Examples from Misleading EMF Reports

No mention of electric fields

If you do not see any mention of electric field, measured in V/m, you are looking at a sauna with high EMF.

Magnetic fields are measured in gauss or Teslas (written as mG for milligauss or μT for micro Tesla). Electric fields are measured in volts per meter (written as V/m).

No sauna with carbon-style heaters have electric field mitigation.  In fact, measurements on carbon heaters with magnetic field mitigation put the average levels across the backrest at over 400 V/m with maximums over 2400 V/m.  Carbon heaters without magnetic field mitigation have even higher levels of electric fields.

The NCRP (National Council of Radiation Protection and Measurements) say the recommended maximum electric field exposure should be less than 100 V/m.  Even the EMF reports provided by VitaTech Inc., often used by sauna companies claiming Low EMF, quote the NCRP guidelines seen below but often completely omit electric field measurements:

“An exposure guideline of 1 μT (10 mG) and 100 V/m: A considerable body of observations has documented bioeffects of fields at these strengths across the gamut from isolated cells to animals, and in man.”

— From the NCRP Guidelines and quoted in Vita-tech EMF reports


Measuring electric field levels 1 meter away from their heaters

One of the top advertisers for infrared saunas, currently licensing the brand of a hot tub company, provides a Vitatech EMF report showing electric field levels 1 meter or even 2 meters away from the heater.  There is no place in their sauna where you can be 1 meter away from all heaters.  This is a useless measurement and any implication that it is indicative of your exposure using their product is dishonest.

If you ask VitaTech’s head of engineering why they take measurements irrelevant to the sauna as a product, he says they just measure the heaters in the ways that sauna companies hire them to measure.

Not providing MAXIMUM field levels

No sauna company mentions their heater’s maximum levels.  The reason is that carbon heaters have a high magnetic field hot-spot over where the wires attach to the panels.  Typical reports on EMF, even ones by VitaTech, omit maximum or peak measurements.

Actually, one EMF report provided by VitaTech for a sauna company does show a peak level and concedes it is “from the hard-wired connection to the panel” and says there is a peak magnetic field level of 13.8mG.  Because the average over most of the panel was quite low, they choose to effectively gloss over this number, despite the fact that it is indicative of an exposure using the sauna.

Much worse than that, this same report is for a heater running at 240 volts.  The magnetic field produced by a heater with equivalent power but running at 120 volts (typical of saunas destined for the United States), will be DOUBLE the measurements made at 240 volts.  A safe assumption is that a sauna from this company running at 120 volts (typical for products in the United States) would expose their owners to a peak magnetic field of 27.6 mG.

Providing measurements taken on heaters running at 240V

Heaters running at 240 volts will measure twice the electric field but only half the magnetic field of an equivalent power heater running at 120 volts!

One of the top sauna companies provides a VitaTech EMF report on a 240 V heater thereby halving their magnetic fields.  That same report omits any measurement of electric fields, which would have been double their already unacceptably high level.

“Regarding EMF, Our Sauna Passes Safety Testing”

Safety testing does not include EMF testing and implying that it does is dishonest.  The United States does not prohibit products with EMF exceeding the NCRP guidelines.

Claiming “zero EMF” or “no EMF”

This claim will only be made by companies that have no idea what they are talking about.

Magnetic fields cannot be effectively shielded, and instead a second equal but opposite magnetic field must be created to cancel out the magnetic field (noise-cancelation headphones work the same way).  This process can result in negligible levels of magnetic field, but never a perfect zero.  Typical tolerances and manufacturing variations ensure that every sauna is a little bit different and never a perfect zero.

And those same companies almost certainly have products with high electric fields anyway making the claim especially far from the truth.

Omitting mention of zero frequency fields

Some sauna companies convert their power to DC from the 60Hz power coming from the outlet.  This way, their heaters show no magnetic fields and no electric fields at 60 Hz and above.  However, these saunas have just as high magnetic fields and electric fields, they are just located at 0 Hz (also called DC fields or static fields).  The same fields are still there, they just have been moved in frequency thereby hiding them from standard measurement. 

A static magnetic field is the same as the field produced by a refrigerator magnet.  A sauna with high magnetic fields at 0 Hz is just as bad as a sauna with high magnetic fields at 60 Hz.

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