Guru was recently given a book. Its title is the "subject" of today's message.
The giver said, "Roy, you'd better read this book. It is about the effects of some chemicals on hormone production and behavior. It sounds like some of the things EMF researchers are saying about the effects of EMF on hormones."
The authors (Theo Colborn, Dianne Dumanoski, and John Peterson Myers) are writing about "birth defects, sexual abnormalities, and reproductive failures in wildlife" which they attribute to "synthetic chemicals that mimic natural hormones, upsetting normal reproductive and developmental processes." They go on to suggest that these same harmful processes are at work in the human population -- affecting among other things our reproductive capabilities as a species.
Perhaps the most impressive piece of information they provide concerns the fact that these adverse consequences caused by the individual chemicals are reinforced ("synergistic") when the environment brings these chemicals together in combination rather than separately. (This same effect has also been suggested by some in the case of EMF exposure.)
As guru understands it, the biological mechanisms described in OUR STOLEN FUTURE are not quite the same mechanisms that have been theorized to be at work in the EMF scenarios -- where it is thought that EMF is having a disruptive influence upon "normal" hormone production and performance (as in the case of melatonin, for example). But the similarities are worth noting.
In the process of noting those similarities, we may also come to a better understanding of the nature of the EMF health hazard.
"Hormones are exceptionally potent chemicals that operate at concentrations so low that they can be measured only by the most sensitive analytical methods. When considering hormones such as estradiol, the most potent estrogen, forget parts per million or parts per billion. The concentrations are typically parts per trillion, one thousand times *lower* than parts per billion. One can begin to imagine a quantity so infinitesimally small by thinking of a drop of gin in a train of tank cars full of tonic. One drop in 660 tank cars would be one part in a trillion; such a train would be six miles long." (p. 40)
To give this aspect an even sharper dimension, ... University of Missouri biologist Frederick vom Saal, who is doing research on some of the same biological mechanisms and who is a member of a scientific panel scheduled to make recommendations to the Congress on this subject, has been quoted in the ST. LOUIS POST DISPATCH (April 8, 1996, p 17B) as saying: "Whether you're a rat or a human, it takes one-tenth of a *trillionth* of a gram [of sex hormone] to stimulate cells. That is a level of sensitivity that is really mind-boggling."
What vom Saal and the zoologists who authored "Stolen Future" are telling us is that ANYTHING which disrupts normal hormone production and performance can be a serious health issue!
*EMF inhibits the normal production of melatonin by the pineal gland.*
Guru first learned of the potentially harmful effects of EMF upon hormone activity at the "EMF Contractors Annual Review of Research" meeting in Savannah, Georgia in the fall of 1993. At that meeting, Dr. Russel Reiter (U. of Texas, Health Science Center, San Antonio) presented a powerful lecture proposing that the normal "healthy" production of the hormone melatonin was being inhibited (reduced) by exposure to EMF, particularly if one is sleeping at night in an EMF field.
Melatonin is produced by the pineal gland (situated at the base of the brain stem) mostly at night while one is asleep.
According to Dr. Reiter, the possible connection to certain cancers derives from the fact that melatonin is a potent protector against DNA damage and cancer in all cells. It "absorbs" the free radicals which can do the damage. It is thus an important part of -- or contributor to -- the immune system.
But melatonin -- the principal regulater of body cycles -- performs many other important "good health" functions as well. Even if it does not prove to be "the cancer link," the disrupted melatonin production caused by EMF (no longer a matter of much dispute), should be an issue of some concern.
Russel Reiter was not the first to suggest that reduced levels of melatonin as a result of EMF exposure was causing problems. As early as in 1987, Dr. Richard Stevens of Battelle Laboratories in Richland, Washington, first advanced the thesis that the EMF/melatonin phenomenon might be the explanation for the increasing numbers of breast cancers occurring in women. ("Electric Power Use and Breast Cancer: A Hypothesis." AMERICAN JOURNAL OF EPIDEMIOLOGY 125 : pp. 556-561.) Guru believes that line of inquiry is still being pursued. (Would like to hear from someone on this??)
But melatonin is not the only hormone thought to be subject to "disruption" by EMF exposure. Both the "male" and the "female" hormones, testosterone and estrogen, have been theorized to be subject to disruption by EMF exposure. Other hormones, like serotin (regulates the muscles of the heart and vascular system), insulin, and parathyroid (regulates cell growth) probably should be subjected to intense study as well.
Remember ... that alternating current magnetic field is present THROUGHOUT THE BODY when one is being exposed. Any and all of the various glands which produce the body's hormones could be impacted.
Hormone disruption is probably an explanation for many of the various (and numerous) *electrosensitivity* complaints which are being reported. Many of those symptoms appear to be subject to hormone influence.
In both cases, one is talking about an extremely delicate balance in the endocrine (or "hormone") system. Outside of the brain and nervous system, there is probably none other in the "cascade" of the human health network that is more far reaching -- total -- in its impact. In fact, as Ellen Sugarman wrote in her 1992 book (WARNING: The Electricity Around You May Be Hazardous To Your Health): "The central nervous system is a logical place to look for electromagnetic bioeffects, because its functions are controlled by electrochemical phenomena -- interactions of electrical charges and chemical neurotransmitters (*hormones* that carry messages from the brain to the cells)." (p. 214.)
The amount of hormone disruption, the change -- or "alteration in the norm" -- that is necessary to result in harm is so "infinitesimally small," ("one in a trillion") as the authors of STOLEN FUTURE say it ... that it does become easier to understand why the equally "infinitesimally small" EMF signal *is doing the damage* the epidemiologists are finding in their studies. It is equally understandable why the biologists are having such difficulty in explaining the mechanism.
"At the moment, there are more questions than answers about the impact of hormone-disrupting chemicals on humans.
"Even if damage is apparent and documented, however, it will never be possible to establish a definative cause-and-effect connection with contaminants in the environment. Although we know that every mother in the past half century has carried a load of synthetic chemicals and exposed her children in the womb, we do not know what combination of chemicals any individual child was exposed to, or at what levels, or whether he or she was hit during critical periods in their development when relatively low levels might have significant lifelong effects. This is a common and inescapable dilemma in trying to assess the delayed effects of environmental contamination. ...."
"For these reasons, those who demand such definitive 'proof' before reaching a judgment are certain to be waiting an eternity. ..."
"The tobacco industry disingenously used arguments about the lack of a proven cause-and-effect link between smoking and lung cancer in humans, knowing full well it is impossible to obtain such evidence in humans without subjecting them to controlled laboratory experiments. But after delays, health officials have moved ahead with warnings on cigarettes, limits on cigarette advertising, and efforts to stop exposure to cigarette smoke in public places. ...."
"It will take a similar approach to tackle the problem of hormone disruptors, but it will be vastly more difficult than untangling the web of cause-and-effect for tobacco. Given the nature of the contamination, it is important to recognize at the outset that those responsible for safeguarding human health will have to act on information that is less than perfect.
"As we wrestle with the question of how much chemical contaminants are contributing to the trends and societal patterns we see -- in breast cancer, prostate disease, infertility, and learning disabilities -- it is important to keep one thing in mind. Scientists keep finding significant, often permanent effects at surprisingly low doses. The danger we face is not simply death and disease. By disrupting hormones and development, these synthetic chemicals [EMF???] may be changing who we become. They may be altering our destinies." (pp. 196-97.)
Guru recommends that you read the book OUR STOLEN FUTURE. It will provide some very useful insights to the EMF scenario as well.
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