Health Effects of EMF Exposure: the Mercury Connection   

 In a long term comprehensive electromagnetic fields (EMF) risk assessment study by the California Dept. of Health Services, all reviewers concluded that it is highly likely that EMF causes some forms of cancer, along with chronic neurological conditions like ALS (Lou Gehrig’s’s disease) and depression.  They also found a significant likelihood that EMF causes cardiovascular problems and increased suicide (1).   People are commonly exposed to electromagnetic fields from computer monitors, microwaves, televisions, other appliances, and power lines.  

Environmental exposure to high-frequency voltage transients (HFVT), also termed dirty electricity, has been suggested among electro(hyper)sensitive interest groups as an important biological active component of standard electromagnetic pollution. In some studies exposure to HFVT was associated with increased cancer risks, while preferential removal of 4-100 kHz HFVT from 50-60 Hz ELF circuits was linked to a variety of improvements in health (plasma glucose levels in diabetic patients, symptoms of multiple sclerosis, asthma and other respiratory illnesses, and insomnia), well-being (tiredness, frustration, general health, irritation, sense of satisfaction, mood), and student behavior (20). However more studies are needed to verify and clarify the findings. 

        Actually, there is strong evidence in the medical literature already supporting these conclusions and documenting mechanisms by which the effects occur.  The evidence is based on the fact that chronic mercury exposure has been documented to cause all of these conditions (12-16), and EMF, microwave, or MRI exposure has been documented to cause significant release of mercury into the body, including the brain and Central Nervous System, from those who have amalgam( 2,19).   Studies have found persons with chronic exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF), microwaves, or MRIs to have higher levels of mercury vapor exposure and excretion (2,9,19). Electromagnetic fields and Wi-fi are known to induce current in metals and would increase the documented effects of galvanism (9,12-16). Amalgam has also been documented to be the largest source of mercury exposure in most people who have amalgam fillings (12,16). Much of the mercury exposure from amalgam is organic mercury, since bacteria in the oral cavity and intestines methylate inorganic mercury to organic mercury. The effects of EMF and Wi-fi on people’s amalgam(19) also result in more excretion into sewers and septic tanks, where amalgams are the largest source of mercury in most sewers. The resulting high levels of inorganic and organic mercury in sewers have major effects on the environment, fish, and people.

Wi-fi and Smart Meters have also been documented to have many adverse health effects.

          EMF is also documented in animal and human studies to cause cellular calcium efflux and affect calcium homeostasis (3,4,22), which may be a factor in the reduction of melatonin levels caused by EMF exposure in animal and human studies (4,5). In studies on chicks this had significant adverse effects on viability of embryos and chicks(22).   Melatonin is known to be protective against mercury and free radical activity and against cell proliferation(cancer) (17), as well as regulating the circadian rhythm cycle and sleep cycle. EMF exposure lowers melatonin production (22), disrupts the sleep cycle(5,8c), and blocks melatonin’s cell antiproliferation effects (17). EMF exposed workers consistently produced less melatonin and had impaired sleep quality and quantity(23).

Another study provides evidence for an association between occupational electromagnetic fields and suicide (10). The authors indicate that a plausible mechanism related to melatonin and depression provides a direction for additional laboratory research as well as epidemiological evaluation.   EMF exposure causes lower melatonin & adverse effects on embryos & young chicks (22).  Calcium input from extracellular medium and output from intracellular calcium reserves are primary mechanisms in the activation of melatonin synthesis in the chick pineal gland, and EMF causes cell calcium efflux and affects calcium homeostatis.  

  Studies have found higher neurodegenerative disease mortality in electrical worker exposed to EMF (higher risk in occupations

with EMF exposure, and increasing risk with time worked) (6a). A study (6) found a 5 times higher risk for power plant operators‑ALS) and higher for risk for Alz; also, a higher risk of ALS with more exposure). Occupational exposure to higher levels of EMF have also been found in many studies to result in much higher risk of chronic degenerative neurological conditions such as ALS (6b), Alzheimer’s Disease (6,7), Depression (11), as well as Leukemia and Cancer (8,6e).  A meta-analysis of occupational exposure to EMF and neurodegenerative diseases found that occumpational exposure to EMF increased the risk of ALS by 25% and by 30% for Alzheimer’s (24).  Since EMF, microwaves, MRIs, etc. cause increased mercury exposure in those with amalgam, and mercury is also known to cause these conditions (13-16), again it is not clear the relative importance of the factors since the studies were not controlled for mercury levels or number of amalgam fillings.

Cancer: A higher risk of leukemia & mylenoid leukemia was seen in occupations with more emf exposure(6a).

Breast Cancer:   Many studies have found that there is higher breast cancer in occupations exposed to

more EMF (men & women) (6bc)

For ways to reduce EMF and Wi-fi exposure, see (25) and; (search for EMF)


(1)  California Dept. of Health Services, California EMF Program, Draft of final risk evaluation report,

&; &

(2) F.Schmidt et al, "Mercury in urine of employees exposed to magnetic fields", Tidsskr Nor  Laegeforen, 1997, 117(2): 199‑202; & Granlund-Lind R, Lans M, Rennerfelt J, "Computers and amalgam are the most common causes of hypersensitivity to electricity according to sufferers' reports", Läkartidningen 2002; 99: 682-683  (Swedish);     & Sheppard AR and EisenbudM., Biological Effects  of electric and magnetic fields of extremely low frequency. New York university press.  1977; & Ortendahl T W, Hogstedt P, Holland RP, "Mercury vapor release from dental amalgam in vitro caused by magnetic fields generated by CRT's", Swed Dent J 1991 p 31 

(3)     Aldinucci C; Palmi M; Sgaragli G; Benocci A; Meini A; Pessina F; Pessina GP. The effect of pulsed electromagnetic fields on the physiologic behaviour of a  human  astrocytoma cell line.  Biochim Biophys Acta2000, 11;1499(1‑2):101‑108; & Fitzsimmons RJ, Ryaby JT, Magee FP, Baylink DJ.  Combined magnetic fields increased net calcium flux in bone cells.  Calcif Tissue Int 1994 Nov;55(5):376‑80

