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Author Topic: What are the biological effects of electric fields?  (Read 3851 times)

Offline cheryl j

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I have an acquaintance who has a fear of electricity. She claimed that the electric fields from the wiring of the house where she was staying made her ill. Personally, I think it is a bit of a phobia, as she has several other somewhat obsessive fears. I would probably never attempt to convince her otherwise. Never the less, it occurred to me that I actually do not honestly know what happens when electrons move in a copper wire, and if it generates a field of any kind that effects anything in the vicinity, including living things. I very vaguely remember Maxwell's experiments with coiled wires and magnets from physics class in 1981.

...Please phrase all topics as a question... mod
« Last Edit: 11/03/2013 10:21:55 by evan_au »


 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: effects of electricity
« Reply #1 on: 10/03/2013 19:20:54 »
I've been "tickled" by 110V several times, and although it startles me, it hasn't killed me yet.

I don't think there is any evidence of ill effects from household wires.  They could potentially emit a very weak magnetic field with current flow, or radio waves.  But, most of this is weak.

If the house is making her sick, consider things like mold or bad sheetrock.

Getting away from electricity would likely mean moving to a mountain cabin with kerosene, fire, and candles, which are likely far more "toxic" than the electrical wires.
 

Offline RD

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Re: effects of electricity
« Reply #2 on: 10/03/2013 20:18:46 »
No evidence that "Electromagnetic sensitivity" is real ...
Quote
The majority of provocation trials to date have found that self-described sufferers of electromagnetic hypersensitivity are unable to distinguish between exposure to real and fake electromagnetic fields, and it is not recognized as a medical condition by the medical or scientific communities.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electromagnetic_hypersensitivity

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electromagnetic_sensitivity#Scientific_evidence_and_etiology

It is possible that people concerned may actually have an organic illness which they are wrongly attributing to electromagnetic radiation from radio/TV/Cell-phones.
« Last Edit: 10/03/2013 20:27:56 by RD »
 

Offline yor_on

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Re: effects of electricity
« Reply #3 on: 10/03/2013 21:58:50 »
I'm not sure, if cellphones measurably change the way blood paths inside the cranium act then it is measurable. If it is measurable then there is a possibility of harm. A cell phone has a electromagnetic field twenty million times stronger than the natural back ground radiation close to the body. When you consider such things you need to look to all electromagnetic fields existing, including wire less etc, in the room. But we will see whether it is statistically over longer times, if so, it should be related to a increase, in for example cancer. The problem with that is that it should be very hard to put a blame on anything specific, although just cancer is very related to radiation of different kinds. WHO went out with a warning that cell phones might cause cancer 2011, meaning that they have changed view from right out laughing at it, to finding it a possibility. there is also a severe debate over what cause cancer, if low radiation as from the natural background radiation can lead to it or not. http://www.ox.ac.uk/media/news_releases_for_journalists/120611.html

You also need to consider the amount of time exposed to a radiation, a experiment expecting people to 'feel' it over a short time period may tell you nothing, whereas a experiment over a year might give another result.

The *** presenting us with atom bombs, and 'a lasting peace of terror balance' also gave us a increasing 'natural back ground radiation', not so 'natural' any more. http://jnci.oxfordjournals.org/content/88/11/727.full.pdf

We have only ourselves to blame of course, and those back rooms where 'natural born leaders' make their real deals.
We are a exciting race :)

But no, if she don't fill her house with all sorts of electric equipment, making it unable to walk inside, I think she can rest easy. But a kid with a room filled with electric stuff, wire less, using the cellphone 24/7 may be at risk, over a life. The rest of it we can't avoid any way.

 
 

Offline Bored chemist

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Re: effects of electricity
« Reply #4 on: 10/03/2013 22:05:48 »
EM fields might possibly make you ill.
Fear will definitely make you ill.
Which is the more likely cause of her problems?

"You also need to consider the amount of time exposed to a radiation, a experiment expecting people to 'feel' it over a short time period may tell you nothing, "
If they said they could feel it over a short time period, but they couldn't, then they were wrong; no matter what any long term experiment might say.
 

Offline yor_on

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Re: effects of electricity
« Reply #5 on: 10/03/2013 22:22:32 »
Sure, just pointed out that what they think they feel may have some cause, in some cases. The difference being that what they think cause their illness, is something they expect themselves to be able to 'measure directly', whereas in reality it could be something building up over time in their bodies. To me it's like thinking that if someone swear she 'saw it'' then the case is solved. That's wrong, we humans are notoriously bad as eyewitnesses as proved in several experiments. Doesn't stop the courts from trusting them though :)
 

Offline Pmb

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Re: effects of electricity
« Reply #6 on: 11/03/2013 02:22:09 »
I have an acquaintance who has a fear of electricity. She claimed that the electric fields from the wiring of the house where she was staying made her ill. Personally, I think it is a bit of a phobia, as she has several other somewhat obsessive fears. I would probably never attempt to convince her otherwise. Never the less, it occurred to me that I actually do not honestly know what happens when electrons move in a copper wire, and if it generates a field of any kind that effects anything in the vicinity, including living things. I very vaguely remember Maxwell's experiments with coiled wires and magnets from physics class in 1981.
I did some calculations on High tension wires a while back and those wires carry much more current and voltage than you can find in your house. The field inside your body, which is mostly water, becomes greatly reduced when it gets inside cells so much so that you can ignore them for all practical purposes.
 

