Electromagnetic Field Exposure: The Invisible Public Health Epidemic
By Lindsay Mower, Staff Reporter
In 2017, humans in modern society find themselves in a contemplative state of addiction to a diversity of electromagnetic field (EMF) sources: i.e. mobile technology, which ex- poses them to various doses of radiation on a daily basis. This public health phenomenon, a large topic of discussion among UMF students in the classroom with Community Health Education professor Dr. Maurice Martin, can be supported by an article published online in 2012 by Myung Chan Gye and Chan Jin Park which examines the effects of EMF exposure on the reproductive system.
The findings of the article indicate that EMF exposure alters reproductive parameters of the human body, including male germ cell death, the estrous cycle, reproductive endocrine hormones, sperm motility and overall pregnancy success, among other areas. Of course, these biological effects differ according to frequency and wave, strength and duration of exposure.
Martin believes the implications of the article’s findings are of immediate concern. “A reduction in testosterone has the effect of making it a much more androgynous society, which is more likely to espouse a feminist paradigm,” says Martin. “It throws the balance of nature off. I think that masculine behaviors, that might not be positive all the time, certainly are needed at some points.”
Like any public health concern, there lies a political aspect to this invisible epidemic: the 1996 Telecommunications Act crafted under the Clinton administration, with help from The Wireless Industry, which states that no health or environmental concern can interfere with the placement of telecom equipment, such as cell towers and antenna.
“There was a motion put on the floor of the house in Washington saying that we really need to study the effects of electromagnetic radiation further. The house Republicans immediately came up with an embargo, or a block, against any reports that could identify health issues to stop the construction of cell towers and all mobile technology,” explains Martin.
For public health research purposes, this basically resulted in the federal government being prohibited in studying the effects of electromagnetic radiation if they want any kind of funding at all. This is why no research can be seen from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The 1996 act is still in place today.
In addition to EMF exposure remains a very visible health effect caused by modern society’s addiction to technology: a lack of physical activity. “There are only so many hours in the day. If you’re spending eight of those online, you don’t have much time to be physically active at all,” says Martin, warning that it should come as no surprise when we see the increased development of chronic disease in the near future. “We are going to start having fewer years in our life,” says Martin.
Acknowledging the reality, which is that most of our jobs and livelihoods depend upon this type of technology, Martin also believes it’s highly unlikely that we’re going to back up from it. “The type of addiction to technology that is seen in millennials has developed through the use of screen time from infancy, onward. I believe that there are pathways in the brain that are deeply rooted, and that have now been formulated for digital processing,” he says. “Myself, I’m not that interested, but I think that when little children learn it early on, it just becomes a habit. I don’t think that they can help it.”