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The debate is still alive and well. “EMFs Fact vs Myth?” – seems to be the highest search term for EMFs or electromagnetic fields. So a lot of people are doing searches to find out if there is reason for concern. The question is, are electromagnetic fields (EMF’s) from power lines, substations, transformers, home wiring, computers, florescent lights, home appliances, airport and military radar installations reasons for health concerns? Some say yes and some say no. So how do you decide if electromagnetic fields (EMF’s)  are indeed health risks or if all this is much ado about nothing.

Are the claims that electromagnetic fields (EMF’s) cause chronic fatigue, headaches, stress, forgetfulness, chest pain, brain tumors, leukemia, birth defects, miscarriages, cancer and other health problems just a myth or are there facts to back up the claims? Many people, non profit agencies and government heath departments say they do. But still many write off EMF health concerns as “much to do about nothing.” On the other hand dozens of studies conducted by 1990 conclude the threat is real, including the the United States EPA.

U.S. EPA Says the EMF Threat Is Real

In November 1989, the Department of Energy reported that “It has now become generally accepted that there are, indeed, biological effects due to field exposure.” By 1990, over one hundred studies had been conducted worldwide. Of these, at least two dozen epidemiological studies on humans indicated a link between EMF’s and serious health problems. In response to public pressure, the Environmental Protection Agency IEPA) began reviewing and evaluating the available literature.

In a draft report issued in March 1990, the EPA recommended that EMF’s be classified as a Class B carcinogen — -a “probable human carcinogen and joined the ranks of formaldehyde, DDT, dioxins and PCB’s. After the EPA draft report was released, utility, military and computer lobbyists came down hard on the EPA. The EPA’s final revision did NOT classify EMF’s as a Class B carcinogen Rather, the following explanation was added: “At this time such a characterization regarding the link between cancer and exposure to EMF’s is not appropriate because the basic nature of the interaction between EMFs and biological processes leading to cancer is not understood.”

EPA Double Talk

When questioned about the contradictory nature of these statements, the EPA responded that it was “not appropriate” to use the probable carcinogen label until it could demonstrate how EMFs caused cancer and exactly how much EMF is harmful. This explanation did not satisfy many critics who claim that the EPA’s upper management was influenced by political and economic considerations exerted by utility, computer and military lobbyists.

In what some would say was an effort to cover their butts, on the same page the the EPA gives a somewhat contradictory statement, saying “In conclusion, several studies showing leukemia, Lymphoma and cancer of the nervous system in children exposed to, supported by similar findings in adults in several/ occupational studies also involving electrical power frequency exposures, show a consistent pattern of response that suggest a causal link.” Causal meaning – to be the cause of, or causing to happen.

The EPA’s Right and Left Hand Controversy Over EMF Classification

Let me break down this EPA double talk. The words the EPA on one hand (their right, more honest hand) from results of medical studies, recommended that EMF’s be classified as a “probable (credible or likely, supported by strong evidence but not certain) Class B carcinogen” similar to acknowledged carcinogens such as “formaldehyde, DDT, dioxins and PCB’s” everyone agrees these are harmful carcinogens, commonly known or proven to cause cancer.


On the EPA’s other hand, their left one that does not hold up well under pressure, based on consideration from heavy pressure bearing down upon them, said they would like to take back their recommendation to to classify EMF’s as a “probable human carcinogen.” That slip of words was a little over the top and inappropriate due to, at that time not having a full understanding of the impact and ramifications of making such a statement, it was heavy and could lead to pain.

But the EPA’s right hand was quick to weigh back in regarding it’s recommendation to classify EMF’s as a carcinogen that was followed by the left hands withdrawal of the that recommendation to classify EMF’s as a carcinogen. The EPA’s right hands final words for that day were “In conclusion, several studies showing… (several cancers and other bad stuff from – see full quote above…) electrical power frequency exposures, show a consistent pattern of response that suggest a causal link.”

When first reading these quotes, I misread causal to be casual. I’m not a doctor and don’t use the word “causal” much, maybe twice in the last 53 years. Anyways, not being to smart with words, I looked it up and causal means – to be the cause of, or causing to happen. So in spite of left hands damage control, it seems right hand is sticking close to his original statement or recommendation.

Sources for information in this article were gathered from several medical and government websites, which all had the same EPA quotes mentioned above from 1990. The EPA has had +20 years to scrub  their archives to remove the controversial quotes. This is becoming the norm these days where those with resources and power are quick to remove certain undesirable information or news from the web in just a day or two. I did a quick search for the original EPA source material and could not find it anywhere. The several sites I found the same quotes on, appeared to be credible medical type, and non profit health organizations such. I do my best to avoid the ex stream and whack sites.

Home Values Impacted by Proximity to High Electromagnetic Fields (EMF’s)?

In addition to the long-term health concerns, buying a house within high electromagnetic fields, this would typically mean a home near high powered transmission lines, above or below ground, has the possibility for economic loss. It appears to be probable that in the coming years power line radiation will become as well known as other carcinogens such as radon gas and asbestos and cigarette smoking. When or if this happens homes in high EMF areas will gradually drop in value and become more difficult to sell. Already there are hundreds of lawsuits regarding EMF’s and property devaluation. Look how differently cigarette smoking is viewed today verses 5o years ago. Many people were saying the same thing about cigarettes then as they are now about EMF’s.

Electromagnetic Fields (EMF’s) Health Risks, Myth or Fact?

I get about 2 or 3 calls a year from people who want a home tested for EMF’s, usually for someon who is thinking about buying a home when it is near high voltage overhead wires. The last request I had was from a doctor. Doctors are usually not known to be counted among the most gullible. There is tons of research and information about this topic on the web, if you are concerned about EMF’s I recommend doing your own research, and if your not sure do your own testing or hire someone to do test for you.

Like any time money is required for services rendered, remember “Buyer beware.” From experience I would say about 8 out of 10 roofing contractors, will say you are in need of a new roof, even if it has another good 10 years or more to go. No offense meant if you are a roofing contractor, we all need to make a living. Electromagnetic fields (EMF’s) health risks, myth or fact? I hope this article helped decide. See my other articles soon to come about How To Test EMF’s and What You Can Do About EMF’s. Thanks for reading.


The following research web page link has an extensive list of the online sources used for much of the above article. The sarcasm was off my cuff and my personal opinion for what it’s worth.