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Unformatted text preview: Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs) and Childhood Leukemia Final Paper for BE.104J/1.081J/ESD.053J -- Spring 2005 Lisa An, Sueann Lee and Erin Mathewson History The history of electricity dates back to Thales von Milet who discovers static electricity of amber in about 600 BC. Then later in the 1600s physicist William Gilbert hypothesized about the magnetic properties of the earth. In 1729 Benjamin Franklin discovers the electrical nature of lightning. Then as centuries passed, more and more scientists learned more about the properties of electricity, and inventors harnessed those properties into useful products such as light bulbs, home appliances, telephones, televisions, etc. Nowadays electricity is ubiquitous and with the increase in electricity use, there need to be power lines to support all the current and voltage going to power people's homes and businesses. In United States in the 1960s, new high voltage electric power transmission lines emerged. The high voltage transmission systems consisted of copper, aluminum, or steel wires, suspended from towers of steel or wood by porcelain insulators. In certain areas where many large power lines create a safety hazard, the power lines are constructed underground to distribute the electricity. The modern electric power system consists of six main components: 1) the power station, 2) a set of transformers to raise the generated power to the high voltages used on the transmission lines, 3) the transmission lines, 4) the substations at which the power is stepped down to the voltage on the distribution lines, 5) the distribution lines, and 6) the transformers that lower the distribution voltage to the level used by the consumer's equipment (Encarta article http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_761566999/Electric_Power_Systems.html ). Exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMFs) has become an issue for public health officials over the years. In the 1960s new high voltage electric power transmission lines emerged. Originally there were some aesthetic and potential decreases in property values concerns over the construction of these new power lines in certain areas. There was also concern from environmental activist groups because the new power lines would destroy the land where they were built. Among all these concerns was the first study published about the link between proximity to high current power lines and higher incidences of childhood leukemia. (Wertheimer et al., 1979) From the time of that study on, there has been concern over the possible health hazards of EMFs emitted from these high voltage power lines, especially with the potential link between power lines and cancer. Mechanism Electrical power is a very important component to our society today. We use it everyday to light our homes, the power our computers, to turn on our televisions, etc. In our technology- advanced society, however, there has been some concern that exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF) that stems from electrical power may increase the chances for childhood cancer. (EMF) that stems from electrical power may increase the chances for childhood cancer....
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This note was uploaded on 11/11/2011 for the course BIO 20.010j taught by Professor Lindagriffith during the Spring '06 term at MIT.
- Spring '06