Dr. Magda Havas, PhD Environmental Studies Research Papers

ELF EMF

Posted on October 13, 2009

Below are publications on low frequency electromagnetic fields.

Havas, M., S. Shum, and R. Dhalla. 2004. Passenger exposure to magnetic fields on go-trains and on buses, streetcars, and subways run by the Toronto Transit Commission, Toronto, Canada. Biological Effects of EMFs, 3rd International Workshop, Kos, Greece, 4-8 October, 2004, pp.1065-1071. Click here for pdf.

Havas, M and J. Mackay. 2004. Street level magnetic fields within the City of Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Biological Effects of EMFs, 3rdInternational Workshop, Kos, Greece, 4-8 October, 2004, pp. 318-325. Click here for pdf.

Havas, M. 2004. Biological Effects of Low Frequency Electric and Magnetic Fields. Derek Clements-Croome (Ed.). 2002. Electromagnetism and Health, Taylor & Francis Books, Ltd., London, England. 25 pp. Click here for pdf.

Havas, M. 2002. Intensity of Electric and Magnetic Fields from Power Lines within the Business District of Sixty Ontario Communities. Science of the Total Environment 298:183-206.

Havas, M. and D. Hanna. 2000.Magnetic Fields in Peterborough Schools: the findings and strategies to reduce exposure. Presented to the Peterborough-Kawartha-Pine Ridge School Board, Health and Safety Committee, October 2000.

Havas, M. 2000.Biological effects of non-ionizing electromagnetic energy: A critical review of the reports by the US National Research Council and the US National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences as they relate to the broad realm of EMF bioeffects. Environmental Reviews 8:173-253. Click here for 80 page pdf.

Magnetic Fields on Public Transit

Posted on October 8, 2009

Havas, M., S. Shum, and R. Dhalla. 2004. Passenger Exposure to Magnetic Fields on Go Trains and on buses, streetcars, and subways run by the Toronto Transit Commission, Toronto, Canada. Biological Effects of EMFs, 3rd International Workshop, Kos, Greece 4-8 October, 2004, pp: 1065-1071.

Abstract

Magnetic flux density was measured in the passenger compartment of buses, streetcars, subways and GO-trains that move millions of commuters daily in the Greater Toronto Area. The highest magnetic fields were found in subways (mean 30 mG, range 3 to 100 mG), followed by streetcars (mean 30 mG, range 2 to 100 mG), buses (mean 11 mG, range 1 to 50 mG) and the GO-train (mean 2 mG, range 1.2 to 2.8 mG). The magnetic field increased with acceleration and deceleration and varied with seat location and this was most obvious in subways and streetcars. All seats on subways, 98% of seats in streetcars, 85% in buses, and 38% on the GO train exceeded 2 mG, the magnetic field associated with childhood leukemia. The magnetic fields in the Toronto public transit system are higher than in most residential and occupational settings and are cause for concern considering that several studies have reported increased incidence of breast cancer, brain tumors, and leukemia among transit employees. Commuters with electrical sensitivity may have difficulty using some forms of public transit and as many as 2% of the 1.4 million daily revenue passengers in the Greater Toronto Area may be electrically sensitive. If the magnetic fields obtained in this study are representative of the transit system, then steps need to be taken to reduce magnetic field exposure of both commuters and transit employees.

Magnetic Exposure of Passengers riding on Public Transit in Toronto

Magnetic Exposure of Passengers riding on Public Transit in Toronto

Click here for pdf.

Biological Effects of ELF Fields, Chapter London

Posted on October 8, 2009

Havas, M. 2004. Chapter 10. Biological Effects of Low Frequency Electromagnetic Fields. pp 207-232. In: D. Clements-Croome (Ed.). Electromagnetic Environments and Health in Buildings. Spon Press, London, 535 pp.

INTRODUCTION

The biological effects of low frequency electric and magnetic fields2 (EMF) have become a topic of considerable scientific scrutiny during the past two decades. The flurry of research in this area has contributed greatly to our understanding of the complex electromagnetic environment to which we are exposed but it has not abated the controversy associated with the harmful effects of electromagnetic fields. If anything it has polarized scientists into two camps, those who think exposure to low frequency electromagnetic fields causes health effects and those who do not. Those who believe there is a causal association are trying to find the mechanism responsible and those who question the concept of causality think this research is a waste of time and money.

Controversy is the norm when complex environmental issues with substantial economic and health consequences are scientifically scrutinized. Asbestos, lead, acid rain, tobacco smoke, DDT, PCBs (and more recently estrogen mimics) were all contentious issues and were debated for decades in scientific publications and in the popular press before their health effects and the mechanisms responsible were understood. In some cases the debate was scientifically legitimate, while in others interested parties deliberately confuse the issue to delay legislation (Havas et al 1984). The public, uncomfortable with scientific controversy and unable to determine the legitimacy of a scientific debate, wants a clear answer to the question, "Are low frequency electric and magnetic fields harmful?"

