By Dr. Héctor E. Solórzano del Río
Biological Effects of Electromagnetic Fields
By Dr. Solórzano del Río *
It wasn't until around 1900 that the earth's electromagnetic field consisted simply of its own field and some other micropulsations associated with it. Such is the case with fortuitous flashes of lightning and visible light. Instead, we are currently immersed in a sea of energy that is almost entirely man-made.
If we perceive and derive information from the natural geomagnetic field, it is very logical that all this unnatural electromagnetic field is producing biological effects that can be harmful.
The facilities and applications of electricity and electronics are continually increasing. Its health effects are now indisputable and widely known within the scientific environment, although as far as the public is concerned, most people do not know what they can do to protect themselves from the harmful effects of some electromagnetic fields. Electrical stimulation is now known to influence cell growth and help promote the healing of broken bones.
But it is also known that the intensities of the electromagnetic fields necessary for this phenomenon to occur are much greater than the intensities of the contamination of electromagnetic fields.
Since 1975 the magnetotropic effect of bacteria towards the north pole has been known.
This is very important when talking about electromagnetic smog.
We all know that in today's society we live in, we are not risk-free, but that we must take our precautions so that these risks are less.
Most people believe that the health risks related to electromagnetic fields are of external origin, in the environment. The truth is that the greatest risk is associated with the use of many household appliances that we use every day in our homes and offices.
Currently, electromagnetic energy covers the whole world, that is, there is no place to hide from it. In the most remote places of the planet we would also be exposed to a level of ubiquitous current frequencies of 50 or 60 Hz, just like the radio waves reflected in the ionosphere. With this, we can easily realize that the problem of electro-pollution is worldwide and to solve it would require an immense effort and international coordination. On the other hand, as individuals, we do have some control over our electromagnetic devices that we ordinarily use in our daily lives. The only basic concept that we must apply is the risk-dosage rate. For example, we know that an electric razor produces an extremely high-powered electromagnetic field, if it is connected to electric current.
We have measured with different devices, electromagnetic fields of 60 Hz, up to 400 milligauss at one centimeter from the razor's edge. These fields penetrate the skin of the operator. There is scientific evidence that 60 Hz fields as low as 3 milligauss are related to an increase in the incidence of cancer. This then tells us that these electromagnetic fields emitted by the electric razor (connected to the power line) are 100 times more powerful than the maximum considered safe.
Therefore, it is very important not to forget the rate-dosage concept, since the electric razor is used for only a few minutes. Therefore, the exposure is minimal. In contrast, for example, the strength of the magnetic field of an electric blanket is 50 to 100 milligauss, while still within the danger zone. In addition, it must be taken into account that the use of the sheet is several hours a day, so the total dose administered is much higher.
There are large epidemiological studies on the effects of electromagnetic fields. The most consistent association is found in electrical workers, children (particularly for brain cancer and leukemia), and the abortion rate, which is highest among users of electric blankets.
The man-made environmental electromagnetic field is produced mainly by the local transmission of electrical power and the distribution network and is the level of field strength to which we are constantly exposed. This field is present inside and outside our houses and it is almost impossible to avoid it.
Through different investigations, it has been seen that the levels of the environmental electromagnetic field, in urban areas, almost always exceed 3 milligauss. The range in the suburban area is 1 to 3 milligauss. These readings can vary greatly according to proximity to electrical power transmission lines and power line transformers.
Dr. Nancy Wertheimer of the University of Colorado, who published the first epidemiological study on power frequency changes, has done similar studies on users of electric blankets.
Some other studies indicate that residential exposure to environmental electromagnetic fields greater than 3 milligauss is closely related to increases in the incidence of cancer in children. Most researchers agree that a safe level is 0.3 milligauss maximum. Wertheimer and Leeper reported that children who lived in homes near power lines were 2 to 3 times more likely to develop cancer, particularly leukemia, lymphomas, and nervous system tumors than children who lived in homes further away from these electrical settings. high current. These results were generally confirmed by subsequent controlled studies by Savitz et al. In 1989 the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) published a key discovery indicating that electromagnetic fields of 60 Hz and other low frequencies can interact with individual organs and cells producing biological changes.
We recommend that to reduce our level of strength in our internal electromagnetic field, we disconnect all our electrical appliances, when we are not using them, since many of them, despite being turned off, continue to produce an electromagnetic field if they remain connected to the power supply. Powerline. One of the most common household appliances today is television, which, in addition to producing a small amount of ionizing radiation (such as X-rays), also produces non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation that comes out of the entire device. I clarify this because many people think that electromagnetic fields are only emitted in front of the television set.
