What Makes Electricity Dirty?
First things first. Electrical devices generate electromagnetic energy. It results from interruptions in the normal 60 Hz alternating current. They lead to voltage spikes and frequency variations, forming an electromagnetic field. At an electrical grid base, the frequency of alternating current is 60 Hz, which can be termed as clean electricity. Overloading of the electrical grid base due to overuse of electricity, presence of high-frequency signals in the overloaded wires, and appliances that generate irregular wave forms, pollute this 'clean' electrical power, and make it 'dirty'.
Appliances that convert AC power to DC power, during the process of conversion, produce interruptions in the flow of electric current. Many modern electronic appliances are designed to pull electric power intermittently, rather than continuously, so as to achieve energy-efficiency. But this causes interruptions in the flow of electric current, further contributing to dirty electricity.
The increased use of electricity increases the need to ensure proper installation of neutral wires to achieve grounding of excess power. If not channeled properly to the Earth, it is emitted into the environment. Being of a high frequency, it contributes to electrical pollution.
Did You Know?
Stray voltage is a major cause of electrical pollution. It can be defined as the occurrence of electrical potential between two objects that are not supposed to have a voltage difference. It may be caused due to normal flow of current in a power system, as also due to faulty insulation. It was found to be a source of electrical pollution in the rural United States before the 1950s, and is one of the earliest detected factors contributing to dirty electricity.
Health Effects of Dirty Electricity
The Bioinitiative Report released in 2007 by an international group of scientists and health experts the world over, gives an account of the harmful health effects of exposure to electromagnetic fields. It says that, regular exposure to radiation associated with EMFs affects immune system functioning, and can cause cancers, heart disease, and dementia.
Exposure to EMFs causes the body cells to produce stress proteins that are otherwise produced as part of the protective mechanism against toxins or environmental stressors. This is possibly because the body considers EMFs as a threat. EMFs cause disruption in the communication between cells, thus affecting immune response, hormonal health, brain function, and sleep.
EMFs can cause the permeability of the blood-brain barrier to increase, which may lead to leakage of toxins from the blood into the brain, thus resulting in neuron damage. EMFs are known to increase the levels of amyloid beta into the brain. Amyloid beta refers to peptides that are the main constituents of amyloid plaques found in patients with Alzheimer's.
Electromagnetic waves lead to an increased efflux of calcium ions from the brain tissue, which may cause brain damage. Changes in the calcium ion levels are also linked to heart problems and cancers. Due to heavy exposure to dirty electricity, cell membranes may be locked in an inactive state, whereby, toxins cannot leave the cells. This is known as oxidative stress, which poses a severe risk of genetic damage. It is also linked with autism.
EMFs lead to reduced levels of melatonin and raised levels of cortisol. Since melatonin is a hormone that aids sleep and acts as an antioxidant, its reduced levels lead to sleep disorders as well as neurological, cardiac, and reproductive problems. Cortisol being a stress hormone, an increase in its levels can cause sleep disorders and neurological problems.
Dr. Samuel Milham is a physician-epidemologist who has researched on the health effects of electricity and EMFs, for almost 30 years. In his book Dirty Electricity: Electrification and the Diseases of Civilization, he says that, health conditions such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and even suicidal tendencies can be attributed to increased EMF exposure. He writes that, dirty electricity can also lead to health problems like infertility, Alzheimer's disease, and multiple sclerosis.
Dr. Samuel Milham, who has worked on the detrimental health effects of EMFs, and Mr. Lloyd Morgan, an engineer and active member of the Bioelectromagnetics Society, researched on a group of people at the La Quinta Middle School in California, to find the link between EMF exposure and cancers. They concluded that 64% of the instances of cancer could be linked to dirty electricity. They proved that cancer wasn't associated with the 'clean' 60 Hz fields, and that dirty electricity was the culprit.
Mr. Lloyd Morgan, an engineer working in the field of health effects of dirty electricity, found a direct link between blood sugar levels and dirty electricity. A research by Dr. Magda Havas, a professor at Trent University, Canada, showed that Type I diabetics required less insulin in environments where dirty electricity was less, and that blood sugar levels of those with Type II diabetes increased when exposed to electrical pollution.
Dr. Magda Havas, a researcher and professor at the Trent University Canada, studied the blood sugar data for diabetics in a long-term care facility in Canada and a clinic in Japan, where measures were taken to curb dirty electricity. Reduced exposure to dirty electricity had a positive effect on the blood sugar levels of diabetics.
According to Dr. Olle Johansson, a researcher at the Karolinska Institute, EMFs cause the immune system to release inflammatory substances, thus linking dirty electricity with asthma and other allergies. The inflammation caused thus, can lead to organ damage, cancers, and autoimmune diseases. Immune system function may be abnormally accelerated, and then suppressed, due to EMFs.
Dr. Magda Havas studied how dirty electricity affects behavior in children, for which she surveyed schools in Ontario, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. It was found that, reducing the levels of dirty electricity led to improved behavior, better concentration levels, and a more active participation in students.
That's evidence enough to make us realize how harmful dirty electricity is. A constant and heavy exposure to electromagnetic radiation is harming our health. Simple steps to reduce this exposure include, cutting down the use of devices that emit electromagnetic radiation, and switching them off when not in use. The use of dirty electricity filters could also help. Find a solution to electrical pollution, and walk your way to good health.