Preface: In a recent discussion with Mr. Larry Gust, E.E., EMRS, President of the Building Biology® Institute, I shared that in many ways it is Electromagnetic Inference that I am especially focused while performing an assessment. How is the electromagnetic environment potentially interfering with my both my client(s) biologic function and the nearby electronic equipment function and what is it that I need to focus on to present the best possible solutions? Yes, we are certified Electromagnetic Radiation Specialists, but in many ways, I consider myself an Electromagnetic Interference Analyst or EMI Consultant.

I hope the following adds to your understanding of electromagnetic interference.

What is Electromagnetic Interference (EMI)?

Electromagnetic interference is the distortion resultant on to an existing electromagnetic field termed a "receptor." EMI causes the altering of an electrical waveform and direction of an electron path due to an interaction with a strong intercepting or coupling electromagnetic field that has a different frequency. Interference can occur on to all and any electrical conductors, both electronic and biologic.

With the exponential increase of wireless technologies around the globe, EMI has become common vernacular. Synonyms are: signal to noise ratio (SNR), line noise, harmonic transients, dirty electricity, RFI (radio frequency interference), Electromagnetic Coupling, and micro surge electrical pollution (MEP.)

I prefer electrical engineering terms because it is with engineers whom I have to communicate so to help remediate EMI issues within commercial and industrial settings.

The Four Types of Electromagnetic Coupling are:

1. Inductive Coupling occurs when a strong electromagnetic force, or EMF, intersects an electrical conductor within a magnetic field, causing the first magnetic field to become distorted. The famous Michael Faraday, who developed what is now termed the Faraday Cage, discovered electromagnetic induction in 1831. James Clerk Maxwell, who preceded Albert Einstein, mathematically described this process as "Faraday's Law of Induction."

Note: This is where I veer from the definition presented by the Building Biology Institute on electromagnetic interference. In IBE 212.7.3 the BBI defines EMI , which they term MEP (microsurge electrical pollution), “Microsurges, in the Very Low Frequency (VLF) range of >2 kHz to 300 kHz or “Dirty electricity” refers to electromagnetic energy that is present on electrical distribution wiring that deviates from a pure 60-Hz sine wave.” The BBI considers that only frequencies above 60 Hertz can be considered in the interference range. Because of Faraday's Law of Induction," and various testings I've conducted, I have come to believe that 60 Hertz magnetic fields can and do interfere with the lower frequencies of the brains (0.5-30 Hz), heart (1-1.7 Hz), nervous system, blood, and everything else biologic.

I believe that AC magnetic fields can also interfere with equal to lower frequencies than 60 Hertz. I have improved electronic equipment function by mitigating powerful magnetic fields nearby an AC magnetic source-point. I see how strong AC magnetic fields have caused vertigo, brain fog, nausea, and confusion for myself and others while entering a strong AC magnetic field where the RF and Electric Fields were non-negotiable.

(Interestingly, The human limbic system (Dr. Jerry Tennant and Dr. Boyd Haley, and now many others) as storing a magnetic field resulting from past emotions. One therapy called "brain reprogramming, retraining, or rewiring" has some claiming success with helping some cope with electro-hypersensitivity (EHS), also termed by me a few years ago as EMF Sensitivity™. The idea is that if you relieve stored emotional strain, then the magnetic field will be mitigated, thus reducing the symptoms. Whether this is all real science or not the result of a placebo effect, is difficult, but as I stated at the onset of this paragraph, it is interesting.)

2. Conductive Coupling occurs when the coupling path between the source and the receptor forms a direct electrical contact with a conducting body,

Examples of Conductive Coupling occur when wires cross in an electronic device, when a human touches an active wire, when a neutral wire is coupled on to an active water pipe which is conducting a neutral current from an opposite direction.

  • When the signal to noise ratio appears in phase, in the same direction on both conductors, we call this common impedance.

  • When the signal-to-noise ratio appears out of phase, in the opposite direction on both conductors, we call this differential impedance.

