EMFs Still Harming Our Health

EMFs Still Harming Our Health

Over the past 12 months a number of doctors’ organizations and scientific groups have issued reports and warnings stating that more evidence has accumulated suggesting that EMFs (Electromagnetic Fields) are harming our health, and that the current standards need to be tightened.

The BioInitiative Report 2012 is authored by a working group of 29 MDs, 21 PhDs and public health policy professionals from around the world. Released in January 2013, it’s an update to the original 2007 EMF study and documents 1,800 new research studies on EMF and health that were published between 1990-2012. It covers EMF from power lines, electrical wiring, appliances, as well as wireless technologies such as cell and cordless phones, cell towers, WI-FI, wireless laptops, wireless routers, baby monitors, and other electronic devices. The report says cell phone users, parents-to-be, young children and pregnant women are all at a particular risk.

The report lists a number of adverse health effects from EMF exposure, including damage to DNA and genes, effects on memory, learning, behavior, attention, sleep disruption, cancer and neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s disease. The studies’ authors concluded that, “Bioeffects are clearly established to occur with very low exposure levels (non-thermal levels) to electromagnetic fields and radiofrequency radiation exposures.”  It goes on to say “new safety standards are urgently needed for protection against EMF and wireless exposures that now appear everywhere in daily life1.”

Adding their voice to the call for stricter EMF guidelines is the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), which urged the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to reconsider its radiation standards for cell phones and wireless devices. Last year, FCC chairman Julius Genachowski formally proposed an inquiry into radiation standards in cell phones and other wireless devices. The FCC is also looking into whether emissions standards should be adjusted for the types of devices that are used mostly by kids2. However there is also some disturbing news for perspective mothers. A recent Yale School of Medicine study probing the impact of cellphone exposure on pregnancies concluded that cell phone radiation exposure during pregnancy impacts fetal brain development and may cause hyperactivity3.

Also calling for more action on EMF is the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM), a group that has been studying and treating the effects of the environment on human health for over 50 years. In a recent position paper the group stated that “In the last 20 years, our physicians began seeing patients who reported that electric power lines, televisions and other electrical devices caused a wide variety of symptoms. By the mid 1990s, it became clear that patients were adversely affected by electromagnetic fields and became more electrically sensitive. In the last five years with the advent of wireless devices, there has been a massive increase in radiofrequency (RF) exposure from wireless devices as well as reports of hypersensitivity and diseases related to electromagnetic field and RF exposure. Multiple studies correlate RF exposure with diseases such as cancer, neurological disease, reproductive disorders, immune dysfunction, and electromagnetic hypersensitivity4.”

In 2011 the World Health Organization (WHO) reclassified wireless EMF as a 2B carcinogen (possibly carcinogenic to humans). Countries such as Switzerland, Italy, China and Russia have all set limits that are 100 times safer than those established here in North America. This ruling mirrored a 2001 decision where the WHO conservatively classified ELF magnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans based on epidemiological studies of childhood leukemia5.



1) Bioinitiative

2) Healthland Time

3) Daily Mail

4) AAEM Online

5) WHO, Facts sheet No. 263

Photo Credit: Frederick Renaud

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