frequently report numerous benefits from an EMF Shield like:
"Alternative Medicine Magazine", June 2002
"…potential adverse effects on health that should be taken seriously." - Journal of the American Medical Association, March 20, 1991
Two Swedish studies provide the best evidence so far of a link between electricity and cancer - Time Magazine, October 26, 1992
Click here to see the article on the CNN website
Summary of World Wide Research
"Alternative Medicine Magazine", June 2002
By Heidi Gitterman
Electricity is what causes our hearts to beat and our brains to think. With out it there would be no cell division; we could not hear, see, feel or move. We don't Just use electricity-it is an essential part of who we are.
Our planet has its own natural electrical and magnetic fields. Lightning, for example, creates natural electric fields as it strikes the planet hundreds of times each hour. The Earth itself is like a giant magnet, with lines of magnetic force running from the North Pole to the South Pole.
Life has adapted to and existed within this natural electromagnetic environment for millions of years. That is, until the last century.
Our civilization now runs on man-made electricity, and we live in proximity to power sources and office machines and appliances that generate a wide range of electromagnetic radiation almost 24 hours a day. But the electromagnetic fields, or EMFs, created by modern society are very different from the static magnetic field in which life has evolved.
Unease about the health effects of electromagnetic fields can be traced back to a 1979 study conducted by epidemiologist Nancy Wertheimer and physicist Ed Leeper. The Wertheimer-Leeper study found that children living close to high-current power lines were two to three times more likely to develop cancer than children who did not.
In the 23 years since, dozens of studies have corroborated the Wertheimer-Leeper findings, and hundreds of other studies have associated exposure to EMF’s with increased incidence of childhood and adult cancers, including leukemia, lymphoma, brain cancer and male breast cancer, as well as increased risk of miscarriage, depression and suicide And while some studies have found either no risk or very low risk of electromagnetic fields for cancer, a preponderance of the evidence suggests that EMF’s are a serious threat to human health.
In his 1985 book The Body Electric: Electromagnetism and the Foundation of Life, Robert 0. Becker, M.D., noted, "The human species has changed its electromagnetic background more than any other aspect of the environment." According to Becker, "The greatest polluting element in the Earth's environment is the proliferation of electromagnetic fields."
Everyone recognizes the health hazards of chemical pollutants in our air, land and water. But ask someone about the dangers of EMF’s and you'll most likely get a blank stare.
PUTTING THE SPIN ON SCIENCE
In July 1997, addressing the First World Conference on Breast Cancer, environmental consultant and policy researcher Cindy Sage declared that decision-making on public health issues is hampered "when there is a large industry presence [that] may suffer financial consequences with the admission of liability for a carcinogenic product." Such a situation, she added, "creates a difficult climate for funding, evaluating and acting on new scientific information. The state of the science becomes a battleground, where scientific uncertainty is argued as reason to defer action or take trivial or meaningless action." This is exactly what has happened with EMF research.
Due to strong industry pressure to ignore possible health risks, studies showing positive EMF-cancer associations have been discredited, while other studies have disguised or buried the association altogether. We are being kept in a state of ignorance about the dangers posed by electrical pollution at a time when the devices contributing to that pollution-from power tools to cell phones to electric cars-are proliferating wildly, with no EMF safety-testing whatsoever and almost no non-industry- sponsored funding for research.
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 EMF’s can have on the body's ability to produce cancer-fighting melatonin, keeping EMF’s under 1 mG in the bedroom is especially important.
STUDIES AND MISSED OPPORTUNITIES
In their 1979 study Electrical Wiring Configurations and Childhood Cancer," Wertheimer and Leeper observed, "Electrical power came into use many years before environmental impact studies were common, and today our domestic power lines are taken for granted and generally assumed to be harmless. However, this assumption has never been adequately tested..."In 1976-77, we did a field study in the greater Denver area which suggested that, in fact, the homes of children who developed cancer were found unduly often near electric lines carrying high currents."
The groundbreaking study, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, was summarily dismissed by utility companies and government agencies, which refused to fund a single study that would refute or confirm the findings. Three years later, Swedish physician Lennart Tomenius reported significantly higher-than-expected levels of cancer among Stockholm residants exposed to EMF levels similar to those reported in the Denver study. His findings, too, were ignored.
Many occupational studies have demonstrated an EMF-cancer link. In July 1982, research epidemiologist Sam Milham of the Washington State Department of Health published the results of a study indicating that workers with high EMF exposure-such as electricians and power station operators-had a greater-than-expected rate of leukemia. Dozens of other studies corroborated these findings. And in 1989 Johns Hopkins University reported that, in addition to having a higher-than-average risk of leukemia and lymphoma, male telephone-cable splicers also had a higher - than-average risk of lung, prostate, colon and breast cancer.
