Invisible Danger of Electromagnetic Fields

What do you guys think of this? Is there any truth to this? Can this seriously affect my health in the long term and cause permenant damage?

Well, I will have to dig up specific cites later, but ** Pravda ** is probably one of the least reliable websites out there, bordering on World Weekly News level in many cases. And every study I have seen on Cell phones shows that they don’t cause any harm, or have had inconclusive results.

And finally ask yourself this- how come people are living so much longer these days, when the amount of EM radiation is so much higher.

This was debunked many years ago, by means of some very reliable research. Here’s one link to the info.

Well I did a search on google/yahoo on dangers of EMF and alot of research and websites came up. Some of them sounded reliable. There seems to be evidence both supporting EMF saying its harmless and against EMF stating its dangerous.

Well, I just did a google search for “EMF Dangers” and most of the sites I came up with where either trying to sell those worthless cell phone radition blockers, or seemed to be from general nutcase/pseudo science sites. ** Early Outs**'s cite seems to debunk the whole danger thing.

There seems to be some interesting stuff below:

Kokomo hum, Kokomo hum, where’s this Kokomo comin’ from…

apologies to the the Zappa estate…

If the EM fields emitted by power lines, appliances, and cell phones presented any health danger, then the fields you’re exposed to in an MRI would kill you on the spot.

The random EM fields you encounter in everyday life can’t penetrate more than a millimeter or so into your skin. Given that fact, it’s virtually impossible for those fields to have any effect on your internal organs.

If you choose to believe the “evidence” presented by marketers and fear-mongers instead of the debunking presented by groups who don’t have any particular axe to grind, well, have a ball! After all, why would the National Academy of Sciences, the American Physical Society, and the Dept of Energy have any reason to slant the results?

Don’t forget that global warming also contributes to the levels of EMF were exposed to by increasing the temperature of the earth thereby increasing the amount of black body radiation the earth emit. On a less rediculous note…
First, a majority of the misguided claims of the dangers of EM radiation are based on the linear no thresh hold model for radiation damage. One conclusion this model suggests is that for any exposure to radiation there is a finite probability that a mutation will occur. Which is rediculous, the splitting of DNA to cause a mutation requires a significant amount of energy, I would guess greater than 4 ev. Since light interacts with matter on the atomic scale as a particle instead of a wave this means that each photon must have that much energy. That implies that each photon needs multiple ev of energy which would put the light at a minimum in the UV range, which is on the order of 10^15 hz.
In the US power is transmitted at, I believe, 60 hz. At 60 hz the energy carried by the photons in electromagnetic radiation is so small it’s not worth accounting for. For your hair dryer and razor, they do not produce any radiation except for the radiation due to the cycling of the power, regardless of how much energy that actually is, none of the photons emitted would have enough energy to produce any damage.
Radiation of 5 megawatts per square cm…so lets assume you’re standing one meter from something that’s radiating and we have a flux of power of 5 megawatts per square cm. A sphere with a 1 meter radius has something like a 10^5 square cm area. So in order to have 5 megawatts per square cm at a meter away our radiation source needs to be radiating at 5x10^5 megawatts, in comparison a typical powerplant produces 1x10^3 megawatts so I think you would have difficulty finding such a source in the first place, let alone getting within one meter of it.

This is wrong. I mean not even close to true.

The penetration of EM waves is dependant on the frequency of the waves. Some will stop at the skin like visible spectrum light, some will penetrate slightly, like long infrared, and some will pentrate all the way, like microwaves and cell phone frequencies.

I agree that the info in the OP is highly suspect and full of legend but to pass off EM fields as harmless is crazy talk. What do you think cooks food in the microwave?

Cell phones have have is called SARs testing and it is used to determine how much the cell phone will heat up the brain of the user. Current thought is that the only danger is the heat caused by the EM waves and not the waves themselves. I’d say the jury is out on that one. Remember, smoking was considered a healthy way to relieve stress for quite some time before anyone noticed it also causes cancer.

I hope it is someday proved that EM waves have a minimal impact on health but anyone that claims they know for sure, one way or the other, just doesn’t understand the issues involved. Even the FDA claims not to really know.

If you’re encountering intense microwave radiation in your everyday life, you really should stop crawling into the microwave oven to hang out! :wink:

I should have been more specific, since you are absolutely correct about the frequency of the EM radiation in question. What I was remembering was an analysis of the possibility of being in danger from EMFs generated by power lines, electric appliances, power substations, and so on, all of which occur at a frequency that can’t really penetrate the human body.

Regarding the issue of cell phones and a cancer link, I was recalling this item from physicist Robert Park:

In other words, it’s not a question of the radiation being unable to penetrate the skin, as I incorrectly stated, but a question of the photons not being energetic enough to have the kind of biological effect necessary to produce cancer.

Thanks for the correction - I should have been more careful.

So what your saying is that EMF has a minimial effect on our health if any and the “myth” is false?

