Danger of EMF – Electromagnetic Field – Powerlines, VDU, Home Appliances Part 4

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Milham and other scientists say it’s impossible to know for sure. Since cancer has a latency period of at least 10 to 20 years, it’s too soon to tell. There is mounting evidence, however, of increased incidence of brain cancer among heavy cell phone users.

Who is looking out for public health? With our ever-expanding use of electricity and recent developments in and burgeoning use of wireless technologies, the health risks for all life forms are growing at an alarming rate. Since cell phone technology first came into use, levels of man-made EMF radiation have increased by as much as 100,000 times for the whole planet. The third-generation cellular systems now being built require four times the number of transmitter masts used by the current mobile phone system. The installation of millions of wireless computer networks in offices, homes and schools will add another layer to the amount of microwave and radio frequency radiation to which people are exposed every day.

There is near-total agreement among researchers that the developing brains of children are most vulnerable to EMFs. Environmental consultant Sage is worried that installing wireless computer networks in schools could increase children’s exposure to harmful radiation one hundredfold. It is time to clear the air of disinformation about EMFs. The need to understand electromagnetic fields, identify their potential health hazards and implement measures to mitigate the risks they pose to human health has become urgent. Milham and other scientists are increasingly concerned that it may take an epidemic of brain and other cancers to catalyze the independent research, government oversight and avoidance measures that are necessary to protect human health and the health of the entire planet. Let’s hope they’re wrong. AM Heidi Gitterman is a speaker, author and contributing editor to Alternative Medicine.

idebar EMF Safety Tips: Remember that EMFs go through doors and walls. In general, to reduce your exposure to EMFs, increase the distance between you and the source. A surprising rule of thumb: The smaller and cheaper the motor, the higher its electromagnetic field. In kitchens, the appliance with the highest EMF reading is often the electric can opener. EMF levels can be very different between makes and models of the same appliance. In general, those with a higher EER (energy efficiency ratio) produce lower EMF levels and are therefore safer. Look for EnergyStar appliances. You can also test electrical appliances in the store using a handheld Gauss meter. Stay at least an arm’s length away from the front, back and sides of a computer monitor, even if there is a wall between you. And keep your distance from the computer itself; the chassis also produces an electromagnetic Þeld. If you must use an electric blanket or heated waterbed, use one that has been wired to neutralize its powerful magnetic Þeld. Move away from appliances (dishwashers, toasters, microwave ovens) while they are operating. Avoid using cellular phones as much as possible.

Prudent avoidance The United States has no federal health-based standards for exposure to electromagnetic fields. However, after more than 25 years of intensive study, the Swedish government established a safety limit for exposure to ELF (extremely low frequency) magnetic fields at 2.5 mG. Since EMFs are not visible, have no odor and make no sound discernable by the human ear, some scientists believe that EMF detectors are essential to prudent avoidance of hazardous EMFs. Gauss meters can be used to check for EMFs in your home, office and car. You can hire an environmental consultant to do the job, or you can purchase an inexpensive meter and do the checking yourself.

Sometimes moving a bed, a chair or an appliance as little as 6 to 12 inches can mean the difference between resting in a safe place or a potentially dangerous one. The California EMF Program suggests you stay 3 to 4 feet from appliances, 60 to 200 feet from distribution lines and 300 to 1,000 feet from transmission lines. It’s a good idea to check the electrical wiring throughout your home. Noncode wiring is often the cause of high EMF readings. Finally, because of the amount of time we spend sleeping and the negative health effects that high levels of EMFs can have on the body’s ability to produce cancer-fighting melatonin, keeping EMFs under 1 mG in the bedroom is especially important.

