The effect of electrical (“power frequency”) electromagnetic field (EMF) exposure on cancers, nervous system and brain cancers and cellular changes had been investigated in detail in earlier articles. However, several studies on the effect of electrical EMF exposure on other types of illnesses such as reproductive, immunity problems, heart problems, depression, and other problems such as poor sleep have also been performed.
Men exposed to electrical EMFs of 1.6mG for more than 6 hours a day were likely to suffer from substandard sperm four times more than other men, a study revealed (Li et al., 2010). Another study found compromises in sperm function, resulting in reduced fertilisation rates in boars exposed to low frequency electrical EMFs (Bernabo et al., 2010). A separate study also confirmed that fertilisation outcome was affected in swine when exposed to electrical EMFs (Bernabo et al., 2010). The relationship between exposure to electrical EMFs and risk of poor quality sperm was established by another recent study (Li et al., 2010).
Two researchers found a relationship between being near to power lines and elevated risk of miscarriage during pregnancy (Lee et al., 2002; Li et al., 2002). These studies showed that even ordinary day-to-day activity like travelling in electric trains and passing through or working near anti-theft pillars in malls and shopping centres increase the risk for miscarriage in pregnant women. In men, the sperm quality was diminished when they were exposed to electrical EMFs for more than 6 hours, two studies reported (Zhang et al., 2009; Li et al., 2010). Other studies mentioned adverse impact on reproductive systems, leading to foetal loss, development delay, malformation of the foetus, changes in uterus and ovary, changes in hormone levels in the first trimester, and miscarriage (Hong et al.,, 2003; Aksen et al., 2006: Cao et al., 2006; Sun et al., 2010).
Sleep parameters were altered when exposed to electrical EMFs, resulting in disrupted and poor sleep (Graham & Cook, 1999). Further study showed that the critical regions of the brain, occipital region and parietal region underwent changes in alpha activity after an electrical EMF exposure for just 5 minutes (Cook et al., 2009). Anxiety behaviour in rats was observed when they were exposed to electrical EMF for 4 hours every day (Liu et al., 2008, 2010). An earlier study had revealed that people living near power lines displayed strong psychiatric symptoms (Beale et al., 1997).
Electrical EMFs were found to lead to certain indicators of effects on human biology, such as arrhythmia and heart rate variability (HRV). Studies on people who were exposed to occupational electrical EMFs revealed significant changes in the above indicators (Borjanovic et al., 2005; Bortkeiwicz et al., 2006). Another study showed that incubators released high levels of electromagnetic fields, significantly influencing the HRV in newborn babies (Bellini et al., 2008). This HRV could seriously hamper the nervous system development in the newborn babies. Since the children are likely to be exposed to the high electrical EMFs released by the incubators for substantial periods, the study suggested further research on this subject for establishing the possibility of long-term consequences on the health of the newborn babies exposed to such electrical EMFs. Whilst these fields are low strengths fields only, they similar to the electrical EMFs generated by the electrical power lines in the residences of the newborn babies or the electrical equipment situated near their beds.
Studies revealed a link between exposure to electrical EMFs and higher level of depression risks, with certain investigations clearly mentioning 3 times increase in the risk and 5 times increase in the risk (Reichmanis et al., 1979; Perry et al., 1981; Dowson et al., 1988; Wilson, 1988; Poole et al., 1993; Verkasalo et al., 1997). Some of the researchers who conducted the above studies mentioned that electrical EMF exposure can affect the pineal gland action and impact the production of melatonin, a hormone and serotonin, a neurotransmitter, thus leading to depression and suicide in certain cases. The production of melatonin is reduced during exposure to electrical EMFs, which may have significant health implications, including cancer, depression and suicide, Parkinson’s disease and general immune system problems (Wilson, 1981; Stevens et al., 1992).
Another researcher focused exclusively on the electrical EMFs generated by power lines and its effects on humans (Henshaw, 2002). The study concluded that electrical EMFs of above 1mG within a distance of 150 metres from power lines resulted in an excess of 9,000 cases of depression and about 60 cases of suicides in adults. The study also showed that the electrical EMFs of power lines within 400 metres enhanced exposures to air pollutions, leading to around higher cases of 200 to 400 lung cancers, 2 to 6 childhood leukaemia cases, 17 non-melanoma skin cancer cases, and between 2000 and 3000 cases of air pollution related other diseases, ailments, and illnesses.
A study on exposure of electrical EMFs in the range of 2mG to 6.6mG showed that such exposure seriously impacted the levels of lymphocytes and other parameters of biological immunology, clearly indicating reduction in the functioning of the immune system (Bonhomme-Faivre et al., 2003). The immunity levels increased when the electrical electrical EMF exposure was stopped. This direct relationship of the cause and effect of electrical EMF on immune system revealed that compromising the immune system can lead to several other health issues. Another recent review studied several papers on the effect on biological immune system due to exposure to electrical EMFs (Johansson, 2009). The study concluded that electrical EMFs disturbed the immune function by stimulating several inflammatory and allergic responses and also affected the processes of tissue repairs, increasing risk of different kinds of diseases, including cancers.
Most homes and workplaces will have electrical EMF radiation hot spots that can easily exceed the exposure levels known to impact on you and your family’s health eg. near electrical devices, power meter boxes, wiring behind walls etc. EMF Safe recommends all homes and workplaces be tested for all electrical and wireless EMF radiation exposures. Often simple changes can be made to reduce or avoid elevated exposures when they are found. EMF Safe rents EMF Detection Kits nationwide that are excellent for this purpose and come with easy to follow instructions including safety reference levels.
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