(4)  Pablos MI; Agapito MT; Gutierrez‑Baraja R; Reiter RJ; Recio JM.   Effect of calcium on  melatoninsecretion in chick pineal gland I.  Neurosci Lett 1996 Oct18;217(2‑3):161‑4; & Nikaido SS; Takahashi JS.  Calcium modulates circadian variation in   cAMP‑stimulated melatonin in chick pineal cells.   Brain Res 1996 15;716(1‑2):1‑10; &    Youbicier‑Simo BJ; Boudard F; Cabaner C; Bastide M.   Biological effects of continuous exposure of embryos and young chickens to  electromagnetic fields emitted by video  display units.   Bioelectromagnetics 1997;18(7):514‑23 ;

(5) Juutilainen J; Stevens RG; et al; Nocturnal 6‑hydroxymelatonin sulfate excretion in female workers exposed to magnetic fields.  J Pineal Res 2000 ;28(2):97‑104; & Akerstedt T;  Arnetz B; Ficca G; Paulsson LE; KallnerA.   A 50‑Hz electromagnetic field impairs sleep.  J Sleep Res 1999 Mar;8(1):77‑8 & Ronco AL, Halberg F.  The pineal gland and cancer.  Anticancer Res 1996 Jul‑Aug;16(4A):2033‑9; &

& Zecca L, Mantegazza C, Margonato V, Cerretelli P, Caniatti M, Piva F, Dondi D,

 Hagino N.  Biological effects of prolonged exposure to ELF electromagnetic

 fields in rats: III. 50 Hz electromagnetic fields.  Bioelectromagnetics 1998;19(1):57‑66

(6)   Magnetic field exposure and neurodegenerative disease mortality among electric utility workers.  Epidemiology 1998 Jul;9(4):398‑404, Savitz DA; Checkoway H; Loomis DP.; &   Electrical occupations and neurodegenerative disease: analysis of U.S.  mortality data.Arch Environ Health 1998 Jan‑Feb;53(1):71‑4; Savitz DA; Loomis DP; Tse CK.  & (b) Mortality from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, other chronic disorders, and electric shocks among utility workers.Am J Epidemiol 1998 Aug   15;148(4):362‑8; Johansen C; Olsen JH.    &   Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and occupational exposure to electromagnetic fields.   Bioelectromagnetics 1997;18(1):28‑35 Davanipour Z; Sobel E; et al; & (e) A.  Review of the Epidemiologic Literature on EMF and Health.  Environ Health Perspect 2001 Dec;109 Suppl 6:911-933; Ahlbom II, Cardis E, et al; &(f) Neurodegenerative diseases, suicide and depressive symptoms in relation to EMF.  Bioelectromagnetics 2001;Suppl 5:S132‑43, Ahlbom A.  

(7) Electromagnetic field exposure may cause increased production of amyloid beta and eventually lead to Alzheimer's disease.

Neurology. 1996 Dec;47(6):1594‑600. Sobel E, Davanipour Z. & Occupations with exposure to electromagnetic fields: a possible risk factor for Alzheimer's disease.   Am J Epidemiol 1995 Sep 1;142(5):515‑24. Sobel E; Davanipour Z; et al; & Elevated risk of Alzheimer's disease among workers with likely   electromagnetic field exposure.  Neurology 1996 ;47(6):1477‑81; Sobel E; Dunn M;et al.   &   Electromagnetic field exposure may cause increased production of amyloid beta and eventually lead to Alzheimer's disease. Neurology. 1996 Dec;47(6):1594‑600; Sobel E, Davanipour Z.   & Occupations with exposure to electromagnetic fields: a possible risk factor for Alzheimer's disease.   Am J Epidemiol 1995 Sep 1;142(5):515‑24. Sobel E; Davanipour Z; et al; & Hansen NH, Sobel E, Davanipour Z, Gillette LM, Niiranen J, Wilson BW.  EMF exposure assessment in the finnish garment industry: evaluation of proposed EMF exposure metrics.  Bioelectromagnetics 2000, Jan;21(1):57‑67 

(8) (a) Exposure to magnetic fields among electrical workers in relation to leukemia risk in Los Angeles County.  Am J Ind Med

1994 Jul;26(1):47‑60. London SJ; Bowman JD; Sobel E; et al; & (b)Breast cancer and electromagnetic fields‑‑a review.  Ann Epidemiol 2000 Jan;10(1):31‑44, Caplan LS; Schoenfeld ER; et al; & (c)Stevens RG, Davis S.  The melatonin hypothesis: electric power and breast cancer.  Environ Health Perspect 1996 Mar;104 Suppl 1:135‑40 

(9) Mercury Exposure and Health Effects from Dental Amalgam Galvanism,

(10)van Wijngaarden E, Savatz D,  Kleckner R,  Cai J, Loomis D.    Exposure to electromagnetic fields and suicide among electric utility Workers: a nested case-control study. Occup Environ Med 2000; 57:258-263

(11)  Zyss T, Dobrowolski JW, Krawczyk K.  Neurotic disturbances, depression and anxiety disorders in the population living in the vicinity of overhead high‑voltage transmission line 400 kV. Epidemiological pilot study  Med Pr 1997;48(5):495‑505

(12) Kingman A, Albertini T, Brown LJMercury concentrations in urine and whole blood associated with amalgam exposure in a US military population., J Dent Res 1998 Mar;77(3):461-71 

(population of over 1000 Air Force personnel; found each 10 amalgam surfaces increased mercury in urine by approx. 1 microgram per liter); & 

(b) Leistevuo J, Pyy L, Osterblad M,   Dental amalgam fillings and the amount of organic mercury in human saliva.  Caries Res2001 May‑Jun;35(3):163‑6; &

(c) Bjorkman L, Sandborgh-Englund G, Ekstrand J.   "Mercury in Saliva and Feces after Removal of Amalgam Fillings",               Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, 1997, 144(1), p156-62;    

