“For the first time in our evolutionary history, we have generated an entire secondary, virtual, densely complex environment–an electromagnetic soup–that essentially overlaps the human nervous system,” says Michael Persinger, PhD, a neuroscientist at Laurentian University who has studied the effects of EMFs on cancer cells. And it appears that, more than a century after Thomas Edison switched on his first lightbulb, the health consequences of that continual overlap are just now beginning to be documented.
A History of Harmful Effects
Until Edison’s harnessing of electricity, humans’ only sources of EMF exposure were the earth’s static magnetic field (which causes a compass needle to point north) and cosmic rays from the sun and outer space; over our long evolution, we’ve adapted to solar EMFs by developing protective pigment. “But we have no protection against other EMF frequencies,” says Andrew Marino, PhD, JD, a pioneer in bioelectromagnetics who has done extensive EMF research and a professor in the department of orthopedic surgery at the Louisiana State Health Sciences Center.
“How quickly can we adapt our biology to these new exposures? It’s the most important environmental health question–and problem–of the 21st century.”Research into the hazards of EMFs has been extensive, controversial–and, at least at the outset, animated by political intrigue. A sampling:
• The Russians first noticed during World War II that radar operators (radar operates using radio frequency waves) often came down with symptoms we now attribute to electrical hypersensitivity syndrome. In the 1960s, during the height of the Cold War, they secretly bombarded the US embassy in Moscow with microwave radiation (a higher-frequency RF used to transmit wireless signals), sickening American employees. Radio wave sickness– also called microwave sickness– is now a commonly accepted diagnosis.
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