Magnetics and the body
Name: mike s
Do strong magnetic charges have any definite effect on the human body?
I assume you are asking about steady state magnetic fields (there are
no magnetic "charges"), such as from electromagnets. Magnetic fields are measured
in Tesla (T) or Gauss (G). The Tesla is a very large unit (1 T = 10,000 G). Most
large magnets have fields less than a few T. Reported and documented effects on
humans are few and of low hazard potential: a strange taste sensation has been
reported by some people who have metallic tooth fillings, in fields of 1.5 T; a
person who put his hands in a 10 T field reported a feeling of cold, pain in his
bones, and the feeling of ants crawling on his skin. Many tests on people have found
no sensations and no effects from exposures to fields of several T. In a lab study,
it was found that sickled red blood cells rotate in a 0.35 T field. The occupational
exposure limit for magnetic fields is 0.06 T for whole body exposure eight hours
per day, with exposures of up to 2 T allowed for partial body for shorter time periods.
Strong magnetic fields may be hazardous to people who have metallic devices such as pins
or plates implanted in their bodies, as the field may exert painful or damaging force
on the metal part. And people who have implanted cardiac pacemakers must stay out of
even weak fields (10 G or so) because their pacemakers may be affected.
Gary E Myers
Click here to return to the Biology Archives
Update: June 2012