Our Hidden Enemies By Paul Brodeur Evidence is building that exposure to low level electro

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Our Hidden Enemies By Paul Brodeur Evidence is building that exposure to low level electromagnetic radiation that is given off by power lines, electric blankets, video display terminals (VDT's) and even some electric clocks can cause cancer, birth defects, miscarriages, and other health problems. This information has been suppressed or downplayed for years by the electric utility industry, manufacturers and the media. Result: Millions of americans are still at risk. Electromagnetic Radiation What It Is And Where It Comes From Electromagnetic radiation consists of electric fields produced by voltages and magnetic fields produced by electrical currents. Although electrical fields can be shielded by conducting materials, magnetic fields can penetrate almost anything that stands in their way, including the human body. Power lines give off extra low frequency (ELF) electric and magnetic fields whose waves vibrate back and forth 60 times per second. The magnetic fields can be particularly strong in houses that are close to high voltage transmission lines and to the ordinary high current distribution lines that can be found in almost every city, suburb and town in the US. In fact, millions of americans may be living in homes that are penetrated by strong magnetic fields from power lines. ELF radiation is also strong near power substations, VDT's, dial face electric clocks, on top of electrically heated water beds and under electric blankets and heating pads. Because the magnetic fields from these sources vibrate back and forth at 60 times per second, the same to-and-fro movement will occur in the brain and body molecules of the human beings who are exposed to them. Electromagnetic Radiation And Disease More than a dozen studies of men whose work exposed them to ELF electromagnetic radiation found an increased incidence of leukemia, lymphoma, and brain cancer. And two epidemiological studies have found that a statistically high number of children in Denver who had died of cancer had lived near high current electrical lines. A recent study of New York State telephone workers by an epidemiologist at John Hopkins University showed that these people, who are exposed to magnetic fields on a daily basis, have an increased risk of developing leukemia and almost all types of cancer. Although scientists don't know exactly how exposure to ELF radiation causes cancer, many of them suspect that it impairs the ability of the T-lymphocyte cells, the infection fighting "soldiers" of the immune system to combat cancer. With the great increase in breast cancer in women between 20 and 45, it's hard to overlook the fact that millions now spend eight hours a day working inches from VDT's that emit the type of magnetic fields that have been shown to promote the growth of tumors. And neither lead aprons nor radiation screens that are sold for VDT's shield one iota of the magnetic fields that completely penetrate the body. Birth Defects Although few animal studies have been done in the US to analyze the effects of ELF radiation on pregnancies, dairy farmers have known for years not to pasture herds or let them breed close to electrical lines. If they do they have more stillborn and stunted calves and lower milk production. Within the next five to ten years, ELF radiation will also be linked to many degenerative neurological disorders including multiple sclerosis, autism, and quite possibly Alzheimer's. The Big Cover-Up The government, the electric utility industry and appliance manufacturers all maintain that there's not enough proof to make them take action. This is the same thing people said for years about asbestos, until it was proven to be a killer. Hundreds of thousands of people could die before it's proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that electromanetic radiation is truly dangerous. The electrical utility industry is trying to persuade people that common household appliances are as dangerous as power lines. This is a dishonest attempt to obscure the real problem. Although it is true that your hair dryer, for instance, gives off a magnetic field, the strength of the field drops off dramatically within a few inches. Although your thumb might get a little radiation, your whole body is not being exposed to harmful radiation. Even more important, most people don't spend eight hours a day using a hair dryer, as many people do with computers or electric blankets, nit to mention living near power lines. The hazards come from long term exposure. Self Defense Until the government, the electrical utilities and manufacturers take effective measures to shield us from low level electromagnetic radiation, there are several things you should do to protect yourself. Electric Blankets Heating Pads Heated Waterbeds Throw them out! Although the industry is now designing these devices to lower the amount of electromagnetic radiation they emit, safe products have yet to reach the market. Dial Face Electric Clocks Keep them at least three feet away from your bed, your desk chair or anywhere else you spend a great deal of time. Even digital clocks should be kept at least a foot away. Power Lines Pressure must be brought on local, state and federal officials to measure electronagnetic radiation near power lines and substations. In areas where the radiation is unacceptably high, wires will have to be rerouted or buried and substations moved. Join one of the organizations that are being formed in every state to fight health problems caused by power lines. Or litigate. People are hiring lawyers to take their cases to court. In the next decade we will see an enormous amount of litigation against utilities and manufacturers of computers, electric blankets, etc. Video Data Terminals (VDT's) It's easy to redesign a workplace in which VDT's can be used safely. One organization, The Fund for the city of New York, changed its office layout so that employees sit an arms length, 28 to 30 inches from their VDT's. They found that electromagnetic radiation drops off sharply at that distance. But radiation from VDT's doesn't come from the screen, it comes out the back and sides as well. So the organization does not allow anyone to sit within 40 inches of another employee's VDT. Even safer: Laptop computers use safe liquid crystal displays (LCD's) that do not give off hazardous magnetic fields.


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