Exposure to electromagnetic fields has been considered a potential contributor or cause to many chronic illnesses for about 20 years. What is becoming more apparent is that EMF pollution when combined with toxins and poor diet makes chronic disease more likely.
- Toxins are found in foods, the environment, and prescription drugs.
- Poor diet (standard western diet) is comprised of mostly carbohydrates, too much sugar, too much fat, and foods contaminated by pesticides, herbicides and fungicides.
It has been difficult to do any properly controlled studies because there are so many potential sources of EMF pollution, making it difficult to isolate results from any one type.
- Wi-fi and cellphones – exposure in most public places and in the home
- Alternating current – normal household current in the US and many parts of the world; much of Europe uses direct current
- ELF – extra low frequency fields used in electrical system distribution
Long-term studies have demonstrated that cell phone use may cause leakage in the barrier between the brain and blood vessels, as well as broken DNA in blood cells. Original funding for such research by the cell phone industry association was withdrawn when results began to associate cellphone use with biological damage. Wide research since that early 1999 study has substantiated the connection between extensive cellphone use and negative effects for human health.
In 2003 the EPA said that children are 10 times more vulnerable to cancer risks from exposure to chemicals, a wake-up call that children are more vulnerable, period. Research has since reported that extensive cellphone use by the young (more than an hour a day) contributes to hearing loss, vision impairment, and malignant brain tumors in children. This latter finding: after one or more years of cellphone use, people under the age of 20 have a 5.2 times greater risk of developing malignant brain tumors.
The general proliferation of wireless devices in the office, shop, restaurant and home (cell phones, iphones, cordless telephones, wifi equipment, etc.) have led to increased health risk since wi-fi has been implicated as a cause or contributing factor to any number of health conditions.
Researchers have evaluated the reaction of the human cell to EMF radiation, summarized here:3
- The cell senses EMF radiation that does not occur in nature and behaves as though it is under attack.
- In defense, the cell closes or slows the cellular systems that bring in nutrients and remove waste.
- The cell then becomes nutrient deficient leading to poor communication between cells.
- As a consequence of waste accumulation in the cell, free radicals accumulate.
- Free radicals interfere with the metabolic activity of mitochondria within the cell. As an example, the brain’s blood-brain barrier is weakened allowing toxins to penetrate into the brain.
- Free radicals interfere with DNA repair within the cell and micronuclei form from broken bits of DNA.
- These micronuclei have protective membranes around them and so, as such, cause no harm. However, when cell death occurs the micronuclei are released into the interstitial fluid between cells.
- The immune system is well suited for responding to damaged DNA. However, when intercellular communication is poor the micronuclei are able to clone themselves and replicate in the interstitial fluid. This may be the mechanism by which cancers and chronic disease develop.
Waugh3 summarizes that exposure to cellphone radiation causes brainwave changes which are linked to conditions such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ALS and motor neuron disease. Waugh reports that exposure to low-level radiation increases levels of beta amyloid and suppresses pineal gland functioning (which produces melatonin, thought to protect the brain from damage), and changes in the autonomic nervous system (leading to heart irregularities, blood pressure changes, fatigue, sleep problems and more.
For more information see this EMF pollution article.
A number of researchers have implicated standard AC current, and more specifically, the high voltage power lines that deliver such current throughout the world. These studies of course are complicated by the factor of our increased lifestyle and pace of living.
One study comparing cancer rates to home electrification (1900 to 1960) noted a correlation between the two; however during that same period the pace of life increased, use of chemicals in farming increases, exposure to chemicals in the environment increased. It is difficult to isolate a direct cause-and-effect for AC and high voltage although there are 1000s of anecdotal reports of such correlation.
A 2008 French study compared the increased incidence of leukemia in subjects who lived near overhead high voltage lines.1 Other research found significant correlation between proximity to the high power lines in France in both farm animal behavior and in human health symptoms including increased irritability, headache, poor sleep, and other problems.2
Another researcher found that dirty power (spikes, surges and other abnormalities) amplifies negative effects of alternating current.
1. Can disturbances in the atmospheric electric field created by powerline corona ions disrupt melatonin production in the pineal gland?, Henshaw, DL, et al, Journal of Pineal Research, 2008, vol 45, 341:350.
2. Citizen’s Survey, Living with a Very High Voltage Power line?, Gouhier, Catherine, et al, Centre de Recherche et d’Information Indépendantes sur les Rayonnements Electromagnétiques, 2009
3. Living Safely with Electromagnetic Radiation, Waugh, J., Castle Mountain Publishing, 2010.