Health and Low-Frequency Electromagnetic Fields


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William Bennett

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Recent articles in the press have explored a possible link between cancer and such familiar sources of electromagnetic fields as power-distribution lines or electronic appliances. In this book a distinguished physicist evaluates the properties of low-frequency electromagnetic fields and their interactions with the human body and concludes that the health risks from these interactions have been vastly overstated.

William Ralph Bennett, Jr., reviews the epidemiological evidence for a link between low-frequency electromagnetic fields and cancer. He then reviews the basic properties of these fields, outlining the simplest methods for calculating and measuring them and illustrating his discussion with original data on the electromagnetic fields produced by power lines, electrified railroads, common household appliances, video display terminals, television sets, and airport metal detectors. He considers the specific ways by which electric and magnetic fields couple to the body; compares these fields with others of much greater magnitude that must exist inside the body because of thermodynamic processes; and analyzes several resonance mechanisms that have been proposed to explain unusual sensitivity of biological tissue to low-frequency oscillating fields. A glossary and numerous tables and figures accompany the text.

The book is based on a study by the author for the U.S. Government's Committee on Interagency Radiation Research and Policy Coordination that was coordinated by Oak Ridge Associated Universities.

William Ralph Bennett, Jr., is C. B. Sawyer Professor of Engineering and Applied Science and professor of physics at Yale University and was coinventor of the first gas laser.

"Professor Bennett convincingly brings science and rationality to a topic which has been in the news and in the courts on the basis of pseudo-science, doubtful medical evidence and sensationalism. It is reassuring."—J.-P. Vallès Ph.D., Chairman and CEO, Minerals Technologies, Inc.

"This important book is a valuable and sound contribution to a problem of wide public concern. It should find a place in the library of every thoughtful person concerned about environmental issues."—Eugene D. Commins, University of California, Berkeley

"This is an outstanding book. It provides in lucid, authoritative and accessible fashion the best available data on, and science relevant to, the interaction of low-frequency, low-intensity electromagnetic fields and the human body. It should lay to rest the fears of those who have reacted, understandably, to scare mongering in public media and is clearly required reading for all those interested in or involved with electromagnetic fields and their possible health effects. Bill Bennett deserves our thanks and congratulations for putting into perspective a problem that has already been estimated to have cost the American society more than $23 billion."—D. Allan Bromley, Sterling Professor of the Sciences, Yale University and formerly The Assistant to the President of the United States for Science and Technology

ISBN: 9780300057638
Publication Date: June 22, 1994
208 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4