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Does the Federal Government Really Believe, There Are No Dangerous Bioeffects From EMF Exposure? Cell Phone Protection Page | Cell Phone Safety Info Blog

"The man who never looks into a newspaper is better informed than he who reads them, inasmuch as he who knows nothing is nearer the truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehood and error."
- Thomas Jefferson

All along, Industry and the Federal Government have insisted that either: not enough research has been done on EMF Bioeffects to determine the potential risk, or plenty of research has been done to determine that there is no risk. That these two positions seem to be mutually exclusive appears to have eluded those in charge of public relations... what is the source of this ambiguity? Is it accidental? Is it intentional, and if so, why?

The Ambiguity

The terms risk and safe, which are essential to a meaningful dialog on this issue, have in this context, undiscussed controversial definitions, that is, they have been craftily re-defined to mean something other than their intended, (dictionary) definition. Safe and risk, as defined in the dictionary, are absolutes. You are either safe, or you are not safe. You are either at risk, or you are not at risk. A good example of disagreement is the NCRP pre-release leak of "recommendations." This is a group of people working on THE SAME REPORT, who completely disagreed on what the conclusions should be. Imagine people in different agencies with mutually-exclusive interests, or people in Industry, with jobs, and the future of whole technologies at stake? (Here I am assuming the leak originated with someone inside who thought the final recommendations would not be consistant with the data.)

The people who make up the Federal Government do not agree on EMR Bioeffects, so how can the Federal Government appear to be consistent? Here are some contradictory positions taken by various US Government agencies, or agents:

  • National Academy of Sciences - National Research Council, report, or press release, -- no danger,

  • National Council on Radiation Protection, -- danger -- or maybe not,
  • National EMF Advisory Committee, calls for Continued Research on Electric and Magnetic Field Health Effects, -- danger, "We take this action because, after perusal of the pre-publication NAS/NRC report released October 31, 1996, we conclude that neither the press release nor the Executive Summary of the report adequately reflects the conclusions to be found in the body of the report.... Contrary to reports in the popular press. the NAS/NRC report does not state that extremely low magnetic fields are safe. Rather, the report concludes that there is an unexplained, but statistically reliable and robust association between power transmission and distribution systems and childhood cancer and that continued research is necessary."

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EMFs: A Health Concern in Schools
EMF Health Report, Vol. 1, No. 1, 1993.

A number of school boards across North America have taken actions to limit exposure of school children to EMF. These actions, based primarily on parental concerns rather than on demonstrated health risks, have attempted to reduce the exposure of children to magnetic field levels which are typical of EMF exposures for the general public.

California. "High" EMF readings have prompted educators and administrators to take action to minimize exposure to EMFs. At the Montague Elementary School in Santa Clara, CA, 13 of the school's 15 teachers have formally requested to be transferred because of the school's close proximity to power lines. In addition, 4 classrooms, a day care center, and a part of the playground located near power lines have been closed off. (There is also a group of pylons in Los Gatos, CA mounted in a public park right behind people's houses in a residential neighborhood parallel to Longridge Road; I visit here infrequently and the people there are always complaining of ailments, but are too complacent to complain to the "power" authorities.)

Before an evaluation of possible EMF-cancer associations in southern Marin County, CA, was even completed, the Mill Valley school district authorized up to $50,000 for new light fixtures and wiring to reduce EMF emissions. These expenses were approved by the school board after a district survey showed high EMF levels. Mill Valley's Tam Valley School took other cost-free precautions such as moving desks away from fish tanks and relocating physical education classes away from power lines.

New York. New York Attorney General Robert Abrams called on the state's top seven utility companies to study EMFs from power lines near schools in response to concern expressed by the New York State United Teachers Union and other groups. A study by Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation has identified 35 schools in upstate New York which are in close proximity to high-voltage power lines.

Canada. In Toronto, Ontario, parents were successful in a campaign to relocate a kindergarten classroom and library at a Bennington Heights elementary school. Concerns raised over a proposed new kindergarten play area at the south end of the school led parents to request magnetic field measurements of the area. The school building is on a cliff less than 100 feet from a 115-kV transmission line at the same height. Measurements taken at the south end of the school indicated levels about twice the average in the rest of the school. After a series of public meetings and additional consultant reviews, the school board decided to relocate classes and a library to portable units at the north end of the school, reserving the rooms at the south end for occasional use for meetings.

