Schlafplatzuntersuchung Elektrosmog

Electric, magnetic and electromagnetic fields (EMF)

Indoor electrosmog

Electric, magnetic or electromagnetic fields (EMF) are colloquially referred to as electrosmog (e-smog) and describes the sum of existing electric or magnetic fields as well as electromagnetic radiation and their possible interactions the effects on humans.

Electric or magnetic fields are generated e.g. by the A/C 230V (50Hz) power supply in electrical installations, numerous electrical household appliances, lighting, office equipment, computers or consumer electronics as well as by railroad current (16.7 Hz). In Germany, electromagnetic fields include e.g. DVB+/DVB-T, W-LAN, Bluetooth, Tetra or mobile radio services such as GSM, UMTS, LTE, 5G.

WLAN or Bluetooth has arrived today in almost every office or household up to the children’s rooms their application can be found in numerous devices such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, computers, smart home or home entertainment. The sum of the possible sources can influence the well-being or health. Due to the permanent influence of electromagnetic fields, negative health effects can occur in people. This can lead from single symptoms to complex diseases such as headaches / migraines, chronic fatigue, loss of performance, nervousness, sleep disorders, weakening of the immune system.

In recent years, an increase in electro-hypersensitive people has been registered. (Electro-hypersensitivity EHS). EHS has been classified as a multi-system disease by the European Academy of Environmental Medicine (EUROPAEM). Many sleeping places often have too high values of technical fields from a building biology point of view . Effects of electrosmog are usually the sum of many sources that affect the organism. For particularly sensitive areas such as the sleeping place, according to the recommendations of building biology, at best there should be no EMF fields or, if possible, only very low EMF fields.


Schadstoffe in OSB Verbund- und Spalplatten

Is formaldehyde harmful to health in living spaces?

Formaldehyde (methanal), called formalin as an aqueous solution, is a colorless gas and is found in a whole range of materials and building materials such as paints, varnishes or in wood composites such as chipboard or OSB panels. Formaldehyde may be present as part of the binders in mineral fiber insulation materials. Formaldehyde may also be present in so-called wrinkle-free textiles. The release of formaldehyde in building materials such as wood-fiber composite panels or mineral-fiber insulating materials occurs through evaporation over the life of the component.

Formaldehyde has been classified by the IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer) in Group 1 as carcinogenic. Because of its toxicity, legally defined concentrations apply indoors. In 2016, the Federal Environment Agency lowered the limit from 120 µg/m3 to 100 µg/m3. The WHO considers the appropriate precautionary limit to be 60 µg/m3. The AGÖF (Arbeitsgemeinschaft ökologischer Forschungsinstitute e.V.) recommends an orientation value of 30 μg/m3.

Health symptoms include : Irritation of the respiratory tract, headaches, reduction of the ability to concentrate, memory disorders, sleep disorders, feeling of tiredness, allergies or depression.

As a precautionary examination or in case of first suspicions, an orienting measurement can be carried out with a formaldehyde test for room air, which is available in pharmacies. However, the test does not replace a professional room air examination and provides only a first rough information. If the test is positive or if there is a suspicion of formaldehyde, a room air analysis should be carried out.


Gesundheitsrisiko durch künstliche Mineralfaser

Health risk from artificial mineral fibers

Artificial mineral fibers (KMF) usually consist of glass, rock and mineral wool as well as binders. KMF insulation materials are widely used, for example, in the thermal insulation of buildings or pipelines and in sound insulation. KMF fibers manufactured before 1995 can be carcinogenic. A health risk from KMF fibers was proven as early as 1972. Artificial mineral fibers are classified according to the Ordinance on Hazardous Substances via the so-called material composition into three groups, the carcinogenicity index* (KI index).

KI>40 not carcinogenic
KI 30to 40 possibly carcinogenic -> K3
KI <30 carcinogenic -> K2

In the period from 1995 to 2000, when the industry switched to mineral fibers, which are more biosoluble, there was no corresponding labeling, so that it is not possible to distinguish whether a mineral wool used in a building poses a health risk.

The smaller the fiber, the higher the risk that the KMF fibers are carcinogenic. Since the late 1990s, only biosoluble KMF insulation materials have been commercially available. Biosolubility of KMF fibers means that in a given period of time the fiber must have degraded in the body by a certain amount.

If the harmlessness cannot be clearly determined before the start of remediation or demolition work, it must be proven by a suitable test procedure.

The Technical Rules for Hazardous Substances (TGRS) describe the protective measures that must be taken during demolition, renovation and maintenance work involving old mineral wool.
In addition, some KMF insulation materials contain binders containing formaldehyde. Because of its toxicity, special legally specified indoor concentrations apply to formaldehyde. Neither fibers from mineral insulation materials nor formaldehyde should be present indoors, if possible.

