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.
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]
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.
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.
“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”.
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.