Have you noticed that many broadcasters are suffering from cancer? Is it possible that electric and magnetic fields wear down the immune system and play a contributive role? A small but persistent stream of scientific studies continue to raise significant health concerns.
Dr. Sam Milham, an M.D. and epidemiologist for Washington State wrote a letter which was published by the New England Journal of Medicine in 1982. He mentioned his findings of increased cancer risk (Leukemia and non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas) among workers in occupations with intuitive exposures to electric and magnetic fields. His epidemiological study was novel because he analyzed and compared death certificates of persons by occupational groups.
In 1988, Dr. Milham published a study in the American Journal of Epidemiology showing increased mortality in amateur radio operators due to lymphatic and hematopoietic malignancies. Throughout his illustrious career Sam Milham was never afraid to take on controversial public health topics.
A 2003 occupational study of Norwegian female radio and telegraph operators exposed to low and high frequency EMR reported an excess risk for breast cancer among those workers. Pre-menopausal women showed an increased risk of estrogen-receptor-positive (ER+) tumors, and post-menopausal women had an increased risk of estrogen-receptor-negative (ER-) tumors. European Journal of Cancer Prevention.
Carcinogenicity from Extremely Low Frequency Magnetic Fields (ELF-MF)
In Part I, we discussed how EMR from Alternating Current Magnetic Fields, aka, “ELF-MF” Power Frequencies may over time produce undesirable neurological or neuropsychiatric effects. Can chronic exposures to power frequencies also be carcinogenic?
A meta-analysis by Zhang, et. al., in 2016 examined a total of 42 studies involving 13,259 cases and 100,882 controls. Investigators found that exposure to certain levels of alternating current magnetic fields were associated with increased cancer risk in United States residences.
Chronic work exposures to extremely low frequency magnetic fields have been associated with elevated risk for postmenopausal breast cancer in women (Labrèch, et. al. 2003) and a nearly threefold increase in risk of breast cancer in men (Grundy, et. al. 2016). In these studies, an elevated risk of breast cancer for long-term exposure began to be noticed at ≥ 5 or 6 mG respectively.
Do your occupational exposures exceed these levels of concern? They certainly did in the next study…
AC Magnetic Fields (ELF-MF) exposures were tested in a number of Mobile Broadcasting Vehicles in 2010 by a research team lead by accomplished Biophysicist, Dr. Nesrin Seyhan, a Bioelectromagnetics Advisory Committee member for the World Health Organization. Field measurements of the broadcasting vehicles found that workers were routinely exposed to an average of 25 milligauss (mG). Some broadcast crews were exposed to 126 mG.
Why are the these occupational exposure levels so concerning?
In an Occupational Medicine study of 121 workers by the University of Moderna, Italy (Gobba, et. al. 2009) researchers found a link between ELF-MF exposures above a mere 10 mG (1 microT) and decreased immune system function from reduced Natural Killer Cells.
Depleting NK cell activity harms the body’s targeted immune response and hampers the normal process of eliminating unhealthy cells.
Of all the cells that make up the immune system, NK cells are the most powerful. They make up nearly 15% of the total circulating lymphocyte (white blood cells) population and are part of the body’s innate immune system. NK cells are called natural killer cells because they do not need to recognize specific antibodies before releasing cytokines (strong intracellular signals) to destroy abnormal cells, allowing for a faster immune response.
Once target cells are identified, NK cells trigger an immune response and direct other immune cells (dendritic cells, macrophages, and T cells) to take action against a potential threat to the body. Like “Swat Teams” on high alert, NK cells travel around the body to look for and kill cells infected with a virus, bacteria, or cancer cells. When your NKCs are low, it’s an invitation for cancer to cause trouble.
Alternating Current Magnetic Fields should also be kept nice and low throughout your home — especially in the bedroom. This needs to be done to protect not only you and your family, but also man’s best friend!
Dr. John Reif, D.V.M., a Colorado State University of Veterinary Medicine professor, found 150% to 190% increases in risk for canine lymphoma cancers when dogs were housed in homes with a sidewalk, backyard, or front yard magnetic field of 2.0 mG or greater. There can be no placebo effect with dogs.
Anecdotally, one of my instructors at the Building Biology Institute swears that in homes where high magnetic fields are detected, it’s not uncommon to find cases where both pets and pet owners have suffered from cancers. Hmm.