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The safety of computers used at Bennington was also questioned when measurements indicated magnetic field levels of 3 to 13 mG, which were also higher than the rest of the school. The current Swedish standard, known as MPRII, sets maximum EMF emissions from video display terminals at 2.5 mG at 50 cm from the front of the monitor, and New York public schools require a level of less than 2 mG at 30 cm.

Canada has no legal limit on EMF emissions and Health and Welfare, Canada does not recognize any danger from EMF exposure. However, parents at the Bennington School were unwilling to accept existing standards when it came to a potential risk to their children's health, and strongly supported the school board's decision to expend funds to reduce EMF exposures without any indications of health problems in the school. Bennington parents were motivated by accounts such as the series of EMF articles by Paul Brodeur published in The New Yorker magazine. They also credited magazine reports on the recent Swedish studies, which demonstrated a relationship between a 2-mG level of EMF exposure and childhood cancer, as influential.

Safe EMF levels. Scientists recognize that human health studies must set a fairly low EMF cut-off point that separates unexposed from "exposed" individuals in order to have enough exposed individuals for statistical analysis. Even if health studies conclude that there is a statistically significant increased risk for individuals in the exposed group, it is not possible to say with certainty that exposure at or above the cut-off point is a real risk or that all individuals in the exposed group have an equal risk. Further human studies and laboratory animal studies are needed to clarify these points. However, with such studies not yet completed, the public has started to make decisions and expend money based on what limited evidence is available.
See "EMF Health Report" the latest periodical for concerned citizens on the dangers of current technology distributed by the centralized power companies.

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Danger Zones

EMF Levels From Common Sources in Milligauss (mG)* 
Recommended Safety Levels: 0.5 mG to 2.5 mG with 1.0mG as preferred standard. 
Adverse biological effects have been found at 2.5mG

Up to 4 inches At 3 feet
50 to 220 0.3 to 3
Clothes Washer
8 to 200 0.1 to 4
Coffee Maker
6 to 29 0.1
4 to 20 2 to 5
Fluorescent Lamp
400 to 4,000 0.1 to 5
Hair Dryer
60 to 20,000 0.1 to 6
Microwave Oven
100 to 500 1.0 to 25
5 to 100 0.1 to 6
Vacuum Cleaner
230 to 1300 3 to 40
50 mG average on 747  

*Source: USA Environmental Protection Agency


Power Lines and Property Values:
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

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Your workplace
EMF Exposure Plots of Workers
Measurements in milligrams (mG)
sewing machine EMF compressor EMF
The sewing machine operator worked all day, took a 1-hour lunch break at 11:15 am, and took 10-minute breaks at 8:55 am and 2:55 pm. The mechanic repaired a compressor at 9:45 am and 11:10 am
AC Motor EMF copy machine + computer EMF
The electrician repaired a large air-conditioning motor at 9:10 am and 11:45 am. The government worker was at the copy machine at 8:00 am, at the computer from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm and also from 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm.

Repetitious transients and surges (pulse spikes) occur on power lines , but the more influencing transients are created by factors in home and business wiring, water piping (poor grounding/balancing), appliances and equipment. This repetitious long-term exposure may provide a kind of irritation or suppression factor, posing potential hazards to our health. EMF effects have been discovered, at night, reducing brain pineal melatonin hormone production, which affects immune system efficiency, especially in older persons. These effects appear to be caused by the sharp rise and fall of the pulse spikes created by motors and switches (perhaps the electric blanket thermostat switch, for example) turning on and off. That's the reason for 'prudent avoidance' of operating electric blankets and water bed heaters by children and pregnant women. Dr's Wilson and Reiter made these discoveries during the several years ago at Pacific Northwest Laboratory and University of Texas Health Science Center, respectively. This points to a probable irritating or suppressing type of influence which would create symptoms in a variety of confusing ways, due to personal health and immune system factors]. Persons at risk appear to be those having poor health factors and who may be exposed for years in constant proximity to power line components (transformers, sub-stations), appliances (electric blankets, hair dryers), power tools, TV's and computer monitors, and other sources of potentially rapid switching) EMFs.

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There is information out there, for and against the ideas in article. One must wonder seriously if there are dangers in magnetic fields, personally we measure our environment and try and stay in the researched safe zone, one can never be to careful, and trusting big business and Governments to tell the whole truth, well,
that's another story...

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See how anomolous activities may indicate dangerous levels of EMF.

