Here is a guest post on EMFs and sustainability sent to me by architect Simon Bialobroda.
In this article Simon addresses the following issues:
- how we live in a plugged in society
- how EMFs create environmental stress
- how environmental imbalances can lead to chronic illness
- how architects, engineers, scientists, developers, builders and planners, have a responsibility to provide healthy, intelligent, and common sense solutions to architecture and technology
- how prevention is the best medicine
- he offers some low EMF strategies for new homes
Below is Simon’s article:
We are a plugged in society that is dependent upon our technology and the way of life it offers. Every electrical gadget, appliance and communication device depends on power lines and cell phone towers which criss-cross and blanket the land, making our lives comfortable but also having a negative affect on our health. While we have become connected to and dependent upon technology, we risk becoming more and more separate and disconnected from Nature.
Our belief that we are separate from nature couldn’t be further from the truth. We are, in fact, an extension of nature and the creative living forces which shape the natural world we live in. In light of this fact, the Electro-Magnetic Field (EMF) issue is something we can no longer afford to ignore because it now affects all life and the balance of nature on this planet. Our man-made, artificial EMF’s or electro-magnetic fields coming from our modern technology are cutting us off from nature, affecting our bodies, physiologically.
The interesting thing about the EMF issue is that it is forcing us to become aware of the ecologically un-friendly and un-sustainable nature of the technological systems we have created. The most intelligent ecological principle that scientists, engineers, technologists and architects can put into practice when designing or building anything is Sustainability. Healthy, sustainable societies and communities are those where technology is balanced with nature, working for us and not against us.
EMF’s and Environmental Stress
In his book ‘Cradle to Cradle’, architect William McDonough seeks to strike a balance between technology and nature through a design process that acknowledges all things as connected; that the systems of commerce, building, society, and nature are really one system of integrated relationships and they are therefore, co-participants in the evolution of life.
Co-author of the book, Prescriptions for a Healthy House, Paula Baker-Laporte states “As an architect and author, I have been working with people who have been made ill by their built environments for over 16 years. As we increasingly pollute our environment with various forms of electro-smog, the number of people I speak to who are affected by this aspect of environmental pollution is definitely on the rise. I feel much compassion for those who are electro-magnetically sensitive because there is literally no safe place for many of them to go to and their condition is the least understood in a world hungry for faster and more convenient electronic wireless devices of all manner.”
In 1950, Ernst Hartmann, a German medical doctor, who also occupied himself with the highly respected art of dowsing, discovered the Hartmann lines, which have been proven scientifically to exist. The Hartmann lines are essentially grid lines of energy that run from north to south and from east to west. They are caused by the overuse of electricity. Hartmann lines are a form of EMF pollution and environmental stress many people are not aware of. Hartmann concluded that the worst place to spend a long time is over a Hartmann knot, where two Hartmann lines cross, as harmful radiation is intensified at this place.
Electricity, microwaves, cell phones, cell phone towers, power lines, and transformer boxes all form a wave or fog of negativity that surrounds us. Hartmann lines form when these energies combine with natural Earth frequencies to form a curtain that extends as far as 60 feet below and above the Earth. These lines are approximately 9 inches wide, but increase to 30 inches when the moon is full. There are no Hartmann lines — and no cancer — in the Amazon, according to author and dowser Cal Garrison, http://www.spiritofmaat.com/archive/jul3/garrison.htm, who goes on to say that “Ninety- nine percent of serious illnesses in cities are caused by Hartmann lines. When the Hartmann or geopathic stress lines are properly cleared, a dying tree will revive.”
Detrimental Environmental Imbalances Affect Our Physiology and Can Lead to Chronic Illness
Dr. Otto Bergman, a professor at the University of Vienna, in a study observed that limited exposure to such negative forces can significantly undermine the immune system. Fortunately, removing geopathic stress is not difficult to do. Reportedly, a majority of our population could eliminate the impact of geopathic stress from their living and working environments. Professional and most amateur dowsers are trained to detect and interact with these earth energies and clear them.
One of the major benefits of dowsing in clearing and neutralizing Hartmann lines around our homes and offices is that the cellular functioning and electrical impulses sent out by the nervous system within our human bodies is not interfered with.
In a Swedish government public information document there are recommendations against locating new homes and schools near existing electricity generating plants and propose that high magnetic fields in homes, schools and workplaces be limited.
The late Dr. Neil Cherry, (Environmental Health Studies. at Lincoln University, New Zealand) has persuaded The New Zealand Education Dept not to allow mobile phone towers to be situated near schools.
