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Health Consequences of Electric Fields.

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          I am certain you have heard people say that fields emanating from ordinary appliances, cell phones, radio towers or even living near power distribution lines could be hazardous to your health.
          Personally, I have always thought that there was a grain of truth to the notion. If you put a hot dog in the microwave set on "high", it will cook in two minutes. If you put a hot dog in the microwave set on "defrost", it will cook in six minutes. The lower the setting, the longer the cook time, but it still cooks! So, I reason, with all the different magnetic fields and microwaves we all pass through on a daily basis, we must be cooking ourselves slowly but surely. . . . Right?
          After six years of research, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) concluded on June 15, 1999 that the evidence for a risk of cancer and other human disease from the electric and magnetic fields (EMF) around power lines was "weak." The report applied to the extremely low frequency (ELF) electric and magnetic fields surrounding both the big power lines that distribute power and the smaller but closer electric lines in homes and appliances.
          While sections of the 1999 report say EMF exposure "cannot be recognized as entirely safe," the report concludes: "The NIEHS believes that the probability that EMF exposure is truly a health hazard is currently small. The weak epidemiological associations and lack of any laboratory support for these associations provide only marginal scientific support that exposure to EMF is causing any degree of harm." Laboratory studies and investigations of basic biological function do not support these epidemiological associations, according to the report. It says, "Virtually all of the laboratory evidence in animals and humans and most of the mechanistic studies in cells fail to support a causal [cause and effect] relationship."
          NIEHS said in 1999 that the "strongest evidence" for health effects comes from statistical associations observed in human populations with childhood leukemia and chronic lymphocytic leukemia in occupationally exposed adults such as electric utility workers, machinists and welders. NIEHS Director Kenneth Olden, Ph.D., said, "The lack of consistent, positive findings in animal or mechanistic studies weakens the belief that this association is actually due to EMF, but it cannot completely discount the findings."

          But, a year and a half later, the biological process was identified. . .

          In research published in the October 2000 Journal of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, researchers at Michigan State University found that low level electromagnetic fields (EMFs) encouraged mouse leukemia cells . After only four days of exposure, about 35 percent of the test cells that were exposed to ELF-EMF showed effects. James E. Trosko, a professor of pediatrics and human development stated," Until now, the weight of the theoretical and experimental evidence has suggested that ELF-EMF did not have the ability to interact with genetic material to damage it, thereby causing mutations, which we know can lead to cancer. But now we think electromagnetic fields (EMFs), such as those found in overhead power lines or emanating from any electrical device or wiring, may have a biological effect on human cells."
          "The bottom line is we showed there is a biological effect of EMF as measured by altering the expression of the hemoglobin-producing gene," Professor Trosko said. Researchers at Michigan State University feel that ELF/EMF is not a tumor "initiator", but rather a tumor "promoter".

          So, it appears my hot dog analogy is a good one. It took nearly a decade of research and over $90 million to scientifically describe the process by which we are cooking ourselves. Unfortunately, there are very few places left on the planet where a person might go to escape the effects EMF’s. Indeed , the planet itself generates magnetic fields! I guess we all will just continue to cook ourselves slowly but surely!

          For simple tips on how to minimize the effects of EMF’s in the home and office, consult http://www.mercola.com/article/emf/emf_dangers.htm.


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