Good alternatives to artificial mineral fibers are offered, for example, by wood-fiber insulation materials for the energy-related renovation of buildings. Wood fiber insulation materials are sustainable and have a good life cycle assessment.

(* The carcinogenicity index KI, which is the difference between the sum of the mass contents (in %) of the oxides of sodium, potassium, boron, calcium, magnesium, barium and twice the mass content (in %) of aluminum oxide, is at least 40 for artificial mineral fibers. Source: BBSR report 1/2011).

Radongaskonzentrationen in Gebäuden

Radon concentrations in living spaces

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive noble gas in the soil, it is invisible, odorless as well as tasteless. Radon concentrations in the soil can vary greatly depending on the soil conditions. The radon activity concentration is measured in Becquerel (Bq). Radon enters buildings through leaks in building components adjacent to soil, where it can accumulate due to low air exchange. On average, about 1% of the radon gas concentrations present in the soil can be detected in buildings with leaks.

According to the Federal Office for Radiation Protection, about 5% of all lung cancer deaths in Germany can be attributed to radon. This makes radon the second most important risk factor for lung cancer after smoking.

Radon itself is not causative for the lung diseases, but the secondary products such as polonium, bismuth and lead, which are formed by the decay. These attach themselves to dust particles in the air, are inhaled, and accumulate in lung tissue, where they decay further. There is no threshold below which there is no risk. The reference limit for indoor radon is 300 Bq/m3. According to the WHO, as little as 100 Bq/m3 poses a health risk.



Spektrumanalyse Hochfrequenz

Spectrum analysis of high frequency

Frequency-selective measurement of high-frequency (HF) immissions

In the generally more frequently used method of RF imaging, the so-called broadband measurement, the sum of all RF immissions present at the time of measurement can be recorded, as well as an acoustic signal characteristic of the respective mobile radio service.

Depending on the task for investigating a residential or sleeping area, it may be necessary to record detailed information on the high-frequency immissions, e.g. which radio service is involved, what signal strength is present and what permanent minimum and maximum RF immissions can be expected at the measurement point. This information can be collected by the so-called frequency-selective spectrum analysis, in which all mobile radio services present at the time of the measurement are determined separately.

In a first overview measurement of the spectrum analysis, it is shown in which frequency ranges an RF-immission is present. Subsequently, the respective radio service is measured in frequency and signal strength (detailed spectrum), from which the permanently existing base load (minimum load) as well as the maximum full load (max peak or worst case) of the transmitter can be determined. With the help of predefined correction factors, the different bandwidths of the respective mobile radio services are taken into account and extrapolated to the maximum power. From the maximum transmission power (MaxPeak), the minimum load can now be calculated (base load).

The total immission of all mobile radio services determined at the measuring point is formed from the sum of the detail spectra and specified in the radiation density (power flux density) in microwatts per square metre (μW/m2). A frequency-selective spectrum analysis is generally recommended for the planning of a remediation measure for the shielding (attenuation) of high-frequency immissions.

The broadband measurement technique

Sum measurement of high-frequency immissions

Unlike spectrum analysis, broadband measurement is only sum-based, i.e. only the total sum of the high-frequency immissions detected by the device is indicated. The problem here, however, is that a broadband device cannot distinguish between the respective radio services, but these can be present with very different bandwidths in the same frequency range (GSM/LTE).

However, the bandwidths of the respective mobile radio service must be taken into account to determine the high-frequency immission. Thus, when measuring an RF immission by means of a broadband measuring device, an underestimation can occur, which can amount to a factor of 100. Therefore, broadband measurement is not suitable for determining an RF immission caused by different mobile radio services or for planning a remediation measure to shield radio frequency.

The broadband measurement technique is well suited for “in-house” source detection, but can also be used for long-term recording of RF immissions. Long-term broadband measurements can also be useful if the expected RF immissions cannot be detected at the time of a spectrum analysis because the source is located outside one’s own sleeping/living area and may not be transmitting continuously.

For a concept for the shielding of RF immissions, a long-term RF measurement is usually not necessary, since the minimum and maximum exposure determined by the spectrum analysis provides the framework for the shielding effectiveness of a shielding material required to comply with international recommendations.

Shielding of high-frequency immissions (HF immissions)

The term “shielding” gives the impression that nothing can get through after a shielding material has been applied, i.e. that the RF emission is completely blocked.

However, this is not the case for the shielding of RF immissions. The correct term is RF attenuation or shielding effectiveness. This indicates how effectively a shielding reduces or attenuates RF immissions. The efficiency of a shielding power is also frequency-dependent, so there is no “one” shielding power for RF emissions. Depending on the frequency of a mobile radio service and the magnitude of the RF immission, different measures are required.

