Does the Federal
Government Really Believe, There Are Still No Dangerous
Bioeffects From EMF Exposure?
man who never looks into a newspaper is better
informed than he who reads them, inasmuch
as he who knows nothing is nearer the truth
than he whose mind is filled with falsehood
- Thomas Jefferson
All along, Industry and
the Federal Government have insisted that either:
not enough research has been done on EMF Bioeffects to determine the potential
plenty of research has been done to determine that there is no risk.
That these two positions seem to be mutually exclusive appears to have eluded
those in charge of public relations ... what is the source of this ambiguity?
Is it accidental? Is it intentional, and if so, why?
The terms risk and safe, which are essential to a meaningful dialog on this
issue, have in this context, undiscussed controversial definitions, that
is, they have been craftily re-defined to mean something other than their
intended, (dictionay) definition. Safe and risk, as defined in the dictionary,
are absolutes. You are either safe, or you are not safe. You are either
at risk, or you are not at risk.
A good example of disagreement is the NCRP pre-release leak of "recommendations." This
is a group of people working on THE SAME REPORT, who completely disagreed on
what the conclusions should be. Imagine people in different agencies with mutually-exclusive
interests, or people in Industry, with jobs, and the future of whole technologies
at stake? (Here I am assuming the leak originated with someone inside who thought
the final recommendations would not be consistant with the data.)
The people who make up the
Federal Government do not agree on EMR Bioeffects,
so how can the Federal Government appear to be
consistent? Here are some contradictory positions
taken by various US Government agencies, or agents.
National Academy of Sciences
- National Research Council, report, or press release,
-- no danger,
National Council on Radiation
Protection, -- danger -- or maybe not,
National EMF Advisory Committee,
calls for Continued Research on Electric and Magnetic Field Health Effects,
-- danger, "We take this action because, after perusal of the pre-publication
NAS/NRC report released October 31, 1996, we conclude that neither the press
release nor the Executive Summary of the report adequately reflects the conclusions
to be found in the body of the report. ... Contrary to reports in the popular
press. the NAS/NRC report does not state that extremely low magnetic fields
are safe. Rather, the report concludes that there is an unexplained, but
statistically reliable and robust association between power transmission
and distribution systems and childhood cancer and that continued research
A Health Concern in Schools
EMF Health Report, Vol. 1, No. 1, 1993.
A number of school boards across North America have
taken actions to limit exposure of school children to EMF. These actions, based
primarily on parental concerns rather than on demonstrated health risks, have
attempted to reduce the exposure of children to magnetic field levels which
are typical of EMF exposures for the general public.
California. "High" EMF
readings have prompted educators and administrators
to take action to minimize exposure to EMFs. At the Montague Elementary School
in Santa Clara, CA, 13 of the school's 15 teachers have formally requested
to be transferred because of the school's close proximity to power lines. In
addition, 4 classrooms, a day care center, and a part of the playground located
near power lines have been closed off.
Before an evaluation of possible
EMF-cancer associations in southern Marin County,
CA, was even completed, the Mill Valley school
district authorized up to $50,000 for new light
fixtures and wiring to reduce EMF emissions. These
expenses were approved by the school board after
a district survey showed high EMF levels. Mill
Valley's Tam Valley School took other cost-free
precautions such as moving desks away from fish
tanks and relocating physical education classes
away from power lines.
New York. New York Attorney
General Robert Abrams called on the state's top
seven utility companies to study EMFs from power
lines near schools in response to concern expressed
by the New York State United Teachers Union and
other groups. A study by Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation
has identified 35 schools in upstate New York which
are in close proximity to high-voltage power lines.
Toronto, Ontario, parents were successful in a
campaign to relocate a kindergarten classroom and
library at a Bennington Heights elementary school.
Concerns raised over a proposed new kindergarten
play area at the south end of the school led parents
to request magnetic field measurements of the area.
The school building is on a cliff less than 100
feet from a 115-kV transmission line at the same
height. Measurements taken at the south end of
the school indicated levels about twice the average
in the rest of the school. After a series of public
meetings and additional consultant reviews, the
school board decided to relocate classes and a
library to portable units at the north end of the
school, reserving the rooms at the south end for
occasional use for meetings.
