The below case studiesare some of the many I have experienced in the past seven years since I began doing EMR measurements in homes and workplaces. They confirm to me that when people spend long periods of time in even moderate electromagnetic fields, adverse health effects are often experienced, sometimes as serious as cancer. Some good news is that the federal government appointed a working group to review the world health organisation guidelines and produce an Australian standard for power frequency electromagnetic fields. This came about as a result of WHO issuing guidelines some years ago stating that the general community could safely be exposed to continuous electromagneticfields as high as 1000mG. Then in October 2000 WHO reported that there appeared to be a doubling of childhood leukaemia cases where there are magnetic fields as low 4mG. The Working Group, of which I was a member, met for 8 years and produced a draft recommending a number of worthwhile precautions that would lead to significant reductions in electromagnetic fields. The sad news is that was at the end of 2008 and the standard has still not been published.
"Power frequency" covers the frequency of the power that we use in Australia - namely 50 cycles per second. (For comparison, in America it is 60 cycles per second). Higher frequencies are sometimes used in industrial applications. Mobile phone frequencies are vastly higher at around 950 million cycles per second, so the standard for mobile phones is entirely different.
An Air Hostess With Sleep Problems An air hostess with significant sleeping difficulties asked EMR Surveys to undertake an investigation of her home. At that time, there was no electricity running in the house, nor was the house close to any power lines. However a very high field (29mG) was found at her pillow. The electricity meter box was located on the outside wall adjacent to the head of her bed. From the meter box, an earth connection ran under the bed to connect with a water pipe running under the middle of the bedroom. It was difficult to understand how a field could exist when there was no electricity flowing into the house, so a measurement was taken on the roof of the currents in the active and neutral wires coming from the street. There was no current in the active wire, but there was significant current of 1.3 amps in the neutral wire. Remarkably, this current in the neutral wire was coming from her neighbours down the street. Part of the neighbours' current was travelling along the neutral wire on the power poles and the balance was taking a parallel path from the street to the meter box, to the earth connection, to the water pipe, out to the street and back to the local transformer. The problem was solved by inserting a piece of high-pressure plastic pipe in the water line, after which the field dropped to 0.3mG. When asked a few weeks later if there was any improvement in her health, the woman's husband chimed: "She has been up at 6.30am every morning, extremely busy all day and very happy. I've never seen her like that for as long as we have lived here" he said.
Woman Suffering From Chronic Headaches EMR Surveys was called to a house where the resident could see some high-voltage transmission lines from the kitchen window. The woman had lived in the house for only three months, yet had a headache every day. Prior to moving into this house she had been free of headaches.When the house was surveyed, no effects were observed from the transmission line, which was expected, as it was 300 metres away. However, in the laundry, the magnetic field was 40mG and in the kitchen approximately 20 mG. On the side of the laundry wall was the electricity metre box, with an earth wire travelling from it into the ceiling space, then across the top of the laundry and kitchen, before travelling down a kitchen wall where it was bonded to the water pipe. A piece of high pressure plastic pipe was inserted into the water pipe adjacent to the water meter near the street, and when the field was checked after this, the field had dropped to about 0.2mG and woman had a smile from ear to ear. She said the headaches had disappeared within hours of the plumber finishing the job. Happily, it was a long-term improvement and she was still headache free 18 months later.
A Commercial Cleaner With Bowel Cancer A 50 year old man who had been diagnosed with bowel cancer asked EMR Surveys to check his house for magnetic fields. The fields in the house were quite low, however the man had spent the last 18 years as a commercial cleaner and carried a vacuum cleaner strapped to his back while he worked. The appliance had a field of around 1000 mG on the surface, and in the area where the machine was close to his body, the field was 220 mG - extremely high. This was the area where the tumour had started. In fact, the precise position of the tumour was just to the left of the point where the lead came out of the vacuum cleaner. The man had originally sought advice from EMR Surveys twelve months beforehand, when he asked whether the vacuum cleaner could be causing the health problems. However, he delayed undertaking the survey to measure the EMR around the vacuum cleaner for at least one year, after his health problems had been diagnosed. To add to the man's problems, when he was in hospital he had been sleeping on a special air bed to alleviate his extreme back pains. The controls on the bed radiate quite high electromagnetic fields, so that at his pillow he was exposed to at least 20 mG (well above EMR Surveys' suggested limit for eight-hour exposure of 3mG). Not surprisingly, he wasn't sleeping very well. Sadly, he recently passed away from the bowel cancer. This situation further confirms findings by EMR Surveys that where people are subjected to moderate to high electromagnetic fields for long periods, health problems may follow which can sometime be very serious. It is recommended that commercial cleaners using back-pack vacuum cleaners for prolonged periods ask the manufacturer of the appliance to provide shielding to reduce the EMR to an acceptable level of less than 3 mG.