BROOKFIELD -- A new breed of home inspectors are testing buildings for more than just mold, lead or asbestos; they're also measuring how much radiation is being emitted by wireless devices.
Barbara Bobbitt is an accredited building biology environmental consultant who says in the past couple years, many more people are concerned enough to pay $400 for testing.
Some are reporting health problems potentially connected to the newer generation of electronics.
"It's a completely different level of radiation. It's a different level on the spectrum and affects our body differently," explained Bobbitt.
Bobbitt tests homes for radiation and hopes her warning will sound a wake-up call.
"It's really all around us, and I think a lot of people don't even realize what does emit electromagnetic radiation. And they need to know. And when they do find out, they're startled," she noted.
Consumers and now scientists have been debating for years whether electromagnetic radiation can negatively impact health. But none seem to dispute the fact that cell phones and other devices emit such radiation.
Bobbitt tested every room a condo in Brookfield using an RF Meter from Safe Living Technologies. She found radiation levels above 100 microwatts per square meter in every room.
"I'd say you have way too much stuff going on right now," she said.
She got some of her highest readings from the cordless phone, which she said is radiating all the time, unlike a cell phone.
The HDTV and cable box did not register on the meter, and neither did the laptop -- until the Wi-Fi was turned on. But the iPad sent the instrument pulsating, just as several cell phones did, because they emit radiation whenever they are looking for signal.
Even the microwave oven emitted radiation that spread more than 10 feet. It sent the RF meter into overload -- when the read-out shows a "1" because the radiation exceeds 2000 microwatts per square meter.
Bobbitt says we haven't heard about microwaves causing health problems because they only send out that much radiation when they're in use, a few minutes here and there each day, as opposed to a Wi-Fi router, which is on 24/7 in many households.
But the Wi-Fi can be kept far away from our bodies, unlike a phone and its accessories.
Bobbitt got a stronger and more constant level for a blue tooth earpiece than the cell phone it was synced with. She said switching to a blue tooth earpiece is not better than holding a cell phone to the head.
Bobbitt recommends using land lines at home instead of cordless or cell phones, and using speaker or air tube headsets instead of blue tooth when you must use a cell phone.
She also insists on keeping all wireless electronics -- including baby monitors and game system remotes -- out of the bedroom, off of laps, and out of pockets.
She suggests disabling Wi-Fi on computers, tablets, and Kindles when not using the Internet; she strongly advocates getting rid of Wi-Fi modems.
"Any equipment that's wireless is a problem," explained Bobbitt.
She says radiation can still creep into a home that's near tech-addicted neighbors, cell towers or smart meters installed by utilities.
If she gets a high reading near windows or doors and low readings inside a home, she recommends a special kind of film, curtains, or paint -- all embedded with flecks of metal that block the radiation.
She says any reading over 100 microwatts per square meter is a big concern, though FCC guidelines say the public should not be exposed to more than 10 million microwatts per square meter.
"What their standard is for, is thermal effect, not biological," she noted. "What we're concerned with is the biological effect, not the thermal effect, not the heat effect, 'cause you will be potentially ill long before you will be cooked."
Bobbitt was recommended by Safe Living Technologies (http://www.slt.co), which offers courses accredited by the International Institute for Building-Biology and Ecology and approved by the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors.
Bobbitt performs home inspections through her company IE Diagnostics (www.iediagnostics.com).
Safe Living Technologies also sells testing devices to consumers and major corporations such as Google, CBS Productions, the Canadian Department of National Defense, Tennessee State University, Virginia Mason Medical Centre, and the Department of Public Utilities in Naperville, Ill., among others.
Bobbitt said her equipment cannot test products that claim to shield consumers from radiation, such as the Waveshield (http://www.waveshield.com), SafeCellTab (http://safecell.net), Omega Wi-Fi (http://www.earthcalm.com/omega-wifi), Tawkon (http://tawkon.com), Pong case (http://www.pongresearch.com), and Belly Blanket for pregnant women (http://www.bellyarmor.com/shop/category/blankets).
Bobbitt did say air tube headset (http://www.air2hear.co.uk) successfully stop the radiation from flowing directly to the head, unlike wired headsets or blue tooth headsets, which allow radiation to flow into the ear.
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