þþþþ Our Hidden Enemies þþþþ
þþþ By Paul Brodeur þþþ
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.
þþþþ Electromagnetic Radiation þþþþ
þþþþ What It Is And Where It Comes From þþþþ
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.
þþþþ Electromagnetic Radiation And Disease þþþþ
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.
þþþþ Birth Defects þþþþ
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.
þþþþ The Big Cover-Up þþþþ
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
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.
þþþþ Self Defense þþþþ
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.
þ Electric Blankets
þ Heating Pads
þ 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.
þ 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.
þ 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.
þ 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.