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Old 29th June 2010, 01:32 PM   #1
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Exclamation 50Hz field effect on health?

Every once in a while i have trouble sleeping. Either i do fall asleep but i dream all sorts of weird stuff and i wake up more tired than i was when i went to sleep, or i am unable to sleep at all, as i'm just about to fall asleep something kicks me awake. This only happens in here at home, when i go to my grandparents' place i sleep like a log, so there's something wrong with the place not with me.

Here there is a device which i believe to be a stepdown transformer in the back of my apartment building. I'm not exactly sure if that's what it is, but it certainly emits mains hum constantly and it has those LOUD fans that like to kick in right when i'm about to fall asleep. Now in the summer the fans are more on than off and they make a lotta noise.

The thing is so bad that the whole place vibrates at 50Hz. Basically if i put my ear to the wall i hear mains hum. If i put my head on the pillow, i hear mains hum thru the bed. Now, i've gotten used to this but every now and then it messes my brain up and things get ugly.

A few times i got stuck in a loop where i would either dream the same weird dreams every night, or wake up at the same hour, do the same things, rinse and repeat for 3-4 days. When that happens i have to "break the loop" or else after a few days of this i'll suddenly wake up with 41C fever which as you would guess, REALLY messes my brain up. The weird thing about this fever is that it magically goes away the next day, but i'll still be tired as hell the whole week. Another thing that happens sometimes is that in my dream the world would start spinning, i would get dizzy and i wake up really tired and have to try very very hard not to fall into the same dream again. The usual cure to this is to do something on the computer for an hour then go back to sleep and i'll be fine.

I had long suspected that the cause of all my sleep disorders is that thingy that hums, but the first time i was certain there's an electric field in the air was when i borrowed a friend's multimeter that has a 2v AC scale, and it kept picking up voltage without being connected to anything!

A couple nights ago, it hit again. I wasn't able to sleep sunday night. I slept tonight (well, erm, this morning), but i'm still tired. And right now i have exams so i can't just wait for it to go away... On Monday the exam was for Romanian language and literature so that was easy even though i was basically a mess. But tomorrow i have maths (and i totally suck at maths), and on Friday i have a computer science exam (C++). If i won't be able to sleep tonight either i'm afraid i'll fail the maths exam.

Still unable to sleep at 7AM today i decided to bust out the scope and investigate the issue. I touched the probe with the tip of my finger and this is the result:
Click the image to open in full size.

Scale is 0.2v/div so that's roughly 500mV p-p and that waveform is UGLY. I bet most of you wouldn't like to see that on your mains, well, here that stuff is IN THE AIR. Please note that the scope IS grounded, otherwise the interference is so bad that the trace bounces up and down like crazy. Also my multimeter shows 1.13v AC between my body and ground. Also AFAIK 50Hz is in the gamma range of brainwaves, which occur when one is very concentrated and solving an equation or building something... So with a 50Hz EM field surrounding me it's kinda obvious that my brain won't be able to sleep.

I thought - when there's tons of interference in the air you better NOT act like an antenna, so i grabbed some wire, wound it around one finger and wired myself to ground. The result?
Click the image to open in full size.

Scale is now 0.02v/div so the interference picked up by my body dropped to roughly 25mV p-p. That's a heck of a lot better. I then got back in bed, and was able to sleep soundly till 2PM. I feel much better now but i still have Sunday night to recover though so i'm still kinda sleepy. I just hope that this was the answer and that i'll be able to sleep properly tonight.

So, did any of you have weird experiences of their own with mains interference? I know that most houses that are said to be haunted also happen to have a high voltage power line very close... I know this all sounds quite crazy but i have found no other logical explanation.
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Old 29th June 2010, 02:21 PM   #2
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Paul Brodeur has made a lot of money scaring people about this stuff. Evidence to date after massive amounts of (IMO wasted) research: Zero. Zip. Nada. Nichts. Rien.
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Old 29th June 2010, 03:14 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SY View Post
Paul Brodeur has made a lot of money scaring people about this stuff. Evidence to date after massive amounts of (IMO wasted) research: Zero. Zip. Nada. Nichts. Rien.
Well i have no idea who Paul Brodeur is, and there have been a lot of studies with various conclusions. I just know that it DOES affect me, since i have no trouble sleeping anywhere else.
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Old 29th June 2010, 05:37 PM   #4
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Placebos abound, but I know I'd go nuts with fans and 50Hz sound in the air when I try to sleep. I really don't think the electromagnetic field is particularly significant in the majority of cases.
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Old 29th June 2010, 06:12 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by runebivrin View Post
Placebos abound, but I know I'd go nuts with fans and 50Hz sound in the air when I try to sleep.
I'm sure it's not the sound - putting my headphones on and listening to some music does not work either.

