What household appliances emit electromagnetic fields?

Written by paul novak
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What household appliances emit electromagnetic fields?
Hair dryers are among the highest sources of electromagnetic fields in the home. (dryers image by timur1970 from Fotolia.com)

Electromagnetic fields are present in every appliance that uses electricity within the home. Although there is no consensus as to the effects of these fields on humans, general precautions suggest keeping prudent distance from sources of EMF's. The strength of these fields is measured in "milligauss" at a certain distance from the source and drops as distance increases. The strength of the field produced varies greatly and depends on the type and model of appliance used.

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Hair Dryer

Hair dryers can emit electromagnetic fields as high as 700 milligauss as measured at 6 inches from the appliance. The overall strength of the field depends greatly on the type and model of the hair dryer being tested. The strength of the electromagnetic field produced by hair dryers diminishes greatly as distance from the unit increases and can become negligible within 2 feet from the unit.

Can Opener

Can openers can produce electromagnetic fields as high as 1,500 milligauss at 6 inches from the appliance. As with other appliances, the strength of the field depends greatly on the type and model. Can openers emit a stronger field for a farther distance than most appliances but the strength of the field still diminishes greatly as distance from the unit increases. Within 4 feet of distance from the opener, the strength of the electromagnetic field has dropped to 4 milligauss.

Microwave oven

Although microwave ovens are high-powered appliances, they are well shielded and so emit weaker electromagnetic fields than many other appliances. The highest fields for microwave ovens are 300 milligauss at 6 inches, however, the drop off as distance increases is less than for other appliances. At 4 feet, microwave ovens can still emit a field 40 milligauss in strength.

Dishwasher

Some of the highest electromagnetic field readings for dishwashers are in the 100 milligauss at 6 inches range. Like most other appliances, the field strength diminishes greatly with increases in distance from the appliance. By four feet, the strength of the electromagnetic fields produced by dishwashers has fallen to 1 or 0 milligauss.

Refrigerator

Refrigerators are another powerful appliance that is well shielded and so does not emit a strong electromagnetic field. At 6 inches a refrigerator can emit up an electromagnetic field up 120 milligauss in strength. By 4 feet away, the electromagnetic fields strength has dropped to 10 milligauss.

Vacuum cleaner

Vacuum cleaners are strong source of electromagnetic fields and can produce fields as strong as 800 milligauss at 1 inch from the appliance. The strength diminishes quickly to 2 milligauss at 3 feet from the unit.

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