Architects Have A Responsibility To Provide Healthy, Intelligent, Common Sense Solutions
‘Cradle to Cradle’ states that one of the responsibilities before us as architects, engineers, scientists, developers, builders and planners, all involved in the designing and building of the man-made environment, is to act as early warning systems and provide healthy, intelligent, and common sense solutions to architecture and technology.
The American EPA internal report 1990 titled, Evaluation of the Potential Carcinogenicity of Electromagnetic fields, stated that “…the investigation found (enough) evidence of a causal link between EMF’s in domestic situations and the incidence of cancers, particular in children, to recommend that EMF’s should be included on the list of class 81 carcinogens…”
From Fife, Health Hazards of Electromagnetic Radiation: p.26: “Electromagnetic fields are electrical and magnetic fields that exist naturally – generated by the earth, sun, moon, planets and even our own bodies. These can be referred to bio-electromagnetic frequencies. The activity of every one of our 500 trillion cells is beautifully designed to be regulated and influenced by bio-electromagnetic fields, but has only so much resistance to artificial man-made disharmonic electromagnetic fields, before imbalances and disharmony occurs on a cellular level.”
Our Body’s Functions Are Geared To Natural Levels Of Radiation And EMFs From Our Surroundings
Many of our body’s functions, such as our metabolism, are geared to natural levels of radiation and electromagnetic energies from our surroundings. Pulsed magnetic field of
proper frequency, intensity and duration such as that from within our own planet and from sources such as the sun and moon actually provides energy for the cell to better
accomplish function and repair. Earth had a bio-electromagnetic pulse at approximately 8 Hertz or waves per second called the Schumann Resonance, which is below the infra-red area of very long wavelength. Our body’s bio-electric system pulses also at approximately 8 Hz. It is no wonder than that electrical devices operating at 50 hz can affect a variety of cell functions.
By studying the activity of electrolytes, properties of protein/amino acids as current carriers, effects of enzymes as proteins catalysts, and the electromagnetic effects of all electromagnetic and sound waves, heavy atoms, paramagnetic and diamagnetic atoms and molecules, and impurities of the environment on the living cells, it can be theoretically and experimentally shown that cancer is caused by biologically unfriendly, that is, artificial or man made types of increased electromagnetic activity of the cells. Oncologists are already beginning to understand this and prescribing that their patients minimize their exposure to high frequency EMF’s. By understanding the cause we can create a cure.
NASA Studies Mimic EMFs Of Nature
NASA in its 2003 landmark pulsed electromagnetic field study is now mimicking nature by incorporating the benefits of pulsed magnetic fields of proper frequencies in its Space Program and the environmental design space stations, so that astronauts, while sleeping, benefit from optimum cellular repair. Scientists understand the benefits of utilizing magnetic field density to enhance the effects of naturally occurring magnetic fields and create pulsed electro-magnetic fields that mitigate and reverse detrimental effects of higher frequency EMF exposure (microwave/cell phone, radio and 50-60 Hz power frequency electric and magnetic fields) while harmonizing the biomagnetic fields in the body back to homeostasis on a regular nightly basis so that the body can self repair.
Robert O. Becker M.D. (1923 – 2008) was the father of modern electro-medicine and the first vocal advocate against electro-pollution. Dr. Becker warned that EMF’s were damaging to health as early as the 1970’s. He reported on ‘The Electromagnetic Brain” in his 1985 book, The Body Electric – Electromagnetism and the Foundation of Life.
Becker’s research lead up to his 1990 book, Cross Currents – The Perils of Electropollution, in which he proved that the human body and immune system are being adversely affected by man-made electromagnetic fields from power lines, radar, microwaves, satellites, ham radios, video display terminals,…and even the electrical appliances in our home.
In the year 2000 Dr. Becker said, “I have no doubt in my mind that at the present time the greatest polluting element in the earth’s environment is the proliferation of electromagnetic fields.”
Prevention is the Best Medicine
Building biologist, Vicki Warren, past Executive Director of the Institute for Bau- Biologie and Ecology (IBE), a non-profit educational institution that integrates technical knowledge, biological understanding and ecological sensitivity to make healthy homes and workplaces is raising awareness on things such as EMF’s so we can protect ourselves and avoid health risks. She believes that improving the quality of your homes, which means making them more nature-friendly and safer from EMF’s, can dramatically enhance your health. Many architects are not aware that proper electrical home wiring is one of the easiest and best strategies for reducing the risks of EMF exposure.
Helpful strategies for new homes that homeowners can implement to minimize health effects from EMF’s exist. The majority of these strategies are simple, easy and low cost. Always ensure that your wiring is in compliance with all applicable codes. Virtually all wiring errors that create elevated EMF’s are NEC (National Electric Code) violations. It is common that inspections conducted by local code enforcement authorities will not detect the great majority of these problems. This can be avoided by using a licensed electrical contractor experienced with EMF’s. Always and on top of the list, if possible, is selecting a building site that is not in the proximity to nearby power lines, substations or as we shall see later and mentioned earlier not in the direct path of cell phone towers.