Well, good scientific research never really gives you a 100% answer to anything - there’s always at least the possibility that something will turn up in some future study. But at least for now, there is very, very little evidence that EMF is a danger worth worrying about.

That’s especially true when you consider the far greater risks that we all willingly accept, every day of our lives. Do you ride in a car? Do you smoke? Do you take any medications, either over-the-counter or doctor-prescribed? Do you engage in contact sports? All of these things have much more potential to harm you than the speculative, tiny risk from something like EMF. Oh, and stay out of the microwave. :wink:

Once you’ve eliminated all the large, proven risks in your life, then you can start paying attention to the more remote possibilities!

On MY record (yes, record, not CD) it’s “Dynamo Hum,” as the girl is Dyna Mo and she hums. Under highly excited circumstances. :smiley:

“Got a spot that gets me hot! And you ain’t been to it!!”

Besides, a Dynamo is pretty appropriate for a thread about EMFs, eh?

Frivolity aside, on a more serial note, here’s a Power Lines & Cancer FAQ reference page from the Medical College of Wisconsin.

Suppose EM radiation damaged your cells by heating them. Now imagine that you step into a sauna for half an hour, or lay out in the sun for a while, or exercise vigourously for an hour.

How much does that heat your body? It is a myth that human body temperature is 98.6F, in reality it fluctuates up and down by a few degrees depending on your environment, metabolism, and level of activity.

If EM radiation could damage you by raising your cell temperatures by a few hundredths of a degree, then why don’t we see larger damages caused by much larger increases in temperature?

Think about power plant workers, who are exposed to EM fields millions of times greater than what you would get from your TV, cell phone, or flourescent light bulb. One would expect then that workers exposed to intense EM fields would have some measurable health effects. But that turns out not to be the case…power plant workers don’t have an increased cancer rate compared to the general population. How could a very very very very very weak EM field cause cancer, when a field millions of times stronger cannot?


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It irritates me (and also makes me wonder whether the users have any idea what they are talking about) to read about EM fields. There are electric fields, magnetic fields, and electromagnetic radiation and they are all quite different. Although EMR is the result of perpendicular mutually generated oscillating electric and magnetic fields.

There is no credible evidence that either weak electric or magnetic fields have any effect on living tissue. As for radiation, well certainly x-rays and gamma rays are quite dangerous and even UV radiation (much lower energy) is somewhat deleterious. Visible light seems (mostly) harmless until you get into very high intensity. I know of no evidence that infra-red down to the various radio wavelengths has any effect whatever. This includes all the vhf, uhf and higher frequencies, all of which are still far into the infra-red.

It’s a matter of degrees (pun intended). Although I cannot spectulate about other parts of the body, raising the temp of the lens in the eye will give you cataracts. It was originally called glass blowers cataracts I think and health professional types eventually figured out it was the heat from the fire that was doing the damage, and not the glass blowing.

I believe also, but with less certainty, that raising the temp of the testicles will lower sperm count over time. Rumor even has it that that is why they hang outside the body, to keep them cool.

It is also known that temps above 105 F (sorry, no C conversion) will cause brain damage. That is why the cell phone makers have to rate the amount thier phones heat up the brain.

So you see, simply raising the temp of body parts can cause damage, and although many people in this thread are thinking about cancer risk, there are other health dangers that do not involve cancer.

One of my college professors was really into this subject, back in the 80’s when this subject was just taking off in popularity. I learned a lot about it from him, and from following the subject quite a bit in literature over the years.

According to my prof, this whole thing started when an insurance company noticed that people who lived next to power lines didn’t live quite as long as people who didn’t (there are people at insurance companies who get paid to figure these kinds of statistical things out). Of course, at that point all you have is a statistical correlation. You don’t have cause and effect. As my college professor liked to point out, it could just be that people who choose to live healthy lifestyles also choose not to live next to power lines.

People started trying to figure out what is going on, and someone released a study linking power lines and childhood leukemia. This is when the subject really started to take off and get noticed. The study was later discredited, but you’ll still find it cited on numerous web sites. Later, people started to think if power lines were bad, other things like radar and cell phones must be bad too. A lot of people made a lot of money wandering around school playgrounds with field strength meters and writing fancy reports, even though at that time very little scientific research had been completed on the subject. A lot of money started pouring into scientific research on the subject too.

Fast forward a couple of years, and all the results start coming in from all of this scientific research. Occasionally a study finds some sort of link, but follow-up studies don’t support the original conclusions and usually the whole thing decays into a war of words between the folks who believe all things electrical are the true root of evil in the universe, and those who think it’s all perfectly harmless, and both sides are quite vocal and very strong in their beliefs.

Personally, I think that with all of the money poured into this research, if there was a link here they would have found it by now. We can also certainly disregard the worst of the doom and gloom folks. If cell phones, microwave ovens, and power lines were as deadly as some folks say, no one would live past the age of 20. However, despite all of this research, we’re still back to the original question. People who live next to power lines don’t live as long as the rest of us, and we still don’t know why.

You got a cite for that?