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Rocky Mountain Environmental Health Association

Electromagnetic Sensitivity Resources

Book Review - Dirty Electricity, by Samuel Milham

This book is a summary of some 50 years of detailed, rigorous scientific research into some of the health consequences of the electrification of our society.

The author is retired medical epidemiologist who starts out with a brief autobiographical summary of his background and training which led him to emphasize research into the biological effects of long term, low level EMR exposures. (The author uses the term EMF; EMR is preferred, since this term is used in much of the technical literature. Plus, it emphasizes that we are talking about a four-dimensional presence, i.e., including time, which is probably the main factor that causes much of the biological problems seen in these studies.)

The early work by the author was at the New York State Department Health Department where it was demonstrated that a folic acid dietary deficiency was involved in spina bifida, anencephalus (absence of part of the brain in newborns) and was instrumental in getting folic acid into our diet.

An early leukemia investigation in the Rome, New York area, came up with a strong suspicion that environmental electrical exposure was somehow involved. Another mystery about leukemia was the fact that there is a peak in the disease at ages two through four, that showed up in both the United Kingdom and the United States. It later came out of the author's studies that this peak is probably caused by some aspect of residential electrification.

A subsequent study looked at leukemia and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma rates among people who worked in an aluminum reduction plant. That was a work environment where people were routinely exposed to the fluctuating magnetic fields from huge electrical currents (as much as 60,000 amperes). He encountered a "missing data" problem where the company claimed personnel records that would have permitted a rigorous study were lost. It turned out that the records had been saved by a proverbial "little old lady" in the personnel office and the study showed increased mortality from a variety of cancers.

A follow-up study several years later on the same employes was obstructed by company managers. The author ended up getting blood samples on his own initiative and showed that those workers had serious immune dysfunction problems that put them at risk for leukemia.

During this study, the author encountered industry influence. An English epidemiologist, Sir Richard Doll, happened to be in the area and it turned out Doll had been retained to neutralize the author's research. It came out later, that Sir Doll was on permanent retainer by Monsanto for some twenty years at $1500 per day.

Another study looked at leukemia among Amateur Radio Operators (Hams). A preliminary study, using public records, showed a leukemia increase. Attempts to get more comprehensive data was rejected by the main professional group most hams belong to (ARRL). As far as the studies could be carried, it was established that mortality increased as hams moved up in the license classes - i.e., implying that they were exposed to more EMR.

A serendipitous finding was that steel belted radial tires emit unusually high magnetic fields when the tires are spinning. That study also showed that high-end meters, commonly used in public health studies, do not detect fields below 30 Hz and above 300 Hz - the common dirty electricity frequencies.

The author was involved in studies that showed EMR exposure is linked to male breast cancer among marines at Camp Lejuene. Notification to the responsible parties was ignored.

Increased cancer incidence and mortality is now being reported among firefighters. Firefighters are routinely exposed to serious EMR fields in their work. The International Association of Fire Fighters now has a resolution banning cell phone towers near fire stations.

The author looked at claims of a cluster of cancers among teachers in a middle school in La Quinta, California where an "expert" repeatedly told the teachers that there was no cancer cluster and that the incidence of cancer was "normal." It turned out the expert had never talked to any of the teachers involved. A written request to the school to do further investigation was ignored and the author was eventually told his request would never be answered. The author enlisted several teachers to make dirty electricity surveys of the buildings and it came out that the buildings where the most cancers occurred also had the highest levels of dirty electricity. The State epidemiologist eventually admitted to a melanoma excess, but claimed that the desert where the school is located is "a sunny place."

The book goes on with many examples of the discovery of significant linkages between many types of cancer and dirty electricity, and, sadly, explicit efforts by many responsible parties to impede or cover up the findings or failed to protect the people to whom they were responsible.

It is unfortunate that the author omitted any mention of the health condition Electromagnetic HyperSensitivity (EHS) which is a separate and distinct health condition where people have an in immediate and sometimes severe reaction to any EMR exposure. The health condition of EHS has been verified as long ago as the early 1990's with careful research by people who understood the many nuances of EMR exposure and provided accommodation of pre-existing illnesses, such as multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS). EHS has been recognized as an ADA-protected disability. Current research says some three to as much as seven percent of the American population has medical cause to comprehensively avoid exposure to electromagnetic radiation and dirty electricity exposure amounts to a serious aggravation. We hope this omission will be corrected in future printings.

Author's web site -

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Revised '25-Aug-2013,15:24:02'