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Hanging Up on Electromagnetic Radiation

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A monitor for baby, an electric blanket for grandma and a cellphone for sister..

A monitor for baby, an electric blanket for grandma and a cellphone for sister...are these on your Christmas shopping list? There's much joy in giving, but you should know these gifts have one thing in common with military crowd-control weapons: They all give off frequencies called electromagnetic fields (EMFs), which are electric and magnetic fields that are produced simultaneously at any source of electricity.

What happens when living things are exposed to these unnatural, manmade frequencies? According to a just-released $7-million study by the California Department of Health Services, exposure to household electricity is linked to increased risk of male and female breast cancer, miscarriages, suicide, Lou Gehrig's disease (ALS), Alzheimer's, sudden cardiac death, and leukemia and brain cancers in children and adults. In fact, the International Agency for Research on Cancer in the late 1980s classified EMFs as a possible human carcinogen.

Further, people around the world are reporting the same health problems when an EMF-emitting cellphone tower is erected nearby. Symptoms include sudden wakefulness in the night, headaches, chronic fatigue, heart palpitations, ringing or buzzing in the ears, nosebleeds, short-term memory loss and increased seizures in children suffering epilepsy.

Should we unplug the world and go to bed early?

No. There are ways to reduce our risk. Electromagnetic fields decrease rapidly with distance. If you sleep with a clock radio close to your head, move it away from you even a few feet will do. Unplug your electric blanket when you go to bed. Reducing exposure at night is particularly important because that is when the body heals itself.

Those with developing immune systems (children), declining immune systems (the elderly) and compromised immune systems (heart patients and AIDS victims) are most at risk to the perils of EMFs. Parents should move baby monitors away from their child; sounds will still be transmitted to their receiver, but the EMF risk will be negated.

You can measure the invisible magnetic fields in your home or workplace with a gauss meter, which is an inexpensive device you can purchase at your local electronics store. It will usually show green for relatively safe and red for extreme caution, as well as give off auditory signals. When you use such a meter, you will soon learn that staying further back from your computer or other appliances (such as an electric stove) substantially reduces your risk.

What about other major sources of electromagnetic fields and radiation? Microwave ovens can leak radiation, particularly around the door seal. Keep your distance while they are operating, and don't let your kids stand near by.

As for cell and cordless phones, these receive and transmit microwave radiation. There are now decades of research with more than 20,000 studies, some showing DNA breakage, chronic fatigue, cancer and other fatal or harmful results. One recent study confirmed that as little as a two-minute cellphone call causes the blood brain barrier to leak. This barrier protects our brain from toxins in our bloodstream. Another study showed that after hanging up from a two-minute call, the subjects' electrical pattern in their brains was still altered a full hour later.

Obviously, you can't minimize your risk by holding the phone 10 feet from your head. If you must use a cell or portable phone, keep your calls brief. Opt for a land line whenever you have the choice.

Hanging up your cellphone partly reduces your risk. Unfortunately, you can't hang up a microwave-transmitting tower in your neighbourhood. This is why groups such as the Electromagnetic Radiation Task Force in Canada, the EMR Network in the US, and others around the world are pressuring their governments to put a moratorium on new tower placements, and to dismantle those in residential neighbourhoods, near hospitals, schools and day cares. Industry and government claim that these transmitters are well within international guidelines and are therefore safe. However, European governments are now ordering towers removed. In Spain, for example, more than 2,000 transmitters have been ordered dismantled or disconnected in the past year alone.

What can you do to protect yourself and your children? You can learn more about the risks of EMFs through education. Write your MP and contact groups who are advocating on your behalf.

This Christmas, let's hang up on EMF toys and focus on safe, enduring and precious gifts that bring lifelong health and joy to us all.

What Are EMFs?

Plug in a lamp and there will be an electric field around the cord. Turn on the lamp and the flow of electricity creates a magnetic field. In North America, household electricity has a cycle of 60 times per second, called hertz (Hz), named after German physics professor Heinrich Hertz. Every second, the flow of electrons changes direction 120 times, thereby completing 60 cycles. This is called alternating current (AC). In Europe the standard is 50 Hz.

By contrast, the earth's natural pulse is just under eight times a second, called the Schumann resonance. All living things are finely tuned to this pulse, including our bodies, which are made of positive and negative electrical particles in dynamic equilibrium with each other.

Baby monitors, electric blankets and household appliances operate at 60 Hz. Cellphones run at about 900 megahertz (MHz) for analogue (continuously variable signal) and 1.9 gigahertz (GHz) for digital (multilevel signal). Microwave ovens operate higher at 2.45 GHz. This frequency causes water, sugar and fat molecules to rub together, and the resulting friction heats the food. Unlike the low household frequencies where the field disappears when the electricity is turned off, the higher frequencies of cellphones and microwaves continue to radiate what is called electromagnetic radiation (EMR) out into space.

Military crowd-control weapons use EMRs but at much higher frequencies, the exact type being classified information. One weapon called active denial technology (ADT) creates a narrow beam of EMR that can be scanned across a crowd or aimed at individuals from a land vehicle or low-flying aircraft. Those caught in the beam are neutralized by the feeling of their skin catching fire. This is termed "non-lethal weaponry" and is claimed to have no lasting, long-term effects.

What Is Your Radiation Risk?

Baby monitors = 60 Hz
Electric blankets = 60 Hz
Household appliances = 60 Hz
Cellphones, analogue = 900 MHz = 900,000,000 Hz
Cellphones, digital = 1.9 GHz = 1,900,000,000 Hz
Microwave oven = 2.45 GHz = 2,450,000,000 Hz

What Is our Government Doing?

Not much. Canadian safety regulations governing radiation are based on the outdated thermal model contained in Health Canada's Safety Code 6, which states that unless the radiation heats your whole body tissue by 1 C within six minutes, there is no harm. In other words, if it doesn't cook you, there is no problem.

Industry Canada received $1.5 billion last year from the wireless industry in the auction for bandwidth for new third-generation technology. It also receives hundreds of millions of dollars annually in licensing "fees." Canada Post markets the industry's products. Health Canada supposedly regulates the industry, but all government ministries including Health Canada lease rooftops to industry for cellular antennae for millions of dollars. How can the same government promote, regulate and market an industry's products and claim neutrality?

Lloyds of London and other insurers refuse to cover this industry for health effects caused by its technology for any amount of money. As their very business is assessing long-term health risks, this is a telling message.

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