1.This document is FCS 3206, one of a series of the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, Florida Cooperative Ext ension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Publication date: Septembe r 2003. This document was originally publi shed as IAQ-12 in February 1992. Reviewed: September 2003. Please visit the EDIS Web site at http://edis.ifas.ufl.eduThe Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is an equal oppor tunity/affirmative action employer authorized to provide resea rch, educational information and other services only to individuals and in stitutions that function without regard to race, color, se x, age, handicap, or national origin. For information on obtaining other extens ion publications, contact your c ounty Cooperative Extension Servi ce office. Florida Cooperative Extension Service / Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences / University of Florida / Christine Taylor Waddill, Dean 2.Written by Virginia Peart, former Associ ate Professor, Housing, Department of Fa mily, Youth and Community Sciences, Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, 32611 a nd reviewed by Nayda I. Torres, Profess or, Family and Consumer Economics, Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, Cooperative Extension Service, In stitute of Food and Agricultura l Sciences, University of Florida; Lewis Johnson, CIH, Coordinator, Industrial Hygiene, University of Florida; and Dale Dorman, Extension Housing and Environment Specialist Emeritus, Cooperative Extension Service, University of Georgia. FCS3206Indoor Air Quality in Florida: Electric Magnetic Fields (EMF)1Virginia Peart2General DescriptionEMF is the electromagnetic field surrounding electric currents. There have been stories about EMF hazards in publications from Woman's Day to The Wall Street Journal .Health EffectsSome studies have linked EMF to cancer, miscarriages and suicide. Many of the research studies contradict each other, but there is caution. More research is being carried out.SourcesAll electric appliances and even house wiring and electrical power lines, generate EMF fields. In general, appliances with motors have higher EMF fields than those without motors. How close you are to an appliance also affects the amount of exposure. The intensity of the field is based on the inverse square law: the intensity diminishes as a square of the distance. For example, the intensity at 2 feet from the source will be 1/4 the intensity at 1 foot. You may be exposed to more EMF by using a handheld mixer than a washer since you are closer to the mixer. Consider also the length of time you are exposed to EMF because the effects can be cumulative.ControlSome people have advised that electric blankets be used for "preheating" a bed rather than sleeping with the blanket turned on. New electric blankets have been structured to greatly reduce magnetic fields though there is little that can be done to reduce electrical fields.