Is Electromagnetic Radiation Dangerous?
ElectroPollution and unseen electromagnetic radiation health hazards are a growing international concern. Many scientists and health professionals, are now expressing alarm about what they feel is the latest form of environmental pollution: electromagnetic radiation (aka electromagnetic fields or EMFs). According to some, EMFs may be the most devastating health threat yet to come along in our modern world.
The telecom industry, the government, and most wireless consumers haven’t wanted to acknowledge the gravity of EMF health hazards all around us. But at some point, they will need to, because more and more research appears every day, pointing to the fact that there’s good reason for this alarm. Thanks to Devra Davis’s Disconnect: the Truth about Cell Phone Radiation, and Anne Louise Gittleman’s Zapped, we can easily educate ourselves about this serious issue and make intelligent decisions about the EMFs we’re exposing ourselves to in our lives.
Other independent research describes many of the same kinds of studies these two books describe—studies that link EMF exposure to such diseases as:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Lou Gehrig’s disease, and
- Breast Cancer.
The report also linked EMF exposure to symptoms such as:
- learning impairment
- anxiety, and
Cell Phones and Cordless Phones
Hyla Cass, MD, in the November 2010 edition of the Huffington Post, stated that it’s also clear that both cell phones and cordless phones produce microwave radiation that increases the permeability of the blood-brain barrier, leading to changes in brain chemistry. EMFs also cause breaks in DNA, speed up cell division and activate stress problems and stress hormones.
Perhaps the most unsettling of all are the correlations that dozens of studies are now making between cell phones and brain tumors. As Gittelman writes in Zapped:
Most disturbing of all, the Swedish National Institute for Working life found that people using cell phones for 2,000 hours—a total most of us could easily rack up over the years—had a 240 percent increased risk for malignant brain tumors on the side of the head where they usually held their phone.
How are Electromagnetic Fields Dangerous?
First, it’s important to realize that the human body has its own natural electromagnetic field. This field is so critical that modern medicine uses it in diagnostic testing, such as in electrocardiograms and MRIs. Unfortunately, this innate electromagnetic field of the body only responds favorably to a very small range of electromagnetic frequencies. Most others, including frequencies emitted by man-made devices, are seen and responded to as though they were an invading enemy, creating what Nobel prize nominee, Robert Becker, M.D., in his book The Body Electric calls “subliminal stress.”
Subliminal Stress and EMFs
This stress is picked up by our body, without our even knowing it. The late Dr. W.R. Adey from Loma Linda University describes how our body’s internal “antennae” pick up this stress and how our body responds in the following ways:
- The flow of blood and oxygen shuts down to all except major organs like the brain and heart.
- Any systems—including digestion and immunity—that aren’t necessary for fight or flight response are put on hold.
- Blood pressure and heart rate as well as blood sugar levels increase to prepare the body for danger.
(Journal of Cellular Biochemistry 51:410-416 – 1993)
The Immune System and EMFs
Furthermore, EMFs knock ions out of the cells and interfere with the metabolism within the cells. This phenomenon accounts for deficiencies in calcium (contributing to arthritis, anxiety), lithium (depression, schizophrenia), and potassium (Alzheimer’s). In addition, EMFs coming from our AC electrical system induce biologically meaningless currents in our nervous system and brains. So, we subconsciously receive meaningless information about how our appliances are working!
This energy exchange—which can certainly be described as a subtle attack of the EMFs–generates stress hormones in the body, which in turn slowly erode the immune system over time and contribute to the many immune deficiency diseases that are common today.
More Studies on EMF Health Hazards
Dr. Henry Lai has been researching the biological and health effects of EMFs for 35 years. His research focuses on the effects of EMFS in the range used by cell phones and other wireless technologies. Since 1990, Dr. Lai has maintained a database of EMF research on humans, lab animals and cell cultures. He has collected over 300 studies published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. To avoid bias, he excludes his own research from the database.
Of these studies 56% show a biological or health effect from exposure to EMFs. These effects include:
- Genetic effects such as damage to DNA
- Cellular and molecular effects, such as a reduction in enzymes critical to the central nervous system
- Changes in electrophysiology such as reduced activity between nerve cells, and
- Physiological and behavioral changes, such as impairment of peripheral vision.
(Environmental Reviews, 18: 369–395 – 2010)
ElectroPollution: Bottom Line
The bottom line is that man-made EMFs from all the sources around us today—cell towers, cell and cordless phones, computers, power lines, and WiFi, as well as our electrical grid and appliances—continuously disturb our sympathetic nervous system. This, in turn, creates stress hormones in the body, which in turn, leads to a wide range of health issues, including all the diseases and symptoms mentioned above.
In regard to children, there is particular concern, because children’s nervous systems are still developing and they also have thinner skulls and smaller heads, which means the EMFs reach more deeply into their brains. EMFs have now been linked with behavior problems, autism, and asthma.
What to Do
It’s probably not possible for most people to get away from EMFs altogether. Cell towers are being erected in the most improbable places, even way out in nature and in almost every country in the world. Wi-Fi is becoming a given in many public places, including schools and hospitals and libraries—as well as in an increasing number of homes.