New information on EMF

For decades, power companies and official scientific entities such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the World Health Organization have been telling the public that there are almost no credible health risks from electromagnetic fields (EMFs) that emanate from power lines, power transformers and every single appliance that runs on electricity. The official public-health-agency position is that, aside from a small increased risk of childhood leukemia, consumers are perfectly safe no matter how many appliances litter their homes and offices, or how many power lines exist nearby. But a newly completed $8 million, seven-year study by the California Electric and Magnetic Fields (EMF) Program has something quite different -- and quite alarming -- to say.

Tools for Detecting harmful magnetic fields

A major new study found that children whose birth address was within 200 meters of an overhead power line had a 70% increased risk of leukemia. Children living 200 to 600 meters away from power lines had a 20% increased risk. This indicates the danger from power lines is appreciably further from the lines than had been identified in previous studies. The study, which was partially funded by the power-line industry, mapped how far each child lived from a high voltage overhead power line. It compared the children who had cancer with a control group of 29,000 children without cancer, but who lived in comparable districts, Appearing in the June 2005 British Medical Journal, the study concludes there is a statistical link between EMF from power lines and leukemia. The study a collaboration between the Childhood Cancer Research Group at the University of Oxford and National Grid owners, Transco looked at cancer data or children aged up to 15 years old in England and Wales between 1962 and 1995. [Related Press Report]

these are not my words, but the websites we were referred to.

From the IARC:

Pooled analyses of data from a number of well-conducted studies show a fairly consistent statistical association between a doubling of risk of childhood leukaemia and power frequency (60 Hz) residential ELF magnetic field strengths above 0.4�T

From the NRPB

There is, however, some epidemiological evidence that prolonged exposure to higher levels [more than 0.4�T] of power frequency magnetic fields is associated with a small risk of leukaemia in children�� Unless, however, further research indicates that the finding is due to chance or some currently unrecognised artefact, the possibility remains that intense and prolonged exposures to magnetic fields can increase the risk of leukaemia in children.

These conclusions are uniformly found in all government and health agency websites that have studied this issue. Every report, including the most conservative of government reports, acknowledges that the human data show a doubling of risk for childhood leukaemia (some also say for adult leukaemia). Each report also says that the risks cannot be explained and that more research is needed to clarify the issue

These websites are and

So if there is even the slightest risk what level is safe � how far away do we need to be from the powerlines?

On this subject there was a great deal of confusion and no one on the panel could tell us how far away you needed to be from a line to be under 0.4�T at least in the afternoon session. By the evening a figure on one graph seemed to indicate 150 metres would be sufficient. This is a great deal more than the 32 meters from the centre of a pylon which is currently proposed.

Recent human population studies from California which showed that EMF exposure at around 1.6�T can cause miscarriage; studies which are currently cited scientifically as being very important findings.

Corona ion emissions from high voltage powerlines and implications for human health - A paper from H. H. Wills Physics Laboratory, University of Bristol, UK. Authors: A. Peter Fews, Paul A. Keitch and Elizabeth A. Ainsbury

Summary of a paper published in Medical Hypotheses:
Does our electricity distribution system pose a serious risk to public health?
D.L. Henshaw, 2002, 59 No.1, 39-51

DOUBT Is Their Product

Question: Why, given all the above evidence, is there still a perception that power lines are not dangerous.

Answer: Because rich corporations handsomely reward lobbyists and scientists for distorting the scientific evidence in order to advance corporations' economic interests, as discussed in this June 2005 article in the Scientific American


A California Department of Health Sciences Evaluation concludes EMFs "can cause some degree of increased risk of childhood leukemia, adult brain cancer, Lou Gehrig`s Disease, and miscarriage" [emphasis added]. The Evaluation�which is the culmination of a 9 year, $7 million research effort�further concludes that magnetic fields may cause suicide and adult leukemia. The Final Evaluation is dated June 2002, but was only released about October 13, 2002. The Final Evaluation uses as a standard causation, which is a more rigorous test than the more common standard that seeks to demonstrate of an association between EMF and many of these diseases. Here is an analysis of this important report. In addition, the California Health Department also produced a relatively short analysis of the policy options implied by the Evaluation. The Department discusses the policy implications of its analysis it a separate report.

Microwave News,, CNN, and The Electronic Daily, have already reported upon this important study. Here is a transcript of CNN's August 15 report on the final evaluation. On October 6-8, 2002, further information on the final report was reported in prominent foreign newspapers including London's Sunday Times and Sunday Telegraph and Canada's Montreal Gazette, Windsor Star, and National Post. An October 17 article in the San Francisco Gate (the online arm of the San Francisco Chronicle) discusses the report's implication in length.

