What does the electromagnetic field of our body do

Biological effects of electric and magnetic fields

Biological effects of electric fields

Electric fields hardly penetrate (a few millimeters) into the human body. This is due to the good conductivity of most tissues and body fluids.

Electric fields primarily cause Surface effects. The underlying physical process is known as "influence". For example, body hair can align itself under the influence of an electric field. The resulting "tingling" in the alternating field is noticed at field strengths greater than 1,000 volts per meter, but usually only from 10,000 volts per meter (for example - under certain conditions - directly under high-voltage lines). The electric field strengths emanating from electrical household appliances are far too weak for surface effects.

The Federal Office for Radiation Protection has put together field strengths that are typically found at a distance of 30 centimeters from a household appliance:

Electric field strengths in the household, at a distance of 30 centimeters from the device *

deviceField strength in volts per meter
Hand mixer100
Hair dryer80
Color television60
Electric stove8

* according to: Federal Office for Radiation Protection 1995 ** 26th BImSchV, valid for 50 Hertz fields

The table makes it clear that practically all household appliances at the selected distance fall below the limit value more than ten times. As the distance from the device increases, the electric field decreases even further. External fields, such as those emanating from high-voltage lines or roof racks for house supply, are reduced by more than 90 percent through the house wall.

Electric fields are also responsible for "electrification" when, for example, metallic objects are touched during a thunderstorm. Static discharges when coming into contact with computer monitors, the "sparkling" when taking off synthetic fiber textiles, etc. are also part of this. This does not involve any health hazards.

Biological effects of magnetic fields

Magnetic fields are generated by the flow of electricity. With increasing current strength, the magnetic field strength increases. Magnetic fields penetrate house walls, metals and also the human body. Alternating magnetic fields of appropriate strength can cause eddy currents in the body which, above certain threshold values, can excite nerves and muscle cells.

The following table shows typical values ​​of magnetic flux densities of household appliances at a distance of 30 centimeters *:

deviceMagnetic flux density in microtesla
Hair dryer0,01 - 7
tin opener3,5 - 30
drilling machine2 - 3,5
vacuum cleaner2 - 20
mixer0,6 - 10
Kitchen stove0,15 - 0,5
Washing machine0,15 - 3
Iron0,12 - 0,3
Limit** 100 microtesla

* according to: Federal Office for Radiation Protection 1995 ** 26th BImSchV, valid for 50 Hertz fields

At the specified distance (30 centimeters) the household appliances comply with the limit value or are well below it. It should also not be forgotten that the limit values ​​were calculated based on lifelong exposure. However, most household appliances only turn on from time to time.

Low-frequency magnetic fields and childhood leukemia

In 2002, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), based in Lyon, classified low-frequency fields as "possibly carcinogenic" (Class 2B).

This was based on epidemiological studies onstatistical Association of childhood leukemia with exposure to magnetic fields in the range above 0.3-0.4 microTesla. Evidence of acausal In spite of intensive research, there are no associations. Neither a plausible mechanism of action nor study results from animal experiments support the epidemiological studies.