The greater the shielding effectiveness of a shielding material, the less RF immissions can penetrate the shielding. Different shielding materials are offered on the market, which can have large differences in shielding effectiveness. First of all, a distinction is made between shielding from the outside (building envelope) and shielding indoors. For indoor areas, it can be decided whether the shielding is to be permanently installed (fabric/shielding paint, etc.) or mobile (shielding fabrics as curtains or canopies).

For the successful shielding of a high-frequency immission, it is therefore important to know which radio service it is that is to be reduced or attenuated in its RF immission. This information, which is important for shielding, can be determined in detail by means of a frequency-selective spectrum analysis.

Property survey / Building biology building check

Healthy building and renovation is gaining importance and offers a variety of possibilities to avoid or reduce pollutants in building materials.

Energy-efficient construction and renovation places high demands on the building envelope and its airtightness. However, airtight construction is often the cause of the accumulation of pollutants or humidity in indoor spaces.

When planning a new home, consideration should be given to the selection of tested building materials, examination of the building site, and shielded electrical installation. A ventilation concept is also mandatory today to avoid moisture damage or the accumulation of pollutants. Contaminated sites such as PCB, lindane, formaldehyde, artificial mineral fiber insulation materials or asbestos are often found in older existing buildings.

Before renovating an existing property, a building biology building check should be carried out. Pollutants, moisture damage or mold or outdated electrical installations must be taken into account during renovation. The building biology building check forms the cornerstone for healthy living, on which a renovation plan can be built. The health precaution begins already in the own four walls with the selection of pollutant-tested building materials and facility objects as well as the avoidance of electrical smog.

After completion of a residential building, in addition to the obligatory air tightness measurement, a room air examination for pollutants, as well as the measurement of technical fields and waves should not be missing as a measure for quality assurance.

Indoor pollutants

We spend most of our lives indoors. Due to the airtight construction of new buildings or building renovation, the risk of mould growth and pollutant contamination increases. There are no fixed limit values for living spaces, so that orientation values of the Association for Indoor Pollutants (AGÖF e.V.) or the building biology guideline values for sleeping areas from the Standard of Building Biology Measurement Technology SBM-2015 are applied.
Occurring pollutants in buildings:

(Very volatile organic compounds such as methanol, ethanol, formaldehyde, acetone, etc.)
Occurrence: e.g. cleaning agents, adhesives, etc.

(Volatile organic compounds such as glycols, alcohols, isocyanates, ethers, etc.)
Occurrence: e.g. paints, varnishes, adhesives, plastics, cleaning agents, etc.

(Semi volatile organic compounds such as biocides, lindane, pentachlorophenol, etc.)
Occurrence: e.g. wood preservatives, pest control, disinfectants, EPS/XPS insulation materials, etc.

(Microbial organic compounds – outgassing of fungi and bacteria (chlorine anisoles))

Particles & fibres
(Asbestos, artificial mineral fibres (KMF), dust, fine dust)
Occurrence: e.g. façade panels, eternit roof, asbestos window sills, asbestos filler, KMF insulation materials for impact sound insulation, pipe insulation, roof or façade insulation, etc.

Depending on the pollutant, the investigation can be carried out by means of room air measurements, house dust analysis or material samples and depends on whether there is a concrete suspicion or possible sources are still unknown.

Healthy indoor climate

We spend two thirds of our lives indoors and about 25 years of our lives asleep. The indoor climate is therefore an essential component for comfortable, healthy living and supports the recovery phase during the night’s rest. Healthy and restful sleep is essential for cell regeneration, which is important for the formation of an intact immune system.

The causes of so-called house diseases are often pollutants in building materials or furnishings, poor indoor climate, mould, radon or electrosmog.

The indoor climate is made up of a multitude of factors:

Indoor air: composition of gases (e.g. oxygen, CO2), dust, fungi, bacteria, allergens, pollutants, radon, air movement, odour, etc.

Temperature: heat radiation, heat conduction, convection, surface temperature, heating/air conditioning, sun, etc.

Humidity: Air humidity, material humidity, condensation, hygroscopicity, vapour diffusion, etc.

Electroclimate: alternating electric fields, direct electric fields (electrostatics), alternating magnetic fields, direct magnetic fields (magnetostatics), high frequency, colour spectrum and flicker component of lighting.

Factors that can have a negative influence on health are called risk factors. These do not add up with the increase of the individual factors, but they increase in potency. Health symptoms such as allergies, headaches, chronic fatigue, infections, loss of performance, sleep disorders, depression, burn-out or respiratory problems can be the result.