As a direct response to public concern three major reports, with multiple contributors with diverse expertise, have been published recently on the health effects of low frequency electric and magnetic fields: one by the U.S. National Research Council (1997), another by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (Portier and Wolfe, 1998), and the most recent, still in draft form, by the California EMF Program (2001). These influential reports attempt to make sense of the many, and sometimes contradictory, documents from different fields of study, related to the health effects of power-line frequency fields.

The purpose of the present paper is three-fold:

(1) To characterize human exposure to low frequency electromagnetic fields;
(2) To identify key biological markers and possible mechanisms linked to EMF exposure;
(3) To comment on the concept of scientific consistency and bias.

The question "Are low frequency electric and magnetic fields harmful?" is valid and timely. The answer is likely to have far reaching consequences, considering our growing dependence on electric power, computer technology, and wireless communication, and it is likely to be of interest to a large population using, manufacturing, selling, and regulating this technology.

Click here for pdf.

NIEHS Review Biological effects of non-ionizing EMFs

Posted on October 7, 2009

Havas, M. 2000. Biological effects of non-ionizing electromagnetic energy: A critical review of the reports by the US National Research Council and the US National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences as they relate to the broad realm of EMF bioeffects. Environ. Rev. 8: 173–253.

Abstract: Our dependence on electricity and our growing dependence on wireless telecommunication technology is causing this planet to be inundated with electromagnetic energy ranging in frequency from less than 60 Hz to greater than 2 GHz. Concerns expressed by the public, who live near power lines, cell phone antennas, or television and radio broadcast towers, have prompted two major reviews: one by the US National Research Council (NRC) and the other by the US National Institute of Environmental Health Science (NIEHS). Both of these documents deal with the biological and health effects primarily in a residential setting of extremely low frequency (ELF) or power frequency (50 and 60 Hz) fields. This paper critically evaluates the NRC and NIEHS documents. This evaluation includes both the content and the process leading to the final reports. It summarizes the information available on human exposure to electric and magnetic fields and identifies key biological markers and potential mechanisms that have been linked to electromagnetic exposure. It examines the conclusions of both documents in terms of the slightly broader realm associated with occupational exposure, non-power frequency fields, EMF hypersensitivity, and response of species other than humans. It presents some of the scientific controversy surrounding the question “Are low frequency electric and magnetic fields harmful?” and examines the concepts of bias and consistency in data interpretation. This paper also attempts to place the discussions about technologically generated fields (technofields) into a much broader perspective, a perspective that includes naturally occurring geofields and biofields.

Key words: leukemia, breast cancer, melatonin, calcium flux, extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields, radio frequency radiation.

EMF in 60 Ontario Communities

Posted on October 7, 2009

Havas, M. 2002. Intensity of electric and magnetic fields from power lines within the business district of 60 Ontario communities. The Science of the Total Environment 298:183-206.

Abstract

Electric and magnetic fields were measured during the summer of 1998 in south-central Ontario within the business district of 60 communities, ranging in size from 1000 to 2.3 million people. The mean magnetic flux density for the 60 communities was 5.8 mG. Communities with larger populations generally had higher magnetic flux densities than those with smaller populations. Communities with populations above 100 000, between 50 000 and 100 000, between 10 000 and 50 000, and less than 10 000 had mean magnetic flux densities of 14, 7, 4 and 2.4 mG, respectively. The city of Kingston, population 123 000, had the highest mean magnetic flux density (47 mG) while Burks Falls, population 1000, had the lowest (0.8 mG). More than 90% of the sites measured in Kingston, Toronto, Oshawa, London, Pickering Village and Bellville were above 2 mG, the lower limit associated with childhood cancers. In only one community (Burks Falls) were all of the measurements in the business district below 2 mG. Diurnal variations were detected in the magnetic field (but not in the electric field) with highest fields measured during business hours. For electric fields, the mean for the 60 communities was 3.2 V/m. Electric fields were generally low. Eight communities had maximum field strengths above 30 V/m and all of these were associated with overhead wires. In larger communities with underground distribution lines the electric fields were low or undetectable (-0.1 V/m) but the magnetic fields were often high. High electric fields were generally associated with low magnetic fields but the relationship was not sufficiently robust to enable prediction of one from the other. Data for the business district measured during business hours appear to be relatively consistent for both electric field and magnetic flux density over a two-year period. T wo classification schemes that can be used independently or in combination are proposed to facilitate community comparisons. One is based on the average intensity of the fields (FI) and the other on the percentage of measurements that exceed a critical limit (CL) that has biological significance. The critical value of 5 V/m is proposed for electric fields and 2 mG for magnetic fields. Both classification schemes use the traffic light analogy for exposure (green-low, amber-medium, red-high exposure) with an additional category (black) for very high exposure. This classification system facilitates information transfer and can easily be understood and used by the public, public utilities, policy makers, and those wanting to practice prudent avoidance.  2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

Havas 2002.  EMFs in 60 Ontario Communities

Havas 2002. EMFs in 60 Ontario Communities