When it blows in the wind, we try to find out where it’s coming from. Once in a while, though, there’s so much stench we can’t identify the source. Such is the case with electromagnetic fields—EMF’s— and related wavy things. There’s so much hullabaloo about the good and the bad that we can’t decide if EMF’s are, well, good or bad. They’ve been around forever, so exposure to them is nothing new. Man-made EMF’s, from the generation of electricity, household appliances, industrial equipment and, of course, telecommunications and broadcasting, add to the apparent physiological burden already begun by the simplicity of human metabolism and Earth’s magnetic properties. Is it really a big deal?
Tiny electric currents exist in the body because of the chemistry that allows it to work, even in the absence of external electrical fields. Nerves, for example, send signals by transmitting electrical impulses. All our biochemical reactions follow the rearrangement of charged particles. Your heart responds to an electrocardiogram, right? The concern is that low-frequency electrical fields affect the human body just as they affect anything else made from charged particles. These exogenous fields, if large enough, can cause changes inside the body by stimulating nerves or muscles…or organs. Lucky for us, most exogenous currents are too small to have any ill effect, even directly beneath a high voltage transmission line. On the other hand, the biological effect of radiofrequency fields is heating, and this is the reason for scientific intervention in the placement of sources, such as phone towers.
Biological effects are measurable responses to a stimulus or to a change in the environment. Most of these are harmless, like listening to music or exercising. Changes that are irreversible or that persist for a long time might not be harmless. Electromagnetic fields above a certain level present a concern. That is understandable, and measures are taken to limit exposure, even internationally. Lower levels, over the long term, are suspected of causing unwanted biological responses, including headaches, to which some people are more or less sensitive. Cases of hypersensitivity to EMF’s have been reported for a few decades. Some researchers group them with the condition known as multiple chemical sensitivity illness. Oddly, a plethora of those reporting such sensitivity seem to fall into categories that defy characterization (Levallois, 2002). In polls and surveys, people will express a concern about the ill effects of EMF’s in the absence of personal symptoms, worrying that their cell phones may eventually cause sleep disturbances and headaches (Schreier, 2006) (Hillert, 2002).
Cell phones emit waves as long as they’re turned on and are looking for a signal from the tower. Wi-Fi, not necessarily related to wireless fidelity, contains that technology which connects electronic devices to each other and to the internet using radio waves. Some investigators claim that both can interfere with a child’s ability to learn and remember, while others feel that autistic spectrum conditions are likewise related (Herbert, 2013, parts 1 and 2). If the pharmaceutical powers control a considerable part of the economy, they deserve credit for telling us in their TV spiels that the side effects of their products are worse than the diseases they purport to treat. Powerful industrial entities have an interest in leading the unsuspecting public to believe their EMF’s are completely harmless, since they cannot be perceived by the senses, including pain receptors. If, as suspected, DNA damage actually results from EMF-induced oxidative stress, physiologic consequences can be expected and headaches to be the presentation (Wolf, 2005). Children are exposed to EMF’s at home, on the school bus, in the classroom, at the doctor’s office, and probably everywhere else, with few exceptions, if any. Cell phone standards, by the way, were established years ago and have not been revisited. We are unsure of their effects on developing brains, but, by looking at students’ academic orientation, we can guess. Most European nations forbid the sale of cell phones to those under eighteen.
Cause-effect situations are more definitive than associations or relations. Pathologies that may be associated with EMF’s are not definitely caused by them. Therefore, compared to other disease vectors, little is being done to address possibilities of EMF involvement. Some reports indicate the blood-brain barrier to become more permeable after exposure to EMF’s (Leszczynski, 2002), even from fellow riders in a public conveyance (Kato, 2012). That we are constantly bombarded with radiation is a concern of WHO and the children’s health expert panel (WHO, 2011) (ICNIRP, 2009), (IEEE, 2005). But that concern is magnified because mobile phones work close to the head, causing the distribution of energy to be direct. This raises the question of relationships/associations to glioma and neuroma (Hours, 2007) (Schüz, 2006) naturally requiring closer inspection. Because of subjectivity, no determination is possible (Cardis, 2010), although hints are numerous (Cardis, 2011).
Cancer aside, the headache issue is a global topic. In many countries, about a fourth of cell phone users polled associate headache with EMF (Thamire, 2004) (Meg, 2005) (Al-Khlaiwi, 2004) (Genius, 2012) (Kato, 2012) (Schreier, 2006). Yet, until asked, none relates the two. Talking on a mobile phone for one hour a day incurs the cumulative effect that upsets homeostasis, allowing for exposure to ten thousand watts of accrued radiation. A microwave oven emits only 2 milliwatts at two inches distance; a hundredth of that at twenty inches (FDA, 2011).
We all know that lifestyle can’t be dictated. Smokers smoke and drinkers drink.Second-hand smoke is a health matter. There is no such thing as second-hand drinkingexcept to a fetus. But there is such a thing as second-hand radiation. We seemto prefer first-hand.
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