ELECTROMAGNETIC FIELD AND HEALTH EFFECTS BASIC INFORMATION AND TUTORIALS


What Are The Health Effects Of Electromagnetic Field?


A current flowing through a wire, alternating at 60 cycles per second (60 Hz), produces around it a magnetic field that changes direction at the same frequency. Thus, whenever in the vicinity of electric equipment carrying any currents, we are exposed to magnetic fields.

Such fields are sometimes referred to as EMF, for electromagnetic fields, or more precisely as ELF, for extremely low-frequency fields, since 60 Hz is extremely low compared to other electromagnetic radiation such as radio waves (which is in the megahertz, or million hertz range).

There is some concern in the scientific community that even fields produced by household appliances or electric transmission and distribution lines may present human health hazards. While such fields may be small in magnitude compared to the Earth’s magnetic field, the fact that they are oscillating at a particular frequency may have important biological implications that are as yet poorly understood.

Research on the health effects of EMFs or ELFs continues. Some results to date seem to indicate a small but statistically significant correlation of exposure to ELFs from electric power with certain forms of cancer, particularly childhood leukemia, while other studies have found no effects.

In any case, the health effects of ELFs on adults appear to be either sufficiently mild or sufficiently rare that no obvious disease clusters have been noted among workers who are routinely exposed—and
have been over decades—to vastly stronger fields than are commonly experienced by the general population.

From a purely physical standpoint, the following observations are relevant: First, the intensity of the magnetic field associated with a current in a wire is directly proportional to the current; second, the intensity of this field decreases at a rate proportional to the inverse square of the distance from the wire, so that doubling the distance reduces the field by a factor of about.

The effect of distance thus tends to outweigh that of current magnitude, especially at close range where a doubling may equate to mere inches. It stands to reason, therefore, that sleeping with an electric blanket or even an electric alarm clock on the bedside table would typically lead to much higher exposure than living near high-voltage transmission lines. Measured ELF data are published by many sources.

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