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back to article EMF notches up another health-scare

Armed with one small study and a wire-service media release, a group from the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research has frightened the living daylights out of half the western world with the claim that exposing pregnant women to “everyday household items” can lead to an increased risk of their children developing asthma. The …

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Title

Someone looking for large quantities of cash in the form of research grants methinks.

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Joke

Pfft

EMF? That's so 10 years ago! Chemtrails are where it's now, baby, chemtrails.

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David Icke.

Just go to his website, you can read all about Chemtrails and other amazing things you never knew about the world.

When I say world, I mean their own little one, inside their heads.

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I thought it was...

...farting termites we were meant to be afraid of this week

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wim

run for the hills

soon someone will release a study that all people who lead lives die.

What can we do about that ?

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Coat

Oh, come on, it's obvious

The reason there are more asthmatics about today is simple: Salbutamol.

Not so long ago, an asthma attack could have been fatal. Nowadays, a few quick puffs of an inhaler can get you breathing (no qualifying adverb required) again. So the genes responsible for asthma can propagate. Salbutamol was invented about 2 human generations ago. You do the maths .....

Mine's the one with the Ventolin in the pocket.

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Silver badge

I think KP missed the real point.

When the weak survive, this is what civilization* allows, KP makes more money. What did you expect them to report?

Eventually, civilization will collapse.

* protecting the weak from the strong

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Simple

You need 95% certainty to have a statistical result so:

1. gather the EMF data

2. gather statistics on 30 health disorders

3. look for the false positive

4. report the false positive and don't mention any of the other statistics you investigated.

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Re: Simple

Sad to say, but this is *exactly* how health scares work.

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Happy

EMF causing health scares *again*?

It's unbelievable.

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Anonymous Coward

that's soooo last

century

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Stop

No engineers consulted then?

As you note :-

'to carry out the study, the researchers fitted a dosimeter to around 800 pregnant women, measured their exposure to electromagnetic fields between 40 Hz and 800 Hz for a period of 24 hours' and that 'the original data was, in fact, collected for a study published in 2001 that asserted a link between EMF exposure particularly to strong fields and miscarriage', together with 'the authors of 'Maternal exposure to magnetic fields during pregnancy in relation to the risk of asthma in offspring', published in the Archive of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, are also keen to associate their work with the dangers of radiofrequency exposure'

IMHO, quite apart from falling foul of the correlation equals causation fallacy, the researchers obviously have little to no understanding of physics and RF engineering. I would contend that: the majority of radio frequencies are somewhat considerably higher in wavelength than 800 Hz, at least those that anyone would be exposed to in any significant proportion in daily life. e.g GSM cellular networks at 900 MHz, PCN at 1.8 GHz, terrestrial TV at around 500 MHz and Wi-Fi at 2.4 GHz.

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Anonymous Coward

Not the same crowd

It's because those are the lobby against high-voltage lines near homes, not against RF emitters.

So they're fine with high-frequency, low-voltage fields (which is the current fashionable scare), but not with low-frequency, high-voltage ones (which was fashionable 10 years ago).

You need to pay close attention when dealing with the crowd-against-stuff ;-)

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Facepalm

RE Not the same crowd

So there are in-fact two factions in this tirade against sanity!!!??

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Facepalm

@Anonymous Coward -- Correct, and I'll bet...

"You need to pay close attention when dealing with the crowd-against-stuff ;-)"

...And I'll bet ten quid to a brick the crowd-against-stuff are still contentedly and blissfully addicted to their smart phones.

EMR be-damned. As we'd expect with this mob, hypocrisy and smart phone addiction take precedence.

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Coat

As seen on TV

This cropped up in Gavin and Stacey. It was the episode where Pam was with a bunch of Essex locals protesting against the erection of a new mobile phone mast, and complaining because she couldn't get a decent signal. May have been series 2 episode 6, but I haven't got my DVDs to hand.

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science = farce

Would someone pls calculate the odds of newborns getting asthma when their moms are goofy enough to participate in scam studies like this? Seems inevitable to me.

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Angel

Pooter geeks so magnafluxed they can't think straight any more!

Google "Cell phone video pop corn" . Simply stated, a video is worth the comments of a gazillion of you magna-tards!

