FEB - The Swedish Association for the ElectroSensitive

EMFguru #7-97, Quality of Measurements/Transients

Hi everybody:

The recent discussion (summarized in the message forwarded below) about "measurements" and "standards" of whatever it is that we should be measuring has been very useful (in guru's opinion) -- not because it has provided any answers. It hasn't. But because it highlights the HUB of the problem.......our uncertainty about which aspect (or aspects) of EMR is doing the damage.

We measure the magnetic field because that is the easiest (and cheapest) alternative, but we know that the other aspects (electrical field, transients, ground current, etc.) may be more important. Unfortunately, most of our research has been conducted with regard to the magnetic field ... for approximately the same reasons.

Those of you who are old enough may remember that there was a time when the same kind of argument took place with regard to the hazards of tobacco. "What should we be measuring?" ... "What was doing the damage?"... "What should we take our precautions against?" ... mused the experts. The nicotine? Tar? Additives? The search for an alternative explanation that would take "tobacco" off the hook was extensive, serious and lasted a long time.

In the end, science simply had to admit that whatever it was that was "to blame," it was tobacco, itself (the chewing as well as the smoking of tobacco), that had to be stopped. For a long time ... as we searched "through the trees" ... we failed to see the forest! ... Finally. we admitted:
you solve the tobacco problem by eliminating the use (consumption) of tobacco!

I believe that essentially the same answer awaits us at "the end of the line" (yes, a pun) on the power line problem.

We don't know 'exactly' what is "causing" the childhood leukemia, but we do know that proximity to the lines is the associative factor. DISTANCE, in the end, is likely to be be the necessary component of a successful public policy for protecting our children from the leukemia hazard ... whatever may ultimately prove to be the causative EMR aspect!

[As the (epidemiological) linkage between RF and MW antenna transmissions and leukemia matches or begins to match the linkage we now have with power lines ... then, of course, we should make substantially the same judgment there, too.]

As a surrogate for determining "safe distance," the milligauss readings on our gauss meters as read by the technicians may work as a guide, but we should not (scientifically) fool ourselves that because we have a lowered magnetic field ... we are thereby protected and have solved the problem. Consider the following...


At the Durham meeting which examined the results of in-vitro research into the EMF impact on cells and hormones, guru was pleasantly surprised (and pleased) to hear the many comments about the "transient problem." There seemed to be very nearly a consensus that (difficult as it is ... admittedly) we MUST somehow learn how to examine what the transient effects are (or may be) on human cells and tissue. It is simply a huge gap in our research efforts.

This message (paraphrased) was delivered at the "summing-up" session of the whole symposium by three of the seven speakers on the platform: Dr. Indira Nair, Dr. Louis Slesin, and (most importantly, in guru's mind) by Mr. Paul Zweiacker of Texas Utilities. Again, we paraphrase Mr. Zweiacker's comment: "If I had to tell my CEO what the problem is ... I believe I would point to the transients."

That has been guru's 'feeling' for some time. Perhaps there is a reason why two "utility men" would come to the same conclusion. We know 'at least a little bit' about those "dam spikes that appear on our lines from time to time." We know that they cause the current to fluctuate. We know that they are of high energy levels (almost like pulses), much higher than the normal sinusoidal wave. We know that they disturb sensitive equipment which need a smooth steady current -- like computers! Or like those little time systems in our VCRs, which blink on and off once they have had their steady current disrupted.

Keep in mind ... the transients have a much closer association with the electrical field than the magnetic field. We know that they appear in greatest number (and greatest energy levels and with the most harmonics) during an electrical storm!!! We know that a "docile as a kitten" electric line can be turned into a "raging lion" of transient spikes during an electrical storm.......

Now consider ... IF it is the transients that are doing the most serious damage ... and IF it is the combination of transients and electrical storms that maximizes the probability of that damage ... then EMF readings in mG taken by our gauss meters may be almost irrelevant!?!

What we need to be looking at is the transients and the factors that influence the transients! Not all electrical lines -- even though they may be of the same voltage and current and "look alike" -- have the same transient characteristics..........Those transient characteristics (as I understand it) are determined by an entirely different set of determinants which include (but not limited to) the generation system, the line construction, the materials etc., in addition to the weather, of course, which may be the most important determinant of all.

Stop and think about it ... the weather factor could explain some of the (apparent) differences in our epidemiological studies from region to region.......Temperature, I believe, is also a factor in the stimulation and strength of transient activity......Transients occur more readily on hot, humid days and (I'm told) in the coldest climates......We simply need to know a whole lot more about the interaction of electricity with the various environments where people live???

Electricity may be the AGENT of harm ... but not necessarily the catalyst!!!!.......

With the study of transients beginning, folks, we may be on the verge of opening an important "new" chapter in our EMF saga...........

It is better to light a single candle ...
than to curse the darkness!


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