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Reducing the 3rd Current Harmonic is a Positive Step Toward a Healthier Home


Home Current Harmonic Pollution is like a sewer system backup –– except the sludge is odorless and invisible. This EMF wears out both equipment and people. Is it a danger to children?

In healthy homes, the current harmonics on the electrical and grounding system are minimal. In unhealthy homes, higher levels of the 3rd “triplin” current harmonic (180 HzB) will be present throughout many if not all living spaces. Sometimes this biological irritant can be found in front or back yards where children play. What causes the 3rd harmonic, and why does it matter?

Non-linear Power Causes Electrical Distortions

Disrupted power alters smooth 60 Hz voltage (here in N. America) and produces echoes of the fundamental frequency known as Harmonics. It can be caused by “asynchronous” motors found in washing machines, dryers or drills. Other times, it’s caused by “switch mode” power supplies, solar or battery inverters, variable speed pool pumps, light dimmers, LED or Fluorescent lights, computers and phone chargers.

Within dwellings, pesky harmonics can travel along wires or ride on conductive plumbing. They can also radiate a trail of frequencies into the air to pollute living spaces. In some neighborhoods, harmonics can travel from one house to another via shared transformers and/or the multi-grounded neutral system. Unfortunately, the electrical system is fragile because so many neighborhoods have undersized neutral conductors that are overloaded and overflowing with unwanted “piggyback” harmonic frequencies.

Third Current Harmonics: Serious Harm to Equipment

For many years, engineers have documented how the 3rd harmonic (60 Hz x 3), aka 180 HzB, can harm equipment because it has a complex and distorted waveform. Put simply, it’s got more “oomph” than a regular 60Hz fundamental frequency. 180 HzB ramps up the current in electrical circuits very rapidly, causing malfunctioning and premature failure of devices. In particular, it can:

  • Cause electric meters to read inaccurately
  • Cause circuit breakers to trip
  • Cause motors and transformers to burn out
  • Cause neutral wires in a system to overheat
  • Cause electronic equipment to fail
  • Interfere with broadcasting and recording studios

Biological Effects: Cows, People and Cancer?

Current Harmonics are biological irritants producing various physiological reactions among both animals and people. Although both current harmonics and electric fields affect us when exposed, the 180 HzB current harmonic seems to be especially biologically active. This may be due to the fact that biological tissues are essentially as permeable to these magnetic fields as air, making them more invasive.

In studies of 1,705 cows in five midwest dairy farm herds over a period of 517 days, researchers found that animal exposure to 3rd Harmonic Current accounted for decreases in -9 pounds of milk per cow per day (Hillman, 2010). This is a major biological effect, and with cows there are no placebo effects.

Resonance frequencies of body organs.

With people, human skin is a pretty good insulator for DC voltages. It’s not the same for AC voltages, frequencies and currents. It’s well known that frequencies external to the human body can resonate with different areas within the body. For example, frequencies in the region 60 to 90 Hz can produce eyeball disturbances, while a resonance effect in the lower jaw-skull area is noted between 100 and 200 Hz.

Several Building Biology consultants have observed client histories of cancer in homes where proportionally higher 3rd Harmonics were measured. In one Conejo Valley home I tested where the boy was undergoing treatment for Childhood Leukemia — I found 180 HzB levels 22 times higher than what I measured in front of other homes down the same street.

This anecdotal evidence fits with earlier research done by engineers and epidemiologists in a Denver electricity exposure study. Researchers noted that when they found childhood leukemia, there were more triplin harmonics in the victim’s homes (radiated from ground wires/power lines coming into the homes), and they recommended further study.

“…it might be profitable to view the 180 Hz and/or harmonic magnetic field as a surrogate for another exposure that is more fundamentally connected to leukemia risk.” Bioelectromagnetics

Childhood Leukemia risk from chronic 180 HzB exposure seems plausible to me, because ELF fields induce higher current density in a child’s body than with adults.

Adult Body Modeling Of Current Exposure: Some High Octane Speculation

A 3D model of human current exposure densities induced in the human body (fig. 4) shows maximum peak current values appearing in neck, knees and ankles. They appear to be “choke points” for ELF-MF current densities.

