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Electropollution

Apple and Google have surpassed ExxonMobil and are now the wealthiest companies in the world. It seems our reliance on gadgets and the convenience of wireless technology is even stronger than our dependence on oil!

Forty years ago the bedroom had nothing more than a clock radio in it. The living room had a TV and stereo and the kitchen a stove and fridge. If you took an inventory of the average home today it would have TVs in most rooms, DVDs, videos, cable box, XBOX, TiVo’s, surround sound speaker systems, remote controls, IPODs, IPOD docking stations, IPAD, cell phones and their chargers, cordless phones, Bluetooth headset and charger, wireless computers, wireless routers, alarm clocks, printers, wireless security system, wireless baby monitors, compact fluorescent light bulbs, stove, refrigerator, microwave, dishwasher, a multitude of appliances and the list goes on and on.

All these devices are exposing us to amounts of radiation that the human body has never before had to deal with. Electromagnetic fields (EMFs) are all around us. EMF is the term most often used when referring to the electric field and the magnetic field produced whenever electricity is in use. An Electric field is evident when there is a potential voltage and a magnetic field exists only if current is flowing. Magnetic fields fluctuate with the current so, the greater the current the higher the magnetic field. This is why around peak power usage times the magnetic fields around distribution lines are often as high as those found near high voltage transmission lines (Sugarman 2004).

In Australia 50Hz electromagnetic fields (EMFs) are generated from all the electrical appliances that run off our electric power system. This includes the power lines, house wiring, lights and all appliances. This causes ELF radiation and produces an electric and magnetic field. The magnetic field is easily measured with a Gauss meter but this field is not easily shielded. The electric field is easily shielded by the earth, trees or building materials but is a little harder to measure. In Building Biology we measure the effect the electric field is having on the individual as this is more relevant. This is measured using a body voltage kit.

Besides exposure from 50Hz power line fields we are all regularly exposed to radio frequency (RF) and microwave (MW) radiation. These come from radio and television broadcast transmitters and further along in the microwave band- cell phones and cordless phones and their base stations; wireless technologies; microwave ovens; satellite communications; air traffic control systems and radar. Radiofrequency is measured using a HF Analyser.

Many people complain of feeling unwell when they switch to wireless. Research is suggesting that radiofrequency causes seemingly unrelated conditions because of the ‘stress’ connection. Stress related disorders elevate cortisol and this puts a strain on the adrenal glands which affects the immune system. When the immune system is stressed the body is vulnerable and all sorts of health disorders can develop, such as short term memory problems, irritability, anxiety, headaches, inability to concentrate and heart irregularities (Gittleman 2010).

There is no dispute that ionising radiation is harmful. This comes from UV rays, x-rays, gamma rays, etc. However, there is debate about non-ionising radiation. Many scientists backed by the Military and Industry would have us believe that radiation is only harmful when it produces thermal effects, that is, it heats up tissue. This is what the debate is over as more and more studies have now been conducted on non-ionising radiation and many scientists agree that non-ionising radiation causes biological effects at the cellular level and even if no heating occurs biological damage is occurring. It is now known that DNA can be damaged by the same radio frequency used by the latest generation of phones – both 2G and 3G (Adlkofer cited in Davis 2010). It is now widely agreed that epidemiology consistently demonstrates an association between ELF magnetic fields and increased occurrence of childhood leukaemia (Fisher 2008).

Unfortunately there is a lot of opposition to the science proving that ELF EMF and microwaves are a risk to our health. Admitting this would disrupt our entire infrastructure, industry and the military as they rely heavily on radiofrequency. Not surprisingly industry fund a lot of their own studies and as Gittleman (2010) points out when Industry fund the research 72% of the time they conclude there are no risks with non-ionising radiation. Independently funded studies suggest there is a health risk 67% of the time. These results are almost reversed. Industry representatives often claim that ELF fields are too weak to cause biological effects and yet ELF fields are used in medicine all the time. Anything that can stimulate cell division and growth is a potential carcinogen (Milham 2010). In 2011 the WHO/IARC classified radiofrequency radiation as a class 2B carcinogen-possibly carcinogenic to humans. That classification was based on all the research to date. Now, leading scientists are calling for that classification to be upgraded to a class 2A carcinogen based on new research over the last 3 years.

