ELF Facts. The Science.
In collaboration with an award-winning EMF testing facility (NTS), Bill Cadwallader (MBA, EMRS is a Certified Electromagnetic Radiation Specialist) and Garett Gordon (M. Eng.) we are proud to present you the facts behind ELF's and the differences between low ELF's and high ELF's as it pertains to infrared sauna heaters and cabins.
There's plenty of online Youtubers and competitors that will give you misinformation and guidence. We hope this article helps you understand the facts.
What are typical maximum exposure levels at home and in the environment?
This is key to understanding your current risk and frankly what you experience everyday with or without using an infrared sauna. According to the World Health Organization your typical exposure everyday to electric fields is 200 v/m or 70 µT magnetic flux.
The very home you live in creates around 100 v/m within your walls.
What are the current guidelines and who decides them?
Countries set their own national standards for exposure to electromagnetic fields. However, the majority of these national standards draw on the guidelines set by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). This non-governmental organization, formally recognized by WHO, evaluates scientific results from all over the world. Based on an in-depth review of the literature, ICNIRP produces guidelines recommending limits on exposure. These guidelines are reviewed periodically and updated if necessary.
ICNIRP sets a maximum public exposure limit of 5,000 v/m and occupational exposure limit of 10,000 v/m. ICNIRP, EMF guidelines, Health Physics 74, 494-522
So what is considered low ELF within an infrared sauna?
This is subjective on what sauna manufacturer or salesperson you speak to. According to Bill Cadwallader, most of the infrared saunas he has tested are in the range of 1,500-2,000 v/m. Still well within the guidelines of ICNIRP but many would argue that this is too high. One infrared sauna company has claimed to patent a low ELF heater, where they have two rods that pass positive and negative charges next to eachother which theratically cancels ELF. This concept has been around many years, way before they decided to patent it for marketing reasons. It's actually called Newton's law of action-reaction. A positive charge next to a negative charge attracts and cancels. Unfortunately, using this concept in an infrared heater is not as smart as you would think and why Finnmark Designs opted to not use this type of ELF mitigation.
According to the patent there are two heater rods next to one another. One is poistively charged and the other is negatively charged, opposite polarity. Using Newton's law of action-reaction they cancel out, as shown below in their patent drawing.
Dangers of Opposite Polarity
The negatively charged particles these heaters produce stick to surfaces after they’re knocked out of the air by the positive electrical charges. This can include your airways (the windpipe and the inside of your lungs). This can cause a build-up of particles in your respiratory system. This can worsen asthma symptoms or increase your risk of lung disease. Pretty scary isn't it?
Journal of Electrostatics | Volume 42, Issues 1-2, October 1997, Pages 25-32
If the ICNIRP says maximum exposure of 5,000 v/m why all the fuss?
Short answer. Infrared sauna brands run out of marketing angles to get you to purchase their infrared saunas. They come up with things like a patent that copies Newton's law or scare you into thinking have even a small amount of ELF is dangerous.
Long Answer. Medical citations are often misrepresented to follow a narrative. When you read articles outlining the dangers of ELF's they often don't include the exposure amount, just an ambiguous statement about the dangers. The International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) is comprised of over 15,000 PHD's, their only job is to study radiation. When the ICNIRP sets it's maximum exposure limits they took into account the short term and long term dangers of radiation. Sauna brands or Youtubers that make a huge fuss about ELF are not versed in the actual science. They are simply looking for a way to sell you a sauna. Fear based advertising at it's finest. Finnmark Designs doesn't beleive in fear based advertising. Instead, we use science in engineering our saunas. For example, we don't use polar opposites to reduce ELF's because this causes respiratory irritation and is a lot more dangerous than having an ELF rating exponentially lower than the ICNIRP exposure limit.
Finnmark Desgins and NTS collabroated to find an alternative solution to mitigate electric fields without using Newton's law of action-reaction that can cause We came up with a proprietary shielding of the wiring and heater grates that lowered ELF's exponentially. This is why we can claim that our sauna is low ELF.
Below is an image of our cabeling within the Finnmark Designs sauna. The cabeling reduces EMF's by 90% and ELF by 100%. Cabeling is still only half the battle. Our heater grates are made with a propriatary blend of non-toxic material that also shields ELF's.
When shopping for an infrared sauna the more educated you are the better decsion you can make. It's too easy to take companies and someone with a Youtube account at face value. Finnmark Designs beleives in using facts and science to sell it's products, hence why we built the only infrared sauna on the market that reaches 170 degrees in less than an hour, using a standard outlet.
If you have any questions please feel free to reach out to us.