Identifying Trustworthy EMF Reports
Who can you trust? Independent tests are only as good as the companies requesting them.
To be valid, independent reports must include the following data:
- Testing must be a on relevant heater (backrest heater)
- Report must measure voltage and current to confirm power level
- Report must measure both electric field and magnetic field
- Report must find MAXIMUM levels at heater's surface
- There is no number 5!
See examples of ways sauna companies will produce misleading EMF reports.
Who Can You Trust?
For staters, make sure you see EMF measurements from an independent company that specializes in EMF engineering. Sauna companies so far exclusively use Vitatech Electromagnetics to provide EMF measurements, and that is a great start.
However, Vitatech Electromagnetics only measures what sauna companies pay them to measure. Sadly, many sauna companies take advantage of this to manipulate the results. This is a guide to knowing if you are looking at a trustworthy EMF report.
1) Testing must be on a relevant heater (backrest heater)
The more electric power (watts) that a heater consumes and the closer you sit to it, the higher your EMF exposure. In an infrared sauna, your highest EMF exposure is typically to the heater behind the backrest because you lean closest to that heater.
Do sauna companies sometimes test less powerful heaters to give you a false sense of security about EMF? Sadly, yes.
2) Report must measure voltage and current to confirm power level
Every good independent EMF report must also confirm the power to the heater. Higher power heaters produce more EMF.
Power = V x I
(power measured in watts) = (voltage measured in volts) x (current measured in Amps)
This is necessary to confirm:
a) the power level of the heater
b) that the sauna doesn't convert AC to DC power to hide measurement of the fields
c) that measurements aren't for 240 volt heaters, while you are buying a sauna that runs off of 120 volts
All 3 of the above are tricks that have been used by sauna companies.
3) Report must measure both electric field & magnetic field
There are 3 kinds of EMF, and you should be concerned about all of them.
Every sauna company besides High Tech Health does not want you to ask about electric fields from their heaters because the electric field levels are off the chart. Very high electric fields and very high magnetic fields come with every infrared heater, unless the heaters have been especially designed to mitigate electric fields and mitigate magnetic fields (the two are separate efforts and mitigating one will never mitigate the other for "free").
Any report that only looks at magnetic fields is worthless.
4) Report must find MAXIMUM levels at heater's surface
The only useful measurements of field levels are to request Vitatech Electromagnetics locate the MAXIMUM field levels at the surface of the heater. Every heater has a location where the fields are the highest. Every carbon heater we have ever seen has hot-spots where the field levels are DRAMATICALLY higher than the handful of points requested by the sauna companies. A carbon heater with magnetic field mitigation can have 5 points measured that are below 1 mG, but have a maximum point of over 20 mG. That is more than 20 times the level you would expect to be exposed to using the product.
The only place that electric and magnetic fields can be measured that allows comparisons between saunas is at the surface of the heaters -- the closest point you can put your body relative to the heater. Many saunas allow you to lean back directly against the surface of the heater and so this location also represents your exposure level.
5) There is no number 5!
These are the only things that are needed in a useful EMF report. The High Tech Health report from Vitatech is only 6 pages long! All of this data can be found on one page: page number three.
Other companies have reports that are as long as 30 pages. They like to include measurements that are 1 meter or more away from the heaters, which realistically puts you outside of the sauna. These companies are literally requesting long reports of useless details so that you will not read the report to try to dig out the relevant information, or notice what needed information is missing.