(d) Mercury levels from amalgam fillings, DAMS,

(13)  Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis(ALS): the mercury connection,

(14)  Alzheimer’s Disease: the Mercury Connection,

(15)  Depression: the Mercury Connection: www.myflcv/depress.html

(16) Mercury exposure and related health effects from amalgam fillings, as seen in hundred of thousands of recoveries after amalgam replacement.    B. Windham (Ed.),   over 2000  peer-reviewed medical studies reviewed and referenced),

(17) Drs Masami Ishido and Hiroshi Nitta, Japan's National Institute for Environmental Studies in Tsukuba,   “12 mG EMFs Can Inhibit Melatonin Effect”, Microwave News Sept/October 2001

(18) Draper G, Vincent T, Kroll M & Swanson J, Oxford Childhood Cancer Research Group - Childhood cancer and electromagnetic field exposures from powerlines - Department of Health funded 1997-2001, RRX 46 

 (19) Mercury release from dental amalgam restorations after magnetic resonance imaging and following mobile phone use.   Pak J Biol Sci. 2008 Apr 15;11(8): 1142-6, Mortazavi SM, Daiee E, Yazdi A, Khiabani K, Mood MB,et al; &  Increased Release of Mercury from Dental Amalgam Fillings due to Maternal Exposure to Electromagnetic Fields as a Possible Mechanism for the High Rates of Autism in the Offspring: Introducing a Hypothesis. Mortazavi G, Haghani M et al; J Biomed Phys Eng. 2016 Mar 1;6(1):41-6; & Increased mercury release from dental amalgam restorations after exposure to electromagnetic fields as a potential hazard for hypersensitive people and pregnant women. Mortazavi G et al: Rev Environ Health. 2015;30(4):287-92; & Effect of radiofrequency radiation from Wi-Fi devices on mercury release from amalgam restorations. Paknahad M et al; J Environ Health Sci Eng. 2016 Jul 13;14:12; & Electromagnetic Waves Collected by a Dental Amalgam Filling Induced Balance Dysregulation and Dizziness over a Period Exceeding 10 Years, Yoshiro Fujii, & more similar articles:

(20)  "Dirty electricity": what, where, and should we care?; de Vocht F.,  J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol. 2010 Mar 24; & A new electromagnetic exposure metric: High frequency voltage transients associated with increased cancer incidence in teachers in a california school  Milham and Morgan, American Journal of Industrial Medicine, Volume 51, Issue 8, pages 579–586, August 2008 

(21) Dirty Power: a factor in an unusual cancer cluster at La Quinta Middle School in southern California, Milham S, Morgan L,  American Journal of Industrial Medicine, 2009; & Effect of calcium on melatonin secretion in chick pineal gland I.  Neurosci Lett, 1996 Oct18;217(2‑3):161‑4, Pablos MI; Agapito MT; et ak;

(22) Biological effects of continuous exposure of embryos and young chickens to electromagnetic fields emitted by video display units.   Bioelectromagnetics 1997;18(7):514‑23, Youbicier‑Simo BJ; Boudard F; et al & Calcium modulates circadian variation in cAMP‑stimulated melatonin in chick pineal cells.   Brain Res 1996 Apr15;716(1‑2):1‑10; Nikaido SS; Takahashi JS. 

(23) Nocturnal 6‑hydroxymelatonin sulfate excretion in female workers exposed to magnetic fields.  J Pineal Res 2000 ;28(2):97‑104; Juutilainen J; Stevens RG; et al; & A 50‑Hz electromagnetic field impairs sleep.   J Sleep Res 1999 Mar;8(1):77‑81, Akerstedt T; Arnetz B; et al.  

(24) Occupational Exposures and Neurodegenerative Diseases-A Systematic Literature Review and Meta-Analyses. Gunnarsson LG, Bodin L. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 Jan 26;16(3).       

(25) 17 Ways to Minimize Exposure to Dirty Electricity & EMFs,By Lloyd Burrell,March 6, 2017;






 Aldinucci C; Palmi M; Sgaragli G; Benocci A; Meini A; Pessina F; Pessina GP.                              The effect of pulsed electromagnetic fields on the physiologic behaviour of a

                            human astrocytoma cell line.  Biochim Biophys Acta 2000 Dec          11;1499(1‑2):101‑108.



                            We evaluated the effects of 50 Hz pulsed electromagnetic fields (EMFs) with a

                            peak magnetic field of 3 mT on human astrocytoma cells. Our results clearly

                            demonstrate that, after the cells were exposed to EMFs for 24 h, the basal

                            [Ca(2+)](i) levels increased significantly from 124+/‑51 nM to 200+/‑79 nM.

                            Pretreatment of the cells with 1.2 microM substance P increased the

                            [Ca(2+)](i) to 555+/‑278 nM, while EMF exposure caused a significant drop in

                            [Ca(2+)](i) to 327+/‑146 nM. The overall effect of EMFs probably depends on

                            the prevailing Ca(2+) conditions of the cells. After exposure, the proliferative

                            responses of both normal and substance P‑pretreated cells increased slightly

                            from 1.03 to 1.07 and 1.04 to 1.06, respectively. U‑373 MG cells spontaneously

                            released about 10 pg/ml of interleukin‑6 which was significantly increased after

                            the addition of substance P. Moreover, immediately after EMF exposure and

                            24 h thereafter, the interleukin‑6 levels were more elevated (about 40%) than

                            in controls. On the whole, our data suggest that, by changing the properties of

                            cell membranes, EMFs can influence Ca(2+) transport processes and hence

                            Ca(2+) homeostasis. The increased levels of interleukin‑6 after 24 h of EMF

                            exposure may confirm the complex connection between Ca(2+) levels,

                            substance P and the cytokine networ


Nevertheless, as your question suggests, there are several studies from a number of countries showing that suicide rates among

medical practitioners are higher than those in the general population or in some other professions (Lindeman et al, Psychological

Medicine, Sept. 1997 pp. 1219‑22; Lindeman et al, British Journal of Psychiatry March 1996, ppl274‑79).



