Are you feeling tired, suffer from sleepiness, depression, increased irritability, unexplained aches and pains, headaches, skin rashes, ringing in the ears, numbness, an irregular heart beat, increased blood pressure or a foggy brain? If so, you may be suffering from electrosensitivity. Dr. Magda Havas, a renowned international expert on electromagnetic radiation (EMR), says "dirty electricity" is a growing worldwide health concern.
Today, few of us would want to discard our electronic devices. But before researching this column, I never realized how modern electrical gizmos generated so much dirty electricity.
Dr. Havas says clean electricity originally powered our homes and workplaces using a safe frequency of 60 hertz (Hz). Today, transformers convert 60 Hz to low-voltage power for electronic devices. This creates micro-surges of dirty electricity that contain up to 2,500 times the energy of a conventional 60-Hz electrical system. In effect, we've created electrical pollution, a contamination that's not good for us.
I discovered it's easy to get fooled by dirty energy if you're not an electrical engineer. For instance, our home has several dimmer devices. I naively believed this was a prudent move, but these devices, along with fluorescent lights, energy-saving light bulbs, electrical entertainment centres and computers, generate dirty electricity. In fact, they generally emit more electromagnetic exposure than power lines.
If you want to get a major dose of dirty electricity, use a hair dryer. This device uses up to 500 times more dirty EMR than microwave ovens, electric ranges and washing machines.
This past week, I also used a GPS device to keep me from getting lost in Boston. It showered me with electrical signals from 2,000 satellites in outer space. Most people are not aware of this invisible fog of EMR and its implications on our health. But it's not fooling wildlife. Birds, bats and bees are known to abandon regions where cellphone towers are built.
Scientists in Russia have been at the forefront of EMR research. During the Second World War, they noticed radar operators often suffered from symptoms we now attribute to EMR. And during the height of the Cold War, they secretly bombarded the U.S. embassy in Moscow with microwave radiation, causing radiation sickness in American staff.
Later, in 2007, a collaboration of scientists from the U.S., Sweden, Denmark, Austria and China released a 650-page report citing 2,000 studies that detailed the toxic effects of EMR. It concluded that even low-level radiation could impair immunity and contribute to Alzheimer's disease, dementia and heart disease. Other studies have linked EMR to miscarriage, birth defects, suicide, Lou Gehrig's and Parkinson disease.
But in addition to these disorders, there's evidence EMR triggers cancer. In Australia in 1956, when television was introduced, researchers documented a rapid increase in malignancies in people living near transmission towers. Later, in the 1970s, Nancy Wertheimer, a Denver epidemiologist, noted a spike of leukemia among children living near electrical power lines. Other studies reached the same conclusion.
What about the use of cordless phones and cellphones? A Swedish study suggests those who start using a cellphone as a teen have a five-times greater risk of brain cancer than those who start as an adult.
This information correlates to the recent World Health Organization study on cellphones that identified a need for more research into teen phone use and deadly malignant brain tumours.