“There is a consistent pattern of increased risk for glioma (a malignant brain tumor) and acoustic neuroma with use of mobile and cordless phones,” says Lennart Hardell, MD, PhD at Orebro University, Sweden, according to studies released in 2012 and 2013. “Epidemiological evidence shows that radiofrequency should be classified as a known human carcinogen. The existing FCC/IEEE and ICNIRP public safety limits are not adequate to protect public health.”

In 1979 Wertheimer & Leeper were the first to make a connection between childhood leukaemia and living in homes with high magnetic fields. They found that the risk of developing childhood leukaemia doubled when living in fields of 4mG or more. There is strong evidence that ELF radiation is linked to breast cancer for women exposed to 10mG and higher. Many studies have linked exposure to EMR and neurodegenerative diseases such as ALS and Alzheimer’s (Bioinitiative report 2007). These studies have prompted the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) to classify magnetic fields of 4mG and above as ‘possibly carcinogenic’. Sadly, current international guidelines allow 2,000mG which mocks the research suggesting exposure to 4mG is dangerous (McLean 2011).

Twice nominated for a Nobel Prize Robert O Becker was a pioneer in the field of bioelectricity. He realised the positive uses of ELF EMF for regenerating bone and healing oedema but he also understood the dangers of exposure to ELF radiation and led the charge in warning about electro-pollution.

“All life pulsates in time to the earth, and our artificial fields cause abnormal reactions in all organisms.” (Becker 1985).

REFERENCES

Becker, R and Seldon, G. (1985). The Body Electric. Harper. New York.

Bijlsma, N. (2010). Healthy Home Healthy Family. Joshua Books. Australia.

Bijlsma, N. (2012). Electrobiology manual, Australian College of Environmental Studies, Melbourne.

Bio-Initiative Report, 2007. A Rationale for a biologically- based public exposure standard for electromagnetic fields (ELF & RF).http://www.bioinitiative.org/report/index.htm

Bio-Initiative Working Group Comments on 2014 SCENIHR Preliminary Opinion on Potential Health Effects on EMF http://www.bioinitiative.org/potential-health-effects-emf/

Davis, D. (2010). Disconnect. Penguin Group. New York.

Frey, Allan, H. March.1998, Headaches From Cellular Telephones: Are they Real and what are the implications, Environ Health Perspect. 1998 March; 106(3). Published online 1998 March 22, Available: http://ehp03.niehs.nih.gov/article/fetchArticle.action?articleURI=info%3Adoi%2F10.1289%2Fehp.98106101#top

Goldberg, G. (2006). Would You Put Your Head In a Microwave Oven? Arthur House. Indiana

Environmental Health Trust, 2009. Men (Online).Available: http://environmentalhealthtrust.org/men/

Fisher, D. (2008). Silent Fields. The Growing Cancer Cluster Story. Lindlahr Book Publishing. Australia.

Gittleman, A, L. (2010). Zapped. Why Your Cell Phone Shouldn’t be Your Alarm Clock and 1,268 Ways to Outsmart the Hazards of Electromagnetic Pollution. HarperCollins. New York. Pg 42

McLean, Lyn. (2011). The Force. Living safely in a world of electromagnetic field pollution. Scribe. Australia.

Milham, S. (2010). Dirty Electricity. Electrification and the Diseases of Civilisation. Iuniverse. Indianna.

Phillips, J and A. (2006). The Powerwatch Handbook. Piatkus, Geat Britain.

Rees, C. & Havas, M. (2009). Public Health SOS: The Shadow Side of the Wireless Revolution. 110 Questions on Electromagnetic Pollution from a Forum at the Commonwealth Club of California. Wide Angle Health. USA.

Sugarman, E. (1992). Warning: The electricity around you may be hazardous to your health. Miriam Press. Florida.

Wertheimer, N and Leeper, E 1979, ‘Electrical Wiring Configurations and childhood cancer’, The American Journal of Epidemiology.

World Health Organisation. (2009). Electromagnetic fields. Standards and Guidelines. (Online). Available: http://www.who.int/peh-emf/standards/standards/en/

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