Most of this research went unreported by the popular press.
Then, in 1989 and 1990, a series of articles by Paul Brodeur in the New Yorker, entitled "Annals of Radiation: The Hazards of Electromagnetic Fields," shocked the nation into an awareness of the possible health dangers associated with these unseen energy fields. A flurry of print and TV news stories on the subject followed. Then silence.
Critics who scoff at the idea that EMFs pose any health risk often point to studies in which exposure to EMFs could not be shown to cause a significant increase in cancer or other diseases-
In other words, EMFs seemed to have relatively low "risk ratios." What these studies did not take into account was that, because EMFs are everywhere in modern industrial society, it is virtually impossible to find control groups for clinical EMF studies.
In his 1998 study of carcinogenic risk, "Carcinogenicitv of Electromagnetic Fields," Milham illustrates this point by presenting the basic data of a 1956 study of smoking and lung cancer conducted by British physicians Richard Doll and Austin Bradford Hill. In that study, Milham notes, "a high relative risk [Was] achieved only when heavy smokers [were] compared to nonsmokers." He then points our that "the EMF equivalent of nonsmokers does not exist in the industrialized world." The relatively small risk ratios camouflage an already elevated incidence of EMF-related disease in the general population.
A second factor compromising EMF risk calculations is that researchers may actually have used the wrong magnetic field meters to conduct their exposure assessments. The Positron, Emdex and Amex meters that still are used in many residential and occupational studies have one fatal flaw: They do not detect EMFs below 35 or 40 Hz, the very low frequency (VLF) and extremely low frequency (ELF) electromagnetic fields that are known to have negative effects on human health. (Nor do they detect the higher frequencies used by cell phones, televisions, radios and microwaves.)
Let's examime a study that is still widely cited as evidence that EMF’s are harmless: The National Cancer Institute-Linet Study. According to a 1997 NCI press release, "A comprehensive study by researchers from the National Cancer Institute and the Children's Cancer Group found no evidence that magnetic fields in the house increase the risk for the most common form of childhood cancer."
Yet, the researchers acknowledge in no less than four places in the report that a statistically significant increase im acute lymphoblastic leukemia exists in children exposed to power line magnetic fields in excess of 3 milligauss (mG). The report confirms previous studies showing a similar level of association between childhood leukemia and magnetic fields from electricity.
So how did the NCI come to the conclusion that there was no risk? Very simple. It set a cutoff limit of 2 mG. (The worldwide safety standard is 2.5 mG.) By establishing that limit, the NCI effectively removed any statistically significant connection with the associated dangers.
There are no health-based standards for long-term or short term exposure to extremely low-frequency EMFs in the home or in the workplace. The federally permitted 1,000 mG limit for U.S. workplaces, established in 1986, addresses only thermal safety standards-those necessary to avoid shocking, boiling or frying the human body.
The National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurement, in its 1995 "Draft Recommendations on EMF Exposure Guidelines," generally endorsed an ambient EMF exposure limit of 2 mG. A final report has yet to be released.
In 1990, Paul Brodeur ended his New Yorker series with this conclusion: "The de-facto policy that power lines, electric blankets and video-display terminals be considered innocent until proved guilty should be rejected out of hand by sensible people everywhere. To do otherwise is to accept a situation in which millions of human beings continue to be test animals in a long-term biological experiment whose consequences remain unknown."
That is the situation we find ourselves in today.
A 1998 Microwave News industry report, "Unfinished Business: EMF Research Must Continue," makes several important points that remain true today: "First, it is striking that we still know so little about who is exposed to what. [For instance,] only recently did we recognize that sewing-machine operators have higher EMF exposures than do electric utility workers.
"[Second.] sources of EMFs turn up in surprising places. For example, Swedish researchers report ... that steelbelted radial tires can expose automobile passengers to EMFs as high as 50 mG. Thus, an office worker with a long commute might have more exposure than a utility worker, [and] a suburban kid who gets shuttled around in his parents' car might have more exposure than a child living within sight of a power line."
Contemporary EMF research
Last year was a banner year for EMF research. In January, a study by Milham connected many disputed pieces of the EMF puzzle. Building on the accumulating evidence that leukemia and certain other cancers are linked with exposure to electromagnetic fields, Milham wrote that "until poles and wires were first extended into our communities, humans had never been exposed to alternating power-frequency fields. Similarly, radio, television, radar, microwaves, cell phones and other indispensable devices of our modern world all expose humans to EMFs, which are completely new to human evolutionary experience."