EMFs Increase Suicide Rates 


                               This study examined mortality from suicide in relation to

                               estimated exposure to extremely low‑frequency

                               electromagnetic fields (EMFs) and found a significant increase

                               in the risk of suicide.


                                    Researchers studied 138,905 male electric utility workers. 


                                    They found a more than doubled risk with electricians and

                                    an almost 60% increase in line workers.


                                    Even stronger associations, up to a 3.5‑fold increase, were

                                    found in men younger than 50. 


                               The authors state that "These data provide evidence for an

                               association between occupational electromagnetic fields and

                               suicide that warrants further evaluation." They hypothesize

                               that this link has something to do with disturbing melatonin

                               secretion or metabolism.


                               Western Jounal of Medicine August 2000;173:94‑100


                               COMMENT: There is no question that EMF exposure should

                               be avoided as much as possible. The practical issue is to

                               determine how to avoid it. I have recently located some

                               relatively inexpensive gauss meters which only cost $40

                               (800‑497‑9516). I have absolutely no connection with this

                               firm and if anyone has a better and less expensive device I

                               would be glad to post that information. Generally, one

                               should try to keep exposures as low as possible. Ideally,

                               your sleeping environment and regular sitting places should

                               be less than 0.3 milligauss.


                               Related Articles:




                                         EFFECTS ON AND THROUGH



                               Several years ago, Cindy Sage hired an electrician to install a

                               new light in her daughter's bedroom. After he left, Sage swept

                               the room with a gaussmeter to measure the magnetic fields

                               present. In some 98 percent of U.S. homes, the average

                               strength of magnetic fields ranges from 0.5 to 0.9 milligauss

                               (mG). Until the electrician's visit, the field in Sage's daughter's

                               room also fell within that range. Afterward, it was 3 mG.


                               Although that reading is somewhat higher than normal, it falls

                               well below the federally permitted 1,000‑mG limit for U.S.

                               workplaces. However, this didn't reassure Sage, a Montecito,

                               Calif based consultant specializing in electromagnetic field

                               (EMF) issues. The workplace limit "is based on the faulty

                               assumption that only thermal, or heat, effects are important as

                               a potential biological hazard," she says. 


                               Sage called the electrician back to find out what he'd done. It

                               turns out that he hadn't wired the light according to the

                               electrical code. When he rewired the room, its average field

                               dropped to 0.2 mG. Electromagnetic fields are invisible lines of

                               force that surround all electric devices and wiring. Concern

                               about the potential health effects of these fields was catalyzed

                               in the late 1970s by studies suggesting an association between

                               childhood leukemia and proximity to certain types of power

                               lines or equipment, such as utility transformers. 


                               Several studies suggest "a doubling of childhood leukemia

                               incidence between 1 and 2 mG" and up to a sixfold increase for

                               exposures between 4 and 5 mG, says Sage. There have even

                               been hints of a breast cancer risk in adults exposed to high

                               fields More recently, several other sources have been added:

                               large currents on the job, poorly grounded wiring, and

                               appliances. Magnetic fields do not necessarily correlate with

                               the size, power, or noisiness of a device. Moreover, there can

                               be a tremendous difference between models of an appliance.

                               Because it's difficult to shield oneself from magnetic fields, the

                               only practical way to limit exposures is to put distance between

                               oneself and the source. 


                               Sage conducts sweeps of magnetic fields in her clients' homes,

                               offices, schools, and hospitals. She deploys electricians to fix


                               any fields that run dramatically above the national norm.

                               Usually, they trace to code violations that prove easy and

                               inexpensive to fix. A 1996 report issued by the National

                               Academy of Sciences concluded that while EMFs appear capable

                               of affecting biological tissues, their link to cancer remains

                               unproven. However, Sage argues that until or unless EMFs are

                               exonerated, avoidance of them is a reasonable policy 


                               Richard G. Stevens of the Department of Energy's Pacific

                               Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash., emphatically

                               disagrees, arguing that it's premature to sweep homes or even

                               to advocate prudent avoidance. That's not because he believes

                               EMFs are necessarily benign. Indeed, he is the father of the

                               10‑year‑old "melatonin hypothesis", a theory that exposure to

                               certain EMFs may trigger cancer, especially in the breast, by

                               perturbing the body's natural concentrations of this brain



                               He says that many questions remain about what types of fields

                               and features of exposure‑such as timing‑underlie any risks. The

                               problem with prudent avoidance is that it may make people

                               less willing to act if the risks are later proved more

                               circumscribed. Stevens doesn't challenge the idea that fields

                               can bring about potentially disturbing biological changes.

                               Indeed, new studies describing such effects were presented 7

                               weeks ago at a U.S. Public Health Service conference he helped

                               organize in Washington, D.C. The studies demonstrated a

                               hitherto unrecognized responsiveness of cells, tissues, and

                               animals ‑ even humans. 


                               Melatonin, a hormone produced by the brain during periods of

                               darkness, is an important natural suppressor of breast cancer

                               cell growth, both in test tubes and in animals. Stevens'

                               melatonin hypothesis holds that because EMFs can depress or

                               shut down melatonin secretion in animals, they may play a role

                               in fostering the growth of malignancies in people. 


                               To test this hypothesis, toxicologist Wolfgang Loescher of the

                               School of Veterinary Medicine in Hanover, Germany, has

                               exposed groups of up to 120 female rats to

                               melatonin‑suppressing EMFs of between 100 and 1,000 mG. An

                               equal number of rats received a negligible background exposure

                               of roughly 1 mG; these rats produced melatonin normally.

                               Loescher injected into each rat a chemical that causes

                               mammary cancer, then observed the rats for 3 months. 


