Electromagnetic Radiation and your Health

Electromagnetic Radiation and your Health 101

Defining our Terms
Our homes and workplaces are powered by a type of electricity known as alternating current (AC). By saying that the current alternates I mean , it goes back and forth ,back and forth, sixty times per second, or at sixty hertz (Hz). These alternating pulsations of electricity cause conductors to shed energy. Think of a dog shaking his body to shed water. This is a fundamental principle of alternating current by which electricity is generated in turbines and used in electric motors. This low frequency energy is known as Electromagnetic (EM) Radiation and is measured with a unit called a milliGauss.
When discussing low frequencies the term EM Radiation combines two types of energy: Electric and Magnetic. Basically electric radiation is present whenever voltage exists in a conductor, and magnetic radiation is affected by the amount of current flow. One could use a water hose as an analogy. The pressure in the hose is like the voltage and the flowing water is like the current. In frequencies higher up in the Electromagnetic Spectrum such as micro waves the electric and magnetic components can not be separated. They are measured in volts/meter. V/m. More on higher frequencies later.
“A large portion of high exposures in residential neighbourhoods is due to poorly designed distribution systems that allow stray current to flow in metallic systems such as plumbing, gas lines and grounding wires.”
These harmful emissions are often referred to as electromagnetic fields (EMF’s). This is a misnomer however and could give some false impressions. An electromagnetic field (EMF) is the space in which EM Radiation exists. It is the radiation that is the subject of discussion not the field in which it exists. It takes a little work but correctly understanding these terms will make you better able to understand the issue of the biological impacts of EM Radiation.EM Radiation emitted from correctly designed and laid out equipment represents a small portion of our exposures. On the other hand a large portion of high exposures in residential neighbourhoods is due to poorly designed distribution systems that allow stray current to flow in metallic systems such as plumbing, gas lines and grounding wires. These systems can be altered, repaired or re engineered to create much lower emissions. We have ample evidence that EM Radiation is harming people and we have the ability to greatly reduce human exposure but it is not being done. For the most part we do not have a technical problem; instead we have a social and political problem.

What is keeping millions of people from being protected from electropollution are the people who control the companies that supply our power and their collaborators in our regulatory agencies. It appears their first priority is with making huge profits and not protecting public health.
I my opinion, the only way to force the electrical industry to produce less electropollution is through stricter government regulations. The only way to get stricter government regulations will be through public pressure, and the only way to create public pressure is to educate people about the harmful effects of EM Radiation. That is where you come in. Read, learn and take action to protect yourself and your fellow citizens.
Understanding the Health Threats
According to research in the mid 90’s, about 10 % of overall public exposure to elevated levels of EM Radiation is due to proximity to electrical power lines and distribution systems. By this estimate about forty million people in North America alone are exposed this way. This is a very serious because their exposure is almost constant.
Given the cumulative nature of EMR damage and the well-established evidence of harm, and that there are alternatives to reduce exposure from power lines and equipment, electrical utility company inaction can be characterized as criminal behaviour. If you want to protect your health contact your department of health and demand stricter biologically based regulations to force these massive corporations to protect the health of the public.

According to a 2002 study, 120,000 Californians – and by extrapolation about 1.1 million North Americans – were unable to work due to effects of electromagnetic pollution. “Evaluation of the Possible Risks from Electric and Magnetic Fields (EMFs) From Power Lines, Internal Wiring, Electrical Occupations and Appliances/02”

A major study concluded: “The associations of cancer with conductive plumbing… suggest that cancer risk is increased among persons with elevated magnetic field exposure from residential ground currents.” [Childhood Cancer in Relation to Indicators of Magnetic Fields from Ground Current Sources/95]
In addition to occupational exposures, their inadequately grounded homes were enervating them with electrical currents flowing back to the supply transformer through the water pipes. “As a result high fields can be generated in the building,” explains environmental consultant Don Maisch.

A1996 study of EM Radiation in homes conducted for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation – “Electromagnetic Fields and Housing” (Dr. A. Michrowski) found around one half of the homes surveyed had elevated levels of EM Radiation. This potentially explosive study was not published due to pressure from the electrical industry.

Fixing EMR
Utility companies like BC Hydro will work with an electrician to repair loose wiring on the street which will cause stray current. Also grounding currents flowing through the water service can be interrupted with an isolating coupling. This could greatly reduce the exterior sources.

Stray current can flow along a building’s metallic systems that normally are not meant to conduct electricity. Where “return” or “neutral” current gets on these systems they cause huge imbalances that according to the laws of physics will create EM Radiation. It is not just metallic plumbing that can inadvertently come in contact with stray current; alarmingly it is gas lines, metallic electrical conduit, waste pipes, oil lines, telephone grounding wires, cablevision jackets, stucco wire, and rain gutters and downspouts.

For inside the home “A large amount of EM Radiation originates from wiring disorders,” states EM Radiation tester and electrician Walt McGinnis HYPERLINK “https://mcginniselectric.ca” mcginniselectric.ca . The only way to know if you are being exposed is to have your home and workplace tested. The good news is these sources of EM Radiation can be found and the wiring can be repaired.
A correctly wired house with no external sources of EMR such as a powerline, and with no high emitting appliances should have very low readings. There are no studies we are aware of that show increased risk factors for developing illnesses at this level of exposure. All houses should have EM Radiation levels at .2 MilliGauss or less.

“It is not just grounding, there are many other Electrical Code violations that create magnetic fields” states McGinnis. “Branch circuits within buildings can be wired in such a fashion that they can have large amounts of neutral or stray current that will go undetected for the most part. The resultant magnetic fields are caused mostly when there is an unholy matrimony between two or more neutrals from different circuits or between neutrals and the bonding /grounding system”.
In British Columbia, Canada veteran EM Radiation testing and mitigation specialist Chris Anderson (Electromagnetic Solutions, HYPERLINK “http://www.emr.bc.ca” www.emr.bc.ca), has found that about 40% of homes have at least some areas of elevated levels of EM radiation caused either by exterior sources (such as power lines), internal wiring, and appliances and devices in the home.

Other EM Radiation sources are created by improperly-wired switches, and by bonding screws in sub panels being mistakenly left in place. Antiquated wiring systems called knob and tube, can cause EM radiation that effectively envelopes an entire building. With such unsafe wiring it’s imperative to rewire, preferably with shielded cable.

A building can have one or several overlapping magnetic fields caused by a whole array of wiring mistakes and damaged systems. The only way to detect and correct such Code violations is by skilled use of a gauss (magnetic field) meter.
In order to rectify this industry-wide problem, all electricians should use gauss meters to check their work. They should know how to isolate each source of stray current and know how to repair each code violation. If electrical inspectors carried gauss meters – as they do in many places in Europe – they also would be able to detect otherwise invisible, common wiring mistakes. Wiring standards would be raised considerably if gauss meters were to be mandated for all electricians and inspectors. Moreover, most of the inadequate wiring that causes EM Radiation also poses a fire and shock hazard as well as creating an unhealthy environment.