Milham uncovered conclusive proof that the appearance of a new childhood leukemia peak in children ages 2 to 4 is the direct result of residential electrification as it took place, country by country and state by state, throughout the world. The peak was highest in states with the greatest levels of electrification and, even today, places without electrification do not show this childhood leukemia peak.
As a result of this finding, Milham and his researchers conclude that 75% of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia and 60% of all childhood leukemia may actually be preventable. They also note that "weak alternating magnetic fields have been shown to affect reaction time, slow the heart and affect the electroencephalogram in humans." In other words, the negative health effects from exposure to EMFs are not limited to children; they can and do affect all of us. As environmental physicist Neil Cherry, M.D., Ph.D., and others have pointed out, the historical rise in childhood leukemia is paralleled by the same rise in adult leukemia in all developed countries.
Then, on July 16, 2001, under pressure from a First Amendment Coalition lawsuit, the California Department of Health Services released a major report on the health effects of power frequency electric and magnetic fields. The report summarized a decade of research costing more than $7 million. It stated, "Some of the health risks associated with exposure to electric and magnetic fields such as those that radiate from power lines are added risk of miscarriage, childhood leukemia brain cancer and greater incidence of suicide."
Two other EMF studies rounded out the year. In November, researchers from japan's National Institute for Environmental Studies presented a study showing that exposure to electromagnetic fields can interfere with melatonin, a sleep-regulating hormone that also inhibits cancerous tumor growth. When the researchers exposed breast cancer cells to a level of electromagnetism that people are exposed to on a daily basis, they found that it decreased melatonin's ability to suppress the cancer cells' growth.
And in December, scientists at the Neuro Diagnostic Research Institute in Marbella, Spain, discovered that a mobile phone call lasting a mere two minutes can produce abnormal brain-wave patterns in children that last up to an hour.
But what about all those studies purporting to show that cell phones are harmless? 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 manmade 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.
Heldl Gitterman is a speaker, author and contributing editor to Alternative Medicine.
JAMA, March 20, 1991-Vol 265, No.11
Power Lines and Cancer Risk
Q: Several articles in popular magazines, and a few in peer-reviewed medical journals, suggest a link between cancer (leukemia) and residence near a high-tension power line or utility substation. Is there scientific evidence to substantiate these claims? If so, is the risk quantifiable?
A: There is a growing body of scientific literature suggesting that prolonged exposure to elevated levels of 60-Hz magnetic fields may increase the risk of cancer. Epidemiologic studies have implicated residential exposure from nearby power lines in relation to childhood cancer and occupational exposures (linemen, radio and television repairman, etc) in relation to adult leukemia and brain tumors. Laboratory studies support a biological response to low-level fields, but there are no studies directly demonstrating that such exposures cause cancer in laboratory animals.
Most reviewers of this evidence conclude that it falls short of demonstrating a causal relationship between exposure and disease when scrutinized from the perspective of scientific cautiousness. The epidemiologic studies have shortcomings, both individually and collectively, and experimental evidence for carcinogenicity has not been produced. In direct answer to the question, there is currently not convincing evidence that exposure to the electrical fields surrounding power lines and substations causes cancer.
On the other hand, there are a number of unrefuted positive findings. Several studies have found evidence that children who live near power lines associated with elevated magnetic fields are at increased risk of leukemia, brain tumors, and other childhood malignant neoplasms. There are many studies demonstrating an increased risk of leukemia and brain tumors among various groups of electrical workers, although it has not been established that these risks are attributable to their exposure to electric or magnetic fields. Nonetheless, from a public health perspective, these are clear suggestions of potential adverse effects on health that should be taken seriously.
For advising patients (or policymakers) in the face of this uncertainty, the notion of "prudent avoidance" put forth by Morgan and colleagues is very useful. Interpreted broadly, this suggests incorporation the present level of evidence into decision making, including choice of home and job. Studies of residential exposure and childhood cancer suggest a 1.5-fold to threefold increase in risk from living in a higher-exposure home. Given that cancer occurs in roughly one in 10,000 child per year, living in a higher-exposure home might raise that incidence to 1.5 to 3.0 in 10,000 per year. This possible increase in a rare but dreaded disease should be incorporated as part of an array of factors impacting the decisions regarding health risks in daily living.
The public interest makes the present level of knowledge a sufficient basis for some concern (which is exacerbated in the lay press) but not necessarily action. Ongoing epidemiologic and laboratory research should help markedly in resolving this issue, with substantial progress expected in the next 2 to 3 years.