Your home Your Workplace and staff
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The safety of computers used
at Bennington was also questioned when measurements
indicated magnetic field levels of 3 to 13 mG,
which were also higher than the rest of the school.
The current Swedish standard, known as MPRII, sets
maximum EMF emissions from video display terminals
at 2.5 mG at 50 cm from the front of the monitor,
and New York public schools require a level of
less than 2 mG at 30 cm.
Canada has no legal limit
on EMF emissions and Health and Welfare, Canada
does not recognize any danger from EMF exposure.
However, parents at the Bennington School were
unwilling to accept existing standards when it
came to a potential risk to their children's health,
and strongly supported the school board's decision
to expend funds to reduce EMF exposures without
any indications of health problems in the school.
Bennington parents were motivated by accounts such
as the series of EMF articles by Paul Brodeur published
in The New Yorker magazine. They also credited
magazine reports on the recent Swedish studies,
which demonstrated a relationship between a 2-mG
level of EMF exposure and childhood cancer, as
Safe EMF levels.
Scientists recognize that human health studies
must set a fairly low EMF cut-off point that separates
unexposed from "exposed" individuals
in order to have enough exposed individuals for
statistical analysis. Even if health studies conclude
that there is a statistically significant increased
risk for individuals in the exposed group, it is
not possible to say with certainty that exposure
at or above the cut-off point is a real risk or
that all individuals in the exposed group have
an equal risk. Further human studies and laboratory
animal studies are needed to clarify these points.
However, with such studies not yet completed, the
public has started to make decisions and expend
money based on what limited evidence is available.
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Levels From Common Sources in
Recommended Safety Levels:
.5 mG to 2.5 mG with 1.0mG as preferred
Adverse biological effects have been found at 2.5mG
to 4 inches
mG average on 747
*Source: USA Environmental
Lines and Property Values:
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
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Each of us spends
about one third of our lives in one small area--the
bedroom--where we sleep, where we sometime work
and where we often have our sacred space for meditation
or relaxation. It is most important that this area
be kept as a healthy space. Since each person's
long-term sensitivity to electrical and magnetic
fields may vary, depending on genetic, immune system,
stress, environmental and dietary factors, these
are just guidelines. In general, to date, there
seems to be tendencies for sensitivities to develop
quicker in persons who have weak immune systems
from chronic illnesses, allergies or multiple chemical
|Measurements in milligrams (mG)
|The sewing machine
operator worked all day, took a 1-hour lunch
break at 11:15 am, and took 10-minute breaks
at 8:55 am and 2:55 pm.
||The mechanic repaired
a compressor at 9:45 am and 11:10 am
|The electrician repaired
a large air-conditioning motor at 9:10 am and
||The government worker
was at the copy machine at 8:00 am, at the computer
from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm and also from 2:30 pm
to 4:30 pm.
transients and surges (pulse spikes) occur on power
lines , but the more influencing transients are
created by factors in home and business wiring,
water piping (poor grounding/balancing), appliances
and equipment. This repetitious long-term exposure
may provide a kind of irritation or suppression
factor, posing potential hazards to our health.
EMF effects have been discovered, at night, reducing
brain pineal melatonin hormone production, which
affects immune system efficiency, especially in
older persons. These effects appear to be caused
by the sharp rise and fall of the pulse spikes
created by motors and switches (perhaps the electric
blanket thermostat switch, for example) turning
on and off. That's the reason for 'prudent avoidance'
of operating electric blankets and water bed heaters
by children and pregnant women. Dr's Wilson and
Reiter made these discoveries during the several
years ago at Pacific Northwest Laboratory and University
of Texas Health Science Center, respectively. This
points to a probable irritating or suppressing
type of influence which would create symptoms in
a variety of confusing ways, due to personal health
and immune system factors]. Persons at risk appear
to be those having poor health factors and who
may be exposed for years in constant proximity
to power line components (transformers, sub-stations),
appliances (electric blankets, hair dryers), power
tools, TV's and computer monitors, and other sources
of potentially rapid switching) EMFs.
There is screed,s of information out there, for
and against the ideas in this newsletter, one has
to wonder seriously if there are dangers in magnetic
fields, personally we measure our environment and
try and stay in the researched safe zone, one can
never be to careful, and trusting big business and
Governments to tell the whole truth,well.
that's another story,,,