Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Electricity - Building Block of Developed Nations Makes Us Sick!

Electricity – you can probably say that it is the single-most innovation that has thrown the world into overdrive. Developed nations are separated from the third – world by their access to electricity. Without it, the industrial revolution and amazing technological advances humans worldwide have made would never have occurred. However, because electricity has been utilized by man for just over a century, we have yet to see the possible harmful health effects caused by electromagnetic (EMF’s) and extremely-low frequency fields (ELF’s). While electricity has undoubtedly made life better, bringing nations together and out of poverty even, it may be a detriment to our health!

Electromagnetic Fields (EMF’s and ELF’s) are created whenever electricity is utilized. Think of how much electricity the average American uses every day, multiply it by the total number of citizens, and you have an EMF that is much more forceful than it would naturally be on its own. We are exposed every day to EMF’s at different levels and intensities, depending on where we are and what we use. Even if you don’t live near a transformer, power lines are everywhere, and how often do we drive by power plants or come into close contact with high levels of electricity?

In the 1970’s, the first real study on the connection between EMF’s/ ELF’s in Denver (mainly in the form of power lines) and cellular cancer was conducted by Nancy Wertheimer. She found a strong link between the two – more explicitly that children who lived close to electrical power lines doubled their chances of getting several types of childhood cancers.

Since then, other studies have shown the following health problems strongly connected to exposure to EMF’s and ELF’s (Zahm and Devesa 178; Feychting, Ahlbom, and Kheifets 171):

Tumor growth
Sleep/Circadian rhythm disturbances
Neurological/memory/cognitive impairment
Hormone production/regulation impairment
Endocrine system disorders
Mental/behavioral problems
Immune system deficiencies
Nervous system disorders
Fetal development problems
Birth defects
Circulatory system issues
Genetic damage

Further studies on people whose occupation brings them into close, frequent contact with EMF’s and ELF’s and laboratory mammals suggests that such exposure can aggravate predisposed conditions. Basically, if you already are at risk for a certain cancer, this exposure can accelerate that risk greatly. It is thought that such exposure causes accelerated cellular activity, leading to mutations and triggering carcinogenic conditions in the body.

Convinced yet? This may help explain why cancer is so prevalent in developed nations, in spite of our advances in health technology! These studies are scary, especially considering how often I use electricity! I honestly don’t think there is any activity I do that doesn’t involve electricity. Even when I sleep I have an alarm clock nearby!

So what do we do now? Why there is no way to avoid exposure to electricity, it may be beneficial to exercise caution as much as possible. Cut down on cell phone use, and if you can pick where you live, try to stay as far from power plants and transformers as much as possible. Honestly, the best way I can think of to prevent these health problems, is to live our lives as healthy as we can. Eat right, avoid cancer-causing processed foods, exercise, drink plenty of clean water, and avoid overusing chemicals as much as possible. Anything that can cut down on genetic mutations helps!

Living with electricity is a fact of life. We don’t want to give it up and never will. Doing so would put us back into the dark ages. So do what you can, and be careful! Most importantly, get examined regularly to catch any early stages of cancer before it becomes worse.

Studies cited:

Feychting, Ahlbom, and Kheifets, 168
Zahm and Devesa, 178
Anderson, Larry. “Extremely Low Frequency Fields and Cancer: Laboratory Studies.” International Journal of Toxicology 17.3 (1998): 47-57.

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