Carcinogenicity Risk from Radio Frequency Microwave Radiation
Many broadcasters spend the majority of their waking (and sleeping) hours being radiated by wireless device RF emissions. (Did you know that wearable RF devices on the job can produce both low and high frequency EMFs?).
Since 1992, a number of animal studies have shown the carcinogenicity of Radio Frequency Microwaves, the most recent being the NTP study (National Toxicology Program in 2018) and the Ramazzini Institute study in 2019. But each study, when released, was challenged by industry (Hardell 2020) and eventually forgotten by the press and the general public. It is a strange notion to grasp that research on EMF/RF carcinogenicity has been obfuscated by the expert groups we trust.
Cell Phone and Other RF Exposures
Some epidemiological studies have reported significant associations between exposure to RF/MW radiation from cell phones and increased risks of glioma, acoustic neuroma, thyroid cancer and acoustic neuroma.
Scandinavian researchers, for example, found an increased incidence of thyroid cancer in Nordic countries in the last two decades and postulated its link to cell phone use. A more detailed examination on the association between cellular phone use and the risk of glioma brain cancer be found in this expert report with 443 references by Christopher Portier Ph.D., a longtime US government scientist, now a Scientific Advisor to the World Health Organization.
Is there a link between cell phone placement and breast cancer? Some oncologists advise women never to place their cell phones near their breasts. Case reports are accumulating of young women with no family history getting a diagnosis of breast cancer. The tumors were unusually located directly underneath the skin where they placed their cell phones in their bra. Caution is warranted since new smart phones have especially powerful transmissions and 4GLTE and 5G modulated signals are quite bioactive.
Also called Micro-surge Electrical Pollution (MEP) or High Frequency Voltage Transients (HFVT), MEP refers to extraneous voltages and currents at intermediate frequencies (ex, 3-500 kHz) that radiate Electric fields and Magnetic fields. These fields can induce voltages and currents into the human body that are biologically hostile. I have found this type of e-pollution in production studios, work stations and in many residences.
Major sources of MEP are utility power, switch mode power supplies (SMPS) used in almost all electronics, some computers and broadcasting equipment, electrical “smart meters,” HVAC systems, Radio Frequency (RF) transmitters, some energy efficient lights, variable speed motors and “smart” appliances, PV (Solar) inverters, nearby cell towers, diesel generators and MEP can also travel on ground.
In midwest university studies, Voltage Transients have been shown to affect dairy cows causing them to produce 30% less milk — demonstrating biological effects. In humans, initial epidemiological studies and case studies also indicate that exposure to Dirty Electricity is concerning. Beyond certain levels, this form of e-pollution seems to be biologically hostile. What little evidence we have so far indicates it may possibly be linked to:
- Cancer (Dr. Milham’s study)
- Heart Disease
- Attention-deficit disorder (ADD)
- Multiple sclerosis
- Irritation and Nervousness
At a California Middle School, Dirty Electricity HFVTs were measured by Sam Milham, M.D., a public health physician and epidemiologist, and it was found to be exceptionally high. The school had a cancer incidence in teachers nearly 3 times higher than expected. According to Milham, a single year of working in the building raised the risk of developing cancer by 21%. The risk of developing thyroid cancer was increased over 13 times, and it only took 3 years to develop, unlike the 10 years for other cancers. Pupils were not spared either, and many of them have contracted cancer, even fatally (Milham & Morgan 2007 and 2008).
Dirty Electricity can be detected, measured and reduced in most homes and offices. Doing so can have many beneficial effects such as reducing stress on the immune system. Other benefits may include less fatigue, more energy, less asthma and greater sense of relaxation. It’s well worth doing at your station and at your home.
Next Steps for TV and Radio Broadcasters
Our total EMF environment — for better or worse — affects our health, productivity and happiness. Because EMF/R is an invisible and silent toxin — the only way to know your exposure is to professionally test. As the saying goes, “you get what you inspect.”
If you’re an executive producer or chief engineer, is an EMF assessment something you could support? From a H.R. perspective, reducing workplace EMFs could be a way to expand your “Safety First” culture. How about keeping your talent happier, healthier, and better rested?
Although we can’t eliminate all man-made EMFs, there are numerous things that can be done to make a positive difference. For many, less EMF radiation feels like a weight being lifted.