Dr. Magda Havas, PhD Environmental Studies Research Papers


Posted on October 13, 2009

Below are letters, newspaper and magazine articles by Magda Havas.

Havas, M. 2009. Is it Safe to Stand in Front of a Microwave? Bottom Line/Personal. 7 pp. in press.

Havas, M. 2009. Letter to Newcastle Residents, Teachers, & School Boards, Regarding Wi-Fi Networks and Cell Phone Antenna, Newcastle, UK.

Havas, M. 2009. Open Letter to Parents, Teachers, School Boards regarding Wi-Fi Networks in Schools. July 28, 2009, 2 pp.

Havas, M. 2009. Letter to the Editor, Toronto Star, February 1, 2009 response to “Jury’s out on link between migraines, fluorescent tubes.” by Joe Schwarcz.

Havas, M. 2009. Letter to Mayor McDermott and Essex Council Regarding Wind Turbine Development in Essex County, 1 pg.

Havas, M. 2009. Letter to the Editor, re: “Company recalls LG 150 cellphones”, Toronto Star January 28, 2009.

Havas, M. 2008. Letter to the Editor, Walrus Magazine, comment on Cellphone Games, September 11, 2008 article by Melinda Wenner.

Havas, M. 2008. Letter to the Editor, BBC News, UK, RE: The bulb hoarders. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/7480958.stm.

Havas, M. 2006. Dirty Electricity: An Invisible Pollutant in Schools. Feature Article for Forum Magazine, OSSTF, Fall, 2006.

Havas, M. 2006. Response to: Evaluation of the Stetzer Filters. Open Letter to Health Canada. October 2006. 5 pp.

Havas, M. 2006. Open letter to Mayor and Aldermen, Milwaukee Wisconsin. Health Concerns of WiFi. Click here for pdf.

Havas, M. 2005. Studies point to concerns about radiation from towers. Salisbury Post, Salisbury, NC, October 20, 2005.

Havas, M. 2005. Letter: Office of the Secretary, Federal Communication Commission, Washington DC, Proceeding WT Docket No. 04-356 and 02-353. 3 pages, January 24, 2005.

Havas, M. 2004. Putting Cell Phone Antennas near schools is too risky. Washington Post, Fairfax, December 30, 2004, page VA10.

Havas, M. 2004. Don’t put cell towers on school property. Northern Virginia Journal, November 16, 2004, page 12.

Havas, M. 2004. Cleaner power keeps schools healthy. View from Trent, Peterborough Examiner, Peterborough, ON, February 12, 2004

Havas, M. 2002. Cell phone headaches, cell tower blues. View from Trent, Peterborough Examiner, August 9, 2002.

Havas, M. 2002. Corporate support can weaken foundation. View from Trent, Peterborough Examiner, April 12, 2002.

Havas, M. 2002. Children at risk in hospital from transformer magnetic fields. The Act, Australia.

Havas, M. 2001. Review of Expert Document The Workshop Report: Review of Electric and Magnetic Fields (EMFs), produced by the Manitoba Clean Environment Commission, March 2001., Winnipeg, Manitoba, letter September 2001.

Havas, M. 2001. Electricity’s role in cancer an eye opener. View from Trent, Peterborough Examiner, October 12, 2001

Havas, M. 2001. Electromagnetic fields linked to childhood cancer according to two new studies. View from Trent, Peterborough Examiner, March 9, 2001

Havas, M. 2000. Valley of Desolation, no vacation paradise. View from Trent, Peterborough Examiner, July 28, 2000.

Havas, M. 1999. People learn in different ways. How do you learn? Answer in simple test. View from Trent, Peterborough Examiner, August 27, 1999

Havas, M. 1998. Prof takes aim at academic stereotype. View from Trent, Peterborough Examiner, November 27, 1998.

Havas, M. 1996. University Accountability. View from Trent, Peterborough Examiner, April 1996.

Havas, M. 1989. The State of Our Forests. Harrowsmith, December.

Havas, M. 1989. Teeside and Uttersville, Uxbridge Times Journal, Uxbridge, Ontario.

Havas, M. 1989. A Tale of Two Towns, Back Forty, Lindsay, Ontario.

Havas, M. and T.C. Hutchinson. 1988. Tree Watch: Questionnaire on Tree Decline in Canada. Harrowsmith, August

Breast Cancer and EMFs: a response

Posted on October 10, 2009

Havas, M. 2009. Breast Cancer and Occupational Exposure to Electromagnetic Fields. Response to Request from Heidi Evelyn, Tribunal Counsel Office, Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal, Dated January 7 & 9, 2009. Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Response submitted February 9, 2009, 42 pp.

excerpt from testimony, from page 7 . . .

Threshold magnetic field to protect workers and public

Threshold magnetic field to protect workers and public

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).

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.


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.