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Dirty Electricity

Just coming back from the American Society of Dowsers Convention in Lyndonville, VT, I'd like to reflect on one of the topics there. On the last day, I attended an excellent workshop about different forms of high and low frequency electro-magnetic pollution which has become increasingly problematic across the country. Dr. Magda Havas, Ph.D, a researcher from the Canadian University of Trentu, presented several studies in the field of "Dirty Electricity and Electric Hypersensitivity" siting substancial physiological effects to humans and domestic animals alike. These studies also sited how the effects were mitigated when simple electric capacitor filters were applied.

There are 3 standard ways electricity is sent:
  • through the air in the form of high frequency waves

  • along cables used for electrical power

  • through the ground

"Dirty electricity" refers to transient or stray high frequency electrical pulses or surges that are not meant to be there. They ride on electrical wiring, they pulse through the ground and run along grounded water pipes. They can be generated inside a home or building by electronic equipment or from outside sources such as nearby cellphone towers. Our electrical power is much more polluted with high frequency distortion than we are aware of.



An example of an oscilloscope reading of typical high frequency microsurges on top of a 60 Hertz standard waveform as with electrical power lines.
(source: Havas/Stetzer)

Uncontrolled electrical currents injected into the earth, commonly called "stray voltage" has been the subject of controversy between dairy farmers and electric utility companies since the 1970's, particularly in Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota. In the state of Washington electrical currents were found on domestic water systems from primary neutral down-grounds. In New Jersey cows decreased milk production because of reduced water consumption due to similar voltages in watering troughs. Participants at the dowsers convention told how years ago they built rubber shoes for cows out of old tires in order to improve health, behavior, reproduction and milk production of their herds.

There are quite a number of studies issued in the mid 1990's covering this phenomenon. USDA-ARS Publication 696, Effects of Voltage/Current on Farm Animals, became a standard for cow-contact-stray-voltage levels accepted in several states. Another more recent study sited, "Across Wisconsin and in other states, hundreds of dairy farmers struggle with stray voltage, electrical current flowing through the earth. Scientific research suggests that stray voltage has extreme physiological effects on cows and other animals when it reaches certain levels." New technologies like the rapidly growing number of cellphone towers seem to exacerbate the problem.

If this pollution is bad for farm animals, it cannot be healthy for humans either. Recent studies in Canada show possible effects in schools, compromising both teachers and students significantly. One study, for example, was set up with only the principal and the head custodian knowing of its contents and procedere. Detailed questionaires and daily checklists were distributed among teachers and pupils. For 3 weeks the existing situation was observed, then for another 3 weeks filters were installed to improve the situation.

The response of 40 teachers as well as that of the students was analyzed. The results were as follows: 46% of teachers experienced less fatique, 42% were less frustrated, 35% had a greater sense of well-being, 23% felt more energy and 19% had less head aches. Remember, nobody knew about the kind of study or when the changes were done. Students improved more during the afternoon than in the mornings. At the elementary level, general students interruptions were reduced by an average of several minutes a day. Interestingly enough, high school students showed less differences than their smaller collegues. Personally, I attribute this to the multiple other sources of EMFs (electro-magnetic fields) like cellphones, Ipods, computers, video games, etc. teenagers are exposed to these days.

Causes of dirty electricity, besides the poor quality of electrical power itself, are often home-based factors such as, computers, televisions, dimmer switches, energy efficient lighting and appliances. We have learned to protect sensitive electronic equipment with surge suppressors and have assumed, until recently, that this form of energy is not biologically active, however evidence suggests otherwise.

Getting back to health, electro-hypersensitivity is the term used to describe symptoms from an exposure to electromagnetic fields. Symptoms include headaches, sleep disturbances, lack of concentration, depression, memory loss, cardiovascular issues, fibromyalgia, skin irritations, etc. Nausea is often experienced when entering areas with high concentrations of electrical equipment such as, offices, large department stores and shopping malls. Fluorescent lighting usually intensifies the negative effects.

Electricity is by no means negative by nature. In fact, it plays an essential role in our body's cell metabolism, the exchange of nutrients, the regulation of hormons, brain functioning, etc. It is no wonder that major glands like the pineal and pituitary glands are effected by strong electrical fields. Medical science is just now acknowledging these subtle mechanisms regulating our glands, organs and body systems.

Science distinguishes between thermal and non-thermal effects of high frequency radiation. "Thermal" means heating up as in a microwave oven. "Non-thermal" effects are usually slow mechanisms, e.g. breaking-up of DNA strands or passing through the blood brain barrier. Non-thermal effects are often questioned as they are more difficult to follow-up and prove. I'm sure you have heard of the example of how to slowly raise the temperature in a bowl of water so a frog doesn't feel he's being cooked...

International standards for ambient radiofrequency radiation are significant lower all over the world than here in the US:
  • Salzburg/Austria 0.1 uW/cm2 !!

  • Switzerland 4.2 uW/cm2

  • China 6.6 uW/cm2

  • Russia 10.0 uW/cm2

  • Italy 10.0 uW/cm2

  • US & Canada 580 uW/cm2 !!!

Countries with lower thesholds take into account scientific studies which not only consider thermal effects but also non-thermal bio-effects caused by low intensity radio frequencies. In other words, Russia and many other countries consider low thresholds at which adverse health effects are first noticed, whereas the US defines the threshold at (much higher) levels, where detrimental health effects can be proven beyond doubt. The WHO (World Health Organization) is now,unfortunately, trying to unify world standards closer to the US levels.

Just as we protect our computers from spikes and microsurges on power lines we must protect ourselves. In case you have concern for yourself or your family's well-being, find someone knowledgeable to take electrical measurements in your home and/or office and get advice about possibilities to lower your exposure. Until we are able to prove electromagnetic fields truly harmless, I recommend erring on the side of caution.

References:
Dirty Electricity and Electrical Hypersensitivity: Five Case Studies - Magda Havas and David Stetzer - presentation at WHO conference in Prague Oct. 2004



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Merriam-Webster defines
Geopathology as a science that deals with the relation of geographic factors to peculiarities of specific diseases.

Geopathic Stress is a form of permanent stress caused by noxious earth energies, affecting our health by constantly draining our life force.
EMF or EMR (Electro-Magnetic Field or Electro-Magnetic Radiation) is a low-energy radiation that comes from the interaction of electric and magnetic fields. Sources include power lines, electric appliances, radio waves, microwaves, and others. EMFs disturb the natural communication and metabolism of our cells.
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