Dr. Magda Havas, PhD Environmental Studies Research Papers

Testimony TV Antenna North Carolina

Posted on October 10, 2009

Havas, M. 2005. Health Effects Associated with Radio Frequency Radiation. Expert Tetstimony prepared by Magda Havas, Courtesy Public Hearing for Z-01-05, Exhibit for Mt. Ulla, North Carolina Hearing, October 13, 2005.


Our use of radio frequency radiation started with the invention of the radio that allowed wireless communication at great distances. During World War II, the higher end of the radio frequency spectrum was used for radar. After the war, television and then mobile telecommunications technology (i.e. pagers) became popular followed by the most recent revolution of the cellular phone industry.

Today, more than at any other time in history, this planet is being inundated by radio frequency radiation from man-made sources. The electromagnetic energy is used to send voice and visual messages within frequency bands that range from thousands (kilo-Hertz, kHz) to billions (giga-Hertz, GHz) of cycles per second. Currently there is no international consensus on exposure guidelines, which range orders of magnitude in various countries around the world.

Exposure to radar installations was a concern in the 1950s until the 1980s and interest in this area has been reignited because of our growing reliance on cell phones and the need for more antenna and base stations. Research on the health effects associated with exposure to radio frequency radiation from antennas is at an early stage of development. However, results from many of the studies that have examined adverse health effects for residents living near antennas are alarming. For my expert testimony I propose to introduce scientific studies of exposure to broadcast antennas (both TV and radio), military radio frequency installations, mobile phone antennas, as well as other studies that indicate adverse health effects of radio frequency radiation. I also propose to introduce a medical condition, known as electrohypersensitivity (EHS) that is becoming increasingly common and appears to be related to exposure to radio frequency radiation (RFR) at levels well below existing guidelines.

Click here for pdf.

Ground Current Bill 154, Ontario

Posted on October 10, 2009

Legislative Assembly of Ontario re: Bill 143, Oct 19 2006. page 1/11
Thursday 19 October 2006



Mrs. Van Bommel moved second reading of the following bill:

Bill 143, An Act respecting ground current pollution in Ontario / Projet de loi 143, Loi concernant la pollution causée par le courant tellurique en Ontario.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Mrs. Van Bommel has moved second reading of Bill 143. Pursuant to standing order 96, you have up to 10 minutes.

Mrs. Maria Van Bommel (Lambton-Kent-Middlesex): Private members' time is set aside for MPPs to address issues that are of particular interest to themselves and to their constituents. My private member's bill is intended to advance the understanding of ground current pollution and to establish a time frame and process for remediation.

As a farmer, I've been long aware of this issue for probably well over 30 years, but it wasn't until I met a constituent whose life was completely changed and affected by ground current pollution that I started to really understand the impact that it has on all Ontarians. Should the Ontario Legislative Assembly pass this private member's bill, it is my hope that we will see a special focus on the state of our electrical infrastructure and the important role that it plays in the overall delivery of safe energy to our homes and to our businesses.

We are not the only jurisdiction to experience this type of pollution. The hazards resulting from ground currents have been recognized as a problem in both Canada and the United States and, as a matter of fact, right across the world. New York State spent $100 million in one year to clean up electrical pollution.

To understand the problem, it is important to appreciate what ground current pollution is and its impact on humans and animals. Many people refer to this phenomenon as stray voltage, transient voltage or tingle voltage. Regardless of what we call it, the impact on farms, manufacturing and humans is demonstrable.

Note: Dr. Havas helped to draft Bill 143.

Click Bill 143 for a pdf of Bill 143.

Breast Cancer and EMFs

Posted on October 10, 2009

Havas, M. Breast Cancer and Occupational Exposure to Electromagnetic Fields. Report to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal, November 18, 2008, 20 pp.

On October 28, 2008, Mr. Gary Newhouse asked me to address the following questions:

1. What is the current level of evidence that EMF and/or ELF is cancer causing or promoting, with particular reference to breast cancer? Please explain.

2. What is your opinion on this comment from Dr. M. Bitran found at page 14 of Exhibit 20:

Comprehensive reviews of epidemiological and laboratory studies carried out by authoritative organizations have consistently concluded that the evidence does not substantiate a cause-effect link between ELF magnetic fields and cancer. Recent epidemiological studies on breast cancer and occupational and residential exposure to ELF magnetic fields are negative on balance. A meta-analysis found a small risk increase that may be due to artifacts. Recent reviews of epidemiological and animal data conclude that ELF magnetic fields are most likely not a risk factor in breast cancer.

3. What is your opinion on this comment from Dr. M. Bitran found at page 23 of Exhibit 20:

The link between ELF magnetic field exposure and female breast cancer has become more tenuous as newer, larger epidemiological studies with better exposure assessment have become available.

4. Please comment on the elements of average exposure, transient peak impact exposures, and cumulative dose estimates of exposure for each of the three workers in terms of the relationship between those exposures and whether or not exposure to EMF would have been a significant contributing factor in the development or onset of breast cancer in each case.

My expert testimony regarding each of these questions follows:

Excerpt from page 5 . . .

To address this issue I would like to quote from a document written by Dr. Martin Blank at Columbia University (Blank 2007).

We should be reminded that ‘scientific proof’ is not symmetric (Popper, 1959).

One cannot prove that EMF is harmless no matter how many negative results one presents. One single reproducible ([statistically] significant) harmful effect would outweigh all the negative results.

Scientific method is not democratic. The word ‘proof’ in ‘scientific proof’ is best understood in terms of its older meaning of ‘test’. It does not rely on an adversarial ‘weight of the evidence’, where opposing results and arguments are presented and compared. Answers do not come from keeping a scoreboard of positive versus negative results [note: positive and negative results refers to studies with and without statistically significant effects] and merely tallying the numbers to get a score.

The above characteristics of science are generally acknowledged to be valid as abstract principles, but in EMF research, it has been quite common to list positive and negative findings and thereby imply equal weights. . . .

Negative studies play an important role in science, and there is good reason to publish them when they are failures to replicate earlier positive results. This can often lead to important clarifications of the effect, the technique, etc.

However, negative studies are being used in another way. Although they cannot prove there is no positive effect, they do have an influence in the unscientific ‘weight of evidence approach’. In epidemiology, where it is difficult to compare studies done under different conditions, it is common to make a table of the positive and negative results. The simple listing has the effect of a tally, and the overall score substitutes for an evaluation. In any case, one can write that the evidence is ‘not consistent’, ‘not convincing’ or claims are ‘unsubstantiated’ and therefore ‘unproven’. The same is true in experimental studies . . . the contradictory results are juxtaposed and a draw is implied. This is a relatively cheap but effective way to neutralize or negate a positive study (Blank 2007).