Due to the multitude of influencing factors, a healthy indoor climate without any risk factors is often difficult to create or maintain in the long term. It is therefore all the more important to identify as many risk factors as possible in order to reduce or avoid them.

Airtight construction often exacerbates the problem of indoor concentrations of pollutants, CO2 or humidity or radon due to insufficient air exchange. The use of the digital, smart world through pulsed wireless transmission (mobile telephony, WLAN, Bluetooth, etc.) represents an additional burden.

This makes it all the more important to create a healthy living environment in order to reduce or avoid the number of risk factors as best as possible. Modern and healthy living requires holistic action.

Schimmelpilze in Wohnräumen

Health risk due to mold in living spaces

Mold infestation in living spaces can cause health complaints such as.
Respiratory diseases, asthma, allergies, headaches, irritation of the skin, nose or eyes. Systemic fungal infection is possible in immunocompromised individuals.

Whether there is a health risk depends on the concentration of spores as well as the genus.

Common causes of mold infestation are:

  • insufficient thermal insulation
  • thermal bridges
  • insufficient or improper heating
  • increased moisture production in the interior
  • insufficient or improper ventilation
  • moisture buffering of building materials
  • Moisture in the building structure due to leakage and rising damp or building moisture (in new buildings)
  • Moisture damage due to improper energetic modernization

An analysis of the cause of a mold infestation is just as important for lasting success as the professional removal of infested areas. Remediation must always be carried out professionally in order to prevent spreading to non-contaminated areas.


Gebäudethermografie der Fassade

Infrared thermal imaging in building biology

Thermography is an imaging method that makes temperature distributions visible. With the help of an infrared thermal imaging camera, the temperature differences on the surface of a building component, such as a wall surface, become visible by means of colour gradients. Thermal bridges or weak points in the building envelope can thus be made visible.

In addition to the energetic analysis of heat losses of a building, thermography also offers valuable support for the building biology investigation of mould infestation in interior rooms. In addition to moisture analyses of parts of the building, infrared thermal imaging can be used to visually depict an area where there is an acute risk of mould growth.

In summary, building thermography offers valuable support:

– For the identification of energetic leaks in the building envelope.
– For quality assurance or leakage detection of airtightness tests of a building project
– Building biology investigations to assess the risk of mould formation

The use of scanner technology for infrared images provides high-quality and informative thermal images.

Example: Entrance area of residential building – risk of mould formation due to thermal bridges


Example: Window reveals in residential buildings – risk of mould growth due to thermal bridges

Example: Facade of residential building: Analysis of heat losses

Gebäudethermografie der Fassade

Example of a thermal bridge in the floor area:

Example of a thermal bridge in the area of the floor ceiling:

Example of a thermal bridge in the area of the floor ceiling:





Health risk from mobile radio & WLAN in living rooms and bedrooms

High frequency is the term used to describe electromagnetic fields (EMF-HF) with frequencies above 300 kHz. In mobile communications, a whole range of frequencies are used for the transmission of communication and data, these range from 700 MHz to 2,600 MHz (2.6 GHz). For the use of the 5th generation of mobile communications (5G), the frequencies from 3.4 to 3.7 GHz are added.

DECT phones, for example, operate at a frequency of 1.88 GHz-1.9 GHz, while WLAN operates at frequencies of 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. The new 6 GHz “Wi-Fi 6E” WLAN operates between frequencies of 5.9 GHz to 7.1 GHz, which are expected to be available by mid-2021.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), classifies EMF RF fields, such as those generated by mobile phone use, as “possibly carcinogenic.” Mobile phone radiation has thus been classified as a class 2B carcinogen. This group includes diesel fuel, car exhaust from gasoline engines, biocide lindane or pentachlorophenol PCP.

Health effects of high-frequency radiation such as mobile radio or WLAN can be manifested by symptoms such as chronic fatigue, insomnia, restlessness, nervousness or loss of performance. According to estimates, about five to nine percent of the population are already electrosensitive.

The permanent stress on human cells under EMF RF influence is also called electrostress. The term electrostress describes the negative biological or health effects or consequences that can result from human exposure to EMF-NF fields as well as EMF-HF waves. Children in particular should be protected from excessive as well as prolonged exposure to radiation.

A health risk by the use of mobile radio, WLAN or Bluetooth cannot be excluded. The recommendation of building biology is clear: less is more. The use of mobile radio, WLAN and Bluetooth or pulsed high frequency in general should be avoided as far as possible in living rooms and bedrooms.

Many devices can be easily connected with an Ethernet adapter (LAN connection), so that the use of smart devices is still possible “offline”.