Offline RD

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Re: effects of electricity
« Reply #7 on: 11/03/2013 02:23:57 »
...  we will see whether it is statistically over longer times, if so, it should be related to a increase, in for example cancer ...



http://info.cancerresearchuk.org/cancerstats/types/brain/incidence/
 

Offline evan_au

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Re: What are the biological effects of electric fields?
« Reply #8 on: 11/03/2013 10:35:46 »
Quote
A cell phone has a electromagnetic field twenty million times stronger than the natural back ground radiation close to the body.

A cellphone has an average power output of about 0.1W (less if it is closer to the base station). Maybe an average of 1 cellphone per square meter in a city.
Sunlight has an intensity of about 800W per square meter = natural background radiation.

It seems to me that natural radiation is far more intense, and is a proven carcinogen (causing melanoma, etc).
On the other hand, WHO merely reconfirmed that there is no proof that cellphones cause cancer (and no proof that they don't, either), so they will keep on monitoring in case some large future epidemiological studies are strong enough to reveal some subtle effect.

It is conceivable that by exciting biological molecules with exactly the right frequencies in the right sequence, you could trigger some chemical reaction to occur differently than in "normal" biology. However, today's mobile phones use a wide spread of frequencies which are unlikely to trigger any specific chemical reaction.
 

Offline yor_on

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Re: What are the biological effects of electric fields?
« Reply #9 on: 11/03/2013 12:33:55 »
Just to point out what I wrote I'll cite my view once more. "But no, if she don't fill her house with all sorts of electric equipment, making it unable to walk inside, I think she can rest easy. But a kid with a room filled with electric stuff, wire less, using the cellphone 24/7 may be at risk, over a life. The rest of it we can't avoid any way."

Please notice 'over a life'. And it's only through statistics we will be able to track it, as I think. There has been a lot of stuff in human history polluting our environment, from smog, to radon, to using lead as ones utensils. And that's the end of it as far as I'm concerned, we've had this debate before the WHO changed policy, and my mind was the same then as now.

 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: What are the biological effects of electric fields?
« Reply #10 on: 11/03/2013 13:13:41 »
And turn off that electronic gizmo that buzzes at some ungodly early time every morning!!!
 

Offline JP

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Re: What are the biological effects of electric fields?
« Reply #11 on: 11/03/2013 22:45:47 »
Please notice 'over a life'. And it's only through statistics we will be able to track it, as I think. There has been a lot of stuff in human history polluting our environment, from smog, to radon, to using lead as ones utensils.

The thing is that we've gotten good at figuring out pollutants that have a big effect, but figuring out small effects that take a lifetime to accumulate is extremely difficult. 
 

Offline techmind

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Re: What are the biological effects of electric fields?
« Reply #12 on: 14/03/2013 23:15:57 »
Apart from giving you a tingling sensation on the skin or a hairs-standing-on-end/buzzing experience, high *electric* fields are unlikely to do much to you - not least because the high electrical conductivity of the body means the *electric* fields go to practically zero within the body. *Magnetic* fields (e.g. from *current-carrying*) cables will penetrate the body, and will cause currents to flow within the body - which at high enough levels (well above what you'd normally find in any domestic or business environment) will do harm. The ICNIRP Guidelines explain the nature of the known interactions and the consequent derivation of "acceptable" exposure limits. Generally the acceptable limits are still a factor of ten or more below the levels proven to have some detectable averse effect.

Recommended limits for the general public are set more conservatively than for "occupational exposure" on the basis that those who are occupationally exposed to high fields are more likely to be aware of any symptoms and report, and/or be monitored.

http://www.icnirp.de/documents/emfgdl.pdf

For effects from 50/60Hz mains wiring and appliances, in practice you're far more likely to approach the magnetic-field "limit" (e.g. from leaking field from transformers and power-supplies and electric motors) than the electric-field limit.
When I looked into all this 5 years ago, I discovered that the most likely way you'll ever approach the electric field limit is standing on the edge of a train-platform with 25kV overhead electrification above the tracks.
« Last Edit: 14/03/2013 23:24:27 by techmind »
 

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Re: What are the biological effects of electric fields?
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