Too many electromagnetic fields surrounding us–from cell phones, wifi, and commonplace modern technology–may be seriously harming our health. Here’s how to minimize your exposure.
The California Cancer Cluster
IN 1990, the city of La Quinta, CA, proudly opened the doors of its sparkling new middle school. Gayle Cohen, then a sixth-grade teacher, recalls the sense of excitement everyone felt: “We had been in temporary facilities for 2 years, and the change was exhilarating.” But the glow soon dimmed. One teacher developed vague symptoms– weakness, dizziness–and didn’t return after the Christmas break. A couple of years later, another developed cancer and died; the teacher who took over his classroom was later diagnosed with throat cancer. More instructors continued to fall ill, and then, in 2003, on her 50th birthday, Cohen received her own bad news: breast cancer.
“That’s when I sat down with another teacher, and we remarked on all the cancers we’d seen,” she says. “We immediately thought of a dozen colleagues who had either gotten sick or passed away.” By 2005, 16 staffers among the 137 who’d worked at the new school had been diagnosed with 18 cancers, a ratio nearly 3 times the expected number. Nor were the children spared: About a dozen cancers have been detected so far among former students. A couple of them have died.
Prior to undergoing her first chemotherapy treatment, Cohen approached the school principal, who eventually went to district officials for an investigation. A local newspaper article about the possible disease cluster caught the attention of Sam Milham, MD, a widely traveled epidemiologist who has investigated hundreds of environmental and occupational illnesses and published dozens of peer-reviewed papers on his findings. For the past 30 years, he has trained much of his focus on the potential hazards of electromagnetic fields (EMFs)–the radiation that surrounds all electrical appliances and devices, power lines, and home wiring and is emitted by communications devices, including cell phones and radio, TV, and WiFi transmitters.
His work has led him, along with an increasingly alarmed army of international scientists, to a controversial conclusion: The “electrosmog” that first began developing with the rollout of the electrical grid a century ago and now envelops every inhabitant of Earth is responsible for many of the diseases that impair–or kill–us.
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