By Heidi Gitterman
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Danger of EMF – Electromagnetic Field – Powerlines, VDU, Home Appliances Part 2

Electromagnetic Field, Powerlines

Danger of EMF – Electromagnetic Field – Powerlines, VDU, Home Appliances Part 1


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We are being kept in a state of ignorance about the dangers posed by electrical pollution at a time when the devices contributing to that pollution from power tools to cell phones to electric cars are proliferating wildly, with no EMF safety-testing whatsoever and almost no non-industry-sponsored funding for research. Studies and missed opportunities In their 1979 study “Electrical Wiring Configurations and Childhood Cancer,” Wertheimer and Leeper observed, “Electrical power came into use many years before environmental impact studies were common, and today our domestic power lines are taken for granted and generally assumed to be harmless. However, this assumption has never been adequately tested. É In 1976-77, we did a field study in the greater Denver area which suggested that, in fact, the homes of children who developed cancer were found unduly often near electric lines carrying high currents.” The groundbreaking study, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, was summarily dismissed by utility companies and government agencies, which refused to fund a single study that would refute or confirm the findings. Three years later, Swedish physician Lennart Tomenius reported significantly higher-than-expected levels of cancer among Stockholm residents exposed to EMF levels similar to those reported in the Denver study. His findings, too, were ignored. Many occupational studies have demonstrated an EMF-cancer link.

In July 1982, research epidemiologist Sam Milham of the Washington State Department of Health published the results of a study indicating that workers with high EMF exposure such as electricians and power station operators had a greater-than-expected rate of leukemia. Dozens of other studies corroborated these findings. And in 1989, Johns Hopkins University reported that, in addition to having a higher-than-average risk of leukemia and lymphoma, male telephone-cable splicers also had a higher-than-average risk of lung, prostate, colon and breast cancer. Most of this research went unreported by the popular press. Then, in 1989 and 1990, a series of articles by Paul Brodeur in the New Yorker, entitled “Annals of Radiation: The Hazards of Electromagnetic Fields,” shocked the nation into an awareness of the possible health dangers associated with these unseen energy fields. A flurry of print and TV news stories on the subject followed. Then silence. The myth of low risk ratios Critics who scoff at the idea that EMFs pose any health risk often point to studies in which exposure to EMFs could not be shown to cause a significant increase in cancer or other diseases in other words, EMFs seemed to have relatively low “risk ratios.” What these studies did not take into account was that, because EMFs are everywhere in modern industrial society, it is virtually impossible to find control groups for clinical EMF studies.

In his 1998 study of carcinogenic risk, “Carcinogenicity of Electromagnetic Fields,” Milham illustrates this point by presenting the basic data of a 1956 study of smoking and lung cancer conducted by British physicians Richard Doll and Austin Bradford Hill. In that study, Milham notes, “a high relative risk [was] achieved only when heavy smokers [were] compared to nonsmokers.” He then points out that “the EMF equivalent of nonsmokers does not exist in the industrialized world.” The relatively small risk ratios camouflage an already elevated incidence of EMF-related disease in the general population.

A second factor compromising EMF risk calculations is that researchers may actually have used the wrong magnetic field meters to conduct their exposure assessments. The Positron, Emdex and Amex meters that still are used in many residential and occupational studies have one fatal flaw: They do not detect EMFs below 35 or 40 Hz, the very low frequency (VLF) and extremely low frequency (ELF) electromagnetic fields that are known to have negative effects on human health. (Nor do they detect the higher frequencies used by cell phones, televisions, radios and microwaves.) The fudge factor Let’s examine a study that is still widely cited as evidence that EMFs are harmless: The National Cancer Institute-Linet Study. According to a 1997 NCI press release, “A comprehensive study by researchers from the National Cancer Institute and the Children’s Cancer Group found no evidence that magnetic fields in the house increase the risk for the most common form of childhood cancer.” Yet, the researchers acknowledge in no less than four places in the report that a statistically significant increase in acute lymphoblastic leukemia exists in children exposed to power line magnetic fields in excess of 3 milligauss (mG).

The report confirms previous studies showing a similar level of association between childhood leukemia and magnetic fields from electricity. So how did the NCI come to the conclusion that there was no risk? Very simple. It set a cutoff limit of 2 mG. (The worldwide safety standard is 2.5 mG.) By establishing that limit, the NCI effectively removed any statistically significant connection with the associated dangers. Standards? What standards? There are no health-based standards for long-term or short-term exposure to extremely low-frequency EMFs in the home or in the workplace. The federally permitted 1,000 mG limit for U.S. workplaces, established in 1986, addresses only thermal safety standards those necessary to avoid shocking, boiling or frying the human body.

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