The average back ground magnetic field in homes without a nearby high voltage line does not usually exceed 0.1 micro-tesla. (10). Household electrical appliances can generate significant magnetic fields which decrease rapidly with distance eg. TV set 1.4 microtesla at 10 cm, 0.19 at 50 cm, electric drill 16.1 at 10 cm, 0.49 at 50 cm, PC computer 0.15 at 10 cm, 0.06 at 50 cm, vacuum cleaner 10.1 at 10 cm, 0.74 at 50 cm, electric toothbrush 0.25 at 10 cm, 0.04 at 50 cm.

Tools for Detecting harmful magnetic fields

Evidence that there is increased risk

E.Sobel PhD and others at the Department of Preventative Medicine, University of Southern California School of Medicine,Los Angeles, conducted a study in 1995 on 326 people with Alzheimers and 152 control people with other mental degenerative problems looking at exposure to electromagnetic fields during work (3).They were able to stratify the exposure to high, medium or low. The study focussed on workers using electric motors considerably eg. machinists, seamstresses. Principal findings were:

1: significantly increased risk of Alzheimers in both sexes with high and medium exposure to electromagnetic fields. (Odds ratio 2.45, CI 1.11-5.37, p<0.02).

2: significantly increased risk for males with high and medium exposure to electromagnetic fields. (Odds ratio 3, CI 1.04-8.7, p<0.05)

Leukaemia and Other Cancers
Occupational Exposure:

Milham (22) reported the first evidence of a link between adult leukaemia and occupational exposure to magnetic fields in Washington state between 1950--79. Deaths from adult leukaemia were 1.63 times the normal rate there (p<0.01), a highly statistically significant finding.

Maria Feychting at the Karolinska Institute Stockholm, and colleaques studied 400,000 people living within 300 meters of 220 or 400 KV lines in Sweden between 1960 and1985. (47). They identified all 727 cases of breast cancer in this group. Magnetic field exposure was graded in three steps: less than 0.1 microteslas, 0.1�0.2, and more than 0.2. Results were:

For those less than 50 exposed to more than 0.2 micro-tesla the risk was increased to 1.8 times matched controls. (CI 0.7�4.3)

For those less than 50 exposed to higher doses of more than 3 micro-tesla years the risk was 3.1 times controls (CI 0.6�15.6)

For those less than 50 and with estrogen receptor �positive breast cancers the risk was 7.4 times control,

Breast Cancer And Radio Frequency Exposure Sunday November 27th 2005, 9:22 am Filed under: Breast cancer and EMFs At the end of my October 1997 Senate paper (last message) I briefly mentioned evidence that suggests that malignant breast cancer tissue is far more sensitive to RF/MW than other types of cancerous tissue (reproduced below). This is one thing that Dr. John Holt from West Australia (do a Google search) has stressed as an important consideration for breast cancer patients. Now in Australia we have a situation in Brisbane where a whole array of antennas is mounted on the side of a 2 story building in a city public square. Directly opposite 70 meters away is a three story office building where, if you look out the third story windows, you look slightly down on the antennas. I sent one affected business on the third floor Alasdair Philip's excellent Com and A Com meters and the tenants were able to determine the level of RF in their offices. They are now shielding the rooms and plan on moving out as soon as possible. Now the relevant point I'm trying to make is that when the person took the meters out on the public square in front of the building with the antennas, he found that he was getting RF readings from every metal object in that square, including his metal watch band. This would also be the case for any woman in that square (many work there) who might be wearing an underwire (metal) bra. That underwire would be acting as a slave antenna re-broadcasting RF directly into the breast. This would tend to act as a promoter of any cancerous cells in the breast. As cities are all becoming wireless wonders the situation in Brisbane must be repeated many times. At the very least, simple advice to breast cancer patients to not wear metal underwire bras would seem a sensible precaution. Unfortunately Cancer Councils find it impossible to think this stuff through for themselves. Much easier to just blindly follow the written statements of the Repacholis of this world and not risk being attacked by the cell phone industry. Don "Although this paper only deals with powerline EMFs, electromagnetic radiation (EMR) from radiofrequency and microwave emissions are also now being implicated in breast cancer. Besides some epidemiological studies, such as one showing a significant increase in breast cancer for female radio operators, there is evidence that breast cancer tumors absorb significantly more EMR than other cancers, or healthy tissue. To quote from one study, conducted at Duke University, North Carolina, USA, in 1993. "In general, at all frequencies tested [50 to 900 MHz], both conductivity and relative permittivity were greater in malignant tissue than in normal tissue of the same type. For tissues of the same type, the differences in electrical properties from normal to malignant were least for kidney (about 6% and 4% average differences over the frequency range in permittivity and conductivity, respectively), and these differences were the greatest for mammary gland (about 233% and 577% average differences in permittivity and conductivity, respectively) "(27) The ability of breast cancer tumors to absorb significantly more EMR than normal tissue should be of concern when compared to an official joint statement, made in the Information sheet, Safety of Mobile Phones and Towers - The Answers (Nov.1995) by the Australian Radiation Laboratory, Spectrum Management Agency, Austel and the Commonwealth Science and Industrial Research Organisation, (under the heading, Is Cancer an issue?) "There is yet insufficient scientific knowledge of many aspects of health effects of radio waves. One common question is: Do radio waves from mobile phones increase the risks of cancer? The answer is that there is no experimental evidence that radio waves directly cause cancer. Laboratory studies on animals suggest that where cancer exists, radio waves may accelerate its growth." For this reason, acting under the Precautionary Principal as mentioned previously, one should also consider radiofrequency and microwave exposures as a possible risk factor to be avoided." Extracted from: The Depths of Deceit Mammography See also: EM Fields On Brain Tumor Incidence - Chemicals And Cell Phones Reference 27: Joines W.T., Zhang Y., Chenxing L., Jirtle R.L. (1993)The measured electrical properties of normal and malignant human tissues from 50 to 900 MHz Medical physics, Vol. 21, April 1994, p.547-550.

