| Scientists Agree That Electromagnetic
Fields Pose a Threat to Your Health
Electricity has become an integral part of our
lives, with electromagnetic fields (EMFs) all around us. Electricity
certainly makes our lives easier in many ways. Is it possible
that electricity is also making our lives shorter?
Most experts agree that some limited exposure to EMFs is not a
threat. We can feel reasonably safe using a toaster, for example.
The problem comes when we are chronically exposed to large does
of EMFs such as encountered when living near power lines or sleeping
in the room where the power enters the house. Unfortunately, this
type of chronic exposure to EMFs applies to millions of Americans.
Negative effects of EMF exposure
The effect of EMFs on biological tissue remains controversial.
Virtually all scientists agree that more research is necessary
to determine safe or dangerous levels. What they do know is that
iron, which is necessary for healthy blood and is stored in the
brain, is highly affected by EMFs. The permeability of the cell
membranes of nerves, blood vessels, skin and other organs is also
affected, as well as the intricate DNA of the chromosomes. Every
bodily biochemical process involves precisely choreographed movement
of EMF sensitive atoms, molecules, and ions.
Dr. David Carpenter, Dean of the School of Public Health, SUNY,
has reported that up to 30 percent of all childhood cancers may
be due to exposure to residential power
Epidemiological studies in Sweden by Maria Feychting showed that
persons exposed to high magnetic
fields at home and at work had 3.7 times the risk of developing
compared to those not exposed.
Two research reports have identified elevated risks of breast
cancer among women working jobs with presumed higher than
average exposure to EMFs.
If you want to follow the Environmental Protection Agency's advice
to prudently avoid EMFs, you may want to invest in a Gauss meter
to measure your home, work or school environments, both inside
What is a Gauss Meter?
A Gauss is a common unit of measurement of magnetic
field strength. The Gauss meter is a tool for measuring Gauss
values. Inside a Gauss meter is a coil of thin wire. As a magnetic
field radiates through the coil, it induces a current, which is
amplified by the circuitry inside the Gauss meter.
These meters vary in the strength of magnetic fields they are
able to measure. A meter used for measuring EMFs from power lines,
transformers, substations and appliances should be able to measure
as low as .1 mg.
Gauss meters vary in price and accuracy. They have either a single
axis coil or a triple axis coil, with the single axis being much
simpler and therefore much less expensive. To use the single axis
meter, you point its one sensor in three directions, the X, Y
and Z axes, and combine the readings in an equation to calculate
the combined field strength. The triple axis meters are more complicated
in their operations, but produce more accurate results.
Another consideration is whether the meter is frequency weighted.
Most meters read the same EMF strength no matter what the frequency.
Since the human body appears to be sensitive to both the field
strength and the frequency, meters should be frequency weighted.
The frequency weighting feature is why these meters will show
a higher EMF reading than those typically used by electricians
Power lines, substations and transformers
Power generating stations produce enormous amounts of electricity
and send it through high voltage wires. All power lines radiate
electromagnetic fields, with the exact amount depending on its
particular configuration. Power companies know which configurations
are best for limiting EMFs but most don't feel the evidence against
EMFs supports their making costly changes in the way they deliver
A substation is where the conversion from transmission to distribution
takes place. Through an assemblage of circuit breakers, switches
and transformers, the electrical current is stepped down to the
power grid. A good bit of public concern about the threat of EMFs
has revolved around the substation, which has been seen as the
cause of cancer
clusters among nearby residents.
A component of a utility's electrical distribution network depends
on numerous transformers mounted on power poles. These transformers
look like small cylindrical trash cans. When the electrical service
is buried underground, you will see a metal box located on the
ground near the street. Although many people don't know a transformer
when they see it, the power line feeding the transformer is carrying
4000 to 13,000 volts. The transformer then reduces the voltage
to the 120-/240 current needed by the nearby homes.
EMFs near a transformer can be very high, but the field strength
diminishes rapidly with distance. For this reason, having a transformer
located near your home should not be a major concern, but you
might want to measure the field strength around the transformer
to be sure.
Electric blankets and water beds
An electric blanket can create a magnetic field that penetrates
about 6 to 7 inches into the body. An epidemiological study has
linked electric blankets with miscarriages and childhood leukemia.
Similar effects have been reported for users of water bed heaters
which emit EMTs even when turned off but still plugged in.
Electric clocks emit a magnetic field as much as 5 to 10mG up
to three feet away. If you have a bedside clock, you may be exposing
yourself to the EMF equivalent of an electric power line. Since
studies have linked high rates of brain tumors with chronic exposure
to magnetic fields, it may be wise to place all clocks and other
electrical devices such as phones at least 6 feet from where you
Electric Razors and Hair Dryers
Electric razors and hair dryers may emit EMFs as high as 200 to
400 mG. This may seem like a really large amount, but your exposure
to these devices is probably not continuous for long periods of
time. Some experts recommend that hair dryers not be used on children
as the high field would be held close to the rapidly developing
brain and nervous system of the child.
Fluorescent lights produce a higher level of EMFs than incandescent
bulbs. A typical fluorescent tube may have a reading of 160 to
200 mG at 1 inch away.
Microwave ovens and radar
In addition to microwaves,
another type of radiation, ELF, is emitted from microwave ovens
and radar from military installations and airports. Microwaves
are measured in milliwatts per centimeter squared (mW/cm2). The
safety limit for microwave exposure is 1mW/mc2. Microwave leakage
is a serious issue, serious enough for the FDA to set legal limits
on the leakage permitted by a microwave maker.
Since microwave radiation has been known to cause cataracts, birth
defects, cancer and other serious illnesses, you don't want to
stand in front of or close to a microwave in operation. Once you
start thinking about the hazards of microwaving foods, you may
find that you can heat food in a toaster oven almost as quickly.
You might also want to think about that "frankenfood" you are
creating in your microwave by the rearrangement of its molecular
If you want to measure microwaves from military or airport radar
sources, you will find that the only really accurate measures
can be found with extremely expensive meters. If you are set on
doing this, you can rent these meters.
The handset of a telephone may emit a surprisingly high amount
of EMFs. Since you hold the phone next to your head, you will
probably want to get the phone with the lowest EMF reading. Place
the Gauss meter directly against the ear piece and the mouth piece
to check the reading before you buy a telephone.
Natural Solutions Foundation, (www.healthfreedomusa.org)
, "Useful Information About Electric Magnetic Fields".
, "Electro Magnetic Field", Nabeel Kauka, M.D.