Our televisions are a radiant source of wide band, from 60 Hz to radio frequencies within the MHz range. The radiation emitted by the TV goes out in all directions. We can say, in a general way that the bigger the television, the greater the strength of the electromagnetic field it emits and therefore it will spread further. For all this, we recommend that people (particularly children) when watching TV sit at a distance where the strength level of the electromagnetic field is maximum 1 milligauss.
Regarding the video terminals of the computers, we can say that here the problem is greater, since many computers have the keyboard glued to the screen, which increases the radiation dose. Besides being exactly at the level of the head. In these cases, we recommend that the operator be at least one meter away from the video terminal to avoid risks and that the electromagnetic level is approximately 1 milligauss. Nowadays, more and more companies are producing computers that emit a low level of radiation.
Another point related to electromagnetic fields are fluorescent lights. We all know that they are cheaper and last longer than incandescent ones. It is very important to emphasize that fluorescent light, in addition to producing a light with a much narrower spectrum (which is not good biologically), produces a stronger electromagnetic field. For example, if we measure the magnetic field of a 60-watt incandescent bulb, we will find a level of 0.3 milligauss 5 cm away. If we evaluate the electromagnetic field at a distance of 15 cm, we will see that it is .05 milligauss. On the other hand, if we do the same with a fluorescent bulb, we will see that at a distance of 5 cm, a 10-watt bulb produces an electromagnetic field of 6 milligauss and at 15 cm, the field is 2 milligauss; outside the safe range from a biological point of view.
In the studies that we did some years ago in the Alternative Medicine Studies Program of the University of Guadalajara, we have corroborated that an electric clock produces a surprisingly high magnetic field due to the small electric motor that activates it. We have seen that a common electric clock in the bedroom bureau produces a magnetic field of 5 to 10 milligauss at 70 cm away, that is, directly on the head of the owner. Therefore, we recommend using battery-powered watches.
Common hair dryers generally produce a very strong magnetic field. For example, a 1200 watt one produces a 50 milligauss field at 15 cm away. For a person who uses it daily only to dry their hair, perhaps, the dose is not very high, but there are preliminary reports that stylists who use them daily for several hours, have a higher incidence of breast cancer than the of the general public.
Regarding electric heaters, we can say that most of them produce a field of 23 milligauss to 15 cm and some more modern that are placed on the ceilings can produce a field of 10 milligauss in the entire room!
Microwave ovens offer the same problem as computers when it comes to the emission of electromagnetic fields. There is no safe level of exposure to microwaves yet determined, therefore, we recommend that users check them regularly to avoid the abnormal release of radiation and we emphasize that they should not approach the microwave oven while it is operating.
Nowadays, we have a great variety of radio transmitting devices, which previously only used people who needed them to be able to work like the police, firefighters, etc. Now, we have CB radio, cordless phones, cell phones, home and office security systems, remote control toys and so many other gadgets. Dr. Samuel Miham of the Washington State Department of Health has reported a much higher incidence of leukemia among amateur radio operators than the general public. Therefore, it is recommended that all these devices be used only when necessary and for the shortest period of time possible.
As we all know, we are currently facing diseases that were unknown a few years ago. It has also been seen that many diseases that were considered eradicated are making a comeback. The new paradigms of science can give us some keys to know the emergence of these diseases and the reappearance of those considered eradicated. In theory, a disease that appears out of nowhere can be caused by a genetic change in a pre-existing microorganism (a bacterium or a virus) that produces new pathological characteristics.
On the other hand, some researchers believe that what is happening is that the weakening of the earth's magnetic field and the excess of other electromagnetic fields at other frequencies is causing humanity's immune resistance to gradually decrease.
An interesting relationship between Alzheimer's disease and exposure can be added to the debate on electromagnetic fields and health. At a recent conference in Minneapolis, University of Southern California researcher Joseph Sobel reported on three studies that demonstrate dramatic links between workplace exposure to strong electromagnetic fields and a subsequent risk of degenerative brain disease. Subjects at high exposures were 3 times more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease than people who did not work around electric fields. Two of these studies were conducted in Finland, another in Los Angeles. 386 patients and 475 control subjects were included.
More and more governments are taking concrete action to inform citizens about the effects of magnetic fields. For example, the California State Department of Health Services published a study called Electric and Magnetic Fields: Measurements and Possible Effects on Human Health. There is also a protocol for measuring 60 Hertz magnetic fields in homes.
* President of the Medical Society of Enzymatic Research, A.C. and Coordinator of the Diplomas in Alternative Medicines of the University of Guadalajara