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The Dangers of Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs) and What You Need to Know

Cell phones emit strong EMFs and could be hazardous to your health. Cell phones emit strong EMFs and could be hazardous to your health.

Electromagnetic fields (EMFs) from power lines, home wiring, transformers, computers, and appliances have been linked to cancer, brain tumors, birth defects, miscarriages, chronic fatigue, headaches, nausea, and numerous other health problems. Is the threat of EMF real or imagined? Could your health be at risk without you even being aware of it?

Research studies have produced contradictory results, but the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warns that “There is reason for concern.” By 1990, over 100 studies had been conducted worldwide. Of these, at least two dozen epidemiological studies on humans indicated a link between EMFs and serious health problems. Yet because of political and economic pressure exerted by utility, military, and computer lobbyists, we may not be getting sufficient warning regarding EMF exposure.

When it was recommended in a draft report that EMFs be classified as a Class B carcinogen, lobbyists came down hard on the EPA. As a result, the final report did not classify EMFs as a Class B carcinogen. When the EPA was questioned, the response was that it was “not appropriate” to use the carcinogen label until it could demonstrate how EMFs caused cancer and exactly how much EMF is harmful. A “politically correct” cop-out? Perhaps.

Where can EMFs be found? Electromagnetic fields are the areas of energy that surround electronic devices – cordless and cellular phones, hairdryers, computers, vacuums, refrigerators, microwaves, televisions, electric blankets, power lines...the list is seemingly endless. Wherever there is electricity, there is an electromagnetic field. Does that mean we are constantly at risk?

There’s a constant debate about what EMF level is considered safe. Since the experts can’t agree, it may be up to you to decide. The majority of government and utility documents report the usual ambient level of 60-Hz magnetic field to be 0.5 mG, so any reading higher than this is above “usual.” Many experts and public officials have adopted 3 mG as a cut-off point, however the EPA proposes a safety standard of 1 mG.

You may be surprised to learn the EMF levels of common household items. Electric clocks, for example, have a very high magnetic field – as much as 5 to 10 mG up to 3 feet away. If you have a clock on your nightstand, you may be sleeping in an EMF equivalent to that of a power line. Since studies have shown a high rate of brain tumors with chronic exposure to magnetic fields, you’d be wise to place all clocks (and other electronic devices) at least 6 feet from your bed.

Obviously we can’t escape electricity, or EMF, in our daily lives. We’re constantly surrounded with electronic devices whether we want to be or not. Although experts tell us non-chronic exposure to EMFs is not a threat, are we really willing to take that chance? And how do we avoid the risk? The answer is “prudent avoidance.” This means taking reasonable precautions in our homes and offices. Don’t sleep under an electric blanket, or stand in front of the microwave as you wait for your dinner to reheat. Distance yourself at least 6 feet from your television, and place all appliances against outside walls to minimize EMF in adjoining rooms. Don’t let your children play near power lines, transformers, radar domes, or microwave towers.

Individuals with EMF sensitivity may experience symptoms like fatigue, insomnia, rashes, foggy thinking, muscle pain, and even infertility. If you are concerned about EMF levels in your home, you can purchase a Gauss meter, an instrument which measures magnetic field strength. Hopefully the EPA and other health organizations will continue to perform research regarding the negative effects of exposure to EMFs and keep the public updated and sufficiently warned.

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A sobering report discussing the link between cell phones and brain tumors.
Last modified on Monday, 15 October 2012 14:16

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