In Germany, Bau-Biologists have long been concerned about the negative health effects associated with exposure to electric fields. In the United States, mainstream science has given little credence to the notion that electric fields pose a health threat and remains skeptical in spite of continuing evidence of biological effects.
A 1996 study by the Ontario Hydroelectric Company indicated a greater than sevenfold increase in cancers among long-term workers exposed simultaneously to magnetic and high electric fields.2 The study suggests that the presence of electric fields potentiates the health impact of magnetic fields. Additional data published in 2000 support the role of electric field exposure in leukemia.3 These findings may shed light on why various studies of the impact of magnetic fields alone on humans have been inconclusive.
A proportion of the population appears to suffer from hypersensitivity to electric fields. These individuals may react to exposure with immediate neurological symptoms such as insomnia, depression, and anxiety. One frequently reported symptom is that of feeling physically exhausted but too jittery to sleep, or “wired and tired.”
Wiring for reduced electric fields is not required by the electrical code and can be costly. Electric fields generated by wiring can be shielded in metal conduit. This practice is standard in commercial construction but rarely found in residential construction. Even if metal conduit is used, electric fields will still be emitted from appliances or fixtures once they are plugged in unless they have been specially wired or renovated. For people with hypersensitivity to electric fields, special wiring techniques similar to those used to block electrical interference in hospitals and sound studios may be a necessary expense. Techniques for this type of specialty wiring are beyond the scope of this book and will require consultation with an expert.
Wiring for Household Electric Field Reduction
The following instructions may be specified to reduce electric fields generated by household wiring:
• All household wiring shall be placed in MX, MC, or rigid metal conduit.
• All electrical boxes and bushings shall be metal in order to provide shielding of electrical fields throughout the entire run to the panel.
• Avoid running wire behind or under bed placement locations.
Wiring for Electric Field Reduction in the Bedroom with a Kill Switch
A less expensive approach is to reduce electric fields exclusively in the bedroom by employing a kill switch, which cuts the power to an individual circuit. You can turn off the power to the bedroom just before you retire at night, creating a field-free sanctuary. Because the presence of high electric fields is most commonly associated with sleep disturbances, we believe that such a device is an important feature in electric field reduction for the healthy bedroom.
Kill switches are most effectively used when wire runs are planned in advance. In brief, certain wiring, such as the wires leading
Kill Switch:The kill switch is used to eliminate electric and magnetic fields from plugged in appliances. When the kill switch is off the appliance is off and the fields are eliminated.
to smoke detectors or refrigerators, should not be included with bedroom runs. Typical electrical switches used for freestanding lamps and other electrical appliances turn that equipment off by cutting the power to the hot (black) wire of the equipment. This does not cut off the electrical field as long as the equipment is still plugged in. The entire run of wire up to the switch ends up radiating electric fields even when the switch is off. A kill switch is designed to cut off the fields in any given run of wiring. Using a kill switch is especially appropriate for bedrooms, where power isn’t
usually desired or necessary while the occupants are asleep.
The least expensive way to accomplish this is to install a double-pole switch in a convenient location along the run of electrical wire well before it enters the area of the home to be controlled. Heavy-duty switches have an increased amperage limit rating and can perform this task as long as the amperage on the circuit beyond the switch does not exceed the amperage limit rating of the switch. Combination electrical outlet and double-pole heavy — duty switch units are available. These contain