                               Compared to the unexposed rats, those in the 100‑mG field

                               developed about 10 percent more tumors, animals exposed to

                               500 mG got 25 percent more, and rats receiving 1,000 mG

                               developed 50 percent more. Tumors also grew as much as twice

                               the size under the influence of EMFs. To understand why,

                               Loescher has focused on the immune system's T cells, a class

                               of white blood cells whose role is to attack and destroy tumors

                               and foreign substances. T cells from animals raised for 3

                               months in 500‑ or 1,000‑mG fields proved only half as likely as

                               those from unexposed rats to proliferate when exposed to a

                               foreign substance. "This indicates that EMFs indeed suppress

                               the immune system's response to ongoing processes such as

                               tumor growth," Loescher says. 


                               He has also analyzed rats' production of the enzyme ornithine

                               decarboxylase. This enzyme has to be present in large amounts

                               for any cells to proliferate. "If the melatonin hypothesis were

                               true, then when one exposes rats to EMFs, there should be an

                               increase of this enzyme but only in the breast," he says. That

                               is exactly what he's found in EMF studies that he has replicated

                               several times. "To me," he told SCIENCE NEWS, "this is the

                               most convincing data that the melatonin hypothesis may be



                               At the Lawrence Berkeley (Calif.) National Laboratory, Robert P.

                               Liburdy has been probing the underpinnings of EMFs' apparent

                               cancer fostering effects in test‑tube studies of malignant cells.

                               He has found that 12‑mG EMFs can suppress the ability of both

                               melatonin and the hormone‑emulating drug tamoxifen to shut

                               down the growth of cancer cells. In a follow‑up study that he

                               described in July at a meeting in Bologna, Italy, the activity of

                               another drug proved even more negatively affected by 12‑mG

                               fields. Both tamoxifen and this second drug, which goes by the

                               unwieldy moniker ICI‑182780, are synthetic estrogens. They

                               have been designed to dock at a cell's estrogen receptor and

                               block it. In the breast, this can starve most cancer cells of the

                               estrogen that normally spurs their growth. Unlike the ICI drug,

                               which interacts only with the estrogen receptor, tamoxifen can

                               alter the activity of other proteins. Magnetic fields proved more

                               effective against the ICI drug, implying that they interfere with

                               its binding to the estrogen receptor, Liburdy says. If they do,

                               then the body's natural estrogen should be affected similarly.

                               Tests of that possibility are now under way. Liburdy's studies

                               suggest that "a new melatonin hypothesis is emerging," argues

                               Charles Graham, an experimental physiologist at the Midwest


                               Research Institute (MRI) in Kansas City, Mo. The old

                               hypothesis, Graham notes, focused on how much melatonin the

                               body produced and circulated. While reasonable, it downplayed

                               any relevance for humans because "we saw no decrease in

                               melatonin" among people exposed to EMFs. If magnetic fields

                               can make cells less sensitive to melatonin, as studies by

                               Liburdy and others now indicate, then EMFs may yet pose a

                               melatonin‑mediated cancer threat, he says. 


                               Graham's own research indicates that magnetic fields can alter

                               two other hormones that affect cancer risk‑‑estrogen and

                               testosterone. Compared to measurements taken in the

                               presence of negligible background fields, overnight exposure of

                               women to 200‑mG EMFs in the laboratory significantly elevated

                               estrogen; other studies have shown that elevated exposure to

                               estrogen over many years can increase a woman's breast

                               cancer risk. In men, the EMFs reduced testosterone‑a hormone

                               drop that has been linked to testicular and prostate cancers,

                               Graham's most intriguing data come from experiments with

                               what he terms intermittent EMFs. He and Mary R. Cook, also at

                               MRI, began delivering pulsed exposures that cycle on for an

                               hour and then off for an hour throughout the night. During each

                               "on" cycle, the field switches on and off every 15 seconds. Not

                               only do preliminary studies indicate that intermittent fields

                               "really have an effect," Graham observes, but they emulate

                               real‑world exposures, which can vary from second to second in

                               frequency, intensity, and waveform, depending on their source

                               and an individual's distance from it. 


                               In a 3‑night study of 24 healthy young men, roughly one‑third

                               got steady 200 mG exposures on any given night. Another third

                               received 200‑mG fields intermittently, and the remainder slept

                               in the presence of negligible background fields. At the Energy

                               Department's annual EMF Research Review Meeting in San

                               Diego last November, Graham and Cook reported that the

                               intermittent fields and only those fields‑disturbed 6 of 10

                               measures of sleep quality. They not only contributed to broken

                               sleep and shorter periods of deep, dream‑stage sleep, they

                               also led to more reports of feeling unrested in the morning. 


                               In an upcoming report in BIOELECTROMAGNETICS, Graham's

                               team links those same intermittent fields to decreased heart

                               rate variability in 77 college‑age men. In healthy people, heart

                               rate tends to vary somewhat from second to second in

                               response to the body's need to maintain blood pressure,


                               temperature, and so on. Often, individuals with heart disease

                               exhibit a more stable heart rate‑‑‑an indication, Graham says,

                               "that their heart is no longer as well connected to the nervous



                               While the young men that Graham studied exhibited normal

                               heart rate variability during the nights they were exposed to

                               background fields or constant EMFs, that variability diminished

                               substantially on the night each was exposed to intermittent

                               fields. Graham is planning follow‑up studies to probe the

                               long‑term health implications of this provocative finding. 


                               "What concerns me," Graham says, is that the public "tends to

                               get so worried about the magnitude of a field. The bigger it is,

                               the worse it's supposed to be." In fact, Loescher has found that

                               very high fields, as well as those below a certain strength,

                               have little impact on tumor growth. Only those across a

                               relatively narrow range consistently foster tumors and other

                               negative health effects. 


                               "We've seen the same thing in our studies," Graham told

                               SCIENCE NEWS. Moreover, he says, it's beginning to appear

                               that a field's magnitude matters less than its intermittency or

                               other features, such as power surges called electrical

                               transients. These surges can pack a big burst of energy into a

                               short period of time. They occur whenever lights or other

                               electric devices turn on, when motors or compressors (such as

                               those in refrigerators and air conditioners) cycle on, or when

                               dimmer switches operate. "Being transient doesn't mean

                               they're rare, just quick," Graham notes. Transients are hard to

                               avoid because they may stem from surges elsewhere‑in a

                               neighbor's house or even power lines up the street. 


