Electronic Smog Can Damage Your Health

Are our cubicles killing us?
A study by a team of scientists at Imperial College London’s Centre for Environmental Policy has found that electrical fields from computers and other everyday electrical equipment can give people asthma, influenza and other respiratory diseases. The paper was published in the August issue of the journal Atmospheric Environment.

The scientists believe that there needs to be more research into the effects of other sources of electro-smog, such as cell phones and their masts, Wi-Fi systems and everyday household electrical devices. This is a worrying development for many of us that are exposed daily to a variety of electrical and magnetic fields. There have been concerns about electro-smog since the 1950’s, when it was found that relocating asthmatics to areas of low electrical fields eliminated their symptoms. Campaigners have been insisting for decades that electro-smog is detrimental to health, but this research paper gives added credence to their campaign.

The research shows that electrical fields can charge minute particles in the air such as viruses, allergens, bacteria and other toxic particles. The problem is the charged particles are less than 80 times the thickness of human hair, so they are small, light and always airborne, which means they are constantly being breathed in. Once the particles are electrically charged, they will stick to the tissue of the lungs and respiratory tract when they are inhaled. The greater the electrical field the more charged the particles become, which increases the speed at which they strike the tissue, causing them to deform and embed in the tissue more firmly. Once embedded in the tissue, they cause infection and other health problems.

There are other mechanisms by which both electrical and magnetic fields (EMF) can cause changes and damage to the body’s cells, but these were beyond the scope of this research study. While it can be debated whether electromagnetic fields can cause damage to living cells, there is plenty of research that supports both points of view. This extract from a California Department of Health Services and the Public Health Institute fact-sheet ‘Electric and Magnetic Fields’ sums up the best advice regarding EMF:

A good deal of research is underway to resolve these questions and uncertainties. Until we have more information, you can use ‘no and low cost avoidance’ by limiting exposure when this can be done at reasonable cost and with reasonable effort, like moving an electric clock a few feet away from a bedside table or sitting further away from the computer monitor. - Electric and Magnetic Fields, DHS
The rest of the document gives some good information and can be found here.

Another good place to get more information is the NIOSH website (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health).

Source: The Independent

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  • Posted on Sept. 10, 2007. Listed in:

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