Fews (62) detailed that corona ions generated by powerlines increase deposition of pollutants eg. vehicle exhaust, smoke in peoples lungs up to 6 times normal. Corona ions can be significantly present up to 7 km from lines, but especially within 400 meters (75). McDowell (63) looked at cancer incidence near electrical installations, including substations and lines, and found a statistically significant increase in lung cancer 2.15 times normal (CI 1.18�3.61). Fews commented that there has been little research to date on this. Recent studies of occupational exposure to magnetic fields have corroborated a link to lung cancer (75).

Wertheimer and Leeper published the first study in 1979 of children living in Denver close to high voltage lines showing a three-fold increase in overall cancer risk.(7). This was the first study linking magnetic fields and cancer.


The Human Radiation Effects Group
carries out research into the effects on the human body of both ionising and non-ionising radiation. In addition to the environmental factors linked to childhood leukaemia, the Group is researching the role of corona ion emissiom from high voltage powerlines and of magnetic fields in the various health effects linked to electric and magnetic field exposures. The Group is supported by CHILDREN with LEUKAEMIA and the Department of Health

Transpower is proposing a new line of huge high voltage transmission towers from Auckland to Whakamaru, ranging across some of New Zealand`s most picturesque land. The line will have potentially huge effects on property values, health, and enjoyment of the environment by land owners

If Transpower railroads this through, in 20 years will we be having the same conversations about EMF as we are now having about dioxins. Transpower's solution is cheap because it doesn't take account of any of the cost which will be paid by all New Zealanders, in health, economic, and environmental damage.

Tools for Detecting harmfull magnetic fields

According to a March 22, 2003 newspaper report, the EU plans to limit power line magnetic field emissions. (Switzerland already has limited them to 10 mG and Spain has declared such emissions to violate human rights.) It also reports that the world�s largest insurance body, Lloyds of London, is now refusing insurance coverage to power generating companies against damage to workers and consumers� health.

The document coincides with a decision by the world`s largest insurance body, Lloyds of London, to refuse insurance cover to cell phone and power generating companies against damage to workers and consumers` health. It also comes at a time when the Dutch Parliament has called for an urgent investigation into the health dangers posed by EMF emissions.

A three-fold increase in overall spontaneous abortions and a six-fold increase in spontaneous abortions occurring before the 10th week of pregnancy is associated with even momentary exposure to magnetic fields greater than 16 mG. This is the conclusion of new research by Dr. De-Kun Li reported in the January 2002 issue of Epidemiology. Similar results were found in a separate paper on spontaneous abortions prepared for the project by G. M. Lee which is printed in the same issue. |

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