I also tried some of my sleep inducing isochronic tones that i got (and believe me those usually are VERY effective), and no help. I reach the point that my body gets numb and my breathing gets automatic, the very point before falling asleep. Then suddenly something jolts me back up. What i find interesting is that i'm quite sure the 50Hz field level is the same all the time, but it only bothers me like a few days every 3 months... If i didn't have exams this week i probably wouldn't have bothered to post this.

Last edited by Th3 uN1Qu3; 29th June 2010 at 06:14 PM.
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Old 29th June 2010, 06:26 PM   #6
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Low level low frequency sound and vibration can do very odd things to you, I'm certain it's that rather than the electric field.
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Old 29th June 2010, 07:20 PM   #7
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I for one am with you on this. At least, I will not say that what you believe is nonsense or ridiculous. I is a known fact that EMF causes molecules to be shifted around, thus the small amounts of metal (minerals) in the human body can be affected by these fields. Would you put your self in front of a television transmitter antenna? No. Would you touch a portable radio antenna, or a cellphone antenna (at the contact point) while it transmits? Maybe, but you're going to get hurt. If RF can cause physical damage to living things (not to mention non-living things) then what's the difference between RF and EMF? NONE! It's the same type of wave! what I am getting at is the point of the whole thread here: EMF does affect human beings.

I would suggest you find out exactly what is in the room behind you (talk to the landlord or building owner) and take action from there. If you need some kind of factual proof that EMF does affect humans, well here is some: It's Your Health - Electric and Magnetic Fields at Extremely Low Frequencies

But your oscilloscope demonstration is unreliable, sorry. anyone's oscilloscope can and will pick up noise from just about any source it can: lamps , fluorescent lamps, monitors, vacuum cleaners, etc...
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Old 29th June 2010, 07:25 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gain-wire View Post
If you need some kind of factual proof that EMF does affect humans, well here is some: It's Your Health - Electric and Magnetic Fields at Extremely Low Frequencies
I missed the part about the factual proof. Probably because there isn't any.

I keep being reminded of Southpaw Jones's introduction to his wonderful song, "Tokyo." "This song is about a serious political situation that the media are just not reporting on... because it's not true."
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Old 29th June 2010, 07:29 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Th3 uN1Qu3 View Post
...
I know that most houses that are said to be haunted also happen to have a high voltage power line very close... I know this all sounds quite crazy but i have found no other logical explanation.
by the way...

No one else has a better explanation either. For all we know, that phenomena might be related to EMF and/or EMF.
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Old 29th June 2010, 09:24 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gain-wire View Post
But your oscilloscope demonstration is unreliable, sorry. anyone's oscilloscope can and will pick up noise from just about any source it can: lamps , fluorescent lamps, monitors, vacuum cleaners, etc...
I'm not going to dispute this. I'm quite sure the scope can pick up noise from just about anything - it's the reason why the scope won't work reliably unless it's grounded, although i'm supposed to use an isolation transformer with it.

In the room behind me there's another apartment, nothing else. The transformer thingy is in the back yard. And the 50Hz wouldn't be as much of a bother in itself, but it comes with the full set of harmonics too. I tried to get out of bed and sleep on the floor - tough luck, the floor not only vibrates, it BUZZES.

Fact is, there's less than 5 hours left from when i'm supposed to wake up, and i can't sleep worth a sh**. I'm generally unable to sleep with my headphones on so i let the music play on my phone - no chance, i hear the buzz over the music. I can't turn it up either or i might wake up someone else in the house. Right now i'm quite fed up with it, i turned on my amp, dropped some Conjure One, Royksopp, and Loreena McKennitt in the playlist. If i stay awake anyway at least let's listen to some decent quality music.
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