Strategies To Reduce High-Strength EMFs In New Home Construction
Here are some low EMF strategies for new homes:
1. Shielding the wires by running the wiring through flexible metal clad conduit that is grounded in and around bedrooms and living rooms. If the budget allows it is best to install metal clad wiring everywhere.
2. Twisting the wires (as an alternate to shielding): As long as the hot and the neutral wires remain close together, they tend to cancel out each other’s magnetic fields. If the hot and neutral wires are twisted around each other, they’ll neutralize each others fields even more. Because most of the wiring currently available isn’t pre-twisted, your electrician will have to twist the cables as he (or she) installs them.
3. Cut-off or “shut-off” switches to bedrooms.
4. A properly grounded electrical system and one that results in no net current or one in which the electricity flowing returns by the same path and does not form any loops that create excessive magnetic fields.
5. The electrical service supply and distribution or meter box should not be located on a wall that occupants will be spending extended time near e.g. workstations, bed-head walls.
6. Electric wires carrying strong currents are installed so they are not located in areas of your house where you plan to spend a great deal of time. These particular wires should be routed in such a way that they won’t pass near your bed or favorite reading chair, etc.
7. It is not a building requirement but any home that has a metal pipe water system needs to be electrically isolated from the street water main. A licensed plumber can carry out this work. This will eliminate elevated magnetic fields as a result of electrical current flow on metal water pipes. Existing homes can benefit from this as well.
In Our Own Backyard
Right in our own backyard, just west of Denver, the community of Lookout Mountain has been the focus of a study by Colorado State University and the University of Washington regarding the amount of RF or radio frequency being broadcast by the cell phone towers and the detrimental health impact it is having on the residents that live in the direct path of the broadcast towers beams. (See video What if there was a safer way to implement cell phone technology, www.electricsense.com, posted December 13, 2010).
Brain tumor statistics are already three times the average. When Ukrainian officials were given a tour of the towers they were shocked at the levels of RF the residents were experiencing. The FCC allows over 100 times more radiation than established in European countries and there are legislative plans in the U.S. to increase the levels. This has outraged the residents of Lookout Mountain. “Please take a lesson from what’s happened to us, please make sure it doesn’t happen in other communities. We are unprotected in this country. What’s it going to do to us, what’s it going to do to your children?”- attorney, Deb Carney, resident of Lookout Mountain.
Public awareness about electro-pollution sources such as wireless radiation is vital and with the new super wifi, called WIMAX, the U.S. is hoping to introduce it is more vital than ever. Many European countries are taking action to remove wifi from public places like libraries and schools. Super wifi will significantly increase radiation exposure as will utility company initiatives to install the wireless “smart meter” on homes. It would be more sensible to make sure that this technology is not carcinogenic in the long term before releasing it. Three cities in the State of Maine have already passed resolutions calling for a moratorium on “smartmeters”. Communities and cities that already have or are proposing super wifi and smart meters are ignorant of the EMF threat to human health.
EMFs And Sustainability: It’s up to Us
Robert Thurman, an influential writer as well as a Columbia University professor of Buddhist studies in a electromagnetichealth.org pod cast interview, “A Wisdom Tradition Perspective,” was asked When asked “What is interconnectedness?” he replied, “Industrial interconnectedness is not sustainable. If not for the health hazards associated with WIMAX it’ s good. We cannot deny the benefits but they must be weighed against the health problems.” Finally when asked, “What is freedom?” Thurman answered, “Carrying your office around with you all the time – a pain. No rest, no downtime. This is wrong or harmful type of industrial – technological connectedness. Workaholics love it but it is not good for health. Go both ways – technology/spirituality, develop healthy sustainable ways of becoming connected.”
We must shift to less harmful technologies that sustain life. That which sustains life is the true meaning of sustainability. A balance between nature and technology is the real solution, as is the choice between business as usual and sustainability. Are we to become an artificial people on an artificial planet? Those concerned with the environment and health are doing all they can to move the sustainability index upward to include the EMF issue.
A positive future scenario is one in which our technology transforms into a more humane one that works for us and not against us with science playing a major role; engineers and scientists taking on the responsibility of our health and that of the planet. In order to take this path we need to see technology with new eyes and its ability to serve mankind not only for its commercial benefits, but for the protection of all life on the planet.
The wisdom of nature can guide us along with our inner conscience, which will take a call to action from all of us that are concerned about the future well-being (and evolution) of life on this planet.