3. Capacitive Coupling occurs when two fluctuating electrical fields co-exist between two adjacent conductors, thereby inducing a change in voltage on the receiving conductor, or receptor. Capacitive Coupling is one of the most intriguing and challenging for the new student to grasp. We see this occurring when we turn off the circuit in a room, and the electric field becomes stronger. It is because the electrician strung to wires in parallel from different circuits.

4. Radiative Coupling occurs when there is a distance exceeding one wavelength between the source point and the receptor. The source point and receptor both act as antennas whereby the source-point emits or radiates an electromagnetic force which then emits across space in between and is coupled or received by the receptor. Radiative Coupling is the most common form of EMI. Examples are:

  • you are walking past a 5G network Microcell Node ( 5G antenna.)

  • the RF from a nearby cellphone transmitter or WiFi router coupling onto unshielded (Romex) electrical wiring in your home or office

  • holding your cellphone. (This is all four types of Coupling!)

Why Be Concerned About EMI?

Electromagnetic interference (EMI) causes latency, malfunction, and sluggish performance to fine electronics such as computers, medical devices and equipment, pace-makers, financial trading platforms, graphic software, recording equipment, and more.

How Do You Know It’s EMI?

An easy way to tell if you have an EMI issue is to observe the presence of any:

  • overheating of any metal enclosures. Are enclosures very hot to the touch? (Inductive Heating)

  • motor failures from overheating. (Voltage Drop)

  • fuses blowing for no apparent reason (Inductive Heating and Overload)

  • static or interference on sound or voice communication (Harmonic Line Noise)

  • electronic equipment shutting down for no apparent reason (Voltage Distortion)

  • computer malfunction or locking up. (Voltage Distortion)

  • flickering fluorescent or LED lights (Transformer Saturation)

  • blinking incandescent lights (Transformer Saturation)

  • flickering or distortion lines and static on screens (Transformer Saturation)

What Are the Additional Benefits to Reducing EMI?

  • Reduced Electrical Consumption

  • Cooler Equipment

  • Longer Lifetime for Equipment

  • Lowered Utility Bill

  • EMF Reduction for a Safer and Healthier Environment

  • Surge Protection for Your Entire Facility

  • Improved Screen Quality

  • Improved Audio

  • Phase Correction Which Improves Efficiency and Performance

  • Cleaner Power Resulting from Transient Harmonic Attenuation

  • Improved Health and Wellness

How Does EMI Occur?

Metal, of course, is a conductor for electromagnetism. If you have a strong electromagnetic field nearby a metal wire that has an electrical current and/or voltage, the nearby electromagnetic field will magnetically converge, couple, and ride along with the original current. Imagine a surfer hopping onto his surfboard to ride that perfect wave.


The amount of interference that will occur on an electronic is relative to frequency, the V/m (Volts per meter) and the magnetic flux of the intruding EMF.

The top line is a smooth sine wave of alternating current (AC.) The bottom line is a sine wave corrupted with EMI.

The top line is a smooth sine wave of alternating current (AC.) The bottom line is a sine wave corrupted with EMI.

The analogy of wind and water wonderfully illustrates the concept of EMI.

If there is a slow and easy breeze moving across the surface of a lake, you will see ripples or small mercurial waves in the water.

When wind velocity and force increases, you will see more turbulent water. This resembles EMI.

The concern for EMI is the reason you are calmly ordered by your airline pilot to place your phone on “airplane mode.” Accumulative electromagnetism from the many cell phones reflecting off of hard surfaces inside the cabin could intrude onto the computer’s circuitry that controls the landing gear.

EMI is why certain hospital wings will have cell phone restricted areas.

If you think that your fine electronics may be affected by EMI, then you are on on your way to having your problem solved. We’re here for you from Monday through Friday.

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Tags: RFI, EMR, radiation interference, computer malfunction, ultrasound, EMF radiation interference