You are not doubters, you are gone-ers

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Flame

Let the ignorant worry themselves shitless over EMR.

"frightened the living daylights out of half the western world"

We the other half couldn't give a fuck about EMR because we've actually studied science!

Let the stupid, ignorant and scientifically illiterate worry themselves shitless over EMR! For a while, it might give us a break from their incessant whingeing and worrying over climate change.

----------------------------

EL REG:

A CORRECTION -- IT'S EMR, NOT EMF!

The correct term is EMR (Electromagnetic Radiation), not EMF (Electromotive Force).

EMR, according to Maxwell, Heaviside et al, is caused as a consequence of EMF flowing through a conductor. Electromagnetic Radiation results and radiates away from the conductor as described by Maxwell's equations.

(You're slow learners, I've previously made this correction.)

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This post has been deleted by its author

Alternatively...

"F" could be for "flux" or "field".

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Headmaster

@Arthur Dent -- There's no doubt I'm deluded or I wouldn't waste my time writing here...

"I am somewhat amused by your strange idea that EMR is caused by EMF flowing through a conductor."

Ok, let's have your better description in one sentence. And please explain what's strange about it (I've many critics but I don't think anyone has ever previously used the term 'strange' in connection with any of my technical descriptions. Oversimplified yes, but not strange).

Only the pedantically obsessed who mark physics examinations for a living would reply like you have. When marking them do you consider the student's work an exercise in physics, English or both?

Next time I write such a post perhaps I should define all SI units up front from here: http://www.iso.org/iso/home.html. I'd then carefully engineer my reply to ensure there are no ambiguities, by resorting to formal logic, truth tables etc.

In my reply, I was careful at no time to use the words 'coulomb', 'joules' or 'volts' or any other precisely defined SI unit(s) or definitions(s). If I had then you might have had a case for complaint. Instead, I intentionally stayed away from formal definitions, as I usually do in such posts to avoid a slanging match over technical details. Instead, I used a normally accepted colloquial technical description (or it is where I come from).

Using colloquial language and brevity is not the same as an error, and it's the error that was the subject of my point, and that error still remains. No matter how you twist the argument, the crux of the story is about people who are concerned about what escapes/is radiated from the circuit as opposed what's left behind and thus safely contained away from humans.

'EMR', in the strict sense, is an informal abbreviation that describes that radiation whereas 'EMF' is used, albeit even more informally, to describe the contained/potential energy. As you'd obviously know, the EMF definition is sometimes used as a 'trick' question. It usually remains irrespective of the state of the circuit, loaded, O/C or whether it has measurable I^2R losses etc.

Grinding fine formal definitions is nonsense when the elephant in the room is a genuine nomenclature error that has serious potential to lead to a false understanding of the problem. There's no doubt that this is certainly so here.

You've failed to realise that my post is acerbic specifically because I am concerned that across the West we've an anti-science movement that's large enough to change politics with its vote and that a hijacked education system is mostly to blame although scientists themselves must accept much of it for having ignored the problem for 35-40 years until the problem's gotten out of hand.

__________

BTW, I've spent time on standards committees, I know well what it's like to fight over nomenclature or to mull so long over one word in a standard that it might take a year before a consensus is reached.

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Pint

@Graham Wilson

As i wandered through the article I kept wondering how pregnant women coped with applying Fleming's Right Hand Rule to the surrounding EMF, or whether my high school physics had had a fundamental change that I'd missed in the intevening 50 years.

Thank you, sir. Have one on me!

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Unhappy

@Magani -- Ha, I was wondering something similar myself.

Thanks, I will have one.

There's several things for certain that have changed over this time:

- Precision and exactness have left the education system, often good enough is near enough and this is the teacher's response, not that of students.

- Science is often taught by teachers whose first subject isn't science. It is made worse by the fact that anything that's guaranteed to keep a student's attention has been deemed by the OH&S police as too dangerous or too poisonous or is so environmentally unacceptable that the effect cannot be demonstrated. A once keen science student, even I'd fall asleep in today's classes.

- Many students can go through a complete education and manage to avoid science altogether. Over the last 30 or so years we've bred a large part of the population that's ignorant of science and frightened of anything technical.

Oh, well it's Asia's turn now, they've yet to catch these hangups.

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