                               Little research has been conducted to untangle the potential

                               health impacts of EMF characteristics other than field strength,

                               Graham notes, and money for such EMF studies is all but drying

                               up. The two major federal programs dedicated to financing

                               research on EMF effects on health are slated to shut down in

                               October. A program funded by electric utilities through the

                               Electric Power Research Institute will also end this year. 


                               One should expect that "research on EMFs in the United States

                               will take a big nose‑dive," says Graham. One ray of hope,

                               Liburdy notes, comes from the recent proliferation of

                               government funds for endocrine‑disrupting pollutants. While


                               magnetic fields are a type of radiation, they functionally

                               resemble many environmental pollutants that mimic hormones.

                               In fact, he observes, EMFs may actually fit the definition of an

                               endocrine disrupter better than these chemicals do. That's

                               because magnetic fields appear to elicit their effects by acting

                               on and through hormones, rather than as hormones. 


Are EMFs Hazardous to Our Health? 


                               Can electromagnetic fields (EMF) from power lines, home

                               wiring, airport and military radar, substations, transformers,

                               computers and appliances cause brain tumors, leukemia, birth

                               defects, miscarriages, chronic fatigue, headaches, cataracts,

                               heart problems, stress. nausea, chest pain, forgetfulness,

                               cancer and other health problems? Numerous studies have

                               produced contradictory results, yet some experts are convinced

                               that the threat is real. 


                               Dr. David Carpenter, Dean at the School of Public Health, State

                               University of New York believes it is likely that up to 30% of all

                               childhood cancers come from exposure to EMFs. The

                               Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warns "There is reason

                               for concern" and advises prudent avoidance". Martin Halper, the

                               EPA's Director of Analysis and Support says "I have never seen

                               a set of epidemiological studies that remotely approached the

                               weight of evidence that we're seeing with EMFs. Clearly there is

                               something here." 


                               Concern over EMFs exploded after Paul Brodeur wrote a series

                               of articles in the New Yorker Magazine in June 1989. Because

                               of Paul Brodeur's reputation. his articles had a catalytic effect

                               on scientists, reporters and concerned people throughout the

                               world. In November 1989, the Department of Energy reported

                               that "It has now become generally accepted that there are,

                               indeed, biological effects due to field exposure." The EMF issue

                               gained more publicity in 1990 when alarming reports appeared

                               in Time, the Wall Street Journal, Business Week and popular

                               computer publications. ABC's Ted Koppel and CBS's Dan Rather

                               both aired special segments on EMFs. 


                               In addition to the long‑term health concerns, buying a house

                               with high fields will be an economic disaster. In a few years,

                               when power line radiation is as well known as asbestos and

                               radon, a house with high fields will be practically impossible to

                               sell. Already there are hundreds of lawsuits regarding EMFs and


                               property devaluation. 


                               EPA Says the Threat Is Real 


                               By 1990, over one hundred studies had been conducted

                               worldwide. Of these, at least two dozen epidemiological

                               studies on humans indicated a link between EMFs and serious

                               health problems. In response to public pressure, the

                               Environmental Protection Agency IEPA) began reviewing and

                               evaluating the available literature. In a draft report issued in

                               March 1990, the EPA recommended that EMFs be classified as a

                               Class B carcinogen‑‑‑a "probable human carcinogen and joined

                               the ranks of formaldehyde, DDT, dioxins and PCBs. 


                               After the EPA draft report was released, utility, military and

                               computer lobbyists came down hard on the EPA. The EPA's final

                               revision did NOT classify EMFs as a Class B carcinogen Rather,

                               the following explanation was added:"At this time such a

                               characterization regarding the link between cancer and

                               exposure to EMFs is not appropriate because the basic nature

                               of the interaction between EMFs and biological processes

                               leading to cancer is not understood " Curiously, this rather

                               unusual logic appears on the same page as the following: "In

                               conclusion, several studies showing leukemia, Iymphoma and

                               cancer of the nervous system in children exposed to supported

                               by similar findings in adults in several/ occupational studies

                               also involving electrical power frequency exposures, show a

                               consistent pattern of response that suggest a causal link. " 


                               When questioned about the contradictory nature of these

                               statements, the EPA responded that it was "not appropriate" to

                               use the probable carcinogen label until it could demonstrate

                               how EMFs caused cancer and exactly how much EMF is harmful. 


                               This explanation does not satisfy many critics who claim that

                               the EPAs upper management was influenced by political and

                               economic considerations exerted by utility, computer and

                               military lobbyists. 


                               How Do I Measure EMFs? 


                               A Gauss is a common unit of measurement of magnetic field

                               strength. A Gauss meter is an instrument which measures the

                               strength of magnetic fields. Inside a Gauss meter there is a

                               coil of thin wire, typically with hundreds of turns. As a magnetic


                               field radiates through the coil, it induces a current, which is

                               amplified by the circuitry inside the Gauss meter. 


                               Gauss meters may vary in the strength of the magnetic field

                               they are capable of measuring. A meter used for measuring

                               EMFs from power lines, transformers, substations and

                               appliances around the home, for example, should be able to

                               measure as low as .1 mg. 


                               Gauss meters vary widely in price and accuracy. Meters have

                               either a single axis coil or a triple axis coil. Single axis meters

                               are much simpler than triple axis meters to manufacture and

                               thus, are less expensive. To use a single axis meter you must

                               point the meter's one sensor in three directions‑‑‑the x, y and z

                               axis. Then, you combine the three readings in a mathematical

                               equation to calculate the combined field strength. Obviously,

                               its far easier and more accurate to use a 3‑axis meter. Triple

                               axis Gauss meters are quite accurate, but they are also more



                               Another thing to watch out for when purchasing or renting a

                               Gauss meter is whether or not it is frequency weighted. Most

                               meters will read the same EMF strength no mater what the

                               frequency. As the human body appears to be sensitive to both

                               the field strength AND the frequency, Gauss meters used for

                               biological purposes should be "frequency weighted". This

                               means that if the field is different than 60 Hz the meter will

                               consider the frequency and use it in calculating and displaying

                               the EMF's strength. This feature is why frequency weighted

                               meters will show a higher EMF reading than those meters

                               typically used by electricians and engineers. 


