When electrons move through a current or wire, they produce invisible fields of electric and magnetic energy, and these are known collectively as electromagnetic fields. But for some persons, there are implications more sinister than powering a lava lamp or electric stove. To believers, these fields are lethal, and they’re not referring to the guy who accidentally killed himself when he used a stove to heat his lava lamp.
EMFs are most frequently delivered through power lines. The ubiquity of these lines and the continually lengthening average life span would seem to contradict claims regarding health damage. More importantly, there is no identified mechanism by which electromagnetic fields would cause cancer, the illness most frequently attributed to the lines.
When radiation ionizes, this gain or loss of an electron can break the bond that holds molecules (such as DNA) together, and the result may be carcinogenic. But this danger does not extend to low-frequency fields. According to Dr. Robert Park of the American Physical Society, “All known cancer-inducing agents…act by breaking chemical bonds. Not until the ultraviolet region of the electromagnetic spectrum is reached, beyond visible light, beyond infrared, and far, far beyond microwaves, do photons have sufficient energy to break chemical bonds.”
So, electromagnetic fields are low energy, they don’t ionize, and won’t damage DNA or cells. It’s OK to blend that gluten-free organic pomegranate smoothie as long as you don’t mind it swirling about in a container made of synthetic chemicals.
If magnetic fields caused illness, patterns would show increased risk with more exposure. This is not the case, and computational biologist Steven Salzberg traced this unfounded concern to a 1979 study that drew a correlation between high-voltage power lines and leukemia in Denver children. Additional research was done on the issue, and a 1995 review of the studies concluded, “There is no known mechanism by which magnetic fields of the type generated by high voltage power lines can play a role in cancer development. “
Then in 2002, the World Health Organization announced, “There is little evidence that mutations could be directly caused by extremely low frequency magnetic fields, which are not classifiable as to their carcinogenicity to humans.”
But as long as technology advances, concern over it will follow. Once power lines were cleared of wrongdoing, smart meters became the electric company resource responsible for slaying children. Smart meters measure the amount of electricity used, then transmit that information to the power company without an employee having to come to a house and read it. The smart meters emit EMFs for only about 45 seconds per day and they emit less than a Fry Daddy, but they are considered by some people to be sources of deadly radiation. Despite the meters spitting out EMFs less than .1 percent of the day, persons with electromagnetic hypersensitivity insist they can feel EMFs lurking and pouncing all the time.
These electro-sensitive people report suffering various physical and psychological ailments they say are caused by household appliances. Electro-sensitive is not a medical term and is self-described, self-diagnosed, and possibly self-medicated. It’s hard to say how many persons are afflicted by this psychosomatic illness. One telephone survey in California had three percent of respondents claiming it, but most of those with it might be avoiding telephones.
Double-blind, controlled studies have repeatedly shown that electro-sensitives are unable to distinguish between genuine and sham electro-magnetic fields. When notional cell phones or other devices were used, symptoms were still reported. This is due to the placebo’s lesser-known sibling, the Noncebo Effect. British physician and academic Ben Goldacre explained, “If one thinks something causes harm, one’s stress level rises. Some of the symptoms of stress are sleeplessness, palpitations, headaches and anxiety, the exact symptoms reported by sufferers of electro-sensitivity.
Therefore, the illness is suggested by sweat, not studies. The National Research Council reviewed 500 studies conducted over 20 years and found “no conclusive and consistent evidence” that electromagnetic fields harm humans. Then in 1997, the New England Journal of Medicine published the largest study ever on the relationship between electromagnetic fields and childhood leukemia. It involved over 1,200 youth, half with the cancer and half without. The results found “no evidence that magnetic field levels in the home increased the risk for childhood leukemia.”
To conclude, if you are have power lines running to your home and are serviced by a smart meter, strong evidence suggests you are not at increased risk, and here are some signs to look for that indicate you may not have cancer:
- Consistency in bladder habits
- Quick-healing sores
- Usual bleeding and discharge
- Smooth skin
- Ease in swallowing
- Stagnation in the size, shape, and color of warts and moles
- Coughs of a normal duration
- Robust appetite
- Weight maintenance
- Ability to manage pain
- Explained vomiting
- Being persistently long-winded