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Electrosmog or Electrical Pollution

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The term "pollution" brings to mind harmful emissions from automobiles or oil spills in the world's oceans. Another more subtle pollutant is also slowly harming us-electrical pollution from a growing number of sources. Electricity flows through high-voltage lines, the wiring in your home, and all your electrical appliances.

The term "pollution" brings to mind harmful emissions from automobiles or oil spills in the world's oceans. Another more subtle pollutant is also slowly harming us electrical pollution from a growing number of sources. Electricity flows through high-voltage lines, the wiring in your home, and all your electrical appliances. It generates electromagnetic fields (EMFs) that extend far beyond the wires or appliances. The term "electromagnetic fields" commonly refers to the electric fields (EFs) and magnetic fields (MFs) that are produced simultaneously at any source of electricity. The earth's magnetic field is vibrating at 7.8 hertz, a frequency to which the human body has adapted. The unnatural vibrations of electrosmog range from 50-60 hertz (for household appliances) to 200-300 hertz (for high-voltage power lines).

Many sources of manufactured radiation exist around us. It was once thought that only ionizing (X-rays, nuclear power) or thermal (microwave) radiation was harmful to human health. But in the late 1970s, new research suggested that manufactured electrical fields could affect the health of people.

Studies show that extremely low frequency magnetic fields produced by radiation from such sources as power lines, generator substations and home appliances increase risks for cancers, notably leukemia and brain cancers. More commonly, continuous exposure to electromagnetic fields can increase the risk of headaches, migraines, chronic fatigue, dizziness, nausea, stress and environmental sensitivities. High frequency fields, also called radio frequency, are generated by radio and TV towers, cellular and portable phones, and radar installations. Studies of radio and radar operators have shown more cases of leukemia, brain tumors, cancer and cataracts than the unexposed population.

The hazard comes from the magnetic field which varies with the amount of current. Most magnetic-field danger comes from external sources such as nearby power lines and from internal sources such as home appliances and wiring. The sources of electric fields in a house are the electrical wiring and appliances. Switching appliances off eliminates the magnetic field; unplugging appliances eliminates the electrical field at the appliance. Shielding can eliminate most of the electrical field problems.

To reduce your radiation exposure, try the following steps:

  • Live as far as possible from power lines, distribution lines, electrical substations, electrical bus cables or the path of a microwave radar tower.
  • Reduce the number of electrical appliances you have and stay three feet away from operating appliances.
  • Switch off or unplug appliances when not in use.
  • Use hot-water bottles and extra blankets instead of heating pads and electric blankets.
  • Use battery-operated clocks, shavers and similar small devices instead of electrically operated devices.
  • Stay as far away as possible from electric ovens and microwave ovens when they are in use.
  • Periodically check your microwave oven for signs of worn gaskets or leakage.
  • Keep beds away from outlets, electric clocks and radios with digital displays.
  • Reduce your use of the more dangerous electric-polluting appliances such as hair dryers, black-and-white TVs, can openers and computers since they are generally used very close to the body and/or for extended periods of time. Cellular phones are especially bad for very strong high-frequency field emissions.
  • Be cautious about working too close to fluorescent lights, which emit strong EMFs.
  • Use a gauss meter to measure magnetic field pollution and to determine safe areas.

Electrosmog Safety Tips

  • Electric blankets and waterbed heaters are among the worst EMF sources. Experts recommend turning electric blankets off before getting into bed.
  • Some televisions throw high EMF levels up to 10 feet away. Measure carefully to determine a safe viewing distance.
  • Battery-operated (DC) appliances, such as some digital clocks or walkmans, do not produce EMFs. But appliances plugged in beside your bed, such as phones or clock radios, may be a problem if they are too close.
  • The popularity of "baby monitors," often placed just inches from an infant's head, is a major EMF concern. Increase the distance between the monitor and your baby, ensuring the monitor still works.
  • Baseboard heaters, electric stoves and even toasters produce high EMF levels. Sit a good distance away from heaters, and place them near a baby's crib only after measuring with a gauss meter. Break the habit of standing in front of stoves or toasters while waiting for food.
  • Remember that appliances emit EMFs all around, not just in front. A refrigerator, for instance, may be producing heavy EMFs right through the wall into the next room. What's on the other side of the wall? If it is a well-used chair, you should move it!
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