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Electropollution

Scientists Agree That EMFs Pose a Threat to Your Health

Tuesday, April 22, 2008 by: Barbara L. Minton
Tags: electropollution, health news, Natural News

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(NewsTarget) 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 lines.

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 leukemia 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 and outside.

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 and engineers.

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 electricity.

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

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 sleep.

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

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.

A better lighting choice is the LED bulbs available at (www.EcoLEDS.com) , reported by Mike Adams to be the world's most eco-friendly bulbs.

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 structure.

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.

Telephones

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.

Sources:

Natural Solutions Foundation, (www.healthfreedomusa.org) , "Useful Information About Electric Magnetic Fields".

(www.lessemf.com) .

(www.brain101.info/EMF.php) , "Electro Magnetic Field", Nabeel Kauka, M.D.

(www.powerlinefacts.com)

About the author

Barbara is a school psychologist, a published author in the area of personal finance, a breast cancer survivor using "alternative" treatments, a born existentialist, and a student of nature and all things natural.
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