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
Little Rock, Arkansas
Morwell, Victoria, Australia
Hervey Bay, Queensland
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