David A. Savitz, PhD
School of Public Health
University of North Carolina
October 26, 1992
TWO SWEDISH STUDIES PROVIDE THE BEST EVIDENCE SO FAR OF A LINK BETWEEN ELECTRICITY AND CANCER
By CHRISTINE GORMAN
CAN POWER LINES CAUSE CANCER?
Numerous reports in the popular press have blared out warnings. Frightened citizens have abandoned homes located close to high-tension wires; others have gone to court to keep the lines away. The reason for the hysteria: a growing number of scientific studies suggest that the risk of leukemia and other malignancies rises with exposure to electromagnetic fields, which are generated in varying degrees by all electrical devices from high-voltage power lines to hair dryers.
Until now the studies have been ambiguous. Some have found an association with brain cancer but not leukemia in children. Others have detected just the opposite. In addition, the link to cancer appears stronger when the electromagnetic field is estimated by researchers and disappears when it is measured by instruments.
This fog may finally start to clear because of two studies done in Sweden. The first, led by epidemiologists Maria Feychting and Anders Ahlbom of Stockholm's Karolinska Institute, looked at everyone who lived within 300 m (328 yd.) of a high-tension line in Sweden from 1960 to '85. Although the investigators could find no evidence of an increased cancer threat for adults, they did detect a higher risk of leukemia in children. The second study, led by Birgitta Floderus of Sweden's National Institute of Occupational Health, linked on-the-job exposure to electromagnetic fields and leukemia in workingmen.
Although the research does not prove cause and effect, it shows an unmistakable correlation between the degree of exposure and the risk of childhood leukemia. "From a research point of view, they add significant information," says Stan Sussman, manager of electromagnetic-field studies for the Electric Power Research Institute, a California-based organization funded by utility companies. It is becoming more and more likely that there is something associated with living near high-power lines, especially for childhood leukemia."
The results have prompted Sweden's government to consider whether new regulations are needed. A task force will look at the concentration of schools and daycare centers close to power lines. According to Microwave News, a U.S. publication that covers the field in depth, this is the first time a national government has acknowledged the link.
What makes the Karolinska study particularly significant is the thoroughness of its design. The investigation encompassed nearly 500,000 people. By restricting their analysis to high-power transmission lines, the researchers could easily calculate the field strength for each household studied and be assured that the lines were the dominant source of electromagnetic radiation. Since field strength drops off dramatically with distance and all the houses were in the same corridor, investigators could also be fairly certain that the only difference between exposed and unexposed homes was proximity to the lines. not other environmental factors.
One of the most telling results was that the cancer risk grew in proportion to the strength of the electromagnetic field. Children with constant exposure to the weakest fields, calculated at less than 1 milligauss (about the same that a coffee maker generates when it is brewing), had the lowest incidence of cancer. Those exposed to fields of 2 milligauss showed a threefold increase in their risk, while children exposed to 3 milligauss showed a fourfold increase in the risk of leukemia. Such a clear progression makes it difficult to argue that factors other than exposure to the electromagnetic field were responsible for the extra cases of leukemia.
However, the report does have some weaknesses. Childhood cancer is so rare that even such a large study was able to uncover only 142 cases. In the highest exposure groups, the calculation for leukemia risk was based on as few as seven cases. In addition, the Swedes found no increase in malignancies of the brain. "Up to this point the evidence had been stronger for brain tumors," says David Savitz, an epidemiologist at the University of North Carolina.
The second study looked at 1,632 men in central Sweden, 511 of whom had contracted leukemia or brain tumors. Adjusting for exposures to various other environmental factors, the researchers concluded that, compared with the other men, more of the leukemia patients had occupational exposures to electromagnetic radiation.
"I think it will take a long time before we have final proof," Maria Feychting says. But even if the link holds up, she notes, people should not panic: "The risk for leukemia is very small-1 out of 20,000 children a year." Reacting too hastily to scientific findings can in itself be hazardous to one's health. Witness the realization that more people may be exposed to asbestos during its removal than if it is merely encased. As for electromagnetic radiation, prudence would suggest that the ideal location for a new day-care center is not next to city power lines. For families, it might make more sense simply to shift a child's bed away from a power line rather than move the house. -With reporting by Ulla Plon/Copenhagen
Man's Best Friend Is EMF Canary
A new study of canine cancer indicates that EMF may pose a cancer risk to humans. Published in the February 15th issue of the 'American Journal of Epidemiology', Dr. John S. Reif and his team of the researchers at Colorado State University of Veterinary Medicine have reported that the family pet may be a "sentinel species" much like canary used in mine shafts to detect a gas leak that would be likely to kill a human if exposed.
Dr. Reif and his research team studied 230 dogs that had been hospitalized with lymphoma. After a review of the wiring in each pet's home, Reif and his research team measured the EMF where the dog spent the majority of its time.
