A "non sequitur" is an inference or a conclusion which does not follow from the premises. We are calling this message a "non sequitur" to highlight what is probably the most exploited argument that is appearing in the EMF health hazard discussions. It is repeated so often and so routinely that its (insidious) distortion is now accepted as truth ... even by those who should know better (the media, for example).
"Science has not 'proved' that EMF can cause cancer ... so what are you worrying about ... it's safe." The latter clause may be said in various ways. It may be said explicitly. Or it may be "said" implicitly ... by the way the speaker presents his/her case. Or it might be "said" by the manner and behavior of the speaker who is often so much better informed than his/her audience. That is typically the case at these utility sponsored meetings where the goal is to reassure the audience rather then impart true knowledge.
However this "cancer has not been 'proved', don't worry" message is delivered ... it is a cruel distortion of what is actually known about the health effects of EMF.
Virtually all research that has taken place so far has come to the conclusion that these adverse health responses (from EMF exposure) probably do not occur instantaneously.
They appear to arise slowly over a long period of time and perhaps prolonged exposure. (e.g., 5 to 10 years in the case of leukemia or perhaps 30 to 40 years in the case of Alzheimer's.)
Consider this: the health cases that are coming to light in 1996 probably had their origin in the 1980s or before.
The damage that is being inflicted today we cannot see. We cannot even estimate it because a government that does not admit that "there's a problem" is not gathering the data that would provide us a basis for such an estimate.
Finally, add to the above picture the fact that the amount of EMF in the public's exposure environment is increasing each year at a (gross) rate of two-and-a-half to three percent per year compounded. That is based upon the average annual rate of growth in electricity production, so it must be a gross number. (Don't use it to estimate the increase in 'your' environment which is certain to be impacted by many other variables not addressed here.) It is provided to suggest the extent to which the EMF problem increases over time if we continue to avoid it.
Coincidentally, that was also about the time of the "explosion" in the construction of power plants and the transmission lines that move the power from the plant to the consumer.
When guru was working in the "PR" side of this business in the 1980s he heard and used a "PR" claim (He never knew how 'provable' the statement was, but it was widely used in the industry.) -- that the growth in the sale of electricity was up 500% in thirty years.
That growth was supposed to have occurred from some point in the 1950s to some point in the 1980s. However much of a "PR" exaggeration that statement may have been, it does not overstate by much the kind of growth rate an advanced "electronic" society may experience in its vulnerability to EMF damage.
Present growth rates are slower than they were then, but the recent "explosion" of electronics and electrical equipment of all types (not to overlook cellular phones) in the American home and workplace does not afford us much latitude to ignore the EMF problem.
We can be certain that our "EMF problem" will grow--and at a compounding rate--if we ignore it and do not begin to take measures to deal with it.
The next time someone says to you, "but cancer has not been 'proved'," think upon these matters...
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