                               Power Lines 


                               An enormous amount of electricity is created at power

                               generating stations and sent across the country through wires

                               that carry high voltages. All power lines radiate

                               electromagnetic fields. The question is: how much are the 


                               power lines near YOUR home radiating? The amount of EMFs

                               coming from a power line depends on its particular

                               configuration. Power companies know which power line

                               configurations are best for reducing EMFs but most don't feel

                               the evidence supports costly changes in the way they deliver





                               A substation is an assemblage of circuit breakers,

                               disconnecting switches and transformers designed to

                               substations have been blamed for causing cancer clusters

                               among nearby residents. Paul Brodeur wrote about several such

                               cancer clusters in the July 9, 1990 issue of the New Yorker





                               A key component of a utility's electrical distribution network

                               depends upon numerous, small transformers mounted on power

                               poles. A transformer looks like a small metal trash can, usually

                               cylindrical. Even when the electrical service is underground, you

                               will often see a metal box (usually square} located on the

                               ground near the street. Many people don't realize that when

                               they see a transformer, the power line feeding the transformer

                               is 4000 to 13,800 volts. The transformer then reduces the

                               voltage to the 120/240 volts needed by nearby homes. Since

                               these transformers can be seen in almost every neighborhood,

                               they are a source of concern. 


                               EMFs near a transformer can be quite high, but due to its small

                               structure, the field strength diminishes rapidly with distance,

                               as it does from any point source. For this reason, having a

                               transformer located near your home is usually not a major

                               source of concern, although just to make sure, everyone should

                               measure the field strength around it. 


                               Home Wiring 


                               If your home has high EMF readings, it is important to

                               determine the sources of the EMF so that remedial action can

                               be taken, if possible. Many times a particular room will have a

                               higher EMF reading. Check to see if the electricity is coming

                               into the house on the wall outside that room. When this is the

                               case, it is usually a good idea to block off that room and only

                               use it for storage purposes. 


                               Sometimes, the source of a high magnetic field is incorrect

                               wiring. If you suspect that your home is wired improperly,

                               obtain the services of a licensed electrician. Warning: Do not

                               touch electric wires, even if you think the current is turned off.

                               If you need to disconnect electrical circuits to determine the


                               source of magnetic fields, you should call a licensed electrician.




                               Computers are a complicated subject. Know this: EMFs radiate

                               from all sides of the computer. Thus, you must not only be

                               concerned with sitting in front of the monitor but also if you are

                               sitting near a computer or if a computer is operating in a

                               nearby room. The Swedish safety standard, effective 711/90,

                               specifies a maximum of 0.25 mG at 50 cm from the display.

                               Many US manufactured computers have EMFs of 5 ‑ 100 mG at

                               this distance. And know this too: the screens placed over

                               monitors do NOT block EMFs. Not even a lead screen will block

                               ELF and VLF magnetic fields.


                               Space does not permit a more thorough discussion of

                               computers. If you use a computer, it is important that you 


                               measure your EMF exposure with a Gauss meter and review the

                               literature concerning the health impacts of computer use. 


                               Electric Blankets and Waterbeds 


                               Electric blankets create a magnetic field that penetrates about

                               6‑7 inches into the body. Thus it is not surprising that an

                               epidemiological study has linked electric blankets with

                               miscarriages and childhood leukemia. This pioneering work was

                               performed by Dr. Nancy Wertheimer and Ed Leeper, who

                               originally discovered that magnetic fields were linked to

                               childhood leukemia. Similar health effects have been noted

                               with users of many electric blankets and waterbed heaters will

                               emit EMFs even when turned off. The devices must be

                               unplugged to delete the EMF exposure Additionally, there is the

                               issue regarding the vibrations that are generated by sleeping

                               on standing water. There is less hard data in this area but

                               some experts are concerned about the consequences. 


                               Electric Clocks 


                               Electric clocks have a very high magnetic field, as much as 5 to

                               10 mG up to three feet away. If you are using a bedside clock,

                               you are probably sleeping in an EMF equivalent to that of a

                               powerline Studies have linked high rates of brain tumors with

                               chronic exposure to magnetic fields, so it is wise to place all

                               clocks and other electrical devices (such as telephones and


                               answering devices) at least 6 feet from your bed. 


                               Fluorescent Lights 


                               Fluorescent lights produce much more EMFs than incandescent

                               bulbs. A typical fluorescent lamp of a office 


                               ceiling have readings of 160 to 200 mg 1 inch away. 


                               Microwave Ovens and Radar 


                               Microwave ovens and radar from military installations and

                               airports emit two types of radiation‑‑microwave and ELF.

                               Microwaves are measured in milliwatt per centimeter squared

                               (mW/cm2) As of 1/1/93, the U.S. safety limit for microwave

                               exposure is 1 mW/cm2, down from a previous 10 mW/cm2. The

                               Russian safety limit is .01 mW/cm2. As all microwave ovens

                               leak and exceed the Russian safety limit, microwave ovens

                               have been outlawed in Russia. In addition, recent Russian

                               studies have shown that normal microwave cooking coverts

                               food protein molecules into carcinogenic substances. 


                               When measuring microwaves from military and airport radar

                               sources, 100% accurate readings can only be found 


                               with extremely expensive digital peak‑hold meters. Why?

                               Because analog devices begin to drop their reading

                               immediately after the radar sweep passes. Thus, while an

                               analog meter can show whether or not you are being exposed

                               to radar EMFs, analog meters can't show your true exposure.

