Health hazards of environmental electromagnetism

Other Names:
Electromagnetic exposure
EEG entrainment by ELF magnetic fields
Health hazards of extremely low frequency electromagnetic radiation
Health hazards of electric fields generated by electrical appliances
Extremely low-frequency non-ionizing radiation (ELF) is a natural component of environmental background radiation, but is also artificially produced by electrical devices. This low-level radiation is associated with electrical installations, transmission lines, home wiring, and electrical appliances such as computers, electric blankets, clocks and radios. Studies suggest it is the oscillating 60 hertz (cycles per second) current, (common to most electrical appliances), perhaps in combination with the background magnetic field of the earth, which produces radiation effects that can cause biochemical changes, interfering with function of genes and stimulating activity in biochemicals linked to the growth of cancer.
The magnetic field from the earth is 200 to 300 times as great as the level from power lines and appliances. Earth's magnetic field is about 450 milligauss in strength and fluctuates daily in response to solar activity and lunar motion. The amount of the fluctuation is roughly the same as magnetic fields from common house wiring, 1 to 5 milligauss. The magnetic fields suspected of causing childhood leukaemia are 3 to 4 milligauss, roughly one-hundredth the strength of the earth's static magnetic field. The strength of a magnetic field decreases rapidly with the distance from the source. At 2 centimetres, the magnetic field from the back of a microwave oven is 1,050 milligauss; at 40 centimetres it is 28 milligauss.
30% of the energy radiated from the aerial of a mobile telephone is absorbed directly into the brain of the user. Two research studies on the effects of exposure to EMR at frequencies similar to mobile telephone transmissions have shown it to cause DNA damage in the brains of rats. The US Food and Drink Administration advises users to use mobile telephones only when absolutely necessary and to make calls as brief as possible. US mobile telephone manufacturers were in 1995 already facing lawsuits claiming that their products have caused brain tumours.

In 1979, doctors at the University of Colorado reported that children exposed to higher than average magnetic fields had a twofold to threefold increased risk of leukaemia. Five subsequent epidemiological studies have reported similar findings, the latest in 1992 by the Swedish Karolinska Institute which studied a population of nearly half a million people living within 300 metres of power lines between 1960 and 1985; whereas a 1992 British government study and one by the Oak Ridge Associated Universities, USA, have concluded that the evidence to link low-level electric and magnetic fields with childhood cancers is too weak and inconsistent. In the USA, death rates as a result of breast cancer were reported in 1994 as 38 percent higher in women exposed to EMFs through job-related activities.

Extremely low frequency (ELF) radiation causes entrainment of the brain waves and can affect brain functioning on a temporary or permanent basis, depending on the nature of the exposure. It also interferes with the psychic (etheric) fields of living organisms and the earth.
Counter Claim:
1. Although there are legitimate reasons for concern, there is no basis for asserting that there is a significant risk. It has not been possible to induce or promote cancer in animals using low-level electromagnetic fields, or even to link such fields with DNA damage. It is premature to link such exposure to the growth of cancer.

2. In the USA, there has been a more than 300-fold increase in the per capita residential use of electricity since the turn of the century (20-fold since 1940). If rapidly increasing widespread exposure to low-level electromagnetic fields were strongly associated with childhood cancers, there should be an observable epidemic. However, there is little, if any, evidence of such.

3. Even if people were subjected to oscillating electromagnetic fields enormously greater than those from power lines, these fields would still generate fields in the human body far smaller than those naturally produced by the random motion of electrons and ions in the body's cells. It seems foolish to be worrying about their conceivable effects of these minuscule magnetic fields compared with the bigger fields in which humans are immersed all the time.

Narrower Problems:
Psychotronic warfare
Aggravated By:
Electromagnetic pollution
Problem Type:
E: Emanations of other problems
Date of last update
07.03.1997 – 00:00 CET