to call and ask, also IT probably has several access points throughout the facility.
We have people that actually pay MORE for a regular meter in their house rather than a smart meter, (scared of EMF and or POCO spying on their usage) but yet their house is fully integrated with the internet..

Go figure...
 
Well, it started with "Our safety department questioned whether the EMF in this room is safe to have a desk there ." and prerry much everyone said that they, the Safety dept, needs to go answer the question themselves. The answer may well ne "No, it's not a problem."
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
Well, it started with "Our safety department questioned whether the EMF in this room is safe to have a desk there ." and prerry much everyone said that they, the Safety dept, needs to go answer the question themselves. The answer may well ne "No, it's not a problem."
If it is a problem then maybe electrical workers practices need more analyzing as well not just whoever sits at the desk in question.
 

Hv&Lv

Senior Member
Location
-
Occupation
Engineer/Technician
If the safety dept has the budget, people and time to investigate EMF, go for it.
If it’s anything like our safety guy he has the time. He doesn’t do anything else...
His dad was CEO and he wasn’t any good at line work, so...
 

twm22

Member
If it’s anything like our safety guy he has the time. He doesn’t do anything else...
His dad was CEO and he wasn’t any good at line work, so...

I get harassing mail and phone calls about Takata airbag recalls. Maybe 30 people have died over 20 years from this, so it's down in the noise. Way down.
The dealerships want to sell me service using this fear, with my car held hostage once they get it.

8000 people die each day in the US from any and all causes. I can't imagine how far down the list "death by EMF" would be. Less than shark attacks and lightning strikes. Maybe less than meteorite injuries.

The health insurance companies know how risky elec. work is compared to other careers and the premium cost will reflect this. Compare the prices with those of roofers, for example.

Controlled, double blind, etc., studies would be needed to confirm EMF as the cause of symptom X. In a free country this would never be done unless done on the sly or on prisoners as part of a deal.

And correlation unfortunately does not necessarily mean causality.
Are you saying ignore the question? If the safety department is asking you, as an EE, to be the person of record on their question, and you say ignore it, so be it. At least that's an answer. If you're saying, "It's a stupid question and I'm not going to answer it directly,", then the problem continues.

For professionals to say that emf is not an issue is staggering. To say that, "only 30 people have died over 20 years" shows staggering technical and ethical ignorance.
 

twm22

Member
If it’s anything like our safety guy he has the time. He doesn’t do anything else...
His dad was CEO and he wasn’t any good at line work, so...
I wonder why many on this thread are even on the Safety thread. If the original question hadn't included a reference to the safety department, you'd still find a way to scoff at the EMF question, regardless of years of evidence that it's an issue. If someone asked a code question, you'd be right there with 222.222.q, but because it's related to safety, you scoff.

If you don't answer the question but merely deflect it, you haven't answered the question. The man wouldn't have asked it if he didn't want your opinion, just like if he asked about the NEC or NESC or IBC.

And you keep going back to the "stupid" idea of a desk in the switchgear room. A room is designed as a room is designed. A boiler room with 120 degree temperatures and 95 decibels is not designed for a desk and you rarely see them because the hazards are OBVIOUS. It doesn't' preclude operators from being in the room all day if need be.

The real issue here is safety and the attitude that some have toward it. I have been involved in safety evolutions at the highest levels since my days in the submarine navy. I work oil and gas and industrial processes regularly, and it's always the scofflaws that get people hurt and killed. And more infuriating, it's the scofflaws who leave the boring, grueling, tedious parts of good safety and health work to others. God forbid they have to do a decent accident investigation or root cause analysis. God forbid they have to take a stand against management who cut a budget or rushed a job. God forbid they participate in good, upfront research and brainstorming. To them, it's a wave of the hand and "it's not a problem". Point to the bad safety guy who's the bosses son (like all EE's are somehow even average)
 
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