Sunday, May 10, 2009

RF vs. EMF

Radiation. It's something we know is bad for us....but it seems that with so many types of radiation, they're often collected into one large group as being one in the same.

So let's start with a definition: What is radiation? Radiation, put simply, is the emission of energy from an object. The absorption of that energy by the human body is most often the target of conversation when it comes to health and radiation.

The kind of radiation that the HARApad product is linked to is electromagnetic radiation. Electromagnetic radiation is explained in detail in this blog's post "What is electromagnetic radiation and how can it be dangerous?" The HARApad functions by attenuating, or acting as a ground, to the circulating EMF surrounding electrical devices. EMF is particularly concerning because there is no defined maximum safe level as issued by any authoritative body. The more demanding the performance of an electrical device, the more electricity (and therefore EMF) is present. There is no legal limitation on electrical currents in home products, so EMF continues to increase dramatically.

Another type of radiation that some people are also voicing concerns about is RF radiation. RF stands for Radio Frequency, and is emitted by radio and television signals, cell phones, and wireless devices. RF is measured in cycles per second, or Hertz, and the radiation levels are measured by Specific Absorption Rate (S.A.R.). The FCC has put regulations on safe levels of RF exposure, at a S.A.R. of 1.6 Watts/kilogram. That means that no wireless transmitting devices are allowed to exist on the market with a higher S.A.R. than 1.6 W/kg, exceeding the safe level of exposure. A device does exist to block RF radiation, called the LapShield. While it is marketed to block EMF, testing shows that it does not block any EMF at all, but is very effective against RF radiation. The proof is in Winston Technologies' cell phone test; wrap a cell phone in their product and it will eliminate the signal. Radio signals are emitted by antennae; be it a radio station tower, a cell phone tower, or a wireless router in your own home. Radio frequencies exist anywhere a cell phone gets reception, or anywhere a laptop can pick up a WiFi signal. The body is continually immersed in this RF wave, at safe levels according to legal codes set forth by the FCC, and exposure could only possibly be eliminated if one were wearing a suit made from the shielding material found in the LapShield. Alternately, EMF is emitted only by electrical devices, and exists in dangerous quantities nearest the source, or the device itself. EMF fades to safe levels with distance, and protection against negative effects can be achieved with the proper blocking device between you and that source.

The lesson here is this: All radiation is not created equal. EMF is very different from RF, and the only test to determine a product's effectiveness against EMF is to use a Gaussmeter. The HARApad does not block against RF, and the LapShield does not block against EMF. We are subjected to EMF as we get closer to electrical components, and we are subjected to RF in any location where a wireless internet signal can be picked up, or cell phone service received. EMF levels will be allowed to soar towards infinity so long as electronic devices are allowed to progress in strength. RF emission is limited by the FCC, and products with these signals are regulated. It is our belief at HARApad that these EMF fields are the more pertinent and dangerous waves that the public needs to be educated about and protected against.

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