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Research on electromagnetic fields (EMF) and their possible effects on human health has been ongoing for decades. By some counts as many as 20,000 studies have been done on EMF exposure to animals and humans. In order to make sense of the volumes of information available we must have a method for evaluating the data objectively - that is not influenced by personal feelings or opinion, either ours or someone else’s. This means we must be aware of the biases that can affect how studies are conducted and the methods that are used. (For more detail on evaluating studies see “The Fine Print” below.)
Most anyone can evaluate EMF exposure studies with a little effort. To do so keep a browser window open to look up unfamiliar terms used as you go. Begin by skimming the abstract of the study so you will be able to grasp the intent, methodology and conclusions of the study. Pay attention to who did the study, when it was done and how it was done. This may give clues to its relevance. If you desire to go deeper, look for data tables and conclusions drawn by the authors. Remember that, while looking for possible biases in the study itself you don’t want your own biases to cause you to look past relevant data and conclusions that may conflict with your own pre-conceived notions. That is called confirmation bias. Rather, look for THE TRUTH wherever it leads you!
I have personally reviewed hundreds of studies on various aspects of EMF exposure.
The proven negative effects of EMF exposure include:
1. Oxidative stress and the production of Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) in the cell.
2. Production of heat shock proteins which may damage DNA.
3.Interruption of calcium ion channels on the cell wall affecting calcium ion balance.
4. Cellular membrane leakage.
5. Damage to cellular organelles including mitochondria and lysosomes.
6. Effects on neuron signaling in the brain and nervous system.
The human body is composed of numerous essential organs all of which are composed of tissue made of billions of cells. It follows that anything affecting the cells must also have a deleterious effect on the organs made of those cells. This of course affects the health of the entire organism.
To prove or disprove a connection between EMF exposure and various disease conditions (like cancer) is more difficult because of the thousands of variables which may influence the results of the studies.
However, a convincing amount of research has established a clear connection between EMF exposure and several common disease conditions including some cancers. Keep in mind that a "connection" does not necessarily mean "cause". In most cases, the EMF exposure appears to influence the development of the disease condition, perhaps acting as one of several such factors weakening the organism and causing disease.
In this age of science, we all tend to trust “studies”. We quote them all the time. Perhaps you have caught yourself saying: “I just read a study that says …” (blay blah blah) or “I remember somebody did a study on (something) and they proved that …” (yada yada yada). We trust too much! Frankly, many studies (maybe the majority) are not designed in a rigorous fashion. This is part of the reason that so many studies appear to contradict each other. In addition, most studies are designed to evaluate simple “cause and effect” and cannot account for all related or extraneous conditions.
For example, the question: “Do cell phones cause cancer?” sounds like a simple question everyone wants an answer to. The problem is - it’s not that simple. There are hundreds of types of cancer. What type of cell phone? How often used? How close to the body and where? In animals or humans? How many subjects must be tested to be really convincing?
And perhaps even more important:
People are almost always paid by someone to do studies. There are various stakeholders who often influence the outcome in some way. To be objective in our search for the truth we must see through and past the possible biases. In evaluating studies there are a number of important factors to consider. These are discussed in detail in the book Lies, Damned Lies, and Science by Sherry Seethaler. If you would like to purchase it CLICK HERE and scroll down to the book.
Below, I will endeavor to provide an objective viewpoint of the research but in the end, you must decide for yourself.
Follow the link to each site and evaluate for yourself. I will provide my comments below each link. More studies will be added as I research them!
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences 2018
My comments: The NIEHS is an arm of the U.S.Department of Health and Human Services. It's mission is to "reduce the burden of human illness and disability by understanding how the environment influences the development and progression of human disease". As a highly respectable organization it is very notable this study establishes a clear link between EMF and cancer. Note however, the study subjects were rats so a direct link to humans cannot be made. Usually government agencies are very conservative in taking any position on controversial subjects. The study used cell phone frequency EMF at maximum exposure levels normal for recent "smart phones". The cancer link to rats is clearly established. Note that most wireless devices operate at similar frequencies and therefore potentially may also cause or influence the development of certain cancers.
International Journal of Cell Biology 2012
My comments: A highly respected journal. This study is a mega-study which compiles data from numerous other studies. Note the positive connections made between EMF exposure and oxidative stress and degenerative neurological disorders. Negative effects are noted for ELF (extremely low frequencies like power lines) and RF (radio frequencies) as used in wireless equipment.
Power Watch Organization (the link below takes you to the home page - go to: Science (General) - list of studies)
My Comments: Power Watch is a non-profit organization composed of a small group of scientists and engineers from several countries. Their bias, if any, is not clear. However, their website is a wonderful tool to explore studies on EMF topics. Around 1,700 peer reviewed studies are categorized into 9 subject groups. Studies are listed from most recent and tagged as to "has found effects", "has found no effects", neither but "has offered important insights".
When reviewing any one study be careful to note the test subjects, exposure type, and exposure level when determining its validity. Some studies are based on unrealistic parameters that don't reflect real world conditions.
On this website click on "RF color charts" and download the charts.
My Comments: The Bioinitiative Report is an impressive compilation of 1,800 recent studies on EMF. Studies were evaluated and compiled by a panel of 29 authorities - most with PHDs or MDs - and are well organized by categories. Color coding identifies studies which show effects and those that don't. Some authorities have criticized the report saying it is guilty of selection bias - choosing studies which support their claims. I doubt it, but even if this were so, the weight of hundreds of studies is convincing, and the studies were conducted by independent groups all over the world. Of the 1,800 studies reviewed, the majority (about 70%) show negative effects from EMF exposure.
My Comments: The Interphone study is one of the largest studies ever done on the effects of cellphones. It has been widely quoted and touted by the wireless industry as might be expected. Nevertheless, the study was funded by the World Health Organization (part of the United Nations). Any biases are controversial and undetermined. The study essentially provided no solid evidence of a causal relationship between cell phone use and cancer. Note however, that the study limited it's focus to three types of brain cancer and one gland cancer. It does not address cellular effects or other types of systemic effects covered by other studies. Also the median phone usage per participant was only 2.5 hrs per month which is considerably less than what is common today. The study was done over 12 years (2000-2012)
For a complete discussion of how to take and interpret measurements
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MAKING YOUR OWN EMF MEASUREMENTS
by Gary Bocksch AAS, BS, MS
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