Reif concluded that the overhead electric power lines that ran adjacent to the homes and along the streets connecting the homes constituted the biggest overall contributor to residential EMF. It was the external warning - rather than the homes integral wiring system that fetched the prize as the problem area. They also found that the dogs exposed to EMF's from these overhead lines had an 80% greater risk of contracting cancer than the dogs that lived where the powerlines were buried. The canine cancer risk was 90% greater in dogs who lived in homes where the EMF was in excess of 2 mG. This study has very important ramifications as lymphoma in dogs is similar to human leukemia and has been used as a comparison in a number of other studies involving pollutants.
Leading EMF journal 'Microwave News' reported on this new study in its March/April Issue (1999). Dr. Reif told 'Microwave News' that the results are "supportive of the notion that exposure to EMFs as measured by wire codes is associated with lymphoma."
Clearly, its a dog day afternoon for pet owners. As is evidenced throughout this issue, EMF is the culprit for various life threatening illness in humans - has been identified as a contributor to the destruction of dairy farms throughout America's farmlands and now has been linked to canine cancer as well. It is apparent that it is ALL life that is threatened by this invisible killer.
Top -To read more about the effects of EMFs
This is a bare bones summary of some of the more significant research that has, by in large, not recieved some of the attention we think it deserves in this country.
Warning: The Electricity Around You
May Be Hazardous To your Health
by Ellen Sugarman
Fireside Books, 1991
Becker, Robert. Cross Currents. Tarcher, Los Angeles. 1990.
Becker, R. and Selden, G. The Body Electric. Morrow, New York, 1985.
Brodeur, P. Annals of radiation: The hazards of EMFs. "New Yorker", June 12, 1989, pp. 51-88.
Brodeur, P. Annals of radiation: The hazards of EMFs, part 11, "New Yorker", June 19, 1989, pp. 47-73.
Brodeur, Paul. Annals of radiation: Calamity on Meadow Street. "New Yorker", July 9, 1990, pp. 38-72.
Brodeur. P. Currents of Death. Simon & Schuster, New York, 1989.
Electrical and biological effects of transmission lines: A review. Bonneville Power Administration of the U. S. Department of Energy, 905 NE l1th St., POB 3621, Portland, OR 97208, 1986.
Eleventh Annual Meeting Abstracts. The Bloelectromagnetics Society, 120 Church St.. Frederick, MD 21701, June 18, 1989.
EMF and high-voltage power lines: A case study in Michigan. U. S. Committee on Science, Space & Technology, U. S. House of Representatives. U.S. Government Printing Office, Superintendent of Documents, Congressional Sales Office, Washington, DC 20404.
EPA Draft Review. Evaluation of the potential carcinogenicity of electromagnetic fields, Office of Research and Development, Washington, DC, October 1990.
Hester, Cordon. Electric and magnetic fields: An uncertain risk. Environment 34(l): 7-10, January-February 1992.
Kaiser, Permanente. The Risk of Miscarriage and Birth Defects Among Women Who Use VDTs. "American Journal of Industrial Medicine," June 1988.
Milham Samuel. Mortality in workers exposed to EMFs. "Environmental Health Perspectives" 62: 7-97-300, 1985.
Nair. I., Morgan, G., and Florig, K. Biological effects of power frequency electric and magnetic fields. OTA, Department of Engineering and Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh. PA 15213, 1989.
Potential health effects of electric and magnetic fields from electric power facilities. A report to the CA state legislature by the PUC in cooperation with the CDHS, September 15, 1989.
Proceedings of the scientific workshop on health effects of electric and magnetic fields on workers, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, NIOSH, 1990.
The radiofrequency radiation environment: Environmental exposure levels and RF radiation emitting sources. Office of Radiation Programs, Office of Air and Radiation, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC. 20460 July 1986.
Savitz, David. Case-control study of childhood cancer and residential exposure to electric and magnetic fields. Final report to New York Power Lines Project, 1986.
Savitz, David. Case-control study of childhood cancer and exposure to 60Hz magnetic fields. "American journal of Epidemiology" 128(l):21-38, 1988.
Savitz, David, and Chen, J. Parental occupation and childhood cancer: Review of epidemiological studies. "Environmental Health Perspectives" 88:325-337, 1990.
Steneck, Nicholas H. The Microwave Debate. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 1984.
Wertheimer. Nancy and Leeper, Ed. Electrical wiring configurations and childhood cancer. "American Journal of Epidemiology" 109(3):273-284, 1979.
Site Development by Media
For Info on Web Site Development
Mon-Fri 9am-5pm EST