                               Although thousands of dollars to purchase, digital‑hold meters

                               capable of accurately detecting radar EMFs can be rented for

                               several hundred to over a thousand dollars per month. 


                               Telephones and Answering Machines 


                               Telephones can emit surprisingly strong EMFs, especially from

                               the handset. This is a problem because we hold the telephone

                               so close to our head. Place the Gauss meter right against the

                               ear piece and the mouth piece before buying a phone. Some

                               brands emit no measurable fields and others emit strong fields

                               that travel several inches....right into your brain. Answering

                               machines, particular those with adapter plugs

                               (mini‑transformers), give off high levels of EMFs. 



                               Electric Razors and Hair Dryers 


                               Electric razors and hair dryers emit EMFs as high as 200 to 400

                               mG. This seems alarming, but we don't know if this is worse (or

                               better) than a chronic exposure to a 2‑3 mG field. Some EMF

                               consultants recommend that hair dryers not be used on children

                               as the high fields are held close to their rapidly developing

                               brain and nervous system. 


                               Prudent Avoidance 


                               Electricity is an inseparable part of our modern day society.

                               This means that EMFs will continue to be all around us. But as

                               Discover Magazine postulated, aside from making our life

                               easier, is electricity also making our lives shorter? 


                               Most experts agree that limited, non‑chronic exposure to EMFs

                               is not a threat. For example, it is probably acceptable for a

                               person to be near a toaster in the morning. BUT, it is not

                               advisable for a person to sleep under an electric blanket, up

                               close, live near a powerline/substation, and sleep in a room

                               where the power enters the home. This person is under an

                               extreme case of chronic exposure. This condition,

                               unfortunately, applies to millions of Americans. 


                               If you wish to follows the EPA's advice and practice "prudent

                               avoidance" then the following advice is offered: 


                               Measure your home, work and school environments with a

                               Gauss meter Measure EMFs both inside and outside your home.

                               Don't let your children play near power lines, transformers,

                               radar domes and microwave towers. Avoid areas where the field

                               is above 1 mG. Measure the EMFs from appliances both when

                               they are operating and when they are turned off. Some

                               appliances (like TVs) are still drawing current even when they

                               are off. 


                               Don't sleep under an electric blanket or on a waterbed. If you

                               insist on using these, unplug them before going to bed (don't

                               just turn it off). Even though there is no magnetic field when

                               they are turned off, there may still be a high electric field.

                               Don't sit too close to your TV set. Distance yourself at least 6

                               feet away. Use a Gauss meter to help you decide where it is

                               safe to sit. 



                               Rearrange your office and home area so that you are not

                               exposed to EMFs from the sides/backs of electric appliances

                               and computers. In the home, it is best that all major electrical

                               appliances, such as computers, TVs, refrigerators etc, be placed

                               up against outside walls. That way you are not creating an EMF

                               field in the adjoining room. 


                               Don't sit too close to your computer. Computer monitors vary

                               greatly in the strength of their EMFs, so you should check yours

                               with a meter. Don't stand close to your microwave oven. Move

                               all electrical appliances at least 6 feet from your bed. Eliminate

                               wires running under your bed. Eliminate dimmers and 3‑way



                               Be wary of cordless appliances such as electric toothbrushes

                               and razors. You may choose not to wear a quartz‑analog watch

                               because it radiates pulsating EMFs along your acupuncture

                               meridians. An older mechanical windup watch would be an

                               acceptable alternative. It is also recommended to wear as little

                               jewelry as possible and to take it off at night. Many people

                               have metal sensitivity which can be aggravated by placing it

                               right on the skin. Measure with a gauss meter to be sure. And

                               last, but not least, always always always remember that EMFs

                               pass right through walls. The EMF you are reading on your

                               Gauss meter could be radiating from the next room...or from

                               outside your home. 


                               Additional Radiation Info: 


                               Eyeglass frames should ideally be made from plastic with no

                               wires in them, otherwise they can serve as an antenna to focus

                               the radio and cellular phone waves directly into your brain. 


                               What EMF Level Is Safe? 


                               There's a heated debate as to what electromagnetic field (EMF)

                               level is considered safe. Since the experts have not come to an

                               consensus, you'll have to decide for yourself... Many

                               government and utility documents report the usual ambient

                               level of 60‑Hz magnetic field to be 0.5 mG. Thus, any reading

                               higher than 0.5 mG is above the "usual" ambient exposure.

                               Many experts and public officials, as well as the few

                               governments that have made an effort to offer public

                               protection, have adopted the 3 mG cutoff point. The EPA has

                               proposed a safety standard of 1 mG. Sweden has set a

                               maximum safety limit of 1 mG.


                               Dr. Robert Becker, an MD who has been studying the effects of

                               EMFs for 20 years, states a lmG safety limit in his book Cross

                               Currents. When electricians try to solve a magnetic field

                               problem they do their best to drop the level to 1 mG or below.

                               Dr. Nancy Wertheimer, a Ph.D. epidemiologist who has been

                               studying EMFs for 20 years, has been looking at the

                               epidemiological data in a different way‑‑she is trying to

                               associate EMF levels with 


                               health rather than disease. The level she is coming up with is a

                               cut off of 1 mG. Russian researchers claim that 1/1000ths of a

                               mG should be the standard. 


                               The BioElectric Body believes that there are several stages of

                               health between "optimum wellness", "degenerative disease"

                               and "Cancer". Thus, we maintain our own living and sleeping

                               quarters at 0.5mG and below. 


                               Recommended Reading 


                               Cross Currents The Perils of Electropollution. The Promise of

                               Electromedicine Robert 0. Becker, M.D. Jeremy P. Tarcher, Inc.,



                               Currents of Death The Attempt to Cover Up the Threat to Your

                               Health Paul Brodeur Simon and Schuster, 1989 


                               Electromagnetic Man Health & Hazard in the Electrical

                               Environment Cyril W. Smith & Simon Best St. Martin's Press.

                               Inc. 1989