Out and about in Glasgow earlier today measuring radiation levels with the Trifield EMF meter brought both a pleasant surprise and a cause for concern.
Gallery of Modern Art Library’s IT suite
There’s a public library in the basement of Glasgow’s Gallery of Modern Art on Royal Exchange Square (facing out onto Queen Street).
And as with so many of today’s city and town libraries there is an IT suite of computers available for public use.
According to the Trifield meter’s own manufacturer’s guidelines, RF radiation (the type given out by wi-fi, mobile devices and similar) measures ” … usually less than 5.000mW/m2″. That’s not to say that this is by any means a safe level for human health – as many independent experts will attest to – but it’s considered “normal”.
On scanning the library’s IT suite with the Trifield meter, I was pleasantly surprised to find low readings averaging below 0.070mW/m2. There were blips of above 1.000mW/m2 and I put those down to occasional use of mobile devices by others using the public computers.
Why were the readings so low? When asked, a librarian told me that the machines are all on a hard-wired network!
This means one can sit for quite a considerable time there without too much fear of being cooked by microwaves!
However, some of the seats have interesting stains on them that suggest radiation might never have been the most serious health hazard anyway.
Gallery of Modern Art cafe
The situation is a bit different in the nearby cafe space, about 40-50 feet away, where public wi-fi is freely available and in demand.
Trifield meter readings averaged below 2.000mW/m2, though one solitary pulse measuring 5.065mW/m2 was recorded. Again, people were on the move with mobile devices in their hands.
There is a wall display of MacMillan Cancer Care charity leaflets on the far end of the cafe. Ironic, perhaps.
The non-radiation health risk to look out for when visiting the cafe include their home-made millionaire shortbread, which is rather delicious if lethally sweet.
Glasgow Central Station
And so off to another wi-fi hot-spot – this time the city’s main train station Glasgow Central on Gordon Street.
Free wi-fi is provided here by rail company Scotrail, according to helpful staff on the information desk, and as one would expect is popular with commuters.
The main waiting area had an ambient radiation measure of around 0.800mW/m2 when not standing or sitting next to anyone using a mobile device. Peak pulse measurements averaged 2.300mW/m2.
None of that sounds too bad, certainly in terms of accepted norms.
However, I did record a few peak readings coming in at over 8.112mW/m2 in one area. Perhaps this was due to station equipment being used there today that operates at different power levels; if that’s the case, I wonder if their union knows?