Interestingly, the thyroid is located in the mid-line of the neck. Might some 180 HzB exposure levels someday be linked to Thyroid Cancer?

In this literature review, researchers discuss how prolonged exposure to power frequencies can lead to disorders in the thyroid gland’s homeostasis. In one animal study, the neuroendocrine system was modulated by magnetic fields. In the Journal, Oncotarget, researchers consider how ELF radiation exposure may adversely affect bone mineral density, thyroid pathology, and oxidative stress levels.

Clearly, we need more research on a variety of possible 180HzB biological effects. We especially need non-industry funded studies. What I can personally say about current harmonics is this: Human beings are like tuning forks and electrosensitive persons have finely tuned resonance. In my small practice, I’ve met quite a few people who don’t do well in environments with elevated current harmonics.

Real Life Story #1

Wendy,” an electrosensitive client from Thousand Oaks, met me at an upscale tract home in a master-planned community in Ventura County. At this property, I had previously measured extremely low levels of RF radiation from cell towers. But I detected and measured higher than normal levels of 180 HzB current harmonics all along the front yard and in the garage nearest to a transformer.

She rang the doorbell and waited about 12′ away from the front door. As I opened the door, Wendy wasn’t smiling. It was obvious that something was wrong, because she looked agitated, pale and queasy. I asked how she was feeling and she described her unpleasant, very nauseous sensations.


I suggested to Wendy that we walk around the side of the house to the backyard. There, the 180 HzB measurements I had taken were 60% less than the front yard. Wendy smiled, once again, and said how much better she felt. Absence of 180 HzB provided her a great sense of relief and peace.

Real Life Story #2

Cul-de-sac Concerns: Three persons from two different homes were all suffering from Electrosensitivity (ES) symptoms on this street. Besides their proximity to a nearby cell tower, both homes exposed occupants to concerning levels of 180 HzB emanating from “net current imbalance” on power lines. The highest 180 HzB I found was in the home where a lady reported frequent difficulty breathing.

Proximity to power lines has been shown, in some studies, to boost unhealthy “positive ion” air particles. I observed this dynamic at the cul-de-sac using a meter designed to measure ion density – the number of ions per cubic centimeter (ions/cc) in air. Readings showed an unfavorable balance between pos to neg ions. The presence of 180 HzB on the power lines leveraged this effect.

Some researchers have suggested that too many positive ions may be associated with decreased pulmonary performance and may exacerbate asthmatic symptoms and other respiratory irritations. Obversely, the Center for Environmental Therapeutics has conducted research on beneficial negative air ionization (NAI) for improved blue mood, better work concentration, and less exhaustion.

While there are several ways to shield homes from RF cell tower radiation, mitigating 180 HzB current is more tricky if a large area in and around a house is polluted. I suggested to one homeowner a plan to at least correct their electrostatic imbalances so the wife can breathe easier. This can also result in better sleep.

Testing Your Home (Or The Home You Wish to Buy)

Measuring current density for the 3rd Harmonic and other EMF irritants inside and outside a house can provide key insights for both homeowners and home buyers needing to make essential decisions.

If the largest source of 3rd Harmonic fields is from the homeowner’s own equipment or wiring, there are often ways to reduce unhygienic levels. The result is often a healthier, more comfortable home.

If the primary source for current harmonics is utility equipment exterior to the home, it gets complicated, because the source could be a variety of things. Sometimes it can be be too costly (or impossible) to correct things after moving in.

The author measuring 180 HzB levels surrounding a transformer that powers a nearby client’s house.

One way to make sense of harmonics is to temporarily turn off a home’s electrical power at the main panel and then measure around the house and yard. There are other diagnostic tests that need to be run, but if we still get undesirable 3rd harmonic measurements, it may be time for a realtor to show the buyer a different home.

Real Estate EMF inspections are incredibly helpful, because buyers, sellers and agents rarely know about power frequency harmonics. If you would like to schedule a home assessment or a real estate pre-purchase assessment, please contact me. It would my pleasure to help you.