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Ceiling lighting, bedside lamps, and desk lamps are sources of alternating electrical and magnetic fields. Due to their proximity to the head during sleep, bedside lamps are of particular concern.

Especially low-voltage halogen lamps can cause very strong magnetic fields. Since they usually operate at 12 volts (instead of the common 230 volts in Europe, 110 volts in North America), the resulting current is about 19 or 9 times higher.

A higher current always means a stronger magnetic field. The range of the fields also increases with increasing spacing between supply and return conductors, because the farther apart they are, the less their fields can cancel each other. Fluorescent lamps and compact fluorescent lamps use less electricity but do emit higher levels of electrical fields and RF electromagnetic radiation.

Dimmers and electronic ballasts can also dramatically increase these fields. All lamps have in common that they emit alternating electrical fields as soon as they are plugged into an outlet that is connected to the power supply.

It is very important in this case whether the phase or voltage-carrying conductor is disconnected at the often one-pole switch, or the neutral conductor.

If the neutral conductor is disconnected, this results in extremely high electric field exposures on the other side of the switch-even when switched off. These fields do not occur when the phase or hot conductor is switched off. You can easily test this with a voltage tester pen.

A safety distance of approximately one meter reduces the exposure in this case, as well. This distance is also recommended to transformers, power cords, and supply wiring.

This is easier if the transformer is integrated in the plug and not in the lamp base. When installing low-voltage halogen lamps in the ceiling, make sure that the supply cables are packed as closely together as possible. By doing so, the alternating magnetic fields, which arise when devices are switched on, can be considerably reduced since the fields cancel each other to a great extent.

According to German DIN/VDE standards, wiring embedded in plaster always has to switch off the phase. Due to their one-pole switches, lamps that are plugged into outlets such as bedside or headboard lamps may either turn off the phase or the neutral, depending on which way the plug was inserted.

In the latter case, excessively high electrical field exposures arise. Make sure that extension and power cords, which are not hidden inside the wall, use shielded cables.

The following companies offer products protecting against ELF or wireless radiation:

Home wiring Danell Gigahertz Biologa
Rooms Biologa Rigips STO
  BioSol KS  

All products at a glance...


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