- extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields (ELF) come from power lines and electrical appliances (e.g. microwave ovens, computers).
- radiofrequency radiation (RF) comes from wireless devices e.g. mobile and cordless phones, phone base stations, antennas, and transmission towers.
The health effect of EMF is a subject of controversy mainly in connection with the use of mobile phones despite the fact that it has been extensively studied. Less attention has been given to the effects of other types of EMF on our health. However, recent reports bring some bad tidings about EMF and its effect not only on adults but on the unborn child.
In a recent study, Canadian researchers at McGill University investigated ithe teratogenic effects (effects on the unborn fetus) of EMF. They looked at 548 cases of children with brain tumors and analyzed the ELF-EMF exposure of the mothers before and during pregnancy at the workplace. Working women may not be aware of it, but they are also exposed to EMF at their working environment, whether at offices (e.g. computers) or in factories (e.g. sewing machines). The results showed that childhood tumors may be associated to maternal exposure to EMF. “Results are suggestive of a possible association between maternal occupational ELF-MF exposure and certain brain tumors in their offspring.”
In another study, researchers from the Kaiser Foundation Research Institute in Oakland, California looked at pregnant women in real time. Study participants were women who are well before the 10th week of gestation. The participants had to wear EMF-measuring device for 24 hours as well as record their activities during the 24-hour period. The results showed that excessive EMF exposure during the first 10 weeks of gestation can cause an increased risk of spontaneous abortion or miscarriage. The study estimated the EMF threshold to be approximately 16 mG.
Egyptian researchers also reported that mobile phone use “significantly increased fetal and neonatal [heart rate] HR, and significantly decreased the [cardiac output] COP.”
EMF is something that we cannot smell, taste or smell but is considered to be “one of the most pervasive environmental exposures” according to the BioInitiative Working Group, formed by a group of scientists from all over the world for the purpose of investigating the effects of EMF. The Group issue a report in August 2007 indicating that EMF does have some serious health consequences, including cancer. In an upcoming resource post, I will